From Mountains to Beaches – Keraton at the Plaza

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Jakarta has got a new luxury hotel operated by Starwood Preferred Guest, and during its initial phase of opening, I was quite disappointed at how the Keraton was priced, since they were asking for rates higher than the Kempinski Hotel Indonesia, which is a landmark and has one of the best location in Jakarta as far as hotels go. The Keraton at the Plaza was located in the Plaza Indonesia Shopping Complex which houses an entertainment section comprising of cinemas, multiple luxury brand boutiques, lots of restaurant options an 2 hotels – one being the strategically located Grand Hyatt and another being the Keraton at the Plaza. The Grand Hyatt Jakarta has one of the best views over the roundabout landmark referred to by locals as Bunderan HI (for Hotel Indonesia). But it has old rooms and is a large business hotel.

Lobby at the Keraton
Entrance Lobby at the Keraton

The Keraton at the Plaza occupies certain floors in the Residential tower of the Plaza, the newest annexe to this shopping complex. For business travellers, the Plaza office building beside it houses many foreign business offices headquarters, and the discreet side door leads to Plaza Indonesia where one can easily get food and other amenities. Unlike many hotels, it shares its lobby and facilities with residences in the tower, thus the entrance to the hotel is via a side entrance that feels very private and might be construed as safer since it does not attract unwanted attention.

The Bar and Lobby Lounge
The Bar and Lobby Lounge

Upon entering the lobby, one is greeted by vast ceilings with contemporary Indonesian art and design cues furnishing the lobby. This made it outstanding and beautiful. I was greeted by the receptionist who were all decked in a modern Indonesian-style dress. Very impressive Luxury Collection property indeed. Initially I was upgraded for to a larger suite but as I needed the double rooms, I declined the upgrade and requested for the double rooms, which was adequately large. Check-in was supposed to be done in the room and an escort will accompany guests to the room for the procedures. This leads to a bit of confusion as you need to pass your passport to them and I would rather just be done with it in the lobby. But on entry into the first room, there was a certain smell and we requested for a new room. This leads to some wait but we were able to drop off our luggage at the bell desk and head to the shopping mall for some lunch first. There is an all day restaurant in the same floor as the swimming pool where breakfast is also served. However Platinum guests choose between either breakfast or the 500 welcome points. For my first stay I chose the points as I had an early morning flight the next day. For the second stay, breakfast was included in the stay.

Outdoor Swimming Pool
Outdoor Swimming Pool

As a Platinum member, one will also get complimentary drinks in the bar during the evening but I had business to attend to in Jakarta and this meant I was not able to have it on both of my stay. The bar is located beside a small lounge area opposite the hotel’s reception. There is also a business centre with meeting rooms on the lobby level. Another perk is the complimentary mini-bar access for non-alcoholic drinks, something like the Andaz property, but I believe the perk only applies to Platinum members.

Double Bedroom
Grand Deluxe Double Bedroom

The Grand Deluxe Double Bed room was very tastefully done, and is perhaps the most beautiful hotel room in Jakarta. The huge heavy door to the bedroom might be a nuisance for some, and a small foyer leads to a sitting area with an armchair and a 2-seater sofa. The bar counter holds the mini-bar which is at shoulder level, unlike in some properties which is on the feet level. This makes it easier to select your beverages. There is also a Nespresso coffee machine in the room which I like. This might be the first hotel in Jakarta to have one of these machines in a standard room.

Marble Bathroom
Marble Bathroom Console
Bathroom in the Grand Deluxe Room
Bathroom in the Grand Deluxe Room

The other drawback is the heavy sliding door on both sides of the bathroom, one leading to the closet area, and another leading to the foyer. Both cannot be locked. The bathroom is a long narrow space with a marble console with space for 2 sinks and a dressing table in the middle. The bathtub occupies the centre of the space, while the bathtub becomes the main focus in the middle. Two glass-enclosed space houses the toilet and shower area. The toilet, made by American Standard, has the same gadgetry like the toilets commonly found in Japan. Another interesting architectural feature was the sliding wall that forms a mirror for the dressing room in the bathroom. For smaller rooms this might work in creating a sense of space like in the Hyatt Regency TST in Hong Kong. But for such an already spacious room, this made it a hassle as now someone who desire privacy in the toilet needs to ensure the closure of 3 sets of sliding panels.

Double Beds
Double Beds with the Sliding Panels

The good part of the hotel room was it is easy to feel comfortable and treat it like a residence with a butler service on your call. Each stay includes complimentary suit pressing for one or two pieces and this will be a perk for those on business. The double beds were really comfortable too and there is also a large desk with all the international plug outlets. Internet is free for all guests, and the speed was also very usable with no issue at all for me using multiple devices. The one feature making it feel like a residence is the large wardrobe space to place your luggage and another cupboard that houses the safe. This means that guests will have no trouble placing their belongings for a long-term stay here. Another feature which I liked was that the curtains are operated electronically, so the wide rooms provides a good view of the city, even if it is not that of the Bunderan HI.

Before this hotel was open, Starwood was lagging behind rivals since its best hotel in the city is the Le Meridien, that was acceptable but otherwise losing out as newer luxury properties are being built. The Keraton at the Plaza places it at the top of my to-go hotels in Jakarta, especially now that it has rates that are on par with the competition.

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