Photos by Bagus Tri Laksono
Salatiga is an enclave located at the intersection of popular destinations
in Central Java: Semarang, Magelang, Surakarta, and Ambarawa. Its strategic location offers visitors a multitude of options for activities and sightseeing, ranging from natural and historical attractions to cultural journey and culinary delights. Now the existence of PituRooms in the heart of Salatiga adds to the list of attraction in the 55 sqm town. It’s a unique seven-room hotel designed and owned by Ary Indra, an architect with almost 30 years of experience under his belt.
Situated near the city square, PituRooms has quickly become the new “it” place in Salatiga since the hotel opened its doors to guests in December 2022. Standing on a narrow plot of land measuring only 2.8 m x 12 m, this 17 m tall terracotta building effortlessly blends in with its surroundings, yet its slender profile catches the attention.
Upon arrival at the hotel, guests are greeted by an espresso machine nestled next to a leafy corner and a long wooden bench adorned with small coffee tables. The ground floor serves multiple purposes, functioning as a reception area, café, and kitchen. In addition to hotel guests, locals are also drawn to the café due to its compact size, which fosters a communal atmosphere where people can easily engage in conversation.
At the far end of the ground floor, next to the kitchen, is a cylindric lift with only 75 cm in diameter. This lift can only transport one person at a time and has a maximum weight capacity of 100 kg. An alternative option to reach the upper floors is by utilizing the open riser stairs, which are interspersed with grated ramps all the way to the top floor. The hollow spaces within the stairs and ramps contribute to a more spacious ambience in the corridors.
The seven guest rooms – where the hotel got its name, pitu meaning seven – and a staff room are on the north and south sides of the building. The rooms are numbered in Javanese language; ji, ro, lu, pat, mo, nem tu. Every aspect of the hotel has been designed with space efficiency in mind. Customisation was crucial in order to accommodate furniture that meets standard needs whilst maintaining flexibility of movement in such limited space. “Designing the room layout took the longest time compared to the other aspects. We needed to make the room mock-up twice before finally deciding on the scheme that is installed now,” Ary said.
Although the rooms at PituRooms may not provide ample space for morning yoga, the comfortable bed and bedding almost guarantee a good night’s sleep. The bed may appear slightly bulky for the room, but it has been cleverly designed with practicality in mind. Beneath the mattress, there is storage space for bedding, amenities, and cleaning tools. This is because a housekeeping cart would face difficulties manoeuvring freely in the narrow corridor. Some rooms don’t have an obvious stool to sit on because it is tucked under the tiny pantry, only to be pulled out when you need it. “We couldn’t use a bigger bed than queen-size. However, not only is the bed comfortable, the pillows are the most heavenly in Salatiga,” Ary said proudly.
Each room is equipped with an en-suite bathroom featuring American Standard fittings. The bathroom comprises a rain shower with hot water, a wash basin with storage above it, and a toilet integrated into a system installed within the walls, eliminating the need for a visible tank.
The top floor serves as the hotel’s restaurant. In the morning, it is reserved for hotel guests to enjoy their breakfast, and starting from noon, it opens to the general public. The balcony area quickly becomes a favourite spot among restaurant patrons due to its unobstructed view of Mount Merbabu. Unlike traditional restaurants with formal table settings, the atmosphere here resembles that of a casual café, attracting a predominantly young clientele. Additionally, there are numerous Instagramable spots throughout the restaurant.
rtworks embellish the hotel from the ground floor to the top, featuring paintings, graffiti, and art installations created by Indonesian artists, some of whom are based in Salatiga. Amongst the more interesting ones are “Salatiga Pride” art installation by Alodia Yap that’s hung at the lobby, which depicts the social reality of Salatiga streets; “Mona Gets Cake” looping video by Eldwin Pradipta reminds us of the cake-throwing incident to Mona Lisa painting in Louvre Museum; and “Tired”, a graffiti by Oggz Goy that responds to the interior feature, where its head and body are separated vertically by a ramp but still visible from both floors. “I plan to keep renewing the room interior so that all seven of them can display a variety of artworks. In the future, I want the artworks to be more than a decoration, but to be an artistic composition that involves whoever sleeps in the room,” Ary said.
During Indonesia Design’s visit to the hotel, a few other guests specifically came to Salatiga to experience PituRooms. Despite being less than a year old, the hotel has already become one of the town’s iconic tourist destinations. In such a limited space, there is still much room to grow, where visitors can move about to get to know and enjoy what Salatiga and the surrounding areas have to offer.