Monday, October 27, 2008


Jakarta is such a vibrant city. It pulses. It shocks. It irritates. It seduces.
I've been there countless of times, yet each time, it reveals something new about itself.
As usual, the golf is excellent. I took my friends to Pantai Indah Kapok near the airport. The fairways were pristine, the rough acceptable and the greens - fast.
The caddies were friendly and sweet and good at the jobs.
I made a few pars and a bunch of triples and even the good quadruple. So what, I enjoyed the game and the weather - nice and cool.
On Friday night, I went to an Indonesian film tycoon's Divali Party at the Ritz Carlton Pacific Place. It was like a Bollywood movie do - over a thousand guests, most dressed in their dressed to kill mode. The ballroom and the foyer were packed with people diving into the great food being served, not to mention the open bar with Champagne and other drinks flowing freely.

The local TV film actors and actresses were there in full force. Each table was named after a TV drama he produced - and trust me, he has produced hundreds. I even met (well I saw her from afar) my favourite Indonesia horror actress Julie Estelle who made guys go gaga in her movie Kuntilanak.
However, the crowd was too overwhelming and I was too tired after the day's golf that around 11pm I left. I zonked out the minute I hit my bed.
Now, hotels in Jakarta are world class. There's the Four Seasons, Ritz, Kempinksi, Meridien, Alila and so many others. They are US$100 plus plus per night minimum. I have no qualms nor complains about these hotels. They are good and nice and expensive.
And at times, full.
So where did I stay this time?
At a hotel in Menteng called Formule 1, managed by Accor Hotels.
This is a no frills hotel. A bit better than Tune Air Hotels and something similar to Singapore's Hang Out Hotel in Mt Emily.

You have a room, a double bed, a shower and toilet, cable TV and aircon. What more do you need? It's clean and safe and comfortable. And it's situated only five minutes from Plaza Indonesia and Seibu.
It has no F&B outlets on its own, but in the same building, on the ground floor, there's a great Italian restaurant, Starbucks, a Lebanese restaurant and a nice cafe called OhLala.
Facing the hotel across the road, is a nasi padang restaurant Natrabu, a Sunda restaurant called Senayan, a Thai restaurant called Tam Nak Thai, a couple of bakeries and a launderette. A 24-hr pharmacy is two minutes walk away.
So what else would you want?
How much did I pay for a night's sleep here? Rupiah 314,000 nett. How much is that? About RM110 per night! In Jakarta it's a steal!
So, you see, Jakarta once again surprised me. Wonder what else it has in store for me the next time I visit it.

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