Property: Keraton at the Plaza, Jakarta – A Luxury Collection Hotel
SPG Category: 5
Dates(s): 24 September, 2014 – 26 September, 2014
Room booked: Executive Grand Deluxe
Room received: Junior Suite
Award stay: No
I had the pleasure to stay at the Keraton at the Plaza hotel for two nights while I was visiting Jakarta for the first time recently. Located in the same complex as the well known luxury shopping mall, Plaza Indonesia, the Keraton hotel is perfectly situated on the “it” street, Thamrin. Greeted by unprecedented professionalism from all staff, I highly enjoyed my stay in the Keraton’s Junior Suite, although I did experience one key problem.
Keraton at the Plaza, Jakarta Hotel Experience Summary
- Hotel and room quality was excellent.
- The service from the staff was incredibly formal and highly professional in all my interactions.
- SPG Platinum benefits are excellent: 500 Starpoints/breakfast included (if breakfast is not included as a part of your booking, I would probably take the breakfast over the Starpoints. As breakfast was included in the booking for me, I received the Starpoints by default), “happy hour” goes for 5 hours and includes dinner, free alcoholic cocktails as well as beer and wine provided, non-alcoholic beverages are free from the mini-bar and are restocked every day, free wifi in every room — and they provided a dedicate router to ensure full bars.
- Check out any time (I checked out at 7 p.m. on my day of leaving).
- Hotel is connected to Plaza Indonesia.
- You are given the WhatsApp and BlackBerry Messenger number of the butler for quick and easy communication and requests.
Hotel/Room Quality: 4/5
Simply put: the appearance of the hotel is beautiful. The entrance and lobby area is very private and not directly visible to the street. To enter, you must pass through the gates in a vehicle or use the entrance attached to the west of Plaza Indonesia.The Keraton at the Plaza hotel’s rooms are absolutely incredible and about as luxury as they get.
I arrived at the hotel around 11 a.m., early than I had anticipated and earlier than I indicated on my pre-check in form they emailed me a few days prior to my stay. I was given the opportunity to upgrade to the Junior Suite due to my SPG Platinum status, however, I had to wait a few hours for one to become available. Alternately they gave me the option to take the Executive Grand Deluxe room immediately. I opted to wait for the upgrade and returned a few hours later to find everything in order.
Check in here is an interesting process — instead of checking you in at the lobby as per usual, a butler accompanies you up to your room and finalizes all the details there. Interestingly, there is no check-out time at the Keraton at the Plaza; instead, you simply tell them what time you estimate you will be checking out and they will accommodate you. I stayed there till about 7 p.m. on my check-out day! There was also a welcome gift of sliced fruit waiting for me in the suite, as well as a hand written letter from the butler welcoming me to the Keraton, as well as a letter from Giles Selves, the General Manager, outlining the benefits and amenities the hotel provides.
I just loved the personal touches in my room and the constant availability of the butler. Prior to my arrival, I received an email requesting some information from me. Information such as my favorite music, favorite food and beverage, etc. were requested. As a fan of iced lemon tea, it seems as if they had prepared the drink for my arrival!
I got much enjoyment out of the bathroom toilet’s American Standard sophisticated amenity.
The rooms, regardless of class, are incredible. Even the base Grand Deluxe room is 61 square meters — larger than a lot of other hotels premium rooms and even some suites! All rooms have a 4-metre high ceiling, free wifi, iPod connectivity, two TVs, and huge bathtubs featuring both rain showers and bathtubs.
Sadly, this hotel does not have a private lounge and instead breakfast, evening cocktails and canapes are served in the Bengawan restaurant. This area is a little loud and open for my liking, but nonetheless the decor is rather nice and the food is excellent.
As a part of all the executive rooms, not only do you get complimentary tea, coffee and soft drinks in your room from your mini bar and also in Bengawan, but you also get complimentary evening alcoholic drinks and a la carte menu at Bengawan from 5 p.m. — and the a la carte menu is impressive! You should easily eat the “canapes” here and skip dinner entirely.
Sadly, the pool was way too cold to swim in on the two occasions we went down for a swim. This has been a common issue identified on both TripAdvisor and FlyerTalk, so I’m surprised the General Manager, Giles Selves, hasn’t attempted to remediate this. I didn’t see anyone swim in the pool for the duration of my stay, and after feeling the water temperature for myself, I can’t say I’m surprised.
Nonetheless, the guest infinity pool looked amazing:
As the Keraton also provides serviced apartment from the same building, a view of the apartment pool was observable from the Bengawan restaurant. As it was outdoors, I would hope this pool was warmer.
Also I think it’s important to just briefly mention the immaculate attention to detail I experienced at the Keraton. All of the paper-based stationery in my room had my name printed on it! Envelopes, notepads and even little guest in residence business cards had had my name printed on there. Wow!
There were three main disappointments I experienced when staying at the Keraton at the Plaza, Jakarta. While these were all inconvenient, I rank them as a low disappointment and thus they only marginally impact my overall thoughts of the hotel.
- I had to move rooms after the first night due to being woken up at 04:30 in the morning from noise caused by one or more of the local mosques. I recommend if you’re a light sleeper or enjoy noise privacy then request a room facing Thamrin. While this might not seem logical, you actually do not hear any road noise, but facing the other way you most definitely hear mosque noises.
- The pool did not seem heated, and because it was undercover seemed to generate absolutely no warmth at all. The pool was far too cold to swim in both times I attempted, and even though I have read a number of complaints about the cold pool temperature online, it seems like this has not been remediated by hotel staff.
- The cold water tap on the bath of the second Junior Suite I stayed at did not work. This meant a pretty hot bath! I let my butler know about this and she asked if someone from the “engineering team” (ha ha) could come up to take a look at it immediately. As I had already had the bath, and it was the final night of my stay, I told her not to worry about it. When I checked out, there was another apology about the tap not working, which I was pleased with, as it insinuated the word had gotten out.
As a hotel, I think the Keraton at the Plaza is a magnificent feat which is excelling in all areas. The Keraton is truly deserving to be a part of the Luxury Collection, and is most definitely one of Jakarta’s best kept secrets — a luxury hotel in a prime area that doesn’t call attention to itself. Quiet luxury. Subtle elegance. Premium touches. All the facilities are first class. I highly recommend a night here if you find yourself in Jakarta.
2015-05 update: I returned to the Keraton at the Plaza a little less than a year after my first stay. While my stay was generally a positive experience, similar to what was described in this review from 2014, there was an issue with the complimentary local car transfers. Please note that the Keraton has rebranded their room names since this original review was written and thus the naming convention in this review does not reflect the current naming convention. However, there have been no physical changes to the rooms.
With regards to the issue with the complimentary local car transfers, I wrote an email to Giles, the general manager of the property. For transparency, the email is included below without additional comment.
Firstly, apologies for any issues with this email as I’m using my phone to contact you, and I would additionally like to thank you for your email to welcome me back to the Keraton on the day of my arrival.
A few months ago, what appears to be prior to your room name changes, I booked a Junior Suite and associated amenities on the SPG site. A few weeks prior to my stay I checked the SPG app to find my booking had been changed to an “Executive Room”. Surprised, especially considering the “room” terminology is usually considered to be a level below a “suite”, I checked the Keraton site to confirm my room choice, as I thought I may have mistakenly booked the wrong room type. Viewing the rooms on the site, I identified that the room I booked correlated with what now is deemed as an “Executive Room” and assumed the Keraton had merely rebranded its room names.
As my stay approached, I reviewed the Keraton site again to confirm the room amenities associated with the room type I was under the reasonable belief I had booked and was entitled to, which was now referred to as the “Executive Room” — both on the Keraton public site, as well as in the SPG app under my booking details.
When I arrived at the property, the check-in assistant told me I had been “upgraded”, despite being given the same room type that I had actually booked. This is not uncommon occurrence as an SPG Platinum member when booking suites, as the assistant sees the suite or superior room type and assumes it is an upgrade, so I didn’t correct her or clarify what the upgrade was.
From here, the rest of my stay was a pleasant one, until today, the day of my check out, when I wanted to utilize the complimentary 10km radius car service to take me to my firm’s Jakartan office briefly. I was told by Aaron and the assistant manager (whose name eludes me — Mina?) that the complimentary car service is not available to me as I had booked a Grand Deluxe room and was upgraded to the Executive Room only and thus not eligible for the associated benefits of the Executive Room.
There are two problems with this:
– I did not book a Grand Deluxe room. I booked a Junior Suite, which now appears to be considered an Executive Room; and
– Even if I had booked this lower room type, as per SPG terms of upgrading an SPG Platinum member to a higher room class, “any and all amenities that are mentioned in any guest-facing information associated with that room type” are eligible to the SPG Platinum guest.
This would mean to a reasonable person, in both circumstances mentioned above, I should be provided access to any and all amenities associated with the Executive Room, including a complimentary car trip.
Usually I would not squabble over something so rudimentary, as I ended up paying the equivalent of $3 U.S. there and back for a taxi from the street. I am, however, irked that I was denied a service that was insinuated I was eligible to receive and one that I reasonably assumed to be included in my stay having booked a Junior Suite. The extent to which your staff attempted to avoid providing a service that, I still feel, should be included as a part of my stay, and their poor knowledge management to the degree that they were not even aware of what room type I had booked (and that I had to email them a personal copy of my booking confirmation for them to acknowledge that I had indeed not booked a Grand Deluxe room), makes me feel like additional diligence to transparency of room amenities and a consideration to adequate communication of services offered to guests is required.
Giles, as you may or may not be aware, I returned to Jakarta exclusively for the reason to stay at the Keraton after my above expectation stay late last year. This incident and the respective management of it has tarnished the Keraton’s good reputation with me and I will reconsider the merits of staying at the Keraton on future trips to Jakarta.
Additionally, here are some bonus photos from my May 2015 trip to the Keraton at the Plaza. It should be noted that I returned to Jakarta specifically to stay at the Keraton again, after the incredible trip I had last time.