In this review, we will check out the Phoenix MGallery by Sofitel Hotel in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
After a short, comfortable flight across Java I had arrived in the city of Yogyakarta, commonly shortened to ‘Yogya’ or ‘Jogja’ by the locals.
It is considered to be the cultural capital of Indonesia and with the temples of Borobudur and Prambanan there are some world-famous sights in the immediate surroundings of the city.
I had therefore booked three nights at the Phoenix Hotel in Yogyakarta. For a room with balcony pool view I paid around 90 euro per night.
There are quite some more luxury hotels in Yogyakarta (the Hyatt Regency looked great as well) but in the end I opted for the Phoenix due to its city centre location and historic charm.
Just like the Hermitage in Jakarta in which I stayed the days before, the Phoenix has quite a bit of history. Built in 1918 when Indonesia was still a Dutch colony, the Phoenix Hotel in Yogyakarta began its life as the luxury house of a rich Chinese merchant.
The mansion was only converted into a hotel in the 1930s. After Indonesian independence the building was temporarily used as the mansion of the Chinese consul, before becoming a hotel again in 1951.
The Phoenix is part of the MGallery Hotel Collection of the Accor Group, which features unique boutique hotels with their own original design and unique story.
The reception area of the Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta is large and bright and beautifully appointed in an understated way. With its high ceilings, chandeliers and tilework on the walls it oozes a certain charm of bygone years.
Next to the reception desk you will also find a tour office which can help you with day trip arrangements or local transport, such as setting you up with a car and driver for the day.
The check-in process was a quick and friendly affair. The receptionist confirmed my pool view room booking and I was escorted through the large complex to a separate building overlooking the hotel’s courtyard pool.
Phoenix hotel room
My ‘deluxe legacy pool-view room’ at the Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta did not disappoint. The room was nicely decorated with Indonesian artwork and featured all the amenities you might expect from a luxury hotel.
Opposite the comfortable bed was a large desk and in the corner of the room a small seating area. Power sockets were plentiful throughout the room and WiFi internet was fast and reliable.
Of course, the room also has a TV, ample storage room in multiple closets, air-conditioning, a fridge and a coffee and tea maker. Although there was quite some wear and tear I still thought my room at the Phoenix made for a charming, quality place to spend the next three nights.
By far the best aspect of the room was however the balcony, from where you have lovely views over the pool area. It was my favourite spot during the next three days to sit and relax with a drink and to get some work done on my laptop.
The swimming pool itself is obviously a great selling point of the Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta. It is a beautifully appointed area as well thanks to the big palm trees, plants and loungers surrounding it.
The only downside is that during the late afternoon the pool often became quite crowded. It was however much, much better for a swim early in the day and in the evening when there are almost no crowds at all.
Another slight negative is that due to the pool being surrounded on three sides by the hotel, the amount of sunshine is limited.
When I booked my room, I decided not to include breakfast as I already knew that on two of the three nights I wouldn’t be able to partake in the buffet anyway as I had to wake up early (once for a sunrise visit to Borobudur, the other day for a very early train departure to Surabaya).
Instead, I just visited a nearby bakery to buy some yummy pastries and made myself some instant coffee with the water kettle in the hotel room.
As I already wrote in the previous chapter of this trip report, I had to work quite a bit from my room during my three days in Yogyakarta. As I was working remotely according to normal European office hours, it meant my “working day” started at around 2pm and lasted until 9pm.
That unfortunately meant that my hours didn’t really make it possible to visit any of the restaurants in Yogyakarta for dinner, so I decided to eat in the Phoenix Hotel for all three days.
On the first two days, I made use of room service by ordering some Indonesian dishes. The food was good enough quality, although not memorable. Service however was top notch.
One my last night at the Phoenix, the hotel organised a “foods of the world” themed buffet. The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta regularly organises buffets with a special theme and at around 15 EUR they certainly were good value.
There were several food stations placed on the inner courtyard and the dining areas of the hotel’s Paprika Restaurant. Most of it was an open buffet, although there were also several live cooking stations where the chefs would prepare the food right in front of you.
Although I thought that most of the Western dishes were rather average, some of the Indonesian food options were very tasty. Also the live cooking station making tacos certainly delivered as well.
The service was absolutely wonderful as empty plates were all quickly cleared away and I didn’t even have to refill my glass of water as the attentive waiters made sure to do this each time for me.
Although I didn’t manage to pay a visit, the Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta also has its own lobby bar. Called ‘1918 Lobby Bar’, it serves cocktails and fine wines.
Overall I had a great stay at the Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta. This is a hotel with history and you can clearly see that from the well-maintained public areas of the hotel such as the hallways, lobby and bar.
My room itself didn’t disappoint as it was nicely appointed and had a certain charm as well, although it did have a bit of wear and tear if you looked around closely enough.
I was happy that I paid a bit more for a room with pool view balcony. The swimming pool itself looks absolutely lovely, although it lacks sunlight during large parts of the day being surrounded on three sides by the hotel and the other side by large palm trees.
Service was of the usual Indonesian standards, which meant it was welcoming, friendly and attentive. The food I had was good too, although it wasn’t top quality.
Would I stay again at the Phoenix Hotel if I ever revisit Yogya? Yes, if the price is right – although I would also be open for trying out another hotel.
While I was blown away by the quality and historical charms of the Hermitage Hotel in Jakarta where I stayed before, I felt that Phoenix Hotel in Yogyakarta just lacked a bit on all fronts to be a truly great hotel and to win me over completely.
Trip report index
This article is part of the ‘Journey to Java‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:
1. Review: Wizz Air Bucharest to Rome Ciampino (Airbus A321)
2. Half a Day in Rome: A Walk Around the Eternal City
3. Review: Casa Alitalia Lounge ‘Piazza di Spagna’ Rome Fiumicino Airport
4. Review: Saudia Business Class Rome to Riyadh (Airbus A320)
5. Review: Saudia Alfursan Business Lounge Riyadh Airport
6. Review: Saudia Business Class Riyadh to Jakarta (Boeing 777-300)
7. Review: The Hermitage, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia
8. A Day in Jakarta: Exploring Indonesia’s Bustling Capital City
9. Review: Garuda Indonesia Domestic Business Lounge Jakarta Airport
10. Review: Garuda Indonesia Business Class Jakarta to Yogyakarta (Boeing 737-800)
11. Review: The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta – Mgallery By Sofitel (current chapter)
12. A Magical Sunrise Visit to Borobudur Temple
13. A Visit to the Great Hindu Temple Complex of Prambanan
14. Review: Yogyakarta to Surabaya (Indonesia) by Train
15. Review: Majapahit Hotel, Surabaya, Indonesia
16. A Day in Surabaya: Exploring Indonesia’s Second Biggest City
17. Review: Concordia Premier Lounge Surabaya Airport
18: Review: Singapore Airlines Business Class Surabaya to Singapore (Airbus A330-300)
19. A Short Singapore Stopover: Into the City or Stay at the Airport?
20. Review: SilverKris Lounge Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2
21. Review: Singapore Airlines business class Singapore to Manila (Boeing 787-10)
22. Review: PAGSS Lounge Manila Airport Terminal 1 Gate 2
23. Review: China Airlines economy class Manila to Taipei (Airbus A330-300)
24. Review: China Airlines Business Lounge Taipei Airport Terminal 1
25. Review: China Airlines Economy Class Taipei to Rome (Airbus A350)
26. Review: TAROM economy class Rome to Bucharest (Boeing 737-700)