If you’re too bored with Jakarta and its antics, why not escape the city for an hour to Sentul City? Located in Bogor district, Sentul City is still impacted by large-scale social restrictions (PSBB).
The big plus is: whatever regulations are imposed in DKI Jakarta do not affect businesses in Sentul City. When the capital was under tight PSBB, dining in at restaurants, cafes, and hotels in this region was permitted while following strict health protocols and having an earlier closing time.
Those of you who have never been to Sentul should take this opportunity to explore. Check out Sentul City Cultural Park (Taman Budaya Sentul City), Fantasia Sentul Nature Tourism Park, Jungleland Sentul, Pasar Ah Pong, Sentulfresh School Education Farm, Koneng South City Village, Bidadari Waterfall, Eco Park Sentul City, Kencana Waterfall, Epic Outbound, and Leuwi Hejo. These are some of the highly recommended attractions in the area.
Avoid the terrible traffic on Jagorawi Toll Road after exploring Sentul on a day trip – take a staycation at The Alana Hotel and Conference Centre in Sentul City instead! If you’re not about seeking adventure but are anticipating to chill at the pool until dinner time, eat dinner accompanied by hit and after hit overlooking Sentul City’s skyline at night, and then laze around the room, this hotel is your best bet.
Staycations are all of a buzz in 2020. It’s a great idea to escape your nest for a relaxing time. Hotels are open to welcome guests for a memorable, relaxing staycation. Just for one night; you don’t have to think about making your bed the next morning, endless options of food for breakfast, all access to the swimming pool and gym, and no cleaning! You can opt for more nights but sometimes, even spending just one night can make a huge difference to your mood and spiralling mind. The global pandemic has affected us in some ways, for better or worse.
Take the Jagorawi toll exit to Sentul City from Jakarta. Within ten minutes, you’ll arrive at The Alana Hotel. The hotel is encouraging guests to go cashless and contactless to ensure the health and safety of all guests and staff. To do so, mention the name you’ve booked your room under and the booking code. Your digital signature will be made before check-in. Depending on whether you’re staying at Alana for the weekend, the front desk staff will ask your preferred breakfast time since only a maximum of 150 people are allowed within a set period: early morning at 6-8:30am or later at 8:30-10am. You won’t be asked if any of the slots are fully booked.
I arrived just before noon. A mandatory temperature check before entering the Green Canyon Restaurant on the ground floor was done. I then proceeded to wash my hands at a sink nearby. The chefs were seen setting up the lunch buffet for the day. The Alana Hotel is one of the few hotels in the region that provides buffet-style meals during lunch. Of course, sticking to the new normal era, chefs wearing face masks and gloves will serve the food from behind a glass barrier. You can always ask for the restaurant’s menu, but the buffet menu changes daily. I was presented with an array of Indonesian and Asian delights – yes please – to an endless amount of dessert.
Green Canyon Restaurant’s specialties are roti bakar crispy or crispy toast, Bogor-style oxtail soup with bakso and tofu, then signature drinks such as palm sugar cappuccino and coffee varieties from Toraja, Gayo, Bali, Sumatra, Bandung, West Java, and more. Dishes can be ordered via GoFood during the new normal, but only limited options are available for delivery.
There’s seating both indoors and outdoors. It was a bright, cloudless day. Naturally, I sat outside to have my meal by the semi-resort-style pool. I noticed that three gazebos on the edge of the pool were empty. Unfortunately, food and beverages aren’t allowed in the gazebos. Either way, I sat down on the bean bag, in awe of the beautiful day – away from the big city.
Alana means beautiful. Throughout the hotel, it’s visible that the design concept had to do with an ethnic, traditional touch in a minimalistic style. It sure looked beautifully fashionable with the Javanese flower carvings in brown and marble hues as well as batik motif subtly placed everywhere.
The Alana Hotel is the perfect place for leisure and business. It’s a one-stop place for everyone. Weekdays are business, weekends are vacations – or staycations. Government institutions and corporate firms can book residential full board meetings, including staying at the hotel and three meals a day for all participants. I happened to have my staycation on a Thursday, so my lunch was amongst government individuals having their lunch break by the pool.
A total of 270 rooms are available, comprising three room types: deluxe, suite, and presidential suite. There are 15 meeting rooms all named after gems like sapphire, diamond, jasper, and ruby to name a few, which accommodate ten to 200 people. There’s a spa – currently not open until further PSBB announcements – and a gym that presents a luscious green view while you’re running on the treadmill.
Don’t worry about your kids – they’ll be well-occupied. Kids’ Club activities’ centre is on the fifth floor. Enjoy a night with your little ones on Saturday nights by watching movies, attend a cooking class on Sundays, or enjoy some light bites by the pool while they play with the giant foams in the kids’ pool. Usually, on World Children’s Day, the hotel holds a festival for kids, including in-house guests and walk-ins, filled with origami and painting competitions.
Sad to say, no events have occurred during the new normal. Pre-COVID, private concerts performed by local bands and singers were held once a month. Indonesian band, D’Masiv, performed at the pool area in January 2020.
Confession: I was on a mission to be a sloth and master the art of doing nothing. I spent the rest of my day laying on the bed, watching an action movie starring Paul Walker on HBO as it started to rain outside.
Luckily the rain stopped; time for me to sit outdoors at Vertikal Sky Lounge for a treat. Nights at this rooftop lounge consist of tasty Western, Asian, and Indonesian meals, with serenades by tunes performed by a live band or played by a DJ. Even non-hotel guests stop by for dinner, classic international and Alana’s signature cocktails – crowding the idyllic space on weekends.
I tried a berry inspired mocktail, a very filling salad, a bowl of soto ayam, steak with grilled baby potatoes and vegetables, and finally a decadent fruity panna cotta. News is, a private lounge where the chef serves directly to a maximum of five people like a butler service will be introduced this October.
Dinner overlooking the misty Sentul City night was over. It was time to call it night – with a warm bubble bath, of course. My body felt worn out from doing nothing; I rested well at last.
Breakfast the next morning at Green Canyon Restaurant had me excited because there was lontong sayur: Indonesian rice cakes with vegetable stew in coconut milk. Classic breakfast foods such as eggs cooked according to your preference, waffles, pancakes, pastries, and nasi goreng were also provided. The restaurant commonly offers traditional local food such as market snacks – jajanan pasar – lontong sayur, nasi uduk, and indomie.
I still had time before check out. I made use of my Friday morning to have an early dip. It was quite cold as the sun was mostly covered by clouds. The pool was filled with families laughing and having a blast, I suspect they’re having staycations as well. I, too, had a blast.
The Alana Hotel immediately tightened and added health protocols as soon as COVID-19 hit. Safety was well assured throughout the hotel. For instance, there are touchless buttons in elevators. The hotel is even certified as a World Travel and Tourism Safe Travels hotel, where employees follow rapid tests every month.
Staycation Mission: ACCOMPLISHED!
Jl. Ir H Juanda No.76, Sentul, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia