Amanjiwo: Borobudur's Hidden Retreat
(Image credits: trailsofindochina.com)
Indonesia’s largest Buddhist temple, Borobudur is known worldwide for its majestic looks and exquisite scenery. Just a walking distance from the temple, lies a magnificent palace amongst the forests; Amanjiwo Resort. Amanjiwo is one of the hotels owned by Aman Resorts, a Swiss-headquartered hotel chain who was founded by an Indonesian hotelier, Adrian Zecha back in 1988. Aman Resorts is known for its exclusivity, architectural details, experience, and unique choice of destinations for each of its resorts. Currently, they have 34 properties in 20 countries. In Indonesia itself, there are 5 Amans which are Amandari, Amandira, Amankila, Amanjiwo, and Amanwana.
The name “Amanjiwo” is derived from two words in the local language, Aman and Jiwo, which together denote a soul that is at peace. In keeping with its name, Amanjiwo implements the idea of a very serene and calm hotel, so visitors can experience a peaceful and soulful atmosphere. Architect Ed Tuttle created the Amanjiwo building design, with a stupa on top and facing the Borobudur temple, the main structure is shaped like a half circle and is made of natural Jogja stone. There is an obscured view of the Borobudur temple in the main building's hallway frame in the front portion of the structure, and the black stupa on top of the structure is made of Merapi lava stone.
Amanjiwo put together the idea of Javanese tradition, which is thick and very perceptible upon entering the hotel, so that guests could feel and learn about Indonesian culture through an intriguing dance performed to the accompaniment of gamelan instruments. Away from the bustle and noise of the city, Amanjiwo is also surrounded by four volcanoes and beautiful natural scenery.
Amanjiwo hasn't changed since the year it first opened, if you look at it from above with a drone. Time seems to have stopped, almost. This is extraordinary because the village hasn't changed. With its understated beauty and authentic, unadulterated Indonesia, you can still experience the raw, natural hospitality of that country. The location is exceptional because it is very intimate and is surrounded by ancient sites. Amanjiwo has an incredible platform of architecture and design that captures the surroundings. It is clear that the property's landscape has been integrated. This location reflects Borobudur and all four elements of earth, water, wind, and fire, making it a true sanctuary and a natural labyrinth of Javanese culture.
Amanjiwo not only provides excellent service and design, but also memorable experiences. Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in in-depth cultural activities like writing Aksara Jawa scripts, going on a Javanese culinary expedition, and attending traditional ceremonies. Guests are also able to taste natural honeycomb straight from the garden during the months of June and July. These honeycombs are imported straight from Australia, mating Australian bees with native Javanese bees.
Both Borobudur and the entire Java island were central to the themes. Guests are introduced to these kingdoms' spirituality and history during their talks. They can also arrange spiritual tours if they'd like something more in-depth. Amanjiwo also offers educational programs on the Balinese kingdoms for visitors who want to comprehend the essence of their wellness concept or a meaningful understanding of wellness.
The local community is also involved. As a result of their connection, what is significant there becomes the focal point of their guests' experiences. Moreover, they have a strong sense of devotion for this essential component of their property. The brand's harmonious locations should be clear to guests, and they should feel a connection to the environment. Amanjiwo’s brand is built on the community, so it's crucial to comprehend history.
“I believe that genuine humility and unpretentious service are what make Indonesian hospitality so endearing and beautiful. As a result, some of the services we provide stand out from the rest. Amanjiwo depicts historical aspects of Indonesian culture, which is very rich. Although the setting is very basic and the majority of our staff members are from small towns, the genuineness of the locals and the quality of their service simply cannot be matched. That, in my opinion, is what keeps visitors coming back time and time again—whether it's taking them to the summit of a volcano for breakfast or letting them see the thriving whale sharks in the breathtaking marine reserve. With a very special DNA attached to them, it's a lovely place.” - Ian, Regional Director of Aman Asia.
Amanjiwo has gained a lot of attention from digital sources as it appears on social media more often. Overall, Amanjiwo is not just a resort with grand architectural design: it’s an eye-opener to deep Javanese cultural beliefs and tradition.