Novotel Bogor Golf Resort & Convention Center is a 4-star hotel which is also a retreat from the heart of Jakarta and reachable in only 50 minutes from the city. Set on the foot of many mountains and its fresh air makes this hotel one of the most popular holiday hotel in Bogor, Indonesia.
With so many options of hotels in Jakarta, sometimes we are “drown” in pool of options, especially when it comes to decide where to stay for our regular weekend staycations. Last month, there were many long weekends and during one of them, we picked a spot outside Jakarta for a more back-to-nature staycation, and nothing could be better than Novotel Bogor.
Surrounded by 5 hectare of tropical gardens, situated in the quiet Bogor Raya Golf Estate and adjacent to the area’s most prestigious 18 holes golf course, the hotel seems to be an ideal place for family short getaway.
This time, we stayed for 2D1N on May 23th to 24th, 2015. We booked a Suite Room for the rate of IDR 1,470,000/night (taxes included), and honestly, I was very surprised to find how affordable it is since the Suite Room is the highest level of rooms they have and considering how big the room is.
Since Mr. K took several hundreds of pictures of the whole complex, I had trouble selecting them so I am gonna make this review to 2 separated posts. This first part will cover our experience in Novotel Bogor on Day 1, which apparently will be mostly night shots because we just checked in around 8PM due to many reasons that day.
We got the most corner room on 1st floor, room #165, same level as the lobby, but walking to the room was a long journey. As we stayed with my sister’s family, we booked 2 rooms and luckily our rooms are located just across each other.
Novotel Bogor Hotel rooms are designed with local Bangkirai wooden interior and modern facilities such as air conditioning, WiFi high speed internet access, LCD TV with 45 satellite channels, safe deposit box, mini bar and coffee making facilities.
The Suite Room is large, spacious, and has many outdoor spaces. My first impression when I entered the room was that it looks like an old hotel room, clean and spacious, but has the familiar old wooden furniture aroma lingering in the air.
The first sliding door near the main door connects the room to the bathroom. I must say I was totally disappointed by the indoor bathroom because it is very small despite all the space for the room itself. The bathroom is separated into 3 areas: toilet area with another sliding door, which is VERY small; the center area with old-fashioned sink, and the shower area covered with curtain only.
Amenities were good, and I love hotels which provide loofahs or bath sponges for exfoliating purpose. Novotel Bogor has them too, and thumbs up for that.
Moving on to the other room, another sliding door connects the bedroom to the living room, where we can find the dining table, another TV, coffee/tea set, and a large sofa bed. The Suite Room is supposedly for 2 adults and 2 children so with all the additional sofa and mattresses, it’s not a problem anymore to bring family here.
The door from Living Room connects to Outdoor Lounge where smokers can find their heaven, and surrounded by the greens, this place totally brought another feeling of “vacation” when we were there. During night time, this place could be a little scary because it feels like we are sitting inside the jungle or something, but when the morning comes, it is simply fantastic.
The third door from the bedroom connects to an outdoor terrace overlooking the garden. The most interesting part is the outdoor bathtub, which has a unique shape with a kind of sliders on the sides. This is really a nice addition to the room because it brings another vibe of nature-living moments that we probably don’t get staying somewhere else. Kids will definitely love it!
Facing the bathtub, there is yet another outdoor lounge with sofa and partition, just in case you wanna relax there and somebody else is enjoying their outdoor bath. The design is very simple but functional.
Overall, the room was very satisfying to us, although judging from hotel condition, Novotel Bogor clearly is an old hotel and renovations *might be* needed here and there. The Suite Room is very spacious but the bathroom is too small and ugly for a 4-star hotel like this. I understand that the concept is more outdoor and back-to-nature style, but indoor bathrooms are also important and need major changes for sure.
As the hotel is quite old, it’s very frustrating to find only few electrical outlets available in such a large room. Okay, it’s a staycation and we tried not to use our gadgets as much as usual, but still, this is somehow a necessity of nowadays people and adding more outlets definitely wouldn’t hurt.
Now let’s take a walk and I’ll show you how beautiful the area is during night time!
Coming out from our room, this is the view of seemingly endless long hallway that reminded me of an old hospital hallway. Not a very pleasant area to be honest, especially if you walk alone at night. XD
Along the hallway, there are some doors connecting directly to the garden, make sure to read the map given during check-ins to avoid getting lost. The complex is very large and it’s very dark during night time so it’s advisable to learn your way before going through any door. The door below is the first one from our room, and it is the closest way to swimming pool area. When you want to go to restaurants area though, taking this way is not recommended as it is quite far and you’ll need to go through lots of stone pathways to reach there. Again, read the map for best way!
Since it was almost 9PM that time, we decided to go to one of the restaurants inside the hotel complex because it would be troublesome to drive outside to find food. The problem is that Novotel Bogor is located inside a Golf Estate and it’s very secluded, far away from the main street. However, there are 4 restaurants inside the hotel: Verandah Restaurant (Indonesian & International cuisine), Bale Bengong (Indonesian, Authentic Sundanese cuisine), Capriccio Italian Restaurant, and Mahoni Bar which also provides brunch menu.
That night, we decided to dine inside Verandah Restaurant, which is also the main dining area in the hotel where the breakfasts are usually served. This restaurant has seating capacity of 300, and divided into some areas. They provide buffet for breakfast, lunch, as well as dinner.
Since we were in Bogor and wanted some authentic Sundanese cuisine, we preferred to dine at the other restaurant named Bale Bengong. This restaurant is located just opposite to Verandah, and situated in the middle of the garden. Uniquely, Bale Bengong offers “lesehan” sitting style with open-air design, but we finally chose to sit inside Verandah Restaurant because the table in Bale Bengong is too small for our large group. With seating capacity of 36 person only, it’s advisable to make a reservation if you want to dine in there.
We ordered the food mostly from Bale Bengong as we were aiming for Sundanese cuisine. The menu selection is not many but enough options for everyone. Prices range from IDR 70,000 – 120,000 for set menus, already include a main course, a type of rice (from options of Nasi Bakar, Nasi Timbel, Nasi Jambal, Nasi Tutug Oncom), Soups (Sayur Asem or Sayur Sop), and Vegetables.
Beuleum Lauk Gurame (Grilled Gurami Fish) IDR 110,000
Pais Lauk Mas (Steamed Fish wrapped in Banana Leaf) IDR 85,000
Angeun Buntut Haseum Haseum (Sour Oxtail Soup Broth) IDR 105,000
The Sundanese cuisine was great. The tastes were quite mild but we love the powerful herbs and spices used in the dishes. Even the grilled/steamed fishes had strong flavors that made us really satisfied. We tried all variants of rice and aside from the big portions, we also love how tasty the rice were. It is hard to choose which one is my favorite that time, because I simply loved everything. Even the sour oxtail soup was a blast.
Some children might find those Sundanese food too spicy, but we can always order International dishes for them, just like what we did.
After dinner, we spent some minutes walking around the beautiful, serene, and green environment in the hotel complex. It was almost magical that we got to experience this kind of surrounding not very far from Jakarta, and I must say we had a pleasant night.
To be continued on Part II!