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Java's Amanjiwo resort combines well-being trends with tradition

Well-being and local wisdom are on the menu at Amanjiwo.

The notion of "wellness" on any restaurant or spa menu has a headstart in Java, where jamu - traditional herbal medicine taken as daily shots of juice - is hugely popular. So when general manager Ian White and new executive chef Henry Jordan redesigned the pool-club menus at Aman's central Javanese resort, Amanjiwo, with health and well-being in mind, they drew on the latest health trends and the wisdom of generations of jamu-makers.
Dalem Jiwo Suite at Amanjiwo, Java. 
One of the detoxifying shots on the menu blends six types of ginger and galangal with honey, turmeric and katuk leaves; another, said to aid digestion, is made from ground rice, turmeric and lime. There's a focus on raw, vegan, gluten- and dairy-free dishes by the pool - think citrus and bee-pollen granola for breakfast, and flaxseed tacos filled with spicy local fish for lunch - and authentic Javanese cuisine in the main restaurant. "They're the kind of flavours you'd find on the street," White says. The menus are among a raft of changes and new experiences at Amanjiwo, best known for its tranquil views and proximity to the 9th-century Buddhist temple of Borobudur.
The temple-like, 36-suite resort celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with art exhibitions, 20-minute cooking classes with Javanese rice, and a 20-kilometre bike ride through paddies and rice villages. "Here in Indonesia we use rice in everything," White says. "We'd like to show guests how precious every grain is." A keen cyclist and volcano climber, White has incorporated into the route a hot-spring bathhouse, a disused Dutch-era railway track and a picnic breakfast in a picturesque rice paddy - with steamed rice cakes in the hamper, of course.
The UNESCO-listed temple is central to the resort's celebrations, each of its nine tiers clad in exquisite friezes and crowned by hundreds of Buddhist statues. It'll be illuminated by special arrangement on the 20th of each month as a backdrop to an anniversary dinner.