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Jakarta isn’t exactly a popular destination, and the vast majority of foreign visitors heading there do so strictly for business purposes. The sprawling capital city of a fast-growing economy is crippled by a string of urban woes – most notably the almost 24/7 grid-lock traffic – which is the result of decades of bad management and planning. But to write off Jakarta and not explore its hidden charms would be a total shame, especially in this day and age.

Spurred on by a steady economic growth and an increasing savvy demographic, the city is slowly transforming into a modern metropolis. Its creative industry and hospitality sector have grown by leaps and bounds, and it’s specifically these areas where innovative ideas are most often visibly implemented and making them emblematic of the new Indonesia.

Kosenda Hotel opened its doors a little while ago in the heart of Jakarta. An initiative of Ruben Kosenda, the owner of the property and an experienced global traveller, the place aims to fuse the best of local creativity with a high standard of modern comfort. The team behind Indonesian architecture practice studio tonton was enlisted to design the eight-story concrete structure. Interestingly, they implemented a series of striking diamond-shaped shards in the design of the façade that reference the ornamentation of traditional houses of the city’s ethnic betawi people. The unusual design approach extends into the building where Domisilium studio created different eclectic settings that also blend local design references with modern elements.

The guest rooms of Kosenda hotel come in three categories, each with different dimensions but united through clever and visually appealing design. All provide the modern comfort and amenities today’s traveller can’t do without, including quality mattresses made with luxurious linen, complimentary wireless internet access and an iPod dock. But it’s the great attention to detail that make the rooms homey and welcoming. Furnishings have been carefully picked, while kimonos, laundry bags, and batik sandals are all handmade, using scraps from textile manufacturers by a foundation that empowers disabled people. At 33 sqm. [355 sq.ft.] Spatia is the hotel’s biggest room category, and comes with a separate and very stylishly appointed living room.

Kosenda Hotel‘s public spaces have been conceptualized with equal care by design firm Domisilium studio, and this is probably most evident in the lounge area. The space is dotted with a mix of original furniture from Danish designers Svend Skipper, Poul Henningsen and an original 1950s chair by Hans Wegner, set against a backdrop that’s distinctly contemporary Indonesian artist Sanchia T. Hamidjaja created an expansive mural depicting daily life in the capital while artworks by illustrator triyadi guntur wiratmo adorn the walls. Adding up to the playful atmosphere are custom designed light fixtures, music and subtle aromas. Do we hear you say entertainment? Kosenda hotel readily provides with cool facilities that also allow you to savour, quite literally, local culture at its best.

Located on the ground floor is 127 café, a cosy and informal meeting place where quality coffee is served from a la Marzocco machine by specially trained baristas. And should you feel peckish, then restaurant Waha kitchen indulges with a wide variety of authentic and refined peranakan dishes. Among all the delicacies laksa arguably is the establishment’s trophy dish as it’s based on a treasured recipe of chef Stewart Gan’s family. For after dinner fun there’s Awan lounge, an outdoor rooftop bar and lush urban garden where signature cocktails come with sweeping views of Jakarta’s soaring skyline. Last but not least, a compact but well-equipped gym is available for those who’d like to stay in shape.

Design by Domisilium

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