In short – this is a very enjoyable, lovely and peaceful resort with an amazing Hammam and spa, however it is not a ‘retreat’ (with a ‘retreat atmosphere’ joined by like minded) and it is not really recommendable if you are a solo traveller...
MesaStila is a truly unique place, set among lush green hills in Central Java. The resort has 23 traditional old Javanese villas with great rustic touches combined with old colonial buildings, and a magnificent Hammam and Spa. The place embraces you with calmness and serenity and the staff is very helpful, professional, and attentive.
The Hammam and spa is a highlight of the place. The staff are all very nice and professional. I had several massages and treatments and I was generally happy with them all.
The restaurant serves good food - both Indonesian and International, and there is a reasonable wine list. Don't miss out on the star fruit salad - yummy!!!
I enjoyed my stay at MesaStila, but - and unfortunately there is a but, a package of 5 nights retreat as I had booked (i.e. Indulgence and de-stress retreat) is expensive and for which I also expect something extraordinary i.e. I do not expect to pay for my coffee just because I prefer cappuccino instead of the traditional powder coffee (especially not as the 22ha resort includes a small coffee plantation!!), and I do expect the fitness instructor to be a trained instructor - and unfortunately it was obvious that the guy I met was not; in fact he seemed to have no idea what so ever of what he was doing and I quickly skipped those classes. Instead, I grabbed a bike and explored the surroundings – which I can happily recommend!
I travelled alone and for the majority of my stay I was the only guest at the resort and for sure the only one doing a retreat, which felt slightly odd. I would NOT recommend this place for solo travelers - as a solo traveler you will anyhow be paying for 2 persons as all prices are fixed for two so bring your friend or your partner!! And really, you only get value for money if you travel two.
I have given this place 4 stars, but I'm inclined to say it is 3,5 - primarily because I feel MesaStila sold me something they really didn't have (i.e. a retreat programme such as the 5 nights yoga, detox, de-stress retreats which are advertised on their homepage). In fact when I checked out the staff told me that most package guests are honeymooners staying for 3 nights (some guidance when booking the retreat would probably have been in order!). If you are looking for a retreat (as I was) then I would recommend finding something else.
I came on a group retreat so my experience might not be the same as a general tourist, but had the most lovely stay with such friendly, attentive and thorough service. Our every need was catered for with such politeness and efficiency. We were in a big group with multiple events throughout our stay and complex logistical needs, and everything was made so easy thanks to the staff.
The rooms themselves are very traditional and rustic, but beautifully fitted out. I had a huge four poster bed with a glorious bathroom complete with a big stone bathtub (and fresh rose petals everyday). The property is HUGE and is absolutely beautiful to explore - so much greenery, beautiful mountain views, a stunning infinite pool and comfortable common areas. The wifi is fairly reliable which was quite important for us - it would fall out every now and then but not take long to reconnect. The food on offer was traditional - quite a lot of options and always delicious. My only comment would be that it was generally quite flavoursome and heavy - there were generally options for dietary intolerances but in terms of plain "clean eating" it was a bit harder. Similarly, the place has gym facilities but they are very basic. Although when you come to MesaStila there is enough other physical activity to do without equipment - just go for a hike around the property!
It's about 2 hours from the airport which was quite a trek, but the seclusion makes it worth it. About an hour from Borobudur but easy to organise transport through the hotel. Would definitely recommend a stay for a secluded, relaxing, retreat style holiday. The one thing that would be worth noting in advance - it is a Muslim area with many mosques surrounding it and at prayer times very early in the morning and again in the evening chanting can be heard quite loudly through amplified speakers. I didn't wake up to it overnight, but a lighter sleeper might need to invest in earplugs. It's part of the cultural immersion though, so we quite enjoyed it.
Truly magnificent. Not fake luxury - not spa'd out (they do not threaten to "awaken your sense" nor to arouse your Kundalini - they are content to offer warm, attentive service, huge and well appointed rooms, with 11 acres of grounds with a beautifully landscaped coffee plantation to wander around) but a true haven of peace up in the hills, away from the heat.
The MesaStila Resort is something exceedingly rare in the age of corporate hotels - totally authentic. It has a distinctly colonial feel to it - manicured grounds, a large pool and excellent facilities - a 19th century teak train station which was saved from the wrecker's ball and moved to the hotel grounds. A club-house with pool table and bar. A large infinity pool with a kids area. Hammam and sports center. Tennis. What more could you ask for?
The staff could not possibly be more attentive or well-intentioned. They care deeply for the wellbeing of their guests, and do everything possible to make it comfortable. The rooms are huge and tranquil. We shall be back - soon!