Mesa Stila Resort and Spa is an exclusive wellness retreat, set within pristine gardens, with amazing views over the coffee plantation to the mountains and volcanoes in the distance.
Vegan Food Quest checked in to sample a few days of the Mesa Stila treatment.
Each of the 23 villas are unique, and have been reconstructed from original Javanese antique Limasan, Joglo or Kudus wooden houses. They were beautifully decorated with period antique furniture and have all of the amenities a guest may require.
Our villa had a beautifully carved wooden bed which was integral to the structure of the building and also offered a peaceful view of the surrounding countryside from the large balcony.
There was plenty of room to relax, with a day bed and various seating options. There was also a table and chairs both on the balcony, and inside the villa, which allowed us to order room service and enjoy some of our meals in the comfort and privacy of our own villa.
The resort driveway leads to the reception building, which is a Colonial antique railway station that was rescued from demolition and transported to Mesa Stila to be restored. This really set the scene for the remarkable collection of buildings within the resort.
Set in beautiful grounds and a working coffee plantation, with volcanoes providing a stunning backdrop, the location of Mesa Stila is perfect for a wellness retreat. It’s rare to find a resort with grounds this beautiful. From the trees and plants that looked like they had been there for a lifetime already, to the buildings that gave us a real sense of history, there was something to amaze us at every turn.
The view seemed to change regularly as clouds drifted by and the sun went in and out, showing the volcanoes in the distance in different light and revealing their magnificent beauty.
There was a stunning infinity pool which enjoys the same exceptional views as the rest of the resort and was the perfect place to lounge around in the sun.
There was also an award winning spa where guests can indulge in various treatments (like a coffee scrub using coffee grown on the resort plantation), relax in the traditional hammam steam room or have a blissful massage.
Check-in at Mesa Stila was probably the most memorable hotel check-in we’ve ever had (for good reasons!). We were met at the colonial antique railway station building where our taxi had dropped us off and were escorted to the Clubhouse which was once the old plantation house.
Here we were offered a cold, spicy ginger tea and a lavender scented towel whilst we completed our check-in paperwork.
We were met by the Executive Chef who discussed the extensive vegan menu he’d prepared for our stay, a member of the team from the spa and the Duty Manager; all were very hospitable, friendly and courteous.
All very usual for a luxury resort so far but now comes the memorable part…We were escorted to the Reflexology Walk, a beautiful pebble maze made from volcanic rocks laid at different angles in order to give a different pressure when you walk on them. We were invited to stand at a huge gong and strike it 3 times, to signify to ourselves that we had arrived and that our relaxing stay had begun.
Then we completed the reflexology maze, giving our feet a very thorough reflexology workout.
After our check in we were already well on our way to unwinding and embracing all the wonderful opportunities at this luxury wellness resort.
The service throughout the rest of our stay was just friendly and helpful with staff doing their best to look after us.
Our daily vegan food adventure began before breakfast each morning with Mesa Stila’s kindly-faced ‘jamu’ lady offering us a daily dose of traditional Indonesian herbal medicine. Made from herbs and plants like ginger, tumeric and tamarind, these plant-based concoctions have different natural healing properties.
Each morning we sampled one bitter tasting mixture followed by a sweet tasting mixture (to take the horrible taste away!) and could really feel the herbs doing their magic.
This plant based magic continued at breakfast where Chef Arya created some vegan dishes for us that we absolutely loved. We were served an impressive coconut porridge that was made from freshly milled coconut and piled high with fresh fruit.
We had a delicious rice milk Bircher museli that was full of nuts, dried fruit, freshly grated apple and spiced with cinnamon.
There were also a few other things we could eat from the usual breakfast offering including the most amazing homemade vegan gluten free bread that was made with milled nuts which gave it a great flavour and texture. The bread was lovely with fresh pineapple or papaya jams made with fruit from the plantation, or as an accompaniment to the salads we could make from the selection of fresh salad leaves and vegetables from the Mesa Stilla Garden.
A few hours after breakfast, we were treated to afternoon tea where we were served a special Vegan Food Quest platter of traditional Javanese foods. Indulgent fried cassava pieces tasted like the best roast potatoes; crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. Little bananas had been caramelised in palm sugar and were delightfully sticky. Coconut banana rolls were a perfect balance of sweet and slightly salty.
All delicious, all local foods, and all 100% vegan.
At night we dined at ‘Java Red’, the main restaurant in the resort and chose dishes from a whole menu designed by Chef Arya. We had a great choice of vegan Indonesian food meaning we got to try local dishes that had been veganised for us as well as those which were naturally plant-based.
We ate tasty salads made with the Mesa Stila homegrown mushrooms and salad leaves.
We got a hit of local cuisine with vegan ‘lotek’, a salad of cooked and raw vegetables in a sweet and spicy peanut dressing served with traditional ’emping’ crackers.
We happily worked our way through tasty soups with our favourite being a light corn soup made from local Losari sweetcorn with fresh avocado, onion and tomato.
More local food was eaten for our main course with a vegan ‘Pepes Tahu’ allowing us to tick one of our must try dishes off our ‘to eat’ list.
Tofu replaced the usual fish element of this dish which is made by steaming the ingredients (that include a tasty spice mix) in a banana leaf which gives a distinct flavour that we can only liken to vine leaves.
The Mesa Stila nasi campur (‘rice with a bit of everything’) was served with rice cooked in coconut milk, sweet and spicy tempeh, a green vegetable dish and sweet, spiced tofu ‘becam’ which is not only typical of the region but is also vegan and tastes really good.
Although we were often so full by the time it got to dessert, we did manage to squeeze in these gorgeous ‘Solo srabi’ pancakes. Made from coconut milk and rice flour and served with a a sweet coconut milk sauce and maple syrup, we absolutely loved them!
These light and spongy thick pancakes, that are steamed in special pans, originate from the nearby town of Solo and we were very grateful to have a vegan version made for us (they sometimes contain egg in the pancake mix).
Mesa Stila is located in Losari Village near Magelang, Central Java.
The resort can be reached after a 2 hour drive from local airports in Semarang, Jogjakarta or Solo, which all have regular flights from Jakarta and other main cities in the region.
There is a daily programme of activities available for guests including a morning yoga class and a coffee plantation tour. We attended both of these and can highly recommend them.
We also ordered room service on our last night and are pleased to report that all our food arrived as requested and tasted just as good as it was in the main restaurant.
Check-in to Mesa Stila if you want a relaxing break in a stunning location. You’ll get to stay in traditional Javanese accommodation and marvel at the beautiful scenery that surrounds you.
In between taking part in the great activities available, you can create your own vegan food adventure from the huge choice of great tasting Indonesian vegan food available, all with a bonus healthy twist.
We were guests of Mesa Stila but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.
Losari – Grabag
Central Java 56100
Cost From: £130 / $195 per night (May 2015)