Editor’s Diary: How T’ROKA Allowed Me to Fully Enjoy the Travel Experience

Make planning for a holiday great again, especially when there’s someone to do it for you.
Jojo Goh lounging by the pool in Amanjiwo.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who plan every detail of their travel itineraries and those who go along for the ride, with no thoughts and head empty. This story is for both camps, because there’s a new luxury travel advisor in town, and they’re here to plan your next trip for you down to a T—for T’ROKA, to be exact.  

T’ROKA is the newest arm under Holiday Tours & Travels (HTT) that is set to redefine the way we travel, something that has changed quite drastically ever since the pandemic hit. We got to try the T’ROKA experience for ourselves on a trip to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where we stayed in the luxury resort Amanjiwo. From that first chauffeured ride to KLIA down to having our check-in luggage sorted for us at the Yogyakarta airport and even complimentary treats at the hotel, everything was thought out before we could even ask—and then some more. 

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At Amanjiwo itself, we sat down with the Holiday Tours & Travels president Ben Foo to pick his brain on how T’ROKA plans to change the luxury travel landscape. “T’ROKA aspires to offer ultra-personalised and memorable experiences that cater to the needs of discerning travellers seeking new destinations and unique ways to explore its local culture and history…we believe travel should be a personal and transformative experience, and our team of expert advisors will work with clients to create flexible itineraries catering to specific interests and preferences,” said Foo.

Marion Caunter participating in an Aksara Jawa scriptwriting class in Amanjiwo.

The first way T’ROKA plans to do this is by planning a holiday that has a “hotel-first” approach. Most travel agencies plan their customers’ itineraries around the location they want to visit, leaving the hotel as an afterthought. However, oftentimes, according to Foo, this approach may backfire. The customer and travel advisor spend too much time on an itinerary that fits the customer, leaving them fatigued and not wanting to splash on a nice hotel, or simply not wanting to go on the holiday altogether. By picking a hotel first, travel advisors can then enhance the entire experience surrounding the hotel. 

“I thought, ‘What if we shifted the conversation to talk about a combination that is unique to the destination?’ Then, it brings out the soul of the place, so that when guests see the hotel, they see more than just a hotel room—they see a whole host of experiences.”

Ben Foo, Holiday Tours & Travels president

T’ROKA has a three-tier membership system—Classic, Signature, and Prestige—and it’s as easy as signing up on their website. Everyone starts in the Classic tier for their first booking, which includes benefits such as getting a Travel Advisor to attend to your needs upon booking a hotel within T’ROKA’s collection, getting complimentary breakfast for two, and a room upgrade. Customers are automatically upgraded to the Signature tier upon their second booking, which unlocks benefits such as late check-outs, early check-ins, hotel credits up to US$100, and an airport transfer from your home to the airport. You’ll get the Prestige tier on your 11th booking with T’ROKA, which unlocks both Classic and Signature tier benefits as well as getting invitations to private events, and have a choice between getting a personal guide at your travel location, a driver, or a photographer. The best part of this membership? There is no select timeframe that you’ll need to make the bookings to qualify for each tier. 

Unreasonable Hospitality

“T’ROKA aspires to offer ultra-personalised and memorable experiences that cater to the needs of discerning travellers seeking new destinations and unique ways to explore its local culture and history,” says Holiday Tours & Travels president Ben Foo.

One of the main features in T’ROKA that Foo hopes to incorporate is the concept of “unreasonable hospitality”. “When you check in to a hotel, for example, you expect a certain level of hospitality. But what if you get something that you didn’t expect, that is typically unreasonable?” Foo began. “For example, you’re having dinner on your final night at the hotel. You tell your companion, ‘Aw, I didn’t get to try this dish while I was here.’ Somebody overhears and quietly prepares the dish to present it to you, just so you don’t leave the place with any culinary regrets. That’s unreasonable hospitality. That’s what we hope people can experience at T’ROKA.” 

It was interesting that Foo brought up “unreasonable hospitality”, as I had been hearing murmurs of it throughout our stay at Amanjiwo. A fellow traveller remarked that a particular red wine served during our first dinner was delicious—a bottle of it was sent to her room that very night. For one of our local activities, I mentioned that I wasn’t too adept at cycling—they immediately changed it to a different activity that allowed me to see the local sights of Yogyakarta without needing to cycle. There were also thoughtful little gestures throughout our trip that might not seem much on the surface but made you feel good on the inside. It may be a product of the excellent hospitality that Amanjiwo offers, but this “unreasonable hospitality” also extends to the other hotels in T’ROKA’s repertoire, particularly if they keep to such a standard. 

When we left Amanjiwo, the entire hotel’s ground staff came out to see us off and Foo’s words came to mind again. Despite only staying for three days, Amanjiwo has started feeling comfortable and familiar—a home away from home. If this was the sort of travel experience that I’d get with T’ROKA each time without the fuss of me planning anything, you can sign me up for that membership. 

Discover more about T’ROKA here.

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