Greenhost Hotel in Yogyakarta, Indonesia: The green alternative
I recently spent a couple of days in Yogyakarta, Indonesia as part of the Indonesian Tourism Office’s media famil “Trip of Wonders”. While in the city, we were accommodated at the Greenhost Hotel in the Prawirotaman area, around 20 minutes from the city centre and popular Malioboro Street.
Greenhost Hotel was a pleasant surprise, to say the least. This hotel is the perfect mirror to Yogyakarta’s artsy vibe, with the added bonus of sustainability and eco-tourism. I loved staying here so much, I wanted to share with you my review of this hotel. I hope you will find it useful.
Greenhost Hotel is an eco-friendly hotel. This shows in so many different ways, not all of them immediately obvious.
The most striking feature is certainly the hydroponic gardens that surround the atrium lobby. Lush green plants are never far – they line the open hallway galleries that are overlooking the lobby and pool, they are in pots in vertical gardens in the staircases, and there is even a hydroponic garden on the rooftop that you can visit. All of these plants are there for a reason: the garden on the rooftop in particular will find its end eventually on the plates of dining guests in the in-house restaurants.
Add to all that greenness a post-industrial design to set off the plants in the most dramatic way: polished concrete, plywood timber, wire chairs and pebbles all add small and interesting details to the overall hotel design.
If you stay at Greenhost Hotel you will find many little things that may make your stay slightly less enjoyable, but you can be sure that it will be beneficial to the environment.
For example, I believe Greenhost is the first hotel I ever stayed at that really doesn’t change your towels daily – normally you get fresh towels every day, no matter whether you placed them on the floor or in a bin or hung them up to dry. However, at Greenhost they really did make that difference, which I found refreshing.
Airconditioning is regulated centrally, which means you may not always have your preferred room temperature (read: it’s more on the warm side). Also, you won’t find a fridge in your room, which I know many of you will find quite disappointing but it really helps reduce the carbon footprint of the hotel. Lastly, the voltage is strictly regulated in the room and you will need to organise yourself a hairdryer from reception rather than use your own if you want to avoid that the power of your room cuts out.
An interesting feature of the hotel is the water system that keeps all the greenery around the courtyard lush and alive. One morning we could witness how superfluous water would run down an elaborate system of lines and buckets in the centre of the atrium and into a large square filled with boulders. You can see this contraption quite well in the first photo of this post. I have the suspicion that the water was used to flush the hydroponic system and the leftover water might actually reappear in the toilets! If not, this would be a good system to have.
I have to say I loved my room! It might have been on the small side if you are staying with two people and over a couple of days, but the big bed with the crisp white linen was just divine.
Both walls and floors were made of polished concrete which felt cool and smooth under my naked feet, and there were lose pebbles under the window which added some unexpected quirkiness to the design.
All furniture was made from wood that had the look of reclaimed timber (shipping boxes) but I am not sure if this was just a design feature or if they really used recycled materials. The design of lamps and headboard were quite unusual and playful, and I know by talking to my fellow travellers that each room looked slightly different.
What I loved was the window that let you see the shower from the bedroom (and vice versa) which took away some of the claustrophobic feeling of the small room. You could use the shower curtain to block the view for privacy. The bathroom lacked some shelf space but I could manage quite alright.
The only big issue was that water from the shower would flood pretty much the whole bathroom because it could do so – there was nothing to stop the water from finding its way into every last corner of the bathroom. There was also a small open overhead window in the bathroom that would lead to the atrium – while nobody could see me and I couldn’t see anybody the noise from strangers could be somewhat unnerving. With the bathroom door a dysfunctional sliding door that kept on jumping out of its rail everytime I tried to use it, the noise was hard to keep out of the room at night. Lucky I was so exhausted I didn’t mind it too much, rather appreciated the sound of people nearby.
One of the main features of the hotel that you will see on social media is the pool. While it looks pretty cool, sitting there smack bang in the middle of the lobby, it is in no way positioned that it would invite you to a swim. If you are just slightly conscious about yourself the fact that pretty much the whole hotel can overlook this pool can be quite off-putting. This pool is clearly more for aesthetics rather than relaxation, which is such a missed opportunity!
Greenhost Hotel also comes with a spa right next to the pool. A service that I didn’t avail of, so I cannot really comment but you might want to know that it’s there.
There are also a restaurant right next to the lobby and one on the roof which also doubles as a bar/café. Now, the latter is quite nice, very modern in design and we even were treated to such strange music such as DJ Koze (again, something that I didn’t expect to find in the middle of Yogyakarta, Indonesia). We made good use of the four-beer-and-chips offer which went down a treat. While you did get some good views of the rooftops of Yogyakarta from the rooftop eateries, bear in mind that you are kept inside, so there is no open deck which would allow you to smell and hear the sounds of the city.
What I really loved about the hotel was the contemporary art gallery in the lobby where you could check out the work of local artists. It connects beautifully to the art scene all around you in Yogyakarta (really, you only had to leave the hotel to already stand in front of your first street art mural, it’s everywhere!). Plus, another way to get the local community into the hotel was the handy creative sharing space next to the lobby where locals can become members of.
In the morning, breakfast was served pool-side, and there was a wide selection of Western and Indonesian dishes, but I daresay the breakfast leaned stronger towards the Indonesian side.
Nothing too exciting and the usual dishes as you would expect from a hotel breakfast in Indonesia. What stood out for me personally were the chocolate sprinkles, something that I know from the Netherlands and that are probably a nod to the colonial times when Indonesia was a Dutch colony.
My Top 3 Things to Do in Yogyakarta
- A visit to the maze of tiny laneways in Kotagede
- Sunrise on Bodubudur Hindu Temple or alternatively a visit to Prambanan Temple
- Discovering the art scene in Yogyakarta
For more ideas on what to do in this exciting city and why you really should add Yogyakarta to your bucket list, please check out my recent post here: 5 reasons why you need to add Yogyakarta to your bucket list now
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