Novotel Yogyakarta: Never again …

Ideally located just a short drive away from Malioboro Street, Novotel is always a popular choice for Jogja visitors. You can just leave your car at the hotel and take a becak to Malioboro for just Rp15,000. The hotel is reasonably priced at just under Rp500,000 per room (2007 Indonesian price) including breakfast for 2. But my experience was totally horrendous I wouldn’t go back there again, ever!

The Service *

Our negative experience began at check in, when we were told there was no connecting room available. We have specifically booked 2 connecting rooms five weeks before our holiday because we want our son to have his own room, yet have direct access to us. Anyhow, not wanting to create a scene, we agreed to checking into 2 separate rooms that face each other. We were given only 1 key to each room despite our repeated request for a second key, saying that the hotel policy is to only issue 1 key per room … My husband, who was a hotel GM for decades, said that he’d never heard of such policy in his whole hotel life!

Anyhow, then the room boy took our keys, saying that he’ll meet us in front of our rooms with our luggage. Several minutes later, we were already in front of our room, with no key, no luggage, and the room boy did not show up until some 10 minutes later! UNBELIEVABLE!

Anyhow, we checked in, and as we thought, our son would not leave our room because he felt alienated in his own room across the corridor. There was no point booking a second room if he was not comfortable about using it. So I rang reception again, this time threatening that I will cancel my reservation for the second room and demanded half my money back (we pre-paid our hotel reservation) because we specifically requested connecting rooms and it was written in the voucher that we would get 2 connecting rooms. And suddenly, ta da, 2 connecting rooms are made available for us immediately! What’s up with the statement “all connecting rooms are occupied” ????

To add to our frustration, that night (which happened to be Christmas day), apparently there was some kind of party going on in the room above us. They have thumping house music going on and people were just making a lot of noises … for more than an hour, at around 2am, this noise just wouldn’t stop so we had to call security to break that party. The noise stopped half an hour later, only to restart about an hour later … thinking that we would be vast asleep and the security wouldn’t return the second time. Grrrrr ….!

The experience got worse as the day went by. The second day started with the roomboy opening our door for cleaning when we clearly put the do-not-disturb sign. The same incident occurred when I was getting a massage in my room … the room boy just opened the door (despite the do not disturb sign put up by the masseuse) and walked in as I was lying naked, covered only by body scrub. Good thing my masseuse stopped them at the corridor, just before they could see me. UNBELIEVABLE #2!

That night, for whatever reason, I got an upset stomach after eating the hotel’s room service. I was so weak the next morning I decided not to come down for breakfast. But I asked my husband to get a breakfast box from the coffee shop so I had something to eat. However, the coffee shop manager said he could not bring up food for me – a pre-paying guest who is entitled for breakfast and who got diarhoea simply because she ate hotel food the night before!

Note that my husband could have stolen food from the buffet table, wrapped them in napkins and brought them back for me. Many guests do this and they always get away even though the staff notice them. We decided not to “stoop” at this level and formally requested a breakfast box, a normal request for someone who is entitled for the meal but couldn’t come to the coffee shop. But this attempt not to “steal” food was apparently not too well received to the point that my husband had to scream asking for the GM, threatening to call the regional director of Accor hotels and to sue for causing me a diarhoea and denying me the right to eat. Only at that point, several staff approved his request and gave him a breakfast box to fill up with food for me. All those hassle, just for a few pastries and bananas that they’re going to throw away anyway, because by that time the coffee shop was nearing closing time!

I was going to write about their facilities, activities and stuff to make it a full review. But after reading my experience, I simply don’t think anyone should still be curious about how their pool and rooms look like (small and old, by the way). I won’t be going back to this hotel ever, and I don’t suggest you do 🙂


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