Jakarta Historical Buildings Find A New Tourism Life

Menteng district is considered as Jakarta’s poshest area. It was developed around 1910 as Batavia first garden’s city. The area was then populated by high rank officials and after the independence became the prestigious address to many embassies and Jakarta urban elite. Menteng has been declared in 1975 a cultural heritage area, thanks to some of the finest examples of Art Nouveau and New Indies Style, the local interpretation of Art Deco in Indonesia. 

Many of Menteng old buildings disappeared in the last 20 years, mostly transformed into neo-classical structures. However, there is now an increasing awareness to preserve some of Jakarta’s iconic buildings. In the last five years, some of these buildings have been reused for tourism purposes.

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It starts for example with the Bataviasche Kunstkring, Batavia Art Circle, a buiding achieved in 1914 in Art Nouveau style by Dutch architect P.A.J. Moojen. It was designed to be the cultural center of the fast developing Batavia. The Kunstkring crowned by its two towers is one of Menteng most famous landmark. It became in the fifties the Immigration Office of Central Jakarta before being sold in 1997 to the son of ex President Suharto.

The building was falling into disrepair until taking over by Tugu Hotels & Restaurants Group. It was reopened in April 2013 under the name the Tugu Kunstkring Paleis,combining fine dining and arts events. Private rooms can also be rent for prestigious events. All in an atmosphere whtich brings back the splendour of the emerging 20th century with antique furniture and art.

Just a few meters away, another New Indie Building has been turned this time into a deluxe five-star hotel. In June 2014, the Hermitage Hotel was opening its doors in the former Menteng Telefoongebouw , the district previous central telephone office, opened in 1923. The building with its distinctive art deco details, its marble floors and its mahogany sculpted stairs used to host the Directorate General of the Ministry of Culture after the independance and later a University.

The Hermitage offers 90 rooms on 8 floors, all being like small apartments with a private lounge and the bedroom itself. Exquisite antique furnitures, a spa and swimming pool on the roof, a terrace with a night bar offering one of Jakarta best panorama as well as three exquisite restaurants give to hotel guests the impression of being part of a by-gone area where contemporary art and amenities discreetly complement a more traditional Indonesian way of life. Possibly one of the best luxury hotel in Indonesia’s capital for the time being and a way to reposition Jakarta as a sophisticated Southeast Asian metropolis…