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Reviewed 24 August 2013

It's curious to me to reading some of the negative reviews on here about Amanjiwo. Some may be unfamiliar with the Aman concept (very few would expect to immerse themselves in a culture by watching television in their rooms). Some maybe just a bit spoiled and over-demanding, by the sound of it. But, suffice it to say that the positive reviews overshadow the negative views by a significant margin, so it is in the spirit of that, that I give a hearty thumbs up to Amanjiwo.

We were met at the airport by Amanjiwo representatives, who took us to an executive lounge holding area while they retrieved our luggage. Cool towels, and fresh libations were offered prior to a significant drive to the facility. Upon checkin, one could immediately note the fantastic architecture. Set high on the Menoreh Hills, the first views are breathless and lead your line of vision directly to Borobudur, one of the world's largest sanctuary. One feels like one of the Buddhist statues must inside of the stupa looking through the walls of Amanjiwo. Many of the architectural elements and lines of Borobudur have been incorporated to this facility. The volcanic ash roof is unassuming and allows it to be tucked away neatly into the hillside while minimizing its imprint.

Aside from being structurally appealing, I found the manager, Mark, to be quite nice and affable. He was very pleasant and talked to us about the history of the facility, suggested a nice walking trek for us, and where we might take some great photos.

I found the breakfasts and dinners to be on par with the other Aman facilities in Indonesia. In fact, the chicken curry soup was outstanding...I couldn't get enough of it. I also liked their ginger beer welcome drink quite a bit and ordered it several times when at the pool or at dinner. The morning buffet offered excellent pastries and plates of neatly cut fresh, native fruits, and the morning menu offered selections of Western and Eastern cuisine.

The rooms were very large. We had an infinity pool suite that was delightful, although, not completely private, as one could walk through the front entry way without passing through the suite to access the pool area. The vistas from the pool area and the room were very nice. At night, the pool created an amazing tapestry for the fresh bouquet of orange flowers that sat on one of the sitting area tables. There was a Bose sound system playing local music upon arrival and incense was burning. There was ample place for hanging clothes and luggage storage, double vanities, and large shower and tub. Although unused, our tub appeared clean and in good order.

The main pool was long, narrow and dramatic. The colonnade and adjacent poolside restaurant offered an interesting architectural reminder of the main building where reception is located. There are lots of stairs throughout the property, and I never felt as though there were "lots of people" around, despite the fact that the facility was near capacity.

I had a very positive experience here. Although here for only a short time, I found service, and room quality to be on par with other Aman facilities. In addition, there is a gym facility on the property, despite assertions in other comments that there is not.

Room Tip: The pool suite is very nice and offers great views of the rest of the property, Borobudur, and valley below.
  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank JToddWheeler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2013

One of my favourites. Location in rice paddies. Beautiful pool. Amazing amazing, did I mention the amazing food. Gave my kids cooking classes. We still remember the elephant trip to and from borabadour. Don't miss out on the excursions to the local villages and rice noodle factory, it sounds like nothing but it was memorable. What Aman does best is on full show here. We added about a week to our stay. Naughty us wanted a TV, and they put one in the room!

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with family
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Thank hnya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 August 2013

We stayed at the Aman Jiwo for three nights from the 8th-11th August. Initially booked into a Garden suite but upon arrival were upgraded two notches to a Garden Pool Suite (number 4). The pick up at the airport was seamless and the staff were all amazing. Special thanks to Deni who accompanied us on our excursions. His local knowledge and easy going nature made the trips totally worthwhile. Mark the manager was also on hand and seemed to appear out of nowhere to ensure that our needs were being taken care of and to give us some tips on the area and the history. He even gave us the recipe for the fantastic homemade ginger beer at the hotel!

We took three exusrsions during our stay. The first was a guided cycle tour around some of the local villages and art dealers. Deni took us to a pottery in the middle of nowhere and two great off the beaten track art galleries where we were welcomed by the owner into their houses to see the artwork. This then lead onto a Tofu maker and you have to try it along with a fresh Javanese Chilli. The highlight was the lunch picnic on the cliffs overlooking the meeting of two local rivers. Magical experience and the food as ever was perfect. The cycle back after the tour was uphill and the hotel would have arranged a car to pick us up but we took the more fun route of struggling back up the hill by pedal power.

We then took an afternoon guided tour of the monument. This is a must do as the guide was fantastic and told us more about the reliefs and the story of buddha than any book could do in such a short time.

The third trip was a sunset tour to Borobudur and a picnic breakfast at Dagi hill afterwards. This was fantastic and again we had Deni escorting us. He let us wander around freely and answered any questions we had for him. The breakfast on the hill was incredible as we saw the mist in the valley and views of volcanoes around us. The preying mantis that came to join us on the seat was a welcome visitor. Armed with bug spray we escaped with just a couple of mosquito bites each. We even got to feed some elephants that some other guests had arranged to travel up the hill on.

Now the bad part....
The resort is 16 or 17 years old. It is spotlessly clean and the facilities are great but the rooms are starting to show their age. Lightswitches not working properly or not attached to the wall properly for example. The sink kept blocking and then the plug snapped. There was also no complimentary tea or coffee in the room and when paying US$1000+ a night that should be there. Room service was slow and we ended up carrying our own luggage for checkout as despite calling reception twice, nobody came to collect the bags. A lot of the cushions on the terrace seating were worn away and fraying.
The spa was just a normal suite with the bed removed and two massage tables put in there instead. The sarong I was given to wear also was ripped with a large hole in it. The massages were fantastic but it wasnt a real spa experience.

You are clearly paying a premium for the amazing location and we would consider returning but please Aman, if you read this review give the rooms a modernise!

Room Tip: Go for the garden pool suite. Totally private. We had #4
  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank spongerobn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 August 2013

We've stayed at quite a few Amans over the years, and Amanjiwo just might be our favorate Aman of them all.

The property is stunning and full of character, there are plenty of things to see and do, and service is right up there with the best of the Bali Amans.

Everything from the airport transportation to dining to our activities were flawlessly executed, and all done with a wide smile. Everything we asked for was tended to promptly and in a friendly but professional manner. When we requested a specific dish for lunch, they delivered in spades - and they were all delicious. Our guide was just engaging enough to be interesting but discreet enough to stay out of our way when it was OUR time. Our room was refreshed each and every time we stepped out... even for a quick dip in the pool or for a snack in the dining area.

The architecture itself is fabulous. Amanjiwo drew inspiration from nearby Borobudur Temple, but it has its own identity and charm. Given that it's over a decade and a half old with nary a single refurbishment to the property, you would think it's overdue for an update.. far from it. It's stood the test of time, and it's still as fresh, modern and clean as any new property that I've stayed at. And the rooms - very spacious, bright and functional. We stayed at a Borobudur Pool Suite, which gave us great views of Borobudur itself as well as the surrounding countryside and mountains.

Activities wise, dinner at Pak Bilal's is an experience not to be missed. Prambanan Temple is a worthy detour (it's best to do it on the way from or to Yogyakarta Airport, given its proximity). A tour of the surrounding village on an "Andong" (i.e. horse cart) is a wonderful way to soak in the atmosphere as well as get an up close and personal look at the daily lives of the people in this part of Java. The definite highlight, of course, is a early morning visit to Borobudur to catch the sunrise there; what a majestic experience and one not to be missed!

Amanjiwo has better service and soul than Amantaka, more cultural activities than Amanusa and Amanpulo, and the service is on par with Amanpulo, Amanpuri and Amankila. In other words, it has an unbeatable combination of everything someone looks for in a high-end resort that is far away from home.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank KI-NRT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2013

This was my second Aman experience (after the Amanfayun in Hangzhou) and third US$1,000+ a night property that I had stayed in over the past 6 months and it is really in relation to the latter that I am judging the property.

Let me say that overall the experience was fantastic and I would strongly recommend anyone going to Borobodur to stay here if they can afford it. There is nothing else comparable in terms of accommodation in the area and the property is quite special. I would also suggest paying the extra US$100 a night and getting a Borobodur view suite.

The positives of the property are:

1. The setting: The hotel has a truly special location about 10 minutes drive from Borobodur Temple with views of the temple itself from some of the rooms.

2. Service: As has been mentioned in other reviews you are assigned the same driver/guide for your entire stay and I had specifically requested Didit. He was simply fantastic and would highly recommend asking for him. He has been with the hotel since it opened and is one of their most experienced and knowledgeable guides. Nothing was too much trouble for Didit (and the other staff) and what I like about the Aman style of service is that anything is possible unlike so many other places.

3.F&B: I found the food and drink to be excellent and would highly recommend trying the soursop martinis and the homemade ginger beer. One point to note is that alcohol (especially wine) is terribly expensive which is due partly to import taxes but be prepared to pay upwards of US$100 for an average bottle of wine that would cost a fraction of that in Europe.

4. Excursions: Even though they don't like the word 'excursions', the hotel has a number of these and we participated in 3 - Borobodur at Dawn, dinner at Pak Bilal's and the Dagi Hill breakfast. All were extremely well organised but I would not recommend the Dagi Hill breakfast. When we arrived for breakfast (after our Dawn Tour of Borobodur) our food was completely cold (I think they should organise it better so that the food is not there ages before the guests arrive) and I was bitten to death by mosquitoes. Given the breakfast is served in a grassy area they should have a mosquito coil to burn to keep away the mosquitoes. The dinner at Pak Bilal's on the other hand was worth every penny. While some people have complained that the quality of the food was not worth the price, the food while simple was delicious and there was so much that we could not finish it.

On the areas for improvement I think there are a few, especially given the prices charged:

1. While the property is well maintained despite being over 15 years old, the rooms could do with an upgrade. The sliding doors and mosquito screens in our room did not close completely so that insects could still come into the room. The sliding doors to the shower and bathroom were difficult to close too. When you are paying US$1000+ per a night you expect the doors to open/close without issue and the windows to shut fully.

2. The room did not have any tea/coffee facilities. At these prices as others have pointed out the room should really have a Nespresso machine.

3. Check-in Process. Unlike the Amarvilas where we were checked in en route from the train station to the hotel, we spent a 2.5 hour journey from the airport to the hotel that could have been used to plan our itinerary for our stay and check us in. Instead when we arrived at the hotel we were greeted by the GM who explained everything to us about the property when this could have been done in the car and, after a long and tiring journey, I just wanted to get to my room.

4. Poor Communication between Reservation Centre and Hotel: Despite booking months in advance and specifying on what dates I wanted to do the various activities I was told when I got to the hotel that my dinner at Pak Bilal's would not be possible on the night I wanted it but the next night was available. I don't know if the hotel 'bumped' me or if there was a lack of communication between the hotel and the reservation centre and I didn't raise a fuss since the next day worked for me but I would have expected better from the Aman. There was no apology given or any attempt made to make up for this inconvenience (e.g. a fruit basket or a complimentary drink as a gesture).

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank samueloShanghai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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