Encircled by eight volcanoes and situated near Yogyakarta, hotel MesaStila’s 22 hectares are dotted with groomed gardens, coffee plants and authentic Dutch colonial buildings. The delicious coffee is an unsurprising highlight of this former coffee plantation, and the award-winning spa – boasting one of Indonesia’s only Turkish hammams – makes exquisite use of products grown and processed onsite. Like what you see? This hotel is one of the luxurious stays in our Indonesian adventures…
Get this when you book through us:
20 per cent discount on a spa treatment (GoldSmiths get the same discount on a second treatment) and a bag of coffee on departure
Noon, but possibly later, depending on availability.
Double rooms from £160.18 (IDR3,080,000), including tax at 21 per cent.
Rates include breakfast, afternoon tea, scheduled in-house activity and a bag of coffee upon departure.
Herbal-healing Jamu drinks are served at breakfast and a Jamu-Master is available for private consultations, offering personal healing remedies.
At the hotel
Spa with Turkish hammam, beauty salon, gym, tennis court, yoga pavilion, billiard table, entertainment stage, giant outdoor chess set, croquet, library, DVD/CD selection, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, DVD player, minibar.
Our favourite rooms
The undisputed honeymooner’s hot spot, Arum Villa 204 immediately seduced us with its vast private balcony looking out onto the untouched forest, and the quaint round water fountain by the whimsical entrance. The grand and imposing Bella Vista Villa comprises two freestanding and three adjoining villas that were once part of nearby Solo’s royal court, and includes a private plunge pool.
The emerald-sheened octagonal infinity pool beside the restaurant is fed with fresh spring water and overlooks the surrounding mountains and forests.
The Hammam Spa has authentic Turkish steam bath, four treatment rooms, a beauty salon and spa gallery. Choose from a variety of Asian-style treatments and massage therapie, including coffee body scrubs and rejuvenating jade facials.
Central Java is prime trekking country so suitable jungle-rambling attire is essential if you plan on roaming around. Don’t forget to leave space in your suitcase for the home-grown coffee – it’s not available anywhere else.
All villas are non-smoking.
Baby cots are provided free of charge. Beds for older children cost US$30 a night, including breakfast. Parents are asked to keep an eye on their kids, as some parts of the resort are off-limits to youngsters.
Not just the coffee, but also the sugar, vegetables, herbs and ingredients for spa products are grown and processed on site.
Grab a seat beside the deck by the pool so you can enjoy the forest views.
Chic and cheerful.
Java Red and the Sunset Lounge make up MesaStila's brace of eateries. The Sunset Lounge offers a casual spot for tea, mocktails and wine, with a selection of salads and soups; Java Red serves Indonesian cuisine with a healthy twist and some unique Javanese dishes. Daily afternoon tea at Club House, next to Plantation Lounge, is poured out from 3pm to 5pm and is included in room rates.
A selection wine is available in the Sunset Lounge after 5pm; healthy juices, herbal teas, thirst-quenching coconut water and home-grown java coffee are served throughout the day.
The restaurant theoretically closes at 11pm, but will stay open until you finish your meal. The bar opens from 3pm until late.
Room service is available from 7am to 10pm, but for late or early travellers the kitchen staff will specially prepare dishes if you’re hankering for something after hours.
Fly to Yogyakarta Airport via Bali, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, to Solo via Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, or to Semarang via Singapore. Yogyakarta is an hour and a half from the hotel, Solo is two hours away, and Semarang is an hour and 15 minutes. Transfers to Yogyakarta or Semarang airports cost US$50 each way.
The nearest train stations are in Semarang and Solo.
The drive from the city of Semarang will take an hour and a quarter; from Yogyakarta, it’ll take an hour and a half. The hotel has free parking and a valet service.
Ever fantasised about staying in a real Jungle Book? Peering out over lush foliage and vast volcanoes, as vivid butterflies flutter past and a soundtrack of birds shrills from the canopy. Well, here Mr Smith and I stand, soaking up the totally tropical setting that is MesaStila in central Java. This luxury spa may be ringed by eight volcanoes, including Mt Merapi, one of the most active in the world, but just because Bear Grylls would relish the environment, there’s no need to rough it.
Earlier this afternoon we wove our way past schoolchildren chattering in front of Buddhist stone-art shops, coconut-scented nasi lemak stalls and rainbow-bright batik stores. Elderly ladies hung their washing outside mint-coloured houses as men languished in the shade, smoking cigarettes. We drove by the spectacular Borobudur temple, lime-green rice paddies and fields of grazing oxen on our way to MesaStila, where a tree-lined driveway leads to a lovingly restored railway station. It’s now MesaStila's reception and about 10 people, smiling warmly, usher us onto the terrace for coffee and Indonesian cakes. Perching on cream day-beds, we sip Java in Java.
MesaStila is a labour of love. A coffee plantation since Dutch colonial times, each building is reminiscent of a bygone era, with furnishings selected with an eye for Javanese style. Our colossal Arum Villa has a four-poster bed fit for the king of the jungle, a petite guestroom and a spacious terrace that is overlooked by several volcanoes. The noise of banging drums comes from nearby Magelang village and smoke rises in whorls, as locals burn offerings to appease their gods. Unperturbed, Mr Smith and I jump on the bed and have a cat-nap. We wake to the soothing call to prayer and the distant, hypnotic sound of gamelan music.
After strolling to the nearby village, we return to soak in a gold, sunken bath of regal proportions and tuck into dinner on the romantic terrace at the resort’s more formal restaurant, Java Red. Mr Smith chows down on a subtly-spiced beef redang and I choose the lemon chicken nusantara, served with a divine ginger, lemon and lime sauce. In what could pass for an edible homage to Mt Merapi, both come prettily plated with a cone of rice topped with a banana leaf hat.
We finish the evening with a glass of wine in the Sunset Lounge, reading novels until the rain starts to pour down. Gigantic, alien-like insects fly in for cover and frogs hop hurriedly across the paths. The intense storm is all the excuse we need for a cosy evening holed up in the villa.
The next day we rise early to crystal-clear views and the sound of crowing cockerels. Summoning the motivation to leave MesaStila, we take a tour of the coffee plantation. Not only are four different types of coffee grown here, but also organic vegetables, palm sugar and cotton trees which provide cotton for bed linen. Now that’s self-sufficiency, Java-style. A visit to the immense Borobudur temple can be added to the transfer to or from Yogyakarta airport – at sunrise or sunset – which is what we’d recommend.
Tour completed, we wander the grounds in the sunshine watching young girls practising for their gamelan performance later, hands and heads weaving. Mr Smith sets off to the gym, but is distracted by the glassy pool and loungers. I have a massage and herbal steam in the Turkish hammam, nearly falling asleep in a cloud of tranquillity. The sound of cicadas in the jungle outside rouses me at the end of the treatment.
Realising we have to be up at an unearthly hour, we opt for an early dinner. The attentive waitress asks detailed questions about how we would like our takeaway sandwiches in the morning but, snuggled in our villa, sarnies are the last thing on our minds.
Departure day dawns for us at 4am with the energetic jungle beats remixed with the mystical call to prayer. Bleary-eyed, we totter in darkness past frangipani trees to the reception where, to our delight, a tiny table with a huge pot of coffee and croissants is waiting for us. Casting one last look over the grounds, with the throb of the drums insistent, we agree that MesaStila has the bare necessities to make anybody feel like a jungle VIP.