Checking In: The Langham, Jakarta

A sleek new hotel brings a touch of Anglophilia to the Indonesian capital.

Rooms at The Langham, Jakarta afford sweeping views of the city and the Sudirman Central Business District. (Photo: Joe Sabarto; all others courtesy of The Langham, Jakarta)

Dapperly dressed bellmen and a pink vintage Austin parked out front are among the first clues that there’s a nuanced Britishness afoot at The Langham, Jakarta. White-paneled rooms with faux fireplaces are another. Yet there’s absolutely nothing stuffy about this sleek addition to the city’s five-star hotel scene, which fuses nods to its parent brand’s English heritage — the flagship property is The Langham, London, a grand Victorian pile that dates to 1865 — with contemporary Southeast Asian opulence.

Rising 65 stories above the upscale District 8 complex in Jakarta’s Sudirman Central Business District, the 223-room hotel is a delight of visual surprises. The ground-floor arrival lobby is overlooked by an installation of 3,000 hand-blown crystal “butterflies” by Czech lighting designer Lasvit, which drew its inspiration from the biodiversity of Indonesia’s rain forests. Up on the 62nd floor — a 40-second trip via express elevator — the Sky Lobby makes for the city’s most dramatic check-in area: a bright, lofty art deco–informed space with brass-inlaid Calacatta marble underfoot, wrought-iron detailing, and sweeping views over the city. Interspersed across all levels are works by prominent Indonesian artists such as John Martono and Hanafi.

No less inviting are the guest rooms, whose residential feel — oak herringbone floors, leather headboards, marble mantelpieces topped with black-and-white photos and assorted objets — is accentuated by subdued colors and freestanding bathtubs. Ask for a west-facing room for the best views.

The living room of a 109-square-meter One Bedroom suite.

Inside the marble-clad bathroom of an Executive Cityscape room.

Left to right: Preparing a lamb shank at Tom’s by Tom Aikens; Tom Aikens in the kitchen of his namesake restaurant.

The double-height dining room at Tom’s by Tom Aikens.

Elsewhere, there are two swimming pools (including Jakarta’s highest indoor infinity pool), a Technogym-equipped fitness center, and an outpost of The Langham group’s in-house spa brand, Chuan, with a treatment menu focused on traditional Chinese medicine and a discreet men’s grooming salon. But perhaps the biggest drawing card (at least until the hotel’s rooftop bar, Artesian, opens later this year) is the two restaurants: Tom’s by Tom Aikens and Alice. The former, located off the lobby on the 62nd floor, is a handsome double-height space outfitted by New York–headquartered design firm AvroKO with auburn leather banquettes, blue wall paneling, and mosaic-tiled floors. The menu is by acclaimed English chef Tom Aikens and delivers modern British and European dishes like Scotch eggs, scallops with curried cauliflower, and extra-gooey sticky toffee pudding, all of it delicious; the house-aged beef, prepared on an open wood-fire grill, is a particular highlight. Downstairs, grand café–inspired Alice serves up Western comfort food (tartines, gourmet burgers, short-rib vol-au-vent) and an elegant afternoon tea that, among other petit treats, features scones made from the same time-honored recipe used at The Langham in London.

Doubles from US$230;

The main dining area at ground-floor restaurant Alice.

This article originally appeared in the June/August 2022 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Brit Personality”).

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