The Lure Of Jakarta
Jakarta skyline illuminates with a thousand shimmering lights. In their own accord, popular tourist attractions such as Plaza Indonesia, Grand Indonesia and Djakarta Theater XXI acquaint signals in forms of light; each competing for the ‘who’s-the-brightest-of-them-all’ title of the night. From the La Vue Rooftop bar, the scenic contest between the bedazzling skyscrapers excites the soul of a first-time visitor to the capital of Indonesia.
“Jakarta isn’t that chock-full after all,” my first thought exactly. The night breeze was rather soothing with amazing 360 views of the city. Outlining the peripheral of the 9-storey building, La Vue is an exclusive hangout place for guests and visitors who want a taste of the upper-class lifestyle in the open air.
And what better way to end the night with the coziness of the eventide and some sweet morsels. With great panache, the desserts were served on a matte black rectangular tile lined with icing sugar. Smoked basil sorbet, layered chocolate mousse and a macaroon – perfect to satisfy the taste buds with some freshness, gooey and crisp!
Earlier that night, the chef and his team prepared a 5-course fine-dine meal at L’Avenue. Set on the ground floor opposite the hotel’s Cigar Lounge, the colonial-inspired dining space is demarcated into three salons. On a normal day, the space will be dotted with tables and traditionally weaved chairs to cater for daily crowds and hotel guests alike. During special occasions, each respective salon can be converted into a private dining space befitting the desired themes and décor ideas – echoing the lifestyle of the society in the colonial period.
One thing stood out – ‘bir pletok’. Concocted with a mixture of spices, lemongrass, pandan leaves and water, ‘bir pletok’ is unlike any other beers. It is said that the Dutch colonization had influenced the making of this non-alcoholic beverage fit for the Muslim community in Indonesia back then. Despite being called a beer, the traditional Betawi concoction is believed to have medicinal properties and is served as a specialty drink right here in L’Avenue.
Flashback; it was just about four hours before dinner that the hospitality ‘ministers’ of Hermitage greeted us upon arrival from the Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. The 45-minute ride from the airport, arranged by the hotel, was pleasantly comfortable with alternating sights of curated landscapes, sprawling buildings and monuments.
Checking in was as smooth as flowing water. Within minutes, I settled myself in the 60sqm Junior Suite. Directly from the entrance, a straight view veered the eye to the bathtub that centered the symmetry of the suite. With a tinge of voyeurism, the open layout exuded a calming effect. It felt like being in an escapade or country getaway right in the heart of town.
The Hermitage today is a harmonious blend of colonial design with a modern touch. The archetype carries traces of Art Deco style, primarily due to the 1920s influences from the West. Maintaining the glorious richness of the Dutch influences, chinoiserie china and vintage decors make their presence felt in the multiple halls of the building. Two massive maps of Batavia from the good ol’ days can also be spotted on the walls of the high-ceiling space.
Abundant in history and memories, the old telecommunications office, then during the Dutch occupation in the 1920s, had served various organizations before being vacated, acquired, transformed and repurposed into a boutique hotel; now reliving again in ultimate glory as The Hermitage, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel; one of two high end hotel collection by the Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,162 properties in nearly 100 countries and 171,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, and Element®. The Company boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest(R) (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates.