Jakarta’s been slow to jump on the design hotel bandwagon. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it just means they’ve missed out on the awkward stages, where comfort was often sacrificed in the name of visual impact, when staffers were expected to look pretty rather than provide any actual service.
So the Kemang Icon comes along at just the right moment, when travelers en masse are tiring of flimsy boutiques and seeking some more substantive luxury. The Icon is owned by Alila, the mini-chain whose Balinese properties prove they’re no stranger either to modern luxury or modern design; this one, a twelve-suite bolthole in the ultra-hip Kemang district, proves their concept works just as well in an urban setting.
Suites are designed, but not over-designed, and all are different, some darker and more masculine, others lighter and more minimal. Courtyard suites face inward, while the four Edge suites look out through floor-to-ceiling windows at the city streets. Flat-screen televisions and home theatre systems are standard, as are iPods, wireless internet, and absolutely decadent Ploh goosedown bedding.
Twelve suites is small but the Kemang Icon is thinking big, with a yoga studio, five spa treatment rooms, a rooftop pool, and a restaurant serving local Indonesian fare. Just out the door the Kemang district is full of shops, galleries, and some of the city’s best restaurants and nightlife — it’s another side of Jakarta from what you’d find in the central district.