Spending most of my time in hotels is something I wouldn’t change for the world, but I have to admit, it gets insanely repetitive. More and more hotels these days seem to be carbon copies of each other, lacking in any individuality. I’ve started to loathe staying in another ‘box’ of a room, just 4 walls and a bed. It’s the un-inspiring part of travel that I wish I could skip. And sometimes I get to!
Once in a while a property worthy of the title ‘luxury hotel’ comes out of nowhere and leaves me completely spellbound.
Tugu Malang was one of those hotels.
I was craving a deeper experience from a hotel that would immerse me into more of the culture of a region, so I asked the experts at Secret Retreats to help me find something that would rock my senses. They took their time in trying to find out exactly what I was looking for, which happened to be history, traditions, culture and cuisine.
When they sent over information suggesting the Tugu Hotel, I immediately started packing my bags for Malang, Java
I can say with total confidence that you will never stay anywhere like Tugu, because no where on Earth is quite like this remarkable hotel. I have never seen such a beautiful fusion between ancient history, local legends and the art of hospitality, all into one experience.
Staying at Tugu isn’t about just booking a room and having somewhere to sleep. It’s instead like booking a ticket back in time, to an era full of traditions, flavours and customs that amaze and captivate all 5 senses.
If you want something so much more than just another hotel stay, there is nowhere I can recommend more than Tugu Malang.
We recommend the Tugu Malang Hotel to travelers who:
Highlights of Our Experience at Tugu Malang
The Apsara Suite
Luxury at it’s finest. I’m telling you, this place is absolutely jaw-dropping This room was inspired by a romantic Javanese legend and it shows throughout every single inch of this palatial suite. I’m not sure I know the right words to describe what it’s like to spend the night in what seems like a curated museum, but in layman’s terms, it was a once in a lifetime experience.
The room is HUGE. It’s so big, it has it’s own waiting/living room for your guests to be entertained in before they enter the main area of the suite. Now that’s what I’m talking about!
After we passed through beautiful stained glass doors, we entered the main room of the Apsara Suite. It has a grand dining area, a day bed that looks like people are going to fan you and feed you grapes at any moment, and the most romantic tub I’ve ever seen.
This tub are what dreams are made of! I have to admit I am not a big bath person, heck I don’t overly enjoy swimming in pools, but this tub had me singing a different tune. Laying in this ultra-luxurious tub after a long day of touring was one of the most rejuvenating and invigorating things I’ve ever done. No wonder politicians and royalty has been known to request this suite when they travel to Java.
Hidden behind a door of intricate wooden carvings is a circular stainless steel tub that is directly out of my fantasies! The one side opens into the suite’s private garden for that idyllic nature vibe.
Moving onto the bedroom, it’s almost impossible to miss the colossal antique bed, surrounded by pillars and colourful curtains. I first thought it must be 3 kings beds all pushed together, but it is in fact a 3.5 metre custom made mattress! I have never seen such a huge bed in my life!
The Food - A Culinary Adventure
“You have to taste a culture to understand it”.
Staying in historic hotels, watching cultural performances, and hearing stories from locals is only ONE way to know a country.
Tasting it’s unique dishes and flavours is hands down the best crash course in immersion anyone could ever have. Tugu brought our foodie travel goals to life with all their delectable local dishes and treats.
Between the traditional sweets cooked before our eyes, and the rich Javanese dinner menus, we will never look at Indonesia the same way.
Not your average tea service. Not only do they make a mean cappuccino, but they took us through a sampling of local desserts that had us begging for more.
We had sweet desserts made right in front of us, all of which we graciously loaded onto our plates. One thing I love about Indonesian desserts is they are not overly sweet compared to Western cakes, so I felt less guilty about eating 10 of them in the middle of the afternoon.
We snacked on treats like Kue Lumpur, Kue Thok, Ketan Srikaya, Sate Cenil, Talam Abon, Dadar Gulung and other local delicacies. I love how much coconut and sweet bean flavours there are in these types of deserts. It’s something you can’t find easily in North America and I find myself now wanting more.
Set Menu Dinner With Private Cultural Dance
In the Sugar Baron Room, elaborately packed with antique treasures, we had the pleasure of experiencing a private dinner with a traditional Javanese dance and exquisite set menu. If you want to feel like a king and queen of your own Indonesian empire, I suggest you follow in our footsteps. It was one of the most memorable meals I’ll ever have in my entire life.
Welcome Drink – Lemon Grass
Appetizer – Soto Ayam Ta’kemplang
East Javanese soup of baby chicken, tofu crips and shredded coconut powder. Served with steamed peanuts on the side.
Main Course – Tugu Rijsttafel & Satay
Rice platter with sweet soybean cake, fried grated coconut, shredded beef, potato fritter, marinated beed, sweet and spicy chicken, tumerick pickles, and longbeans, served with a huge peanut cracker and sambal.
This was also served with 3 types of satay: chicken, tofu and fish
Dessert– Exotic Tropical Fruit Platter
Dragonfruit, pineapple, guava, watermelon, grapes, melon, star fruit, papaya, lime, strawberry, and mango.
Served with their own Tugu Kawi Sari coffee that is grown in the nearby rainforest.
Saigon San: A Temple-like Dining Experience
Our experience eating at Saigon San was like dining inside of an ancient temple! It was so gorgeous and so unique, I’ve never had a meal inside something that looked like an elaborate movie set.
They feature Indochinese foods with a modern twist. We found a fusion of Cambodian, Vietnamese, Thai and Laotian dishes on the menu, each with it’s own special angle.
They also had the most original and heavenly mocktail menu I’ve seen in Indonesia! The mix of ingredients and flavours was really enjoyable.
Bike Tour Through Malang
The brightest highlight of our stay at Tugu was the private bike tour we took with John and Handy, our amazing guides from the hotel. This really made Tugu stand out from other hotel stays, because we got to experience the city in a much more intimate way. At 9:00am we hopped on bikes together outside the lobby and headed out on a tour of the local hotspots in Malang.
The took us through the streets, to rural areas of the city, local markets and food stalls, big mansions and lavish homes, and even the colorful slums of Jodipan. In one beautiful morning we got the chance to see Malang from all angles.
It’s tours like this that always stand out in our memory because it’s something so real that we rarely experience during an average hotel stay.
One of the most heartwarming parts of the tour for me was how INCREDIBLY kind the locals were. They would see us riding our bikes and would stop to say hello, wave, or just smile. I travel to so many places were locals can become jaded or complacent towards visitors, but in Malang they were genuinely interested in having us in their city. The heart warming feeling of being in Malang is something I’ve never quite felt before in any other city, and a feeling that will make me want to return again.
Rooms at Tugu Malang
The Tugu Hotell has 49 rooms in total, including some of the most exclusive suites you’ll ever lay eyes on. Rates start at only $93/n for superior deluxe rooms at this 5-Star property, which makes it even more appealing!
280 Sq ft
398 Sq Ft
312 Sq Ft
The Babah Suite
312 Sq Ft
377 Sq Ft
377 Sq Ft
Raden Saleh Suite
570 Sq Ft
2,000+ Sq Ft
Perks of Staying at Tugu Malang
Other than the museum like property and incredibly unique rooms, there are other perks to staying at Tugu.
- Fresh fruit bowl in room
- 1 hour massage
- Daily high tea
- Welcome drink
- Breakfast included (in some rates!)
If you don’t feel like leaving the hotel during your entire stay, you really don’t have to. Other than our private bike tour, we really wanted to stay on the grounds and take advantage of what we could do on-site.
The restaurants at the hotel were so good we didn’t even dream about venturing out to dine. In addition to Saigon San, we also ate at Melati Restaurant for breakfast and lunch and the Roti Tugu Bakery for snacks.
Even though Malang is typically cooler than other parts of Java, it’s still very humid and hot for non-locals. The tropical vibe of the pool was the perfect way to cool down after our morning bike tour.
Guests who book direct with Tugu or Secret Retreats get a complimentary welcome massage, and can easily top it up with other relaxing services. Over and above massages, the spa here does body scrubs, facials, and keratin hair treatments.
The boutiques at Tugu are phenomenal for bringing home something special to remind you of your trip.
They have an on-site batik shop with elegant hand-made clothing, which I just HAD to try on!
Other shops include gorgeous jewelry, unique souvenirs at the art gallery, and even their locally produced coffee!
The Hall of Love
I mean LOOK at this corridor, it’s divine! One of the most Insta-worthy areas of the hotel. We walked down this beautiful hallway to get to the Saigon San restaurant.
How To Get To Tugu Malang
Jl. Tugu No. 3, Malang, East Java, 65119, Indonesia
Malang has a very small regional airport, but has plans to make a larger international airport in the near future. As of 2019, you can fly DIRECT into Malang’s MLG airport from Denpasar, Bali and Jakarta.
We did a road trip from Bali instead, driving 12 hours first to Surabaya, then another 2 hours down to Malang.
Many visitors to Malang come from Surabaya, as it’s a very easy international airport to fly into with great direct and 1-stop flights to other major cities in SEA. From Surabaya you can rent a car, or take the train down to Malang. The train only takes 2 hours and can be as low as $220,000 IDR ($16 USD).
Once you are in Malang, the hotel is very easy to find. It’s located along a beautiful central roundabout, beside City Hall and next to the train station.