Keraton, in the Javanese language, refers to a venue where royalty or a ruler resides. In other words, it’s a palace.
Upon entering the grand lobby of the Keraton at The Plaza in Jakarta, it is apparent that this is a Starwood’s Luxury Collection hotel worthy of the name.
“When we started building Keraton, keeping the palace in mind, everything had to be bigger. Every floor had to have a four-meter-high ceiling, every room had to be oversized, the location had to be unique,” said Klaus Woizik, general manager of Keraton.
The luxury hotel has an exuberant lobby adorned with a massive chandelier towering above the foyer, sleek, polished marble that gives a gloss to the premises and a large centerpiece. The ground floor almost looks like a labyrinth behind the sophisticated lobby, with cozy, colorful lounges and a bar that invites guests to lose themselves in the calmness.
Keraton’s contemporary design is given a touch of Indonesia with the intricate batik patterns around the hotel. SCDA Singapore and Burega Farnell’s interior design and architecture are complemented by the wooden art pieces of interior designer Hadiprana.
The modern interpretation of a traditional Indonesian palace runs throughout the 22-floor hotel. Located near the iconic Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in downtown Jakarta, standing right beside one of Indonesia’s most prestigious malls, Plaza Indonesia, Keraton offers 140 rooms with different designs on every few levels. Some are Javanese-inspired while others have decorations inspired by Borneo, Sumatra or Sulawesi.
Keraton also offers four lavish suites with the hotel’s own name, each around 140 square meters.
Living like royalty is nothing without the best food. On the seventh floor is Bengawan, a five-star restaurant that offers an admirable Sunday brunch. Bengawan boasts a selection of fresh delicacies from the sea: oysters, shrimp, crabs, all served cold.
You might also be tempted to feast on the succulent Nusa Dua Chicken and roast beef, but save room for the foie gras and lobster omelets. There is also an unbelievably diverse range of desserts. From Indonesia’s famous es cendol to red velvet cakes, meringues and strawberry choux, Bengawan has it all. And everything, including the desserts, is made in-house by local chefs.
Even though there’s a challenge in marketing new hotel like the Keraton, which doesn’t enjoy a lot of name recognition yet, Woizik said they were taking an understated approach.
“We didn’t do a grand opening, we literally opened the doors,” he said. “Word of mouth will happen and hopefully that will make you want to come back.”
What’s perhaps even more unusual is a hotel without a meeting space or ballroom. Keraton is separating itself from all the other hotels with ballrooms accommodating weddings day and night and meeting rooms, which usually create a commotion in the lobby and parking lot. Here, guests are transported to another world that is calm and rejuvenating.
Just as unique as its name is Keraton’s aim, which is not 100 percent occupancy, but to ensure that all guests enjoy their stay and leave absolutely satisfied. “We’re not trying to fill, we’re trying to aim for quality within our guests and service,” Woizik said. “We’re not taking any chances; we can guarantee each guest will be looked after.”
Besides the design, food and strategic location, Keraton is trying to separate itself with impeccable service that calls to mind the experience of staying in a palace. A smiling butler is always on hand to help guests the moment they enter the lobby. Around-the-clock service will add to the palatial experience, and servers attending each station during the Sunday brunch buffet promise a trouble-free dining experience.
Keraton says every single employee was handpicked to enhance the hotel’s facilities. “It really is service from the heart,” Woizik said.
All in all, Keraton promises a royal escape in the city.