BACKGROUND Legendary palaces, remote retreats and modern classics make up The Luxury Collection of Starwood Hotels, among them 12 at Hengshan Shanghai, The Astor Hotel, Tianjin, The Andaman Langkawi and Keraton at the Plaza Jakarta. This discretely located bolthole derives its name from the word “palace” in Bahasa and reflects refinement in the modern Indonesian style with its carefully chosen art pieces that stand out against the minimalist interiors.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? The teamwork of SCDA Singapore and Burega Farnell, plus curation efforts by local design firm Hadiprana Artworks, have resulted in a striking boutique product for the Jakarta market, which matches the iconic Dharmawangsa Hotel in Kebayoran Baru in terms of the creating an urban oasis that indulges its guests to the hilt.
The hotel and private apartments share space in one building – the Keraton taking up the ground floor to the 22nd floor, and the residences the 23rd-50th floors. Incredibly high ceilings in the lobby, lounge area and guestrooms, as well as near white hues and white marble combine to give an expansive feeling.
WHERE IS IT? A side lane off Jalan Thamrin – a major boulevard – and along the posh Plaza Indonesia mall complex leads to the hotel’s exclusive entrance. The hotel is directly linked to the shopping mall through a corridor off the lobby.
ROOM FACILITIES Executive suites are situated mostly in corner locations, and my 75 sqm 10th floor unit looked out over a residential neighbourhood. The open-plan space and large floor-to-ceiling windows created a feeling of generous space and airiness. With no tall buildings nearby (as yet), I didn’t feel vulnerable about being seen, and the electronically controlled grey shades that could be manoeuvred to come down from the top or up from the bottom helped with privacy issues. The room interior was clean and uncluttered, with a predominantly light cream and ivory palette with black accents that reminded me of Chanel perfume boxes.
The in-room technology was extensive, including a 42-inch flatscreen, DVD player, BOSE sound system and an added perk, a 22-inch monitor on the roomy work desk that easily connects to a laptop or iPad. My room was a perfect cocoon until one afternoon when the occupants next door turned up their music to an inconsiderate level. I was forced to knock furiously on the wall but to no avail, and had to phone the operator to ask her to contact the duty manager for assistance. This was attended to shortly, and the blaring stopped. On departure I reminded the staff to look into the problem of thin walls.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS Bengawan (taken from the famous Indonesian song “Bengawan Solo”) is the Keraton’s all-day dining venue on the seventh floor. An eclectic mix of furniture and potted plants creates a casual, colourful ambience that doesn’t seem to jive with the understated feel in the lobby and guestrooms. The open kitchen features house specialities, prepared by Chef Tony Azhari and his team, such as iga bakar (spare ribs served with konro broth, sambal balado and steamed rice) and pan-fried foie gras.
The covered terrace is the perfect perch to enjoy the city view while sipping a Kiwi Pohpohan Mojito. If you must smoke, you can do it here.
BUSINESS FACILITIES Off the lobby is a boardroom for six with built-in screen and plug-and-play technology. The first two hours are complimentary with subsequent hours charged at IDR600,000 (US$60) per hour. Next door, a business centre that looks more like a lounge is equipped with two Apple iMac workstations with 21.5-inch screens and a 42-inch LCD TV.
LEISURE FACILITIES The Keraton Spa offers invigorating facials, some rooted in Javanese tradition with the use of cloves and magnolia blossoms. At the gym, cycling machines come with LCD monitors. A 15-metre indoor pool completes the sporting options.
VERDICT The Keraton looks stunning in terms of design and pleases with all the required technology, especially free wifi throughout. Service is attentive without being cloying.
Margie T Logarta
HOW MANY ROOMS?
140 rooms, divided into Executive Grand Deluxe rooms (92), Junior and Executive Junior suites (44) and Keraton and Executive Keraton suites (4).
The sense of space in the public areas and guestrooms and wealth of windows throughout the building.
Internet rates for a midweek stay in August start from US$302 for an Executive Junior suite.
JL MH Thamrin Kav 15, Jakarta 10350; tel +62 21 5068 000; www.luxurycollection.com