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The outdoor pool at The Dharmawangsa Jakarta
The Dharmawangsa Jakarta

Jakarta's Urban Sanctuary

By Hideaway Report Editor

June 18, 2018

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Unlike Southeast Asian capitals such as Bangkok and Singapore, Jakarta attracts relatively few foreign visitors. A sprawling metropolis, with an expanding population of more than 10 million people, it is primarily a political and business center. Rapid growth has led to urban problems that range from traffic gridlock to air pollution. The city’s appeal is also not enhanced by its tropical monsoon climate, which results in an extended rainy season from October to May. However, Jakarta is a gateway to Bali, Lombok and the other islands of the archipelago, as well as to Yogyakarta, the city in central Java close to the stupendous ninth-century Buddhist temple complex of Borobudur, the country’s most famous and popular attraction.

The Dharmawangsa Jakarta

Unlike Southeast Asian capitals such as Bangkok and Singapore, Jakarta attracts relatively few foreign visitors. A sprawling metropolis, with an expanding population of more than 10 million people, it is primarily a political and business center. Rapid growth has led to urban problems that range from traffic gridlock to air pollution. The city’s appeal is also not enhanced by its tropical monsoon climate, which results in an extended rainy season from October to May. However, Jakarta is a gateway to Bali, Lombok and the other islands of the archipelago, as well as to Yogyakarta, the city in central Java close to the stupendous ninth-century Buddhist temple complex of Borobudur, the country’s most famous and popular attraction.

The Dharmawangsa Jakarta

The lobby at The Dharmawangsa Jakarta Photo by Hideaway Report editor

Currently, there is no recommendable five-star hotel at, or near, Jakarta International Airport, so even travelers in transit may find themselves obliged to spend a night in the city center, as we did. Many of the leading international hotel brands — Mandarin Oriental, Shangri-La, Four Seasons, Fairmont — have properties in Jakarta, but we opted to spend a night at the 99-room The Dharmawangsa Jakarta (named for an 11th-century military hero), set on a leafy 10-acre site in the district of Kebayoran Baru, an affluent residential area that was the last in the city to be developed by the Dutch colonial administration.

The pool at The Dharmawangsa Jakarta The Dharmawangsa Jakarta

Although the hotel is located only 20 miles from the airport, the midafternoon transfer lasted nearly two hours. (An early-morning return trip took less than 45 minutes.) Aside from its verdant setting, the most obvious virtue of The Dharmawangsa is that it has a strong sense of place, with architecture and public areas inspired by classic Javanese art and culture. On arrival, our reception was efficient and ceremonious without being stiff.

The library at The Dharmawangsa Jakarta, Indonesia The Dharmawangsa Jakarta

We were escorted to our 1,150-square-foot Dharmawangsa Suite, which provided an entirely separate living room with a dining table and sofa, a spacious bedroom, a lavish marble bath and a large private terrace overlooking the pool. A subdued color palette, tropical hardwood furniture and refined Indonesian textiles all helped to create a serene and relaxing environment. Seconds after the arrival of our luggage, our formally attired private butler appeared with a tray of complimentary tea and petits fours and an offer to help us unpack.

Amenities at the hotel include two excellent restaurants: Sriwijaya for a marriage of Indonesian dishes and French technique and Sekitei for classic Japanese cuisine. An indoor pool and a spa are available to hotel guests at the adjoining Bimasena Club. Overall, The Dharmawangsa is an oasis of calm and tradition and a delightful antidote to Jakarta’s concrete sprawl.

- Hotel at a Glance -

The Dharmawangsa Jakarta    92Andrew Harper Bird

Like

Verdant grounds; exceptionally comfortable accommodations; the classic Javanese interior design.

Dislike

Fighting through Jakarta’s appalling traffic to get there.

Good to Know

The 24-hour butler service functions extremely well and greatly enhances the pleasure of a stay.


Rates: Executive Room, $210; Dharmawangsa Suite, $330
Address: Jalan Brawijaya Raya No. 26, Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta
Telephone: (62) 21-725-8181

View The Dharmawangsa Jakarta Listing

Editor Photo Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who they are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.

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