Strategically located in the upscale neighbourhood of Kebayoran Baru, The Dharmawangsa is an atmospheric hotel that blends Javanese architecture of the 1920s and the aesthetics of the 14th-century Majapahit Empire, which ushered in a golden age for Java. Some of the hotel’s decorative elements include carved artworks, ethnic textiles and the emblem of Surya Majapahit, a motif once used throughout Indonesia to reflect the progress of the sun across the sky. Each of the hotel’s rooms and suites comes with a 24-hour butler service, while other amenities include three restaurants, a cognac lounge, a wine cellar, two swimming pools and a wellness centre.
Whether you are in the market for a unique memento or just want to browse, Bartele Gallery’s collection of antique maps, prints and photographs is nothing short of fascinating. The gallery stocks period pieces from Indonesia’s colonial era, as well as objects from across the rest of Asia, Africa and Oceania – some of which are over 500 years old. The range of prints on offer includes antique plans of Batavia (present-day Jakarta), vintage maritime posters and one-off botany prints. All maps and prints are sold with a certificate of authenticity.
Named after a traditional Indian system of medicine, L’Ayurveda spa heals the mind, body and soul with tailor-made therapies that get to the root of emotional and physical discomfort. Some of the more popular treatments on offer include the Chakra Healing Massage to unblock the energy centres in the body; the Kati Basti to treat lower back stiffness and pain; and the Shirodhara Oil Massage, which involves dripping a stream of warm oil onto the forehead (where the third eye is purportedly located). It also offers more unusual services such as tarot readings and crystal therapy.
Divided into four sections – a main restaurant, a whisky bar, a wine bar and a VIP zone – GIA serves Italian fare amid elegant surroundings that embody a 1950s Italian aesthetic (think overhanging light fixtures, patterned stone floors and dividing glass screens). The restaurant’s menu encompasses all-time favourites and refined adaptations of classic dishes: opt for a pizza or a pasta or enjoy one of the venue’s more imaginative main courses such as branzino all’acqua pazza (grilled Bali sea bass with heirloom tomatoes, capers, olives, white wine and oregano).
From shaves and trims to modern and classic cuts, Chief Barbershop’s grooming services are serious business. The company, which now has four branches across Jakarta, only employs barbers from Garut, a town in West Java renowned for its highly skilled snippers and shavers. Chief Barbershop also offers its own brand of hair care and beard care products, as well a large range of notable pomades from around the world. Its Kemang location features a minimalist coffee shop, Chief Coffee & Roastery, which doubles as an art space.
Named after a rare coffee bean variety, which was brought to Indonesia from Liberia by the Dutch, Liberica has spread far and wide across Jakarta since it first opened its doors in 2011. It specialises in 100% single-origin and blended Indonesian coffee. Select a classic beverage, such as an espresso or a piccolo latte, processed in a state-of-the-art Italian coffee machine, or opt for a manual brew made using an AeroPress, a syphon or a Chemex. Liberica also serves house specials including the hot Baileys tiramisu latte; iced crème brûlée coffee; and salted caramel ice blend, as well as savouries and desserts.
Martha Tilaar spas are a well-known Jakarta institution. The salon follows the Javanese tradition of Rupasampat Wahyabiantara, a philosophy that views outer and inner beauty as interconnected. As such, many of Martha Tilaar’s indulgent treatments are based on established Indonesian wisdom and healing practices. The spa’s signature treatments include the Batimung Body Treatment from Kalimantan that uses steam and herbs to remove toxins from the body, as well as the Balinese Coconut Body Treatment to promote blood circulation and moisturise the skin.
Bateeq’s collections blend edgy designs with Indonesia’s most beloved cultural icon – batik. Made using wax and coloured dyes, the traditional textile has seen a revival since being added to Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in 2009. The label’s ready-to-wear collections (which include womenswear, menswear and clothes for kids) combine flattering designs, innovative motifs and bright colours to bring originality to the centuries-old craft. The store offers a customisation and adjustment service to ensure that each garment is a perfect fit.
Singapore Airlines flies to Jakarta nine times daily. To book a flight, visit singaporeair.com
This article was originally published in the April 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine