When making plans for a family trip to Jakarta, most of the people I mentioned it to were puzzled as to why we had chosen the destination. If it weren’t for the fact that my sister had a 2 week school trip lined up and it was (kind of) midway between Manila and Sydney, we would have never thought about going there. It was never part of any “where-would-I-like-to-go-next” conversation. I had heard that it was just like Manila but not as friendly so not to expect much. So we didn’t. Aside from looking forward to seeing my sister, we weren’t expecting much at all.

We booked our hotel online after looking at some recommendations and decided on the Pullman Hotel in central Jakarta. It looked pretty in the pictures and was reasonably priced.  Since we had been told again and again not to expect much, we would have been happy with a clean room and working plumbing. The last time I booked online, I had high hopes for my Singapore hotel but was rather disappointed. So expectations were kept to a minimum.

I sent an email to the hotel asking about an airport shuttle and was told that they did not have that service available yet but offered to arrange a pick-up with a reputable taxi service. I was told to look for the counter upon exit of the terminal. We arrived at midnight along with a few other flights so understandably, the scene around the luggage carousels was a bit chaotic. We finally got out and as we approached the Silver Bird taxi stand, we were greeted by our names and big smiles. That was quite comforting in the chaos that surrounded.

We piled in and after about 45 minutes, pulled up by the Pullman Hotel and were greeted with warm welcomes and a lobby that looked like a modern art museum. Very cool. There were carefully yet quirkily placed sculptures, paintings and installation art in unexpected corners. Wowed by the lobby yet still not fully convinced, we headed up to the rooms and after a quick gander, we were sold. Absolutely sold. The rooms were not huge but so well designed in terms of space usage that we didn’t feel cramped at all. The theme was consistent with the lobby and it looked like a gallery space. Inside the closet were the requisite robes, safe and slippers but also a yoga mat and some weights. I later discovered the 24-hour yoga channel on the TV.

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Taking advantage of the free breakfast, we headed down to the restaurant and found it nice and spacious and full of good eats. Our server, Ria, was so charming, we missed seeing her on her day off. Even the background music was apropos (some Jill Scott and Erykah Badu!) and not too loud.

We later indulged in some spa services after a long day walking around town and discovered another nice little touch. Underneath the head area of the massage table was a little glass bowl filled with colorful marbles and guppies. It was nice to have something to look at while getting an oh-so-decadent hot stone massage.

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We were all quite sorry to leave as it had been such a pleasant stay. I filled out a survey form to let them know how impressed we were and quickly got a reply from the general manager with enough detail about my comments that made it clear that, at the very least, it wasn’t a computer-generated response.

I do look forward to staying in some of their other branches and wonder when and if they’ll open up in Manila.

They definitely get 20130312-071101.jpg20130312-071101.jpg20130312-071101.jpg20130312-071101.jpg20130312-071101.jpg and no, nothing was received in exchange for this glowing review 🙂