Review: The Hermitage, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia

In this review, we will stay at The Hermitage, a Tribute Portfolio hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia.

For my two-night-stay in Jakarta I decided to splurge a little bit and book a hotel above my usual budget for some luxury and quietness in this overcrowded, chaotic city. I am generally not a fan of most of the big hotel chains as most of their hotels are rather soulless, with hotel interiors being interchangeable whether are in Newark or in Burma. That said, I do love a bit of luxury (who doesn’t!) and I simply adore hotels which have a bit of historical or local charm. I do not mind paying a bit more for for such hotels if they are within my budget. And while in Jakarta you can easily get a good, centrally located hotel for 40-50 EUR, I decided to spend a bit more and stay at the Hermitage. In the end I booked a standard room with kingsize bed at the Hermitage for 140 EUR/night, with breakfast being included in the rate.

The Jakarta Hermitage is a so-called Tribute Portfolio Hotel, which is a collection of independent upscale hotels within the Marriott group portfolio of brands. What makes the Jakarta Hermitage unique is its history. The hotel consists of an older Dutch colonial building and a modern annexe. Back in the days when Indonesia was a Dutch colony, the building used to be a PTT (post and telegraph) office located in the posh Menteng neighbourhood known for its old colonial villas. If you want a luxury hotel with a bit of historical and local flavour, this clearly is the hotel to seek out in Jakarta. But is the hotel as good as it sounds on paper and does it live up to its reputation? Let’s find out!

Arriving at the Hermitage

Due to the madness of Jakarta traffic and the inability of my taxi driver to find the hotel, it took me almost two hours to reach the Hermitage. When I finally arrived, I got my first taste of the astonishing service levels at this hotel. Even though friendliness and a smile is the norm in Indonesia, I found the staff at the Hermitage really exceptional from the start. A bellboy brought my trolley from the front entrance to the wonderful reception area, where I was swiftly checked-in.

The same bellboy – who during my entire stay had a constant smile on his face, remembered my first name, and would often inquire how I liked my time in the hotel and if there was anything they could do for me – then escorted me to my room. The historical hallways, large staircases and corridors and all the wonderful paintings and decorations on the wall really made me feel like walking back a century in time.

Hermitage lobby
A giant colonial map of the Menteng area of Jakarta in the lobby of the Hermitage hotel. ©Paliparan
hermitage stairs
A staircase at the Hermitage hotel. There are however modern elevators, too. ©Paliparan
hermitage corridor
A corridor in the Hermitage hotel. ©Paliparan

The hotel room

Even though I booked the cheapest room available, it did not disappoint at all. My standard room had a large kingsize bed, tons of storage space and a huge bathroom with walk-in shower. I also appreciated the tea and coffee making facilities in the room as well as a few complimentary bottles of water, which could be replenished upon request. The air conditioning worked like a charm, which is something which comes in handy in Indonesia. I managed to have two perfect nights of sleep in the comfortable bed, so I really cannot complain about anything at all when it comes to the room itself.

standard room Hermitage
My standard room at the Hermitage Jakarta with kingsize bed. ©Paliparan
hermitage bathroom
The large bathroom with walk-in shower. ©Paliparan
hermitage storage space
The standard room had plenty of closets and storage space for luggage and clothes. ©Paliparan
Hermitage seating corner
A small seating corner in my hotel room. ©Paliparan

The swimming pool

After unpacking a bit of my luggage and changing into swimming attire, I headed to the rooftop swimming pool and bar for a refreshing dip to recuperate from my long flight into Jakarta. The pool itself is decently sized and has a few loungers with umbrellas next to it. At not a single time where there more than two or three or so other guests making use of the pool, making it a lovely place to relax. For those who feel the need to do some exercise while on holiday, there was also a large fitness room next to the pool which seemed to be well-equipped.

pool hermitage jakarta
The pool area and pool bar of the Hermitage. ©Paliparan
hermitage swimming pool jakarta
There were never more than two or three other people in the pool, making it easy to secure a lounger and to relax for a while. ©Paliparan
hermitage pool
The Hermitage swimming pool as seen from the rooftop deck. ©Paliparan

La Vue pool and rooftop bar

Of course, what I needed perhaps more than a refreshing swim was a cold beer, having spent the previous day on Saudi Arabian Airlines flights without any alcohol available.

hermitage pool bar
The lovely pool bar at the Hermitage hotel in Jakarta. ©Paliparan
hermitage beer
Enjoying my first ever Indonesian Bintang beer at the Hermitage pool. ©Paliparan

The ‘La Vue’ pool bar also served the rooftop deck one level up from the pool area. The rooftop deck had some cosy seating bays with couches and sofas as well as some bar stools along the rooftop railing. Unlike the pool, this was a popular area of the hotel. Whenever I went up to the rooftop deck, at least 50 percent of the seats seemed to be occupied, with occasionally even some tables having ‘reserved’ signs on it. Especially if you plan to have a good table at sunset it pays off to reserve in advance. That said, there were always some seats available whenever I checked, so even if you feel like going up to the rooftop spontaneously, you will have no problem getting seated.

hermitage rooftop deck
The rooftop deck of the Hermitage hotel overlooking the Jakarta skyline. ©Paliparan

La Vue has a large cocktail menu as well as some small bites. On recommendation of the staff I ordered their in-house speciality, a lemon and tequila flavoured cocktail. It was indeed very good and refreshing and did pack quite some punch. I stayed for a bit to watch the sunset, although Jakarta sunsets aren’t really as spectacular as elsewhere due to the immense amount of smog and pollution in the city. That said, views of the Jakarta skyline were great.

hermitage cocktail
La Vue’s in-house speciality, a lemon and tequila flavoured cocktail, which was beautifully presented and absolutely refreshing. ©Paliparan
hermitage sunset jakarta
Sunset view from the rooftop bar of the Hermitage. ©Paliparan

Hermitage restaurants and food

The Hermitage has several restaurants and cafes where you can get a drink, bite or full meal. Besides the La Vue rooftop bar these are the Courtyard Café, L’Avenue Restaurant and the Hermitage Lounge, all located on the ground floor. L’Avenue is the main restaurant and serves Italian and modern international food. I however opted to sit at the Hermitage Lounge, which is described by the hotel as “atmospheric and elegant” and “the perfect all-day-venue for light bites, late lunches, casual meetings and supper”. The Hermitage Lounge was beautifully decorated in colonial style and oozed lots of charm.

hermitage hallway
The hallway in the Hermitage Lounge bar and restaurant. ©Paliparan
hermitage drink
Drinking a Bali Hai beer in the Hermitage Lounge. ©Paliparan

For dinner I ordered the nasi goreng, which came with satay, chicken, fried rice, prawn crackers and some small sides. It was beautifully presented and tasted absolutely delicious. At around 10 EUR it was also perfectly affordable. I also opted for another beer – a Bali Hai – which tasted way better than the watery Bintang.

hermitage jakarta food
A yummy nasi goreng at the Hermitage lounge. ©Paliparan

Service was top notch throughout the meal. Upon request, the friendly waiter even showed me the beautifully appointed cigar lounge, which was unfortunately officially closed for the public during my stay. That would have been one amazing room to sit down for a cigar and whisky!

hermitage cigar room
The cigar lounge at the Hermitage hotel in Jakarta. ©Paliparan

Some late-night drinks

After dinner I decided to go for an evening swim followed by a late-night cocktail at the rooftop bar. I forgot exactly what the ingredients were in the inventive cocktail which I ordered, but it had some whiskey, berry juice and  a cinnamon stick in it. It tasted absolutely delicious – and I might even had one or two more of  them the following night!

hermitage cocktail
Drinking a late-night cinnamon-flavoured cocktail. ©Paliparan
hermitage skyline night jakarta
A view over the Jakarta skyline from the Hermitage rooftop bar. ©Paliparan
hermitage pool night
The Hermitage swimming pool at night. ©Paliparan

Hermitage Hotel breakfast

Breakfast at the Hermitage is served in the gorgeous colonial surroundings of the hotel’s L’Avenue Restaurant. The food spread was pretty impressive, and consisted both of Western and Indonesian favourites, all beautifully presented. There were plenty of cold-cuts, bread items, savoury snacks, sweets, as well as warm Asian dishes available.

hermitage breakfast room
The lovely breakfast restaurant at the Hermitage. ©Paliparan
hermitage breakfast spread
Breakfast buffet at the Hermitage hotel. ©Paliparan
hermitage breakfast
Breakfast buffet at the Hermitage hotel. ©Paliparan
hermitage breakfast
Breakfast buffet at the Hermitage hotel. ©Paliparan
hermitage breakfast
Breakfast buffet at the Hermitage hotel. ©Paliparan
hermitage buffet
Breakfast buffet at the Hermitage hotel. ©Paliparan
hermitage breakfast buffet
Breakfast buffet at the Hermitage hotel. ©Paliparan
hermitage breakfast buffet
Breakfast buffet at the Hermitage hotel. ©Paliparan

Eager-to-please staff came within seconds after I sat down to ask for my choice of coffee and to inquire whether or not I might want the chef to prepare some eggs for me, an offer I gladly accepted. I tasted small bits of both the western and Indonesian options and ended the meal with some chocolate pancakes in vanilla sauce and fresh fruit. Food quality overall was outstanding. I only found the coffee a bit weak and watery for my taste – but that was something which would unfortunately be rather common all over Indonesia except for a few coffee specialty cafes. Overall, it was certainly a great breakfast buffet.

hermitage breakfast
Breakfast at the Hermitage. ©Paliparan
hermitage breakfast eggs
The Hermitage has made-to-order eggs at its breakfast buffet. ©Paliparan
breakfast food
The Indonesian breakfast staples tasted great as well. ©Paliparan
breakfast hermitage buffet
Chocolate pancakes in vanilla sauce and fresh fruit to finish the breakfast. ©Paliparan

Final verdict

What a fantastic hotel the Hermitage is. The hotel oozes colonial charm, is located in a quiet and safe neighbourhood of town, has great facilities, comfortable rooms and great food and beverage services. I also adored the swimming pool, pool bar and rooftop deck, which is a great place for some sundowners.

Most of all, I found the staff at the Hermitage to be exceptional. I have seen great service and seen true hospitality before – but this hotel managed to kick both to such high levels I wasn’t even aware did exist in the first place. From restaurant staff to bellboys to barkeepers, all employees were just exceptional in anticipating all your needs and providing true hospitality. Sure, Indonesian hospitality levels are generally very high, but the Hermitage staff seemed genuinely interested in you, happy to do their jobs, and proud to be welcoming you to their city and country.

I would absolutely love to visit this hotel again and won’t even think about staying in another hotel next time I would find myself in Jakarta. I can’t recommend it enough.

Trip report index

This review is part of the ‘A Journey to Java‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:

1. Review: Wizz Air economy class from Bucharest to Rome Ciampino (Airbus A321)
2. A one-day visit to Rome and the Vatican
3. Review: Casa Alitalia business class lounge Rome Fiumicino
4. Review: Saudi Arabian Airlines business class Rome Fiumicino to Riyadh (Airbus A320)
5. Review: Saudia Alfursan business class lounge Riyadh Airport
6. Review: Saudi Arabian Airlines business class Riyadh to Jakarta (Boeing 777-300)
7. Review: The Hermitage, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Jakarta (current chapter)
8. A visit to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta
9. Review: Garuda Indonesia domestic business class lounge Jakarta Airport
10. Review: Garuda Indonesia business class Jakarta to Yogyakarta (Boeing 737-800)
11. Review: The Phoenix Yogyakarta Mgallery By Sofitel
12. Visiting Borobudur temple
13. Visiting Prambanan temple
14. Review: Indonesian Railways (Kereta Api) train Yogyakarta to Surabaya
15. Review: Majapahit Hotel, Surabaya
16. Visiting the city of Surabaya
17. Review: Concordia Premier Lounge, Surabaya Airport
18: Review: Singapore Airlines business class Surabaya to Singapore (Airbus A330-300)
19. A quick Singapore stopover
20. Review: Silverkris Lounge Singapore Changi Airport
21. Review: Singapore Airlines business class Singapore to Manila (Boeing 787-10)
22. Review: PAGSS Lounge Manila Airport Terminal 1 Gate 2
23. Review: China Airlines economy class Manila to Taipei (Airbus A330-300)
24. Review: China Airlines business class lounge Taipei (Terminal 1)
25. Review: China Airlines economy class Taipei to Rome (Airbus A350-900)
26. Review: TAROM economy class Rome to Bucharest (Boeing 737-700)

 

Koen

Koen

Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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