Hotel review: Westin Jakarta

Westin Jakarta

BACKGROUND

The Westin Jakarta opened in August 2016 and is the tallest hotel in Indonesia, occupying the 50th to 69th floors of the new-build mixed-use Gama Tower (the lower levels are for offices). There is also dedicated meeting and event space on the ground and first floors.

Westin is an upscale brand from Starwood, which is now part of Marriott International, with more than 200 properties around the world. Westin has a focus on wellness, providing signature amenities such as Heavenly Beds, Run Westin jogging routes and Westin Gear workout clothes and New Balance trainers from that can be loaned to guests.

Vincent Ong, senior director of brand management for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Asia Pacific, said: “With the brand’s focus on the bringing the pillars of well-being to life and commitment to ensure our guests leave feeling better than they first arrive, we are confident the opening of the hotel will resonate strongly with the local Jakarta community and guests visiting from around the world.”

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Access to the hotel is up a couple of ramps, on a raised forecourt set back from the main road. It’s not really designed for people on foot, as Jakarta is not a pedestrian-friendly city. Everyone gets around by car – as a consequence, the traffic is terrible. Drivers will be stopped at a barrier by security guards who will check the boot and beneath the car with mirrors before letting you through.

Polite staff are always on hand to greet guests and open doors as they step into the cool marble foyer on the ground floor. Here there is another security checkpoint with a metal detector gate and an X-ray machine for luggage. Lifts then take guests up to reception on the 52nd floor, which provides stunning city views through floor-to-ceiling windows (particularly impressive at night).

Westin Jakarta

The modern, high-spec interiors have been designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) and were “inspired by natural, organic forms and textures”. Throughout the lobby lounge and event spaces you will see beautiful hand-blown trumpet flower chandeliers designed by Hong Kong’s Ricardo Lightworks, for example, as well as living walls of plants, which add welcome greenery.

WHERE IS IT?

In Jakarta’s “Golden Triangle”, in Kuningan, which is close to Lotte Shopping Avenue, Plaza Festival and Epicentrum Walk. The international airport is 34km away – depending on traffic this is a 45-minute drive. Staff will also help with luggage or taxis during your stay (if you want to use the hotel car they can easily bill this to the room). Uber is easy to use in the city and very cheap.

ROOM FACILITIES

Entry-level Westin rooms (and Westin Club) are 46-48 sqm so a good size. All have full-height windows offering city views, 55-inch LED televisions, large workdesks, free wifi (this didn’t always work very well for me), coffee machines, a minibar and Westin Heavenly bed (very comfortable).

Grey marble bathrooms come with rainshowers and separate baths, robes, slippers and signature Westin White Tea shower gel, shampoo, soap and conditioner. The décor is fresh, neutral and contemporary.

Westin Jakarta

The higher the room category, the more space you get – Premium rooms are 56-59 sqm, Renewal rooms (on the corner of the building) are 68 sqm, Executive suites are 92-94 sqm, the Westin suite is 166 sqm and the Presidential suite 270 sqm. Renewal rooms upwards also have walk-in closets, while the Westin suite has a whirlpool bath.

Club rooms are located on the higher floors and, along with the Renewal rooms and suites, provide access to the Club lounge where a full breakfast buffet is available in the mornings, followed by light bites, snacks and free alcohol in the evening. Guests in these rooms also get free drinks from the minibar, and private check-in and check-out in the lounge.

Westin Jakarta

I was staying in a Renewal room – the highlight of which was the bath and shower with panoramic city views. Despite the double-glazing, at 4am (when I was awake with jet-lag) I could hear the call to prayer from a nearby mosque. It wasn’t loud and I quite liked the haunting sound of it. In the mornings I was pleased to be able to make myself an espresso but there only tea bags provided had caffeine in them so I had to call down for some fresh lemon. Room service is available 24 hours a day.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS

The expansive, open-plan Lobby lounge is a popular place among locals (especially groups of women who come with their own photographers) for afternoon tea. There is also a Crafted by Westin cocktail menu and a wine list (Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population but this isn’t an issue when it comes to alcohol). Sandwiches, scones, cakes, ice cream, pastries tea and coffee are served from 8am to 12am at deli Daily Treats, which is also on the lobby level.

Westin Jakarta

I ate several times at the huge international buffet that is laid out from morning until night at Seasonal Tastes on level 51. From sushi, salads and fresh juices to curry, dim sum and pizza, there is so much food to choose from it’s difficult to know where to start – or when to stop. There are seven live cooking stations with expert chefs preparing specialities such as handmade naan bread and Japanese noodles. Open 6am to 10pm, the restaurant was busy at all times. It’s a great option for business people and, if you are alone, the views will keep you company.

Westin Jakarta

Scheduled to open this month (May) is Japanese-Peruvian fine-dining restaurant Henshin, on levels 67 to 69. Open for lunch and dinner, it will have six private dining rooms and a rooftop bar. With its menu of pisco cocktails and Nikkei cuisine in glitzy surroundings, Henshin will undoubtedly become one of the hottest new places to eat in the city.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES

The Westin has 3,000 sqm of event space, the largest being the ground-floor Java ballroom, which can accommodate 1,200 people for a cocktail reception or be divided into two for smaller gatherings. It also has a 340 sqm pre-function foyer. Catering options are plentiful – not only can you order Indonesian and Asia food but Western fare in the form of live pasta stations, for example, as well as vegetarian and healthy “Westin SuperFoodsRX” break-out menus.

Westin Jakarta

On the first floor, dinners or conferences for between 120 and 180 delegates can be held in the Padang or Medan rooms. There are an additional three venues (Bandung, Surabaya and Yogyakarta) for meetings of between 18 and 54 classroom-style, and a business centre with two computers, a private boardroom for eight people, a TV with laptop connectivity, printing, faxing, secretarial, packing and shipping services. This is open 8am to 7pm.

Westin Jakarta

On the 52nd-floor Sky lobby is the Tangent work zone. Meanwhile, the Westin Club lounge is on the 65th floor. I was impressed by how warm and helpful the staff were when I stopped by. They greeted me by name and promptly took my drink order when I sat down with one of the free international newspapers provided. Breakfast is served 6am-10am Monday to Friday, and until 10.30am on weekends. Cocktails are available from 6pm to 9pm. The lounge is open until 11pm.

LEISURE FACILITIES

I was informed that there is the option of being driven (for free) to a nearby sports stadium to run around its outdoor track but the thought of breathing Jakarta’s polluted air put me off.

Instead I visited the on-site gym, which is on the 50th floor of the hotel, again with sweeping views through expansive windows. If you have forgotten your shorts and trainers (or want to pack light), you can borrow New Balance kit from the hotel. Equipment is by Technogym and Element. There are both cardio machines and free weights. The facility is open 24 hours but there is no option of a personal trainer.

Westin Jakarta

I also made use of the 140 sqm heated swimming pool (open 6am to 11pm), which was empty every day I visited. It was of a good length for laps, had “fresh” air coming in through openings in the glass walls of the terrace, and a staffed bar with self-service iced water infused with fruit. At certain times of day you can hear the call to prayer wafting up on the breeze. It is a great place to clear your head before or after a hectic day of meetings.

There is a whirlpool bath, steam room and showers in the changing areas. On one of the evenings I visited, I found that all of the lockers were locked despite the place being empty so had to find a member of staff to open one. Robes and rubber sandals are provided, which is good as you have to walk down a public corridor to get to the pool.

Westin Jakarta

The Heavenly spa is open 9am-11pm. You can have massages here or in your room. Other treatments include the Bali Coffee Scrub and the Nourishing Marine facial.

Westin Jakarta

VERDICT

Jakarta has a lot of high-end international hotels, from Pullman, Grand Hyatt and Kempinski to Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and Raffles so there is a lot of competition. However, the Westin is an excellent new choice for business travellers, with all the facilities you could need, good security and a sense of peace, which is important in such a frenetic city. Just be careful to choose a place to stay that is convenient for your meetings as getting around is time consuming.

FACT FILE:

HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 272 rooms in total – 177 Westin rooms, 40 Premium, 19 Westin Club, 23 Renewal rooms, 11 Executive suites, one Westin suite and the Presidential

HIGHLIGHTS The amazing city views, the swimming pool, spectacular interiors, huge ballroom and lavish international buffet at Seasonal Tastes.

PRICE Internet rates for a Westin room in May started from IDR 2,200,000 (£129) a night.

CONTACT The Westin Jakarta, Jl H R Rasuna Said Kav C-22 A, Jakarta; tel +62 21 2788 7788; starwoodhotels.com


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