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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 January 2021

Hotel insider: Raffles Jakarta, Indonesia

An arty five-star in the heart of the big city.
The 60-square-metre Raffles room. Courtesy Raffles Hotels & Resorts
The 60-square-metre Raffles room. Courtesy Raffles Hotels & Resorts

The welcome

After a Mercedes-Benz limousine transfer through Jakarta’s gridlocked rush-hour traffic, we arrive at Raffles’s semi-concealed entrance, at the rear of the Ciputra World 1 development, across the main highway from the massive ITC Kuningan/Ambassador Mall shopping hub. Raffles is a self-proclaimed “art hotel” – the lobby is dominated by a spectacular mosaic at least six metres tall. A grandly dressed doorman greets us and we’re taken to our 19th-floor room for check-in with a member of reception staff with a tablet.

The neighbourhood

Raffles is within Jakarta’s central business district, Setiabudi, which is characterised by luxury hotels, sprawling malls and sky-scraping office and residential towers. It is, our driver tells us, one of the safest areas of the Indonesian capital, which has mushroomed massively in the past decade to become the world’s second-largest urban area by population behind Tokyo. During off-peak hours, the city’s tourist attractions – such as the National Monument and National Museum – are a short drive away, with the semi-quaint Old Jakarta another 20 minutes farther north.

The room

Our twin “Raffles room” – the room-bracket names are far less grandiose than the rooms themselves – is more of a suite at 60 square metres, with floor-to-ceiling sliding wooden doors able to cordon off the bedroom from the main living area. The latter space has a comfy sofa, a TV and DVD player, plus a cute oval work desk. A similar set-up divides off the bathroom, which is replete with rain shower, a nifty toilet with washing gizmo, twin washbasins, plus a decent-sized bath. The decor is a reserved mix of browns and creams. In keeping with the hotel’s art theme, a large abstract landscape oil painting and a colourful rug dominate the living area. A pillow menu is available.

The service

Exceptional, almost without exception.

The scene

Being in the business district, most of the guests seem to be businessmen of varying Asian and European origins. In Jakarta, the luxury-hotel standard seems to be having a mall attached, and Raffles is no exception. You can exit via the first floor straight into Ciputra World 1, which has a range of local and international brands. The hotel can also organise private shopping trips.

The food

The Writers Bar is our first call for Indonesian-themed tapas. Inside, it’s a quiet but bright lobby-lounge-style affair; outside, a glowing statue gazes across a homely terrace, which buzzes with the city’s sounds. We enjoy dinner on the first night at The Arts Cafe. The food is fittingly creative, best illustrated by the Singapore chilli crab buns, served in “charco brioche” (black rolls) and spicy tomato “gravy” (200,000 rupiah [Dh55]). The restaurant also hosts a grand breakfast buffet, with many Pan Asian options. The Navina pool bar, where we dine on the second night, revels in less of a sit-up-straight atmosphere, but the food maintains the high standards – the hearty crispy baby squid (100,000 rupiah [Dh28]) is a five-star bargain.

Loved

The top-notch room is only surpassed by the excellent food options in every outlet.

Hated

We’re awoken on both mornings by the sound of drilling/hammering from about 8.30am. The only other tiny gripe is the spa isn’t open yet.

The verdict

A plush way to take in one of the planet’s biggest metropolises.

The bottom line

Double rooms at Raffles Jakarta cost from US$575 (Dh2,112) per night, including breakfast, Wi-Fi, taxes and butler service.

aworkman@thenational.ae

Published: November 26, 2015 04:00 AM

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