Bandung’s intriguing heritage hotels

Bandung’s intriguing heritage hotels

These two hotels in Bandung have not only witnessed some of this nation's historical milestones, but also took part in a few.

Prama Grand Preanger

Prama Grand Preanger's began as a small inn on a street called Grote Postweg (now Jl. Asia Afrika 81). In front of the inn, stood a hotel and store named Hotel Thiem. In 1897, W.H.C. van Deeterkom bought the two establishments, renovated their structures and thus founded Grand Hotel Preanger.

Later in 1919, the hotel went through a major face lift - involving a legendary architect, Wolff Schoemaker, who created its signature art deco façade that is still well-preserved today.

During the big renovation, Indonesia's first president Sukarno, who was still a student at Bandoengsche Technische Hoogeschool (now ITB) at that time, was asked by Schoemaker to help out as a drafter.

"Until now, the collaboration between the two men can still be seen in the hotel's decorative art deco-style façade - which symbolized SS for Schoemaker-Sukarno," said Prama Grand Preanger spokeperson Windy Hervidya.

According to a report from Tourism magazine circa 1931, Grand Hotel Preanger was named as the leading hotel in Bandung with highly notable guests such as the prince and princess of Belgium and the king and queen of Siam. Hollywood stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard also stayed in the hotel in 1935.

In addition to the hotel's preserved historical façade, it has also gone through some interior renovation to keep up with the latest trends.

"Only the façade and the Asia Afrika Wing remain as they were," said Windy.

At the end of 2013, Prama Grand Hotel Preanger also opened Museum Preager, a gallery museum located in its Asia Afrika wing, showcasing photos of the hotel's history. The museum is open for staying guests and the public, but visitors are encouraged to contact the hotel prior to coming there.

Savoy Homann Bidakara Hotel

Beginning in 1871 as an inn owned by a German man, Adolf Homann, Savoy Homann Bidakara Hotel also welcomed many VIP guests in the past - including heads of state during the Asia-Africa Conference in 1955 and Hollywood stars Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford during their first visit to Bandung in 1927.

Initially, the hotel had a stage-house structure and bamboo walls. But, in 1884, the Homann's inn went through a major renovation into a more modern colonial architecture building.

During the next facelift in 1937, it was built even bigger in art-deco style, as envisioned by a Dutch architect, A.F. Aalbers. Fortunately, its signature façade remains intact and preserved until today and has become one of Bandung's popular landmarks.

The word "Savoy" was added after the 1937 renovation was completed. Nowadays, in the hotel area, guests can still observe some of the hotel's memorabilia displayed on a glass panel. A replica of Sukarno's car can also be found parked at one of its corners, adding a more classic vintage atmosphere.

One of Hotel Savoy Homann Bidakara's signature rooms called the Soekarno Suite, which, according to Savoy Homann Bidakara spokeperson Linda, was where Indonesia's first president always resided during his visits to Bandung. It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, vast living and dining rooms and a balcony overlooking Jl. Asia Afrika.

"Some of the interiors have gone through renovation to keep up with the latest trends, but we still keep the layout as it was," said Linda.

She added that the suite was also very popular among visitors traveling with family due to its large capacity and reasonable price.

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