With the need to stay overnight in Jakarta most of the time during my travels, I have usually kept my stays in the Le Meridien in Jakarta or Grand Hyatt in Jakarta. However as prices in the Grand Hyatt can sometimes be more than twice as much as that of the Le Meridien, the latter gets the nod for a paid stay. I have stayed at this property several times before, and for the past decade or so, the hotel hasn’t received much renovation and the lobby shows how much it is in need of renovation. Having said that, the architecture of the hotel and the design cues of the lobby showcases some distinctive traditional features of a Javanese residences. Artworks showcasing Javanese legends and history stand side by side along with the avant-garde corporate trademark that belies the Le Meridien brand, creating a personality disorder of sorts.
The hotel itself is situated in a prime area, though nowhere occupying the enviable location of the Grand Hyatt right on top of the Bunderan HI. Instead it is located opposite the World Trade Center, along Jalan Jendral Sudirman, the main street which houses the various Indonesian representative offices for many corporate multinationals. With no shopping malls underneath the hotel, it means guests have to either take a cab out to the nearby malls or satisfy their meal requirements in the hotel’s restaurants. There are no shortage of restaurants in the hotel with a Lebanese, Japanese, restaurant and one cafe-restaurant that also serves as the breakfast location. The Lebanese restaurant particularly serves excellent food that is unique in the city itself.
As a SPG gold member, I was able to get a voucher for a complimentary 15 minute relaxation back massage at the hotel’s spa, and all guests checking in are provided with a refreshing cup of fruit tea along with hot towels. This is a nice touch to freshen guests up, but I guess they need it given the state of the lobby. It has to be stated though that I have yet to receive a room upgrade before even after being their loyal customer. Again I compare this to the Grand Hyatt where I have been upgraded several times and provided with club access even as Hyatt Platinum (which is equal to SPG Gold). However with rates that includes breakfast, it was value for money, though guests shouldn’t expect 5-star rooms.
Rooms are quite spacious, and the twin rooms are usually larger in size in the newer wing which is accessed from elevators further from the main lobby. This time round, I was provided with a room facing the Sudirman main street which can get pretty noisy in the afternoon, and since SPG floors are located in the 5th floor, the noise can be pretty noticeable. Thus it is better to get rooms facing the pool for a quieter stay, or request for rooms in the newer wing facing the Sahid Hotel. The view in the new wing can be a turn off, though as it also faces a derelict construction site which is a grim reminder of the Asian financial crisis in 1998. The rooms in the Le Meridien Jakarta uses the same Javanese decor like its lobby, giving it an old school feel, and their rooms are not plain rectangular configurations. Instead it has slanted angles, but the rooms are fairly well designed in that it is comfortable watching the TV from the bed, and makes the bathroom very airy.
The bathroom in the hotel utilizes white marble which was a frequent material used for construction in the mid 1980s. and most of their bathroom have a separate shower and bathtub and while the bathroom looks old, they are functional. The room I was assigned to has a work desk, sofa by the TV console and a small coffee table. Overall, it is a nice room. The work desk also has a travel converter plug by the side which makes it easy for travelers to connect their laptop or charging adaptors. The bed itself is fairly soft and comfortable for a sleep and the LCD TV in the room provides a large variety of channels which makes it great for entertainment at night.
Internet in the room is complimentary which is a plus compared to the Grand Hyatt which only provides complimentary internet to their Platinum members and above. There was also a welcome amenity of fruits in the room for SPG members, as well as complimentary bottled water in both the bedroom and bathroom. Should guests need more bottled water, they just need to request it from the room service which was usually the case in most Indonesian hotels. Other amenities included in the room are slippers, a vanity kit, mouthwash and the usual bathroom neccesities.
Breakfast in the hotel was alright, and offers a decent selection. Waitresses will usually come around offering their daily smoothies concoction which was great and on top of the usual egg station, there was also a noodle station (common to Indonesian hotels), Japanese and Chinese congee section and a variety of hot plates like fried noodles and rice. The latter are a staple of Indonesian breakfast which is also to be found in hotel breakfasts around Indonesia. My one night stay in this property was usual and except for the free 15 minute massage (which was excellent), it did not make me want to stay here if not for the attractive room rates which can be had for as low as US$90 after taxes. Otherwise, the hotel has a lot in its hands to renovate the dark lobby and restaurants. For SPG members, this hotel is pretty value for money for paying guests, though many better properties can be had if prices go above in excess of US$150.