Bedecked with the art of seven rising Indonesian artists, ArtOtel Jakarta-Thamrin (Jalan Sunda no. 3; 62-21/3192-5888; doubles from US$81) is breathing new creative life into the Thamrin neighborhood, revamping its reputation as a grimier part of town. Featuring an exterior by Jakarta-born-and-bred graffiti artist Darbotz, the result of three weeks’ work dangling from a gondola, the building now features a dramatic facade with the artist’s signature squid design. Each of the hotel’s six guest floors features a different artist, including Oky Rey Montha’s Tim Burton-esque paintings and Zaky Arifin’s precise chalk designs. The hotel’s 24-hour ROCA—Restaurant of Contemporary Art—serves up modern comfort food in an area whose walls and ceilings display whimsical paintings by Eddie Hara. Much anticipated is the hotel’s rooftop bar, which will offer views of the low-rise downtown district.
In the old-money enclave of Menteng, home to President Obama’s elementary school, a Dutch telecommunications office dating back to 1923 has been transformed into The Hermitage (Jl. Cilacap no. 1; 62-21/3192-6888; doubles from US$240). The hotel’s 90 colonial-style rooms and suites feature touches such as handmade batik wall art, while the foyer sports an antique vase plucked from a keraton (sultan’s palace) in Cirebon. The dining room here, L’Avenue, is worth the trip alone for chef Guillermo Varela Mata’s haute French-Indonesian fare, which is matched with an exceptional wine list. With stints at Spain’s El Bulli and the St. Regis Mardavall, Mata crafts dishes such as house-smoked Tasmanian salmon with snake fruit and Javanese mussels à la Provençale. The massive maps in the gift shop and check-in area give hints for continuing a historic jaunt through the city.
Inspired by a lifetime of travel, owner and creative mastermind Ruben Kosenda’s wanderlust has manifested itself as the 60-room, art-centric Kosenda Hotel (Jl. KH Wahid Hasyim no. 127; 62-21/3193-6868; doubles from US$96). Kosenda himself collaborated with local architecture firm Studio TonTon to create the facade’s eye-catching diamond-shaped recesses (inspired by ketupat, or woven palm-leaf rice wrappers) as well as with urban artist Sanchia T. Hamidjaja on her tongue-in-cheek Jakarta wall mural in Waha Kitchen, a Peranakan restaurant serving exceptional laksa curries. Jakarta-based designers Domisilium Studios outfitted the interiors with bold hounds tooth upholstery juxtaposed with Indonesian textiles and bespoke wood blocks jutting from hallways. Rooms build upon the hotel’s aesthetic with patterned headboards, burnt orange duvets, and custom-made mid-century-modern furniture. The hotel’s rooftop lounge, Awan, is another plus, with a canopied bar and plant boxes filled with tropical foliage. —Rachel Will