Dodwell in 2013 SOM2 Surabaya - Post 7

April 13, 2013

Having been incarcerated in the Marriott meeting rooms for an entire week, a gang of us managed on Saturday to break away to taste the city streets. Every day, we have walked forlornly into meetings past flamboyantly-dressed Surabaya Tourism people who have been tantalizing with a raft of city tour options. The most exotic is an overnight trek up Mt Bromo to see the sun rise over the lava moonscape of Surabaya’s majestic active volcano. Of course for all of us that have to work every day, we know we will never manage this, but it is tantalizing nevertheless.

Putting dreams of Mt Bromo on one side, we sidled off for dinner to the old colonial Hotel Majipahit – and what an astonishing find it was. Built in 1910, this is a little colonial gem, all creaking old polished wood panels, and Art Deco embellishments from the 1920s. The rooms are all different, set around tropical garden courtyards, many leading directly onto the swimming pool, and it boasts a spa that is supposed to be the best in Indonesia. This city seems to have a charm and character all of its own, such a contrast to the charmlessness of Jakarta. The sad discovery was that this hotel had been one of the choices open to us for the SOM2 meetings – and that rooms would have cost us barely half of the sum we are paying at the Sheraton and the Marriott. I’m almost tempted to come back specially to Surabaya just to be able to spend a few nights there.

Hotel Majapahit

Painting hanging in the hotel’s art deco lobby celebrates independence from colonial rule in 1945

The men responsible for feeding the APEC army for the past two weeks.

* Read post from Surabaya


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