AMANJIWO

Amanjiwo.  After seeing her (and learning how to pronounce the name) I haven’t been able to speak her name without whispering and a grin on my face.   There are rare occasions in life when one can say, “exceeds expectations” or “better than advertised”, visiting the Amanjiwo manifest one of those moments.     I have hesitated on writing about the Amanjiwo because of the fear of not fully representing what Leslie and I experienced.  I must also admit that I feel shallow writing about a hotel, but our accommodations were an integral part of this experience.   And it’s not like the other hotels we stayed in were the Indonesian version of  Quality Inn Hotels.    Our first accommodation was the downtown  J.W. Marriott.   I didn’t get any good pictures because the Marriott would not allow it for security reasons (they’ve been bombed).  There were at least 25 armed guards on duty surrounding the hotel at all times.

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1 -25 officers guarding the Marriott a block away.

The name Amanjiwo means peaceful soul

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The Rotunda dinning hall exudes the grandeur of the Amanjiwo.

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From the entrance, you can see an almost mystical view of the Borobudur Buddhist Temple as it comes into view over the morning mist or golden sun at dusk.

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In the foyer of the Amanjiwo barefoot local girls greet you with flowers at your feet.

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On the grounds of the Amanjiwo there is an air of serenity and tranquility.  The resort overlooks the worlds largest Buddhist sanctuary, in the rural heartland of central Java.
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Soft traditional music is played during dinner.

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Located in one of the most scenic parts of the country, it rest within a natural amphitheaters; the Menoreh Hills rise up behind no less than four volcanos grace the horizon.

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The Aman resorts delicately balances blending into the local community while still keeping a high standard of class and sophistication for its international guest. I believe we were the only American guest that week and from conversations with management we may have been the first African-American guest in a long time.  The resort offers an afterschool (dance) program for local children twice a week.  Amanjiwo creates an atmosphere where the guest, staff and neighboring villagers appear as equals.  There is farm land on the property for locals to cultivate the land with rice and tobacco and sell it back to the hotel and local markets.  As elitists as it may sound, this is done so that the guest can get a sense of how the local community farms without leaving the premises.

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Lady cultivates land on the hill in front of the Amanjiwo.

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They encourage the guest to enjoy watching the natives work from their patios.

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Leslie gets to leisurely read, sip wine and watch the locals cultivate the rice fields from our back patio area.

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Joy (Korean born and educated in Switzerland)  the dinning room manager, informed me that the Amanjiwo was understaffed for an Aman property at 250 employees for the 35 suites (less than 100 guest).

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Room servers took their shoes off to enter our room.  I called room service for an iron and the receptionist seemed puzzled that I would want to iron my own  clothes.  Amanjiwo provides for all your needs.  This is the mask you are to hang outside your suite when you want privacy.

Our room:

The side of our suite.

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The side and back patio.

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There are no televisions in the rooms only a nice Bose system with a wide variety of soft music   to maintain a tranquil atmosphere.

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The outdoor bathing area.

You can see the outdoor bathing area from the patio and vice versa.

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Fresh Mangostin

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We had a personal attendant for breakfast by the pool.  After meals you never sign for anything.  There are no hassles.

Leslie and I had a wonderful time, almost to the point where we didn’t want to leave the property to go on excursions (but we did).  I would like to say it was perfect, but when I met the general manager right as I was checking out I got an uneasy feeling.  The manager seemed to be a very nice man, but he was a white man from Canada.  I don’t have a problem with him being white or from Canada, but, why are all the high skilled, high paying jobs at the property not going to Indonesians.  In the 4th largest country in the world, the Aman resort couldn’t find a dinning room manager or general manager from Indonesia.  The 27-year-old dinning room manager is not even a cook, much less a chef.  I had this same feeling after visiting a Sandals resort in Jamaica.  People of color seem to systematically be pushed aside time and time again (even in Atlanta, GA.).  Racial profiling isn’t just something the police do.  I can’t even say it’s only something that Caucasians do.  Our Indonesian tour guide told us that she didn’t believe that an Indonesian had the aptitude to run a hotel of that stature.  Self hate is a terrible thing.  Overall this situation did not spoil my stay and I will probably visit another Aman hotel, but I will at least pose the question to the corporate headquarters.  I also realize that if  Indonesians are not frequenting the resort, then there’s no business incentive to change culture or practice.  But, the question still needs to be raised.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “AMANJIWO

  1. Annette

    I am so glad you enjoyed the luxury of the Aman Hotel. I am even more pleased, Rodney, that you shared with us these comments and insights on the inequities that exist everywhere. If we ordinary citizens are lulled into accepting any system that appears to discriminate, there is no hope for improvement and change. Thanks, Rodney!

  2. Desca Cantoni

    Every time I come to that mausoleum since then, I always have The Finkleys in my thoughts!

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