In Indonesia’s art hub of Jogjakarta, the locally and lovingly designed Lokal Hotel is a creative work of its own.
If Jakarta is Indonesia’s Manhattan, Jogjakarta is its Brooklyn. Although a bit farther removed than the metaphor suggests—eight hours from Jakarta by train (a gorgeous ride through the palm-rimmed fields of central Java) or 45 minutes by flight—Jogja is an artsy town where there are few buildings above 10 stories, freeway underpass columns are painted with quirky Javanese cartoons, great batik is cheap and plentiful, and the thing to do on Friday nights is hop on a bicycle and cruise the streets. But like Jakarta, it is increasingly becoming a business and tourist capital, and static, by-the-book hotels are filling the city center in prescience of growing demand. Instead, look to Lokal, a charming hotel in a quiet neighborhood that is gathering a cult following for its attention to style—and to its guests.
The Look: Like many truly unique spaces, the story of Lokal is one of natural progression. Founder Gempa Trimuryono, a Jogja native who also runs MISC design firm and furniture-maker with his partner Irine Roba, noticed a dearth of spaces in town that sourced its materials and offerings from in and around the city. He decided to create a restaurant that would set a benchmark for doing so, which grew into the idea of a bed-and-breakfast, and Lokal Restaurant opened in February followed by Lokal Hotel in March. Just about everything—from the staff to the food to the furniture—comes from Jogja, the latter comprising MISC’s gorgeous wood tables and chairs crafted from reclaimed old frames and crates and the like, white-rod mod chandeliers, polished concrete, plants, and lots of natural light. Wall murals and tiles handmade in a local factory splash in color with a yellow, red, blue, and cyan circular motif inspired by the Javanese pattern of kawung, representing openness.
The Rooms: Book early, because Lokal’s 12 rooms are having no trouble being filled. They come in three types: Type A, B, and C. Two-story Type B is the most spacious, with the first floor’s bathroom, living area, and desk linked to the second floor’s lofted bedroom and balcony by polished concrete stairs that seemingly float in the air. Type A offers the option of twin beds, while C is the coziest and recommended for couples. Everything is clean and fun, like what Ikea would be if infused with more creativity and far better quality. Marble floors and 500-threadcount sheets aren’t the style here, but high-service details of a luxury hotel (and rarely found at Lokal’s price point) still pervade: strawberry filled fruit plates welcome guests, mini-bars are complementary, amenities aren’t designer but are generous with toothpaste and shaving kits, branded flip-flops take the place of slippers, and free airport transfers are included in rates.
The Appeal: Lokal hasn’t spent a dime on advertising, and it sits at the bend of a small back road with its two buildings simply labeled “Restaurant” and “Hotel.” Despite its repeat clientele that includes the likes of Ruben Kosenda, hotelier of Jakarta’s Hotel Kosenda, it still feels like Jogja’s secret gem. Little things like communal dining tables, limiting the number of outlets in the restaurant to keep people off their phones, and forgoing a few more rooms in lieu of a pool (with two submerged patio chairs for sunbathing) make it feel like a hideout, furthered by the most indispensable detail of all: it’s quiet.
For those in the know…Though the first Lokal is still young, Gempa is already thinking of opening a second closer to the center of town, and perhaps others in different parts of the archipelago. Oh, and for breakfast (included, of course)? Go for the bubur. Who knew a bowl of rice porridge could prove such an incentive to get up in the morning?
Jl. Jembatan Merah No. 104C, Jogjakarta, Indonesia, 55283; 62-274/524-334; Lokal Hotel & Restaurant; Doubles from US$50
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