A landmark returns to wow

26 Feb 2009

Hotel Indonesia, dear to the late President Soekarno’s heart, greets its first guest as the new Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta on Saturday, February 28. This project to revive what is regarded as a beloved Jakarta landmark was delayed several times. Opened in 1962 on the eve of the 4th Asian Games, the hotel was planned by “Bung Karno” – as he was often referred to by his people – to showcase the modern face of Indonesia.

Abel Sorensen, the American architect he commissioned for the project, designed the 25,082m building to form the letter T, which allowed guests an unobstructed view of the city as well as light to enter the guestrooms. Sorensen did not forget his sense of place, incorporating elements of local architecture with practical nuances. The 15-storey Ramayana Wing and eight-storey Ganesha Wing were the first structures to be built.

Now managed by one of Europe’s oldest luxury chains, Kempinski Hotels, the hospitality icon has been sensitively restored by design firm Hirsch Bedner, credited for the look of today’s hotel interiors.

The original inventory of 600 guestrooms has been whittled down to 289, making “all the rooms much larger,” said general manager Gerhard E Mitrovits. “They’re from 50sqm to 62sqm.”

The Ganesha Wing, with its own private entrance, will contain the Club Floor, featuring the 512sqm Presidential Suite, which comes with a spa, lounge and bullet-proof windows.

The Ramayana Wing has three types of room categories: Deluxe, Grand Deluxe and Studio Suites.

Dining outlets are opening by stages, beginning with the all-day Signatures Restaurant, Lobby Nirwana Lounge (famous for the Bubur Ayam HI or chicken porridge) and Sky Pool Bar Café (by the rooftop swimming pool). Four more outlets will open later in the year.

Guests can expect nostalgia to be a theme that will echo strongly throughout the hotel. Art pieces from Bung Sukarno’s personal collection and gifts given to him when he was head of state will be displayed.

The hotel is only part of a multi-use complex that includes the 260-unit Kempinski Private Residences and Grand Indonesia Shopping Town, which houses the Kampinski 3,000sqm Grand Ballroom (ideal for even car launches, says hotel general manager Mitrovits) and 1,000sqm Bali Ballroom and another dining outlet, Times Square Restaurant & Bar.

An opening rate of US$190 runs until the end of May.

For more details, visit

Margie T Logarta

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