Travelers looking for a spiritual sojourn should escape to Amanjiwo, Aman’s peaceful enclave in Central Java, an hour flight west of Bali. While many travelers associate Java with Jakarta, its crowded and frenetic capital, much of the island is actually rural, scenic and full of culture. Travelers-in-the-know visit Java for its spectacular shrines and palaces, the most famous being Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist monument.
Central Java’s tropical, mountainous landscape and community of craftsmen and artisans provide the setting for Amanjiwo, one of Aman’s most striking and architecturally significant properties. The design of the hotel mimics Borobudur’s emblematic “stupa.” The lobby sits in a domed rotunda and thirty suites radiate from the center in two crescent shapes. In fact, the center of the main house has a perfectly symmetrical view of the monument, which stands about one kilometer away.
Accommodations differ mostly in view, either of the garden or Borobodor, and fifteen of them boast private pools. The interiors are simple in color and form, crafted using local materials such as coconut wood and bamboo and embellished with Javanese artisan wares. Sumptuous king-sized beds sit on platforms raised above terrazzo floors surrounded by marble columns. With an almost temple-like ambiance, suites offer a distinctive spiritual sensibility. In the mornings and evenings, the calls-to-prayer of neighboring mosques echo across the hotel grounds.
Thanks to a fantastic Aman staff, the service guests receive and experiences offered at Amanjiwo – beginning with a welcome showering of rose petals upon arrival – are some of the most memorable and exclusive of them all. Highlights include a sunrise hike up Borobudur, followed by an uber-luxe picnic breakfast overlooking the monument. Guests may opt to have dinner in the home of a villager and attend a Javanese Jatilan, a trance dance channeling the gods, typically performed exclusively for locals. Amanjiwo also offers cooking classes, jaunts to shop for antiques and guided tours of local art galleries and museums.
Amanjiwo’s onsite facilities include two tennis courts, a spa suite, small fitness center, and gorgeous 135-foot infinity pool. The ultimate place to absorb the tranquil landscape, the pool is set in a colonnaded amphitheater bordered by rice fields and overlooks Borobudur in the distance.
Who Should Stay: Couples or families in search of an off-the-beaten path, cultural Indonesian experience.
Who Should not Stay: Travelers with a limited amount of time and looking to visit more mainstream parts of Indonesia.
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