I came across Hotel Tugu from the many reviews on Bromo. Though flights from Jakarta to Malang cost more than flying to Surabaya, I was really keen on flying to Malang to be able to stay in this very “expensive” hotel. I usually choose to stay in inexpensive hotel because to me, it’s just a place to sleep as when I go on tour, I’ll be out most of the day and come back just to rest and sleep. But since there’s not much to go to in this place other than the Bromo tour, I had decided to stay in a nice hotel. One thing that I learned from travelling and booking, it is much better to book directly on the hotel website rather than booking thru the internet travel agents who offer discounts. But when you look closely, you end up paying more because of add-ons and sometimes the fine prints that says “breakfast excluded”. So, I emailed the hotel and asked for their price list and true enough, I got a good deal! Price net of tax, special price for Indonesian Kitas holder. I requested for airport transfers and booked for a sunrise tour to Bromo. On the day we arrived, we got one surprise after another. Surprise no. 1. As we get on board the hotel car, there was a welcome brunch in a box, with fruits and water. As we arrived the hotel, we were greeted by super friendly English-speaking hotel staff. We didn’t really regret arriving 2 hrs. earlier than check-in time of 2:00 PM because as we arrived in the hotel door step, we wanted to immediately tour the hotel. But we decided to do it later as we have the whole afternoon to do it anyway. So as the welcome team takes care of our luggage, we headed to the restaurant for lunch. Surprise no. 2: The hotel restaurant’s setting- you can chose to seat in any of the different rooms that has marvelous settings… you’ll will you’re in another life time, or dine by the pool with the soothing sound of air and water, and anywhere, surrounded by all-smiling dining staff. Surprise no. 3: The food is heavenly delicious (to my personal standard). This is the only place where the food tastes as they look. In Jakarta and other cities of Indonesia, some food look like Filipino food, but the taste is so far different. Surprise no. 4: Before going up our room, we were told to go down the 2nd floor at 4 PM for “tea time”. At tea time, they serve variety of , delicious of bite sized cue, sweets, cookies, and there is another food very similar to “ginatan” of the Philippines (rounded sticky rice (bilo-bilo) mixed with banana, sago, monggo bean and young coconut milk). And of course, I should not forget to mention their special brewed coffee, tea and juice that you can all have, as much as your appetite and your tummy would allow. Surprise no. 5: We were expecting a museum –like hotel as mentioned in many reviews, so this should not really come as a surprise, but we were totally awed by the whole hotel architecture and arrangement and all the marvelous collections, not to mention the staff who had eagerly toured us and took our pictures as we admire each and every piece of their display. Surprise no. 6: There’s another welcome basket of fruit in the room… The room where we stayed was immaculately clean and the bathroom well maintained. With slippers, complete toiletries, (bath robes!!!) clean towels, and the room is being serviced 2X a day. Every time the room was serviced, there was a special beautiful note left that brought a smile to my romantic heart. I kept those notes and I plan to put them on a frame in the future. During dinner, while waiting for our food to be served, I checked on their jewelries displayed. I found a nice silver necklace with very intricate one-of-a kind design. I went back to the dining table with a plan in mind to buy it as soon as we finish eating. But, to my regret, It was already sold when I got back!!! Even our sunrise tour to Bromo was well planned, we left at 1:00 AM, the hotel handed each of us a pack of breakfast… though I was sorry we missed a breakfast at the hotel. Over-all, every rupiah you spent at hotel Tugu is worth it, except for the cost of airport transfers which I feel very expensive for a 20-30 minutes travel time. But the best part of staying with Hotel Tugu is the warm, friendly service of the staff, who gave us a very warm welcome, toured us to the hotel, cleaned our room 2X a day, advised us where to buy oleh-oleh, served us at the tea time, and at the Melati Restaurant, to all of you, you are truly worth more than those priceless collections at the hotel! Keep it up, and hope to see you all again as we’ll surely go back to stay here again.