Jakarta has surprising treats to tend your famished soul.
Well, at least it does for me. I found myself back at The Hermitage, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Jakarta on a fine weekend for a brief getaway. How is it a getaway when I’m literally in the city centre, you might ask? There are various factors to support my statement.
The silent street of Jalan Cilacap clenches this white, century-old historic building dating back to the Dutch colonial era amidst one of the capital’s elite neighbourhoods. The unique, five-star hotel accommodates 90 rooms and suites in eight categories with sizes starting from 40 sqm, standing nine floors tall. It marks Indonesia’s first Tribute Portfolio, launched in 2015.
A couple of days before my stay, I had been contacted by my “Guardian” about any special needs and restrictions the hotel ought to know regarding my health, preferences – you name it – during my stay. I replied, “nothing much but dairy restrictions, and I’d like to request a smoking room”. Thus, my room, number 111, is a room that is part of the refurbished zone of The Hermitage Jakarta including a terrace perfect to have my morning tea and reel in the fresh air amidst the Menteng area in Central Jakarta.
I stepped into the lobby on Friday, strongly filled with Javanese and colonial nuances. Escorted to my room, the check-in process was finalised while I was greeted by a midday, sizzling welcoming drink made of Indonesian spices. To my surprise, the living room’s TV continuously played a montage of my photographs to further greet and welcome me. “What a charming, warm welcome,” I gushed.
Let’s go back to “Guardians”. I understand that the Guardian Service means having someone who’s one WhatsApp text away to cater to guests and foster the utmost comfort during your stay. The Guardian is a personal assistant, thus, guests are attended to with arrangements of in-house activities and all hospitality needs starting from the pre-arrival period, during the stay, and post-departure. Do you need assistance with check-in and check-out? Do you need to make dining reservations, transportation arrangements, or get inspired with ideas for activities to do? Simply click that send button to your Guardian.
General Manager of The Hermitage Jakarta, Harry Suryadharma, shared, “The presence of The Guardian is crucial to elevate our presence and service. We try to make our guests feel at home and present Jakarta’s finest experience.”
The Guardian is very communicative and is on standby 24/7. They constantly asked questions regarding my comfort, reminding me of the day’s agenda, and bringing ginger-based beverages in the evening. Some people may think that the replies on WhatsApp are done by a robot, but that’s untrue. I met and chatted with mine, Yohannes, at the lounge – and he’s not alone. There are currently three in total. They even escorted me to my taxi as I left.
“Dear Ms Mirella, a gentle reminder for you of a cocktail gathering at La‘Vue Rooftop Bar at 5pm located on level nine. Should you need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me,” wrote Yohannes half an hour before the event. Sunset cocktails are highly recommended. The bartender can concoct a special beverage as I told him that dairy is unfriendly to my digestion. You can even order off the menu for more options, including non-alcoholic ones. Watch the sky as it changes colours as you sip your beverage. Then, head downstairs to the ground floor to have dinner at 1928 Restaurant, which extols the diversity of Indonesian cuisine as well as colonial heritage.
Day two began with a morning wake-up call at 6am to prepare me for a stroll around Menteng alongside a tour guide specialising in Menteng’s history. This activity aims to allow guests to sightsee and visit the beauty of the area’s history. Suryadharma added that the strolling programme was launched in June 2022. Museum and art gallery visits, a Menteng Historical Walk, and a Jalan Surabaya short tour are some offerings to look forward to. This programme is ideal for quality time whilst taking a walk down heritage lane, absorbing education and the morning sunshine.
The first stop was Taman Suropati, or Suropati Park, about 10 minutes by foot away from the hotel. Suropati’s name is derived from national hero Untung Suropati. Luscious tall trees surround the park where it’s utilised as an exercising spot as well as a place to rest for talks and picnicking. Next was the Bappenas Building, built in 1925 during the early development of Menteng by the Batavian Municipal Government. It was formerly built as a place for the spiritual gathering of Ster van het Oosten, a movement that was part of the masonic spiritual movement or freemasonry that emerged in the 16th and 17th centuries in Scotland and England.
The last stop was the Museum of the Formulation of the Proclamation Manuscript. This building was originally used as the residence of the British consulate after it was designed by Johan Frederik Lodewijk Blankenberg and constructed in 1927. It later became the residence of Admiral Tadashi Maeda during the Japanese occupation. Indonesia’s first president and vice president, Soekarno and Mohammad Hatta, along with other historical figures, utilised this building to write the country’s proclamation text whilst Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan were bombed.
Take pictures and questions as much as possible! If by the end of the tour your energy has completely depleted, then hop on the hotel’s van ready to escort you back.
The Hermitage Jakarta offered a special dinner. Consisting of a tasting menu by Executive Chef Ferdian Tobing, street food was transformed into a fine dining presentation much similar to the French royalty style called degustation. At least 20 cuisines are normally prepared for the blue bloods, nonetheless, I had the honour to relish nine dishes derived from mie ayam (chicken noodles), otak-otak (fish cake), pecel lele (catfish), and udang saos Padang (shrimp in Padang sauce) just to name a few. Guests can choose the number of cuisines and the variety.
The Hermitage Jakarta is now repositioning itself to cater to a more premium market thus, operating as an all-club benefit hotel where guests can get remarkable perks during their stay. Whether you’re seeking to cater for your business, leisure, or social event needs, The Hermitage Jakarta is available. Club benefit inclusions are also available for in-house guests, such as daily complimentary all-day coffee and tea as well as complimentary wine, beer, cocktails, and special food and beverage club menu between 6pm and 8pm.
Here’s an idea for your next weekend staycation or business trip; book your room with prices starting from Rp3.1 million++ per night inclusive of daily breakfast for two, the Guardian Service, all-day coffee and tea fix, complimentary evening cocktails at 6-8pm, special club and beverage menu, and complimentary business services.
“Dear Ms Mirella, I personally would like to thank you for your recent stay with us. We hope you enjoyed your stay with us as much as we enjoyed having you. The next time you’re planning a trip to Jakarta, we would love to have you back,” wrote the Guardian as I departed. Thank you, Guardians. I can’t wait to see you again!