Surabaya oh Surabaya…
Thou art far and yet visiting you is indeed a rare chance for me. The funny thing is that most of the time, everybody can be sure about when to visit Bali, but that’s not the case for the rest of Indonesia. Even so, my visit last time to the city was a big jaw drop as not only Surabaya is probably the most well taken care provincial capital in the whole country but the city has so many things to explore!
It all started with a long journey from Jakarta by car for the whole 24 hours and a night stay at a youth hostel on the suburbs of Surabaya first. After me and the whole family finished our original mission to attend a wedding of relatives there, we spent another night at another hotel first before finally seeing Sheraton Surabaya on a one fine Sunday morning.
The positioning of the hotel is golden but proved elusive as one may easily came across without knowing that it’s actually there. For first timer like me who came to Surabaya, you really need to see the hotel quick on the left side after turning left to Jalan Embong Malang from Jalan Basuki Rahmat. The problem is that when you’re coming from Jalan Tunjungan from the north side and turn right to Jalan Embong Malang, you have to cut through the traffic immediately because you gonna have to detour again quite far just to go back here if you miss it.
However that Sunday, it wasn’t meant to be easy for us. The combination of long weekend, a fully-booked hotel, and adjoining famous shopping mall made it hard for me just to find a single parking space for the car. The main entrance was jammed and all the valet parking staffs were occupied. It was unfortunate that Sheraton Surabaya couldn’t manage to assign extra effort for this part as the welcoming party of every guest, no matter how small, has always been very important.
For example, a smile from the greeter, a helpful bell boy, and that feeling when you know that everything has been taken care of are all so essential. Even my visit several years ago to one of the busiest business hotel in Singapore was very indulging. There’s always someone to open your car door, to ask whether you required an assistance with your luggage, and somebody who led me to the receptionist desk were without doubt what we all need from a five-star hotel no matter how busy the circumstances in the front entrance and the lobby. It was unfortunate but I do hope that from this, they will see to it immediately. On a lighter note though, the boss of the parking valet staffs was still very helpful in the end and eventually my car was taken care of well.
From there, it’s pretty much a fast lane. A swift and precise service from the reception, the helpful bell boy was there, and a neat room kicked in. I was actually hoping for a different atmosphere of the room such as the one I had back in Sheraton Bandung but then I realize that the one in Surabaya was of a different character. They did manage to renovate the interiors like 5 years ago and that’s still considered as quite recent. Somehow, I found the older version felt warmer and more traditional while the newer version, which I stayed in, was a bit awkward. It wasn’t felt old but not necessarily modern.
But anyway, I had exactly all what I need from a room. Spacious, a highly comfortable bed, sufficient internet connection, and commendable cleanliness. However, even though the room has undergone a renovation, I still found that Sheraton Surabaya still clings with the old design for the bathroom, especially that nowadays many hotels have already adapted the rain shower but not here. Also, this may be small but also important, I found that every television in the rooms all over the hotel cannot be tilted at all, but I bet Sheraton Surabaya has its own reason for that. Even so, I’d love to have my television adjustable from every angle and direction that I want.
The breakfast next day was a satisfactory. It was a full-house at Kafe Bromo but the breakfast spread was decent and replenished every time, although the variations may be quite conservative. We were seated on the porch, overlooking the swimming pool, and it was actually a good experience. Surabaya in the morning during my three nights spent there were quite pleasant with its relatively cool air and Sheraton Surabaya provided a good atmosphere around the restaurant to make it more comfortable for the patrons.
Afterwards, a short tour around the premise was filled with curiosity and satisfaction. Sheraton Surabaya is a vast hotel and well-equipped with almost everything from a specialty restaurant aside from the all-dining, great recreational/sports facilities, and nearby to almost anywhere good around Surabaya. I had my share of lontong balap for dinner and it was just nearby. Just across the street, you’d find the legendary rawon setan or you could choose to enjoy the shopping mall if you’re too lazy to scour this beautiful city around. As for me, I was hoping to extend my stay here but then again, we were off schedule and had to return back to Jakarta immediately.
To sum it all up, my one night stay here was a good one and everything was up to my expectation, except the arrival problems I mentioned earlier. Also, I didn’t have the chance to taste the food at Lung Yuan , Sheraton Surabaya’s Chinese restaurant, due to the tight schedule but there’s always a next time for this city. Also, another thing that I won’t miss should I again visit Sheraton is to experience the tennis court and the jogging track around it. Or even perhaps the Pakuwon’s golf course for a change of view? Well, I’ll just have to find out next time!
SHERATON SURABAYA HOTEL & TOWERS
Jl. Embong Malang 25-31, Surabaya – Indonesia
Images courtesy of Sheraton Surabaya Hotel & Towers