Itâ€™s been a few years since Jakarta got its last new big-name luxury hotel, butÂ the dry spell has ended thanks to the openings of the Fairmont and Rafflesâ€”sisterÂ properties that each have a look of their own.
Overlooking the 18-hole Senayan National Golf Club on one side and the park-like Gelora Bung Karno sports complex on the other, the Fairmont is one of those rare Jakarta high-rises with views of greenery. Inside, the hotel is Japanese-informed with tastefully sparse decor, and while the 380 rooms and 108 apartment-style Sky Suites sport Fairmontâ€™s polished, if predictable, style of plainclothes luxury, the 10 dining venues will contribute a measure of glitz once theyâ€™re all open by the end of August. Among them will be an outpost of New Yorkâ€™s Cotton Club and the top-level K22 Bar & Lounge and View, which respectively promise DJ-hosted nightlife and one of the best new restaurants in the region. For daylight diversions, thereâ€™s a 1,000-square-meter spa, the neighboring Plaza Senayan mall (connected to the hotel by an underground tunnel), and an elevated outdoor pool with, of course, great views (Jl. Asia Afrika No.8; 62-21/2970-3333; Fairmont Jakarta; doubles from US$375).
Seven years in the making, Raffles finally opened mid-March in the Kuningan area. With three restaurants and 173 roomsâ€”which even at entry level have separate living areas and butler serviceâ€”itâ€™s less than half of Fairmontâ€™s size. And the look? Tremendous. The owner, famed Indonesian architect and art maven Dr. Ir. Ciputra, created the hotel as a tribute to his favorite painter, the late Hendra Gunawan, and while the artistâ€™s actual works reside in the Ciputra Artpreneur museum next door, the hotelâ€™s design extensively ties back to Guna-wanâ€™s deeply emotive narratives and colors, from the golden chairs and the etched elevator doors to the lobbyâ€™s huge mosaic mural. The exceptions are the 14th-floor pool terrace, with its gardens and draped cabanas; the spa; and the colonial-style Writers Bar, a nod to the original Raffles in Singapore (Jl. Prof. Dr. Satrio No.3-5; 62-21/2988-0888; Raffles Jakarta; doubles from US$375).
This article originally appeared in theÂ April/MayÂ print issue of DestinAsian magazine (â€śDouble Debutâ€ť)