The impressive presence of The Alila Hotel rises like a phoenix from the bowels of old Jakarta. There is no doubt that it is an imposing statement of modern architecture set amongst the cacophonous splendour of a city discovering itself. The modern lines of the reception area and the simplistic clean ambiance are instantly welcoming. We understand that in the language of Sanskrit the word Alila means `surprise.` Having spent two wonderful nights in this oasis of tranquillity, we would say that the name is a perfectly apt description.
Surprise number one is the location. It is situated reasonably close to the airport and in close proximity to the main business area, making it an ideal location for the discerning and busy business traveller. It is near to the new Kemayoran Expo Centre and overlooks the Presidential Palace and Monas, the National Museum and an iconic part of Jakarta itself.
Surprise number two is the design of the hotel itself. It is a fusion of Asian tradition and modern day minimalistic elegance. It screams fine art, impressive features and soothing colours, making a relaxing and welcoming first impression.
Surprise number three is how well we were treated from the moment we emerged somewhat jetlagged from the trials and tribulations of a long haul flight and the manic Jakarta airport. We were greeted by a smiling chauffeur, a luxury limousine complete with soothing towels and refreshing cold drinks and a newspaper. We were whisked away to the hotel where the welcome drink and efficient check-in procedures quickly enabled us to brush away the traveller blues and settle into a relaxed and carefree mode that epitomizes the way of life here in Indonesia. To further submerge us into our relaxed state we took advantage of the lovely spa facilities and enjoyed a rejuvenating Balinese massage featuring the curative benefits of fresh, natural, high quality oils. We chose an oil named, tranquillity which summed up how we felt at the end of the experience. Throughout our stay at the Alila the staff were exceptionally helpful and polite and the service was impeccable.
Surprise number four is the quality and ambiance of the club suite that we were allocated. As you open the door you are assaulted by the modern elegance and overall stylish simplicity of the décor. The room was spacious and well proportioned with every modern amenity that anyone could wish for. It really oozed class, featuring a separate living area with a work desk large flat screen TV, ipod docking station, free WiFi, mini bar and a huge bed. The adjoining bathroom was amazing with its sunken bath which overlooks the swimming pool, rain shower and his and her sinks with luxury toiletries. The huge mirror, glass panelling and strategically placed plants give an aura of modern stylish elegance which makes the same statement as the hotel itself. As our room was a club suite we were afforded the extra luxury of enjoying the snacks and pre dinner cocktails available at the Executive Lounge on the 10th floor. Here it is possible to use the private meeting room for a business rendezvous.
Surprise number five is the quality and presentation of the food available at the hotel`s two restaurants, the Buzz and Shanghai Storm. The Executive Chef, Nengah Suradnya, has created fine dining at its very best and it is no exaggeration to say that we were `blown away` by the quality and variety of his culinary creations. At the onset of each fantastic course he enthusiastically painted a picture of the ingredients, textures and flavours of each dish making this a unique and very enjoyable experience. The Buzz Restaurant offers a fusion of modern Western and Indonesian cuisine in a romantic setting overlooking an enclosed illuminated garden featuring tropical plants. Here we enjoyed cured salmon with goats cheese on a bed of rocket generously drizzled with balsamic reduction. This was followed by a succulent and perfectly cooked barramundi fish fillet with roasted pumpkin ravioli and basil pesto. The meal was finished with a superbly rich hazelnut chocolate torte. Having so enjoyed this meal we didn`t feel that it would be possible to surpass the quality and tastes that we had on our first night. However our meal the following night at Shanghai Storm, a modern open kitchen Chinese restaurant, had the same `wow` factor that we enjoyed previously. It was a beautiful fusion of flavours and textures delicately and artistically served in a modern but intimate setting. Our first course was a superbly delicate crispy chicken with a wasabi mayonnaise dressing. This was followed by what I would consider to be the best Chinese dish I have ever tasted, king prawns served on a slice of melon with lime cream sauce and pilaf rice. The rice was a subtle fragrance of lemon grass and ginger and the sauce had a delicate sweetness which was a perfect accompaniment. To end this culinary delight we enjoyed a fresh mango pudding with glutinous rice. Both of these meals were superb examples of the chef`s talent and artistry and together with the impeccable service made this an unforgettable culinary adventure.
Our final surprise is the fact that, in our opinion, this is a 5 star experience at a 4 star cost. Everything about The Alila makes you feel nurtured, welcomed, relaxed and at peace with the world. The Alila wraps you in the sort of warmth, comfort and style that makes it a perfect destination for business and vacation travellers alike and is most definitely a hotel not to be missed!
The Alila Hotel Jakarta is a member of Design Hotels
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