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Room 308 Samudra Hotel

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If you get the feeling that the area around Cimaja has a mysterious quality, you won’t be far wrong and Room 308 at the Samudra Hotel is a case in point.

Cimaja is seen as a home to the mystical Goddess of the South Sea, Nyai Roro Kidul (also known by a number of different names with various spellings) and much myth and legend abounds about her in this region.

We’re sorry but room 308 is occupied ... forever. Photo taken in or around Room 308 Samudra Hotel, Cimaja, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

We’re sorry but room 308 is occupied ... forever. Photo: Sally Arnold

Stories connect her with the 16th century Mataram Kingdom and the Sultans of Yogyakarta and Solo to whom she is their spiritual consort. The town of Pelebuhan Ratu, east of Cimaja translates to “Queen’s harbour”, and a festival to honour her is held every 6 April by local fishermen.

Perhaps most strangely, at nearby Samudra Hotel, Room 308 is reserved for this mystifying spirit (cue spooky music). The hotel was built by Indonesia’s first president, Soekarno, in the 1960s and we’re not sure how Room 308 came to be associated with her, but a staff member mentioned that a member of staff had had a vision of her in its early days.

Karang Kursi beckons. Photo taken in or around Room 308 Samudra Hotel, Cimaja, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Karang Kursi beckons. Photo: Sally Arnold

Unlike the rest of the rooms in this sea-facing multi-storey hotel that have been renovated and present as standard modern business hotel style rooms, Room 308 has a very different vibe. From outside, the door is unnumbered and simple marked “private” sitting between rooms 307 and 309. The interior is painted dark green, her favourite colour, with heavy velvet green drapes pulled closed, dim chandeliers, a small iron four-poster bed with green covers, walls covered in artworks in gilt frames and furnished with the accoutrements of a Queen including a wardrobe full of green gowns. The air is heady with the scent of incense and coffee left at a small altar in her honour and without doubt has a somewhat unearthly ambience.

Visitors can pay 30,000 rupiah for a quick visit to view the room, but no photographs are permitted, or if you’d prefer a more private tête-à-tête with the goddess, you can pay 750,000 rupiah per hour to meditate in the room which rises to 1,000,000 rupiah on Fridays.

She comes in many forms... Photo taken in or around Room 308 Samudra Hotel, Cimaja, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

She comes in many forms... Photo: Sally Arnold

A 2013 Indonesian horror film tiled “308” is based on this mysterious room. A little further west along the coast is another enigmatic location associated with Nyai Roro Kidul known as Karang Kursi and Sumur Tujuh—“Coral Chair” and “Seven Wells” these coastal rock formations are believed to be the Sea Queen’s throne, and the “wells” rock basins that when you bath will bring good fortune. Look for the yellow entrance gate leading to stairs up a rocky hill.

Sellers peddle paintings and souvenirs with images of Nyai Roro Kidul. One of the locals mentioned that Soekarno had sat on the Coral Chair and meditated, perhaps that is the link to Room 308. If you are curious about Nyai Roro Kidul or just interested in local folk tales, to visit the room simply rock up at the hotel reception and ask.

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Room 308 Samudra Hotel
Samudra Hotel: Jalan Raya Cisolok, Km 7, Pelebuhan Ratu
T: (2664) 31 200,

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