by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 23, 2018
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Business-oriented, reasonable location and rare Indonesian vibe. With Indonesian prints along the corridors and crafts among nooks in rooms, the Aryaduta has a charm very rare among Jakarta hotels. The glass-top desk and window-side sofa dominate the Deluxe Rooms, while the Signature Junior Suites have a lovely curved sofa and bathroom with access from the bedroom and separate lounge area. The Junior Suites are the same size, but feature a more appealing open-plan layout. But all rooms have annoying slats across the windows, which obstruct the fascinating city views and don’t even effectively block out the early morning light. The resort-style pool is larger than expected, but overlooked by an ugly office block with rows of windows. In a busy but more-pleasant-than-usual area, there are negligible tourist facilities nearby, but it’s only a short taxi trip to a string of malls and the National Museum.
Ideal for long-term guests including families. Offering a range of luxurious serviced apartments for short trips and residences for those staying longer, the outside needs a lick of paint and the self-described ‘Dutch colonial interior design’ is not apparent. The studios and suites seem more like a motel, albeit well-appointed, than a temporary home. The studios lack windows and are dark, and the brown/white décor is monotonous; they need colour, Indonesian crafts and certainly, a desk. The interior of the suites, which contain a kitchenette and 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms, is equally bland, but they are more airy. The 2 ground-level pools are shady, but suffer from traffic noise. Alongside are the tennis court and Cubbies Playroom, which is bright and well-stocked with toys, but unsupervised. Among a throng of skyscrapers known as the ‘Golden Triangle’, it’s within a short scramble across traffic from the immense Grand Indonesia malls (yes, plural).
Immense gardens and great for families. This extraordinary hotel is certainly not another modern, bland and ugly high-rise. With ponds, fountains, creeks, statues and bridges, the magnificent gardens are also home to a butterfly dome, delightful café and a miniature replica of its namesake temple. Amazingly, there is also space for 3 tennis courts, an undercover basketball court, and yes, an Olympic-sized swimming pool. 11 types of rooms are available, up to the Presidential Suite. The furnishings in some are a little outdated, but the décor is always tasteful, with plenty of Indonesian arts and crafts. Many rooms seem to cater more for business than pleasure and, despite views of the hotel gardens or tree-studded park over the road, windows are limited. Unlike most other hotels however, families are welcomed and catered for. And it’s in a pleasant area worthy of walks past colossal government buildings and military barracks.
Massive grounds, luxurious rooms and resort-style pool. The outside looks fairly unimpressive but with no other high-rises nearby and extensive grounds set 200m back from Jakarta’s relentless traffic, it’s certainly quiet, and decent views are guaranteed. Even the standard rooms are spacious, with contemporary furnishings, such as a curved chair and corner sofa, but the swirling wallpaper above the bed is too distracting. Full-length windows offer reasonable views of the gardens, pool and/or streets, with minimal noise. Among substantial grounds and alongside the stylish breakfast café, the Bali-style lagoon-shaped pool has bridges to a swim-up bar and plenty of shade. And families are welcome with a colourful kids’ club and shady children’s pool. Among streets of stalls selling antiques, it’s close to a long-distance train station but a better range of cafés and shops involve a short taxi trip.
Sparkling new, ultra-trendy and close to malls. With 32 floors of hotel rooms (and serviced residences for long-term guests), the modern and minimalist design is immediately apparent in the oversized lobby dotted with giant vases, uncomfortable sofas and Japanese sculptures. The standard Fairmont Rooms feature a fashionable bathroom with sunken tub, and classy bedroom with some Indonesian art. With a makeup desk and automatic blinds, the design of the suites is even more contemporary, while the Presidential Suites are large enough for a private gym and massage room. With surprisingly few high-rises nearby, views from all rooms are excellent, especially of the golf course and Bung Karno sports grounds. Although flanked by gardens, the 4th-floor pool has no shade, but only one looming office tower affects the views, sunlight and privacy. It’s along a road lined with shopping centres, and guests also have underground access to the related Plaza Senayan Mall.
Central, luxurious, business-oriented but a little outdated. This landmark faces the chaotic roundabout in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of high-rise hotels and mega-malls. Although stylish, with a piano lounge and gallery of boutiques, frequent renovations can’t hide the fact that it’s been around for a while, and seems like it. Nonetheless, the facilities are impressive: the massive lagoon-shaped pool and surrounding tropical gardens with gazebos, ‘waterfalls’ and an elegant café take up most of the 5th floor, and there’s even a tennis court. In the lowest category, the Grand Rooms are spacious and comfortable, but the décor isn’t quite as plush as the name suggests, and the long desk dominating the room indicates that most guests are there for business, not pleasure. The huge suites feature a fully-equipped kitchen (or Jacuzzi), separate lounge/dining area, and oversized bedroom with a second glass-top desk.
Mid-range, contemporary design in a fascinating area. This multi-coloured box-shaped hotel is in the rejuvenated area of northern Jakarta. Superior Rooms are like a motel – compact, functional, bland and with limited views – while the deluxe ones feature the same colourless furnishings, but with a welcome splash of colour in the bed-head. No more vibrant but certainly more spacious, the suites have an open-plan bathroom with a layout that may affect privacy, and limited windows, despite the interesting city views. The tiny pool on the 5th floor seems a token effort: with limited sunshine and uninviting decking, it indicates that most guests have checked in for business. With no downtown providing a central point, the hotel is reasonably convenient: there’s a mall opposite, the Golden Arches of a familiar fast-food outlet are next door, and the TransJakarta bus stops outside en route to the modest Old City square.
Quaint, tranquil and colonial design. With a grace and style unfound among ugly high-rise hotels in Jakarta, the Hermitage is truly unique. Whitewashed corridors lined with photos of old Batavia (as the city was known in the Dutch era) lead to a limited number of plush rooms. The Executive Rooms are so bright, airy and tastefully decorated, with colorful wall hangings, a marble bathroom and lounge area with an inviting sofa, but the furnishings are not as charmingly old-fashioned as the hotel design would promise. The courtyard café is delightful, and the pool squeezed into the 9th floor is decent enough, even if the pool bar does play loud music. Nicer and quieter, the ivy-covered rooftop bar also offers superb views of the comparatively elegant tree-lined streets. And it’s not too far by taxi to a variety of malls and the National Museum.
Unsightly block, prime position and avant-garde luxury. Facing the frenzied roundabout in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of high-rise hotels and underground malls, the exterior is remarkably unexciting, but it is ultra-chic throughout. Even the standard Deluxe Rooms are huge, but the contemporary furnishings do seem pointless, bordering on impractical, e.g. a wall shelf lined with vases, and fashionable but uncomfortable chairs. Views from the 2 full-length double-glazed windows are of the adjoining mall, while the Executive Grand rooms are larger and the views more rewarding. Best of all, the suites feature a separate lounge area with a trendy curved sofa and glass desk/table. The sparkling-blue rooftop pool is a little undersized but offers a Jacuzzi and glorious city views from the vine-smothered terrace. The well-designed play area with a plastic ‘treehouse’ next to the breakfast café allows children to play while parents relax.
Top-notch location and noteworthy design, but could be better. The square blue exterior is distinctive, and the lobby is intriguing, with dragon carvings, Arabic-themed colours, and a café with a roof found on houses among far-flung Indonesian islands. The Premium Rooms feature an unusual bathroom, almost hidden behind doors and with no natural light. The décor is also fairly bland, with a grey-blue carpet and tiny table more for decoration than purpose, but the rooms are reasonably spacious. The newly-renovated Junior Suites are a bit garish, with a curved orange sofa and red floral chair. On the ground floor, the pool inevitably suffers from traffic noise and is overlooked by another hideous skeleton of another unfinished high-rise, but the design is agreeable and the decking shady. In the heart of one business district with numerous cafés hidden among hotels and offices, it’s conveniently along the TransJakarta bus route between the National Museum and Old City.
Modern, spacious, functional and convenient. This is one of several high-rise hotels facing the anarchic roundabout in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of office blocks, towering hotels and underground malls. The Superior Rooms are instantly likable: airy and spacious, they feature an entrance of mirrored cupboards, an adjoining lounge area with comfortable furniture and Indonesian crafts, and a long desk facing extensive windows. With a separate bedroom and lounge area, and bathroom the size of a normal bedroom, the Premier Executives are so large that the bed appears oddly short, while some one-bedroom suites also contain a kitchenette. Views from all rooms and suites are particularly fascinating of the bedlam below, the Welcome Monument or the distant Tanah Abang market. On the 5th floor, the pool is buffered to some degree from incessant traffic noise and surrounded by pleasant decking and tropical gardens but is surprisingly undersized.
Central, spacious, opulent and better than most. Among a cluster of sky-scraping hotels and office blocks, this has a style and charm absent from most multi-story hotels. The Deluxe Rooms are more spacious than expected, but the chequered carpets are a little too colorful. Adding to the appeal are the floral prints above the bed, lengthy glass-top desk, and full-length windows with extensive city views. The Junior Suites feature the same bright mustard floor coverings that don’t match the striped wallpaper, but they are pleasingly roomy and offer plenty of windows. The undersized pool on the 3rd floor is surrounded by tower blocks, affecting sunlight, privacy and views, but the gardens are pleasant and the breezes welcome. In upmarket Kuningan, with embassies and bistros all around, the streets are comparatively quiet and lined with rare patches of greenery, so it’s an uncommonly appealing area for walking.
Convenient, comfortable, chic, but a little impractical. With 2 comparatively low-rise wings, the Pullman is more distinctive than the other towering hotels alongside the frenetic roundabout in the ‘Golden Triangle’. With uncomfortable sofas, oversized vases and reception desks shaped like chests of drawers, the lobby is very trendy – and not particularly welcoming. The spacious Grand Deluxe Rooms feature a design that’s contemporary (e.g. an oval-shaped tub and dangling lampshades) but sometimes impractical (e.g. the artwork is curved and strange, and the desk is oblong, which affects its usefulness). The shimmering pool – with a kids’ splash area attached – is on the second floor of the smaller wing. It can’t escape traffic noise, or the towering office blocks alongside, but does provide some shade along ivy-smothered terraces. With malls spreading in every direction, and overpasses above the hideous traffic, the Pullman is along the TransJakarta bus route linking the National Museum and Old City.
Arty, family-friendly, well-appointed but a little garish. One of several high-rises huddled together in the upmarket Kuningan area, this is not of the same standard and style as its colonial namesake in Singapore. The décor, including the bathrooms, is integrated with works of renowned Indonesian artists, which can be admired across the hotel with an escort from the special Art Concierge. The standard Raffles Rooms are airy and large, with unexpected extras like a makeup desk, lounge area, and luggage alcove, but the walls lack colour. The suites are even roomier and certainly more colorful – perhaps, overly so! And the best city views are from inside the bathtub. All rooms have maximum floor-to-ceiling windows, although they may look directly into another high-rise hotel. Better than average for families, it boasts a children’s pool, decent playground, and indoor kids’ club. On the 14th floor, the pool is shady and surrounded by a jogging track and tennis courts.
Well-appointed, fab for families, but a little distant. Perfectly combining modern facilities with an Indonesian charm – e.g. a lobby of gamelan music players and corridors of wayang kulit puppets – the Shangri-La is instantly likable. The spacious and stylish Deluxe Rooms feature plenty of Indonesian art, a gorgeous carved desk, and full-length windows with views of the city, pool or stagnant canals on which the city was built. The massive pool on the ground floor is more reminiscent of a Bali resort but is predictably flanked by looming office blocks. With bridges, palms and lawns, the unexpectedly large gardens are an oasis, also enjoyed from the breakfast café alongside. And the younger ones would appreciate the unique Aqua Playground and uncommon tennis court. A tad isolated, with no shops or cafés within walking distance, it’s a short taxi trip to the many malls around the ‘Golden Triangle’.