Winds of change are sweeping through this hotel, which opened in 2015 and is now looking to cater to a more premium travel market
The Hermitage, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel is located in Menteng, an elite neighbourhood in Jakarta’s city centre, and a short drive to the financial district, government offices and entertainment areas. This district is historically rich too, as it used to house the upper-middle-class Indo-Dutch community in the 1910s and was where the first garden suburb was sited in colonial Batavia.
The hotel itself is a heritage building; in 1923 it served as the Dutch colonial telecommunication centre.
The hotel retains the Art Deco style of the era, and the century-old main building now contains the lobby, main restaurant and lounge. A nine-storey building in rear, where the guestrooms are, was built to match the architectural and interior style of the main building.
I spent my days in the Junior Suite, a 60m2 space with a separate living area and bedroom. Standing between the bedroom and bathroom was a bath. Overall, the room was cosy, and I enjoyed sitting on the balcony with a cup of tea in the morning while taking in views and sounds of the neighbourhood – particularly of vendors pushing their carts along the street selling fruits, vegetables and food.
My only complaint is that the water in the shower took a while to heat up.
Dining experiences seem to play a big part in the hotel’s effort to elevate its position to the nest level. The main restaurant, L’Avenue, has been rebranded as the 1928 Restaurant, serving colonial, Peranakan, and Indonesian/pan-Asian cuisines.
Some of the dishes, such as bruine bonen soep (red bean soup), macaroni schotel (macaroni and cheese) and Dutch steak reminded me of my grandmother and her wonderful dishes that once appeared on her dining table. Meanwhile, pindang bandeng (milkfish braised in sweet soy and tamarind sauces) brought me back to my mom’s kitchen.
1928 Restaurant has a new Sunday Brunch, an all-you-can-eat experience featuring generous options and servings of appetisers, mains and desserts as well as a la minute dishes prepared by executive chef Ferdian Tobing. The seafood basket was fresh, the sirloin steak melted in my mouth, and the pasta was creamy.
But the best meal I had during my weekend stay was the ‘taste-test’ dinner that the executive chef prepared for a group of invited guests. Under the creative hands of the chef, favourite Indonesian street foods, like otak-otak (fish cake), mie ayam jamur (chicken and mushroom noodle) and semur daging (beef stew), transformed into upscaled dishes through the use of premium ingredients and stunning presentation. For example, otak-otak was topped with cavier, while wagyu beef and truffle were used instead of beef shank and button mushrooms in the making of the noodle dish.
The nine-course dinner was presented in petite portions. While their appearance were unusual, my taste buds recognised them immediately.
The hotel offers experiential activities for guests, such as museum and art
gallery visits, Menteng Historical Guided Walk, and golf tour.
Currently, club benefits are offered to all guests, and perks include daily breakfast for two, Guardian Service (the hotel’s butler service), and all-day coffee and tea which guests can also order to their rooms. Complimentary wine, beer, cocktails and an F&B club menu are available at the club lounge between 18.00 and 20.00. Business services and turn-down gifts every evening are also part of the guest service.
Two days before my arrival, I received a WhatsApp message from my designated guardian, Yohanes, asking for my arrival schedule and offering pre-arrival support. Upon my arrival, I deposited my bag at the hotel’s concierge and Yohanes sent me a message soon after to acknowledge receipt and that it would be sent to my room.
The Guardian Service is new, and aims to help guests handle all in-house activities and hospitality needs.
I appreciate my guardian’s quick and professional responses to all my requests as well as reminders for my upcoming activities. Although most communication was done through text messages, it is good to know I was not talking to a machine.
This is a hotel that makes me feel at home away from home.
Number of rooms: 90
Tel: +62 21 31926888