The Jakarta Post
Alila SCBD's large living room style lobby. Its contemporary feel is largely reflected by the ‘Birds, Bats and Butterflies’ installation mounted on the wall and suspended from the ceiling. (Alila Hotels/File)
A boutique hotel at the heart of the city’s retail and business district, Alila SCBD, has opened. The abbreviation SCBD after the name Alila that means "surprise" in Sanskrit, stands for Sudirman Central Business District, referring to a 45-hectares business district in South Jakarta with well-maintained infrastructure and lush greenery.
Guests who have dined at Vong Kitchen and Le Burger are likely to have been exposed to the large living room styled lobby. Its contemporary feel, largely reflected by ‘Birds, Bats and Butterflies’ installation mounted on the wall and suspended from the ceiling, may serve as a teaser to the experience of staying in one of the hotel’s 227 studios and suites.
Tucked discreetly next to the lobby is the newly introduced event space Artisian Bar. Spanning 512 square meters with a high ceiling, the space is adorned with artwork from across Indonesia, celebrating the artistic heritage of such regions as South Sulawesi and East Java.
The Artisian Bar, an event space at Alila SCBD, Jakarta (Alila Hotels/Files)
True to its name, although there are no bar stools around, Artisian Bar also serves signature beverages including espresso tonic (bitter tonic paired with a shot of espresso made from medium-dark roasted beans) and JKT Confidential (butterfly pea flower-infused mango vodka, tequila and lime cocktail).
A team of youthful hotel staff in smart casual dress greeted The Jakarta Post when checking in on the invitation of the establishment. The process was fast and smooth and the Post was soon whisked to an XL Studio King room.
The entrance of the Post’s room opened to a spacious bed and living room area beside a tall picture window. A desk was not in sight and it felt rather disappointing. However, a corner across from the door opens to a small hidden area where the desk is placed. Alas! We found the sweet little secret workplace with a big view, which is that of the bustling road between the Indonesia Stock Exchange and Pacific Place Mall.
The unique configuration of many rooms in Alila SCBD, apparently, is an effect of the hotel’s dynamic architecture dubbed the diamond-shaped tower.
While spending hours in the room –splitting time between the indulgent bathtub overlooking the skyscrapers, enjoying room service in bed watching TV and being productive on the writing desk- sounds like a plan, the temptation to indulge in quality time with friends at Le Burger, Vong Kitchen or Hakkasan, each equipped with its own bar, is too high. During the daytime, however, lounging by the catwalk pool or taking a dip into it and the jacuzzi is hard to say no to.
Alila SCBD's 'catwalk pool' with the hotel's main building, dubbed the 'diamond-shaped tower' in the background. (Alila Hotels/File)
The reason behind the nickname catwalk pool is the layout of the pool area, where two long and narrow pools are placed across each other and a "runway" cut in between.
While the catwalk pool and the jacuzzi on the fifth floor meet the requirements of an urban resort, Alila SCBD undoubtedly makes a good business hotel as its location is in close proximity to Jakarta’s business district. The well-maintained infrastructure, including the wide and clean sidewalks – are a rarity in Jakarta – making walking from one building to another within the SCBD comfortable.
One of the most interesting things about staying in this hotel is, however, how its main entrance is located just across from Pacific Place Mall. It means if a guest ever needs to do last minute shopping or grooming for a sudden fanfare at Hakkasan or the bar at Vong Kitchen, he or she will conveniently be in good hands.