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An inspiring stay at The Langham, Jakarta

by Abi Butcher

Jakarta is one of those cities that you visit on business or pass through on your way to Australia, New Zealand or elsewhere in Indonesia like Bali or Komodo. It’s rarely a destination in itself. But this autumn, while on my way to explore the Spice Islands, I decided to ditch the quick transfers and go landside in Jakarta to catch my breath and get over my jetlag while exploring one of Southeast Asia’s craziest cities.

With news that The Langham had finally opened in Jakarta (after Covid delays), I headed downtown for two nights before flying on to Ambon for my cruise with Aqua Expeditions. It’s easy to get around this city – download the Grab or Bluebird apps and book a ride as you come through customs. Grab is SE Asia’s equivalent of Uber and Bluebird Indonesia’s taxi service. Drivers generally arrive within five minutes, so it couldn’t be easier.

The iconic Langham is known for revolutionising the luxury hotel experience, and its latest offering in Jakarta did not disappoint. The 65-storey hotel and apartment block sits in the complex of District 8 in Sudirman Central Business District (SCBD), known for its vibrant, high-end shopping and dining, an easy journey time of around 45 minutes (though when traffic is bad this can be doubled) from the airport.

There are 336 rooms spread over the upper floors of the building, with indoor and outdoor pools, five dining options, a 24-hour gym, a Chuan spa and a soon-to-be-opened roof garden bar. The lower floors are taken up by residences, the majority of which are already sold, signalling Jakarta’s return to prosperity — even if the government has up sticks and departed for Borneo, complaining the city has a soggy bottom.

Langham Jakarta

The Langham is a work of art. White marble floors, tall floor-to-ceiling mirrors and huge columns reaching up to the double-height ceilings lend a feeling of space, calm and luxury to all the public areas. I arrived before my bag (thanks to an uncomfortably quick transfer in Doha) and immediately the concierge took care of arrangements, chasing it for me until it arrived nearly 12 hours later. The concierge was my main point of contact during my two-day visit — the lobby on the 62 floor — and available via WhatsApp for your every whim. The service is personal and brilliant; the entire essence of this hotel brand.

The rooms at The Langham Jakarta

There are four categories of rooms and suites, all of which are furnished with super-king beds, marble bathrooms and fantastic views across the Jakarta skyline, the World Trade Centre, the Stock Exchange and surrounding skyscrapers. I was given a deluxe cityscape room, the intermediate category, on a corner. And while corner bedrooms are always the best in hotels, this room is probably the most impressive bathroom I’ve ever seen — 55 floors up, with dual aspect floor-to-ceiling windows with wide-ranging views over the city the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, built for the 1962 Asian Games. (Don’t worry, it’s one-way glass so although you can see out, others can’t see in, so privacy is maintained.)

There’s a small minibar, TV and ironing board — though if you book an Executive Cityscape or Langham One Bedroom Suite, you get free membership to The Langham Club on the 59th floor, which offers to press three garments each day (along with other services, see below).

There is also a fabulous and oh-so-personal turn-down service (my absolute favourite part of staying in a hotel, that and the breakfast spread – of which more later). I was left a Langham Theodore bear and some bookmarks every night, with a little note on my book from the room team saying they noticed I liked to read. A lovely touch. Parents take note: there are no family rooms, but plenty that interconnect.

Dining options at The Langham Jakarta

Sadly the rooftop terrace wasn’t yet open when I visited but was due to start serving up sunset cocktails by the end of 2023. So the next best thing is Morimoto, a Japanese restaurant on the 63rd floor, where I can heartily recommend the Slow Encounter, a cocktail finished with matcha. It’s the perfect accompaniment to wagyu beef, sushi, black cod and edamame.

TLJKT Tang Court

Next floor down (61) is Tang, a well-frequented Chinese restaurant with six private dining rooms (sadly no three Michelin stars as its Hong Kong cousin) then there’s Tom’s, the Tom Aitken signature of the Langham, with leather banquets, clean lines, and that oh-so-stunning view. The head chef, Abu Halim, had just returned, bright-eyed from a visit to London when I visited (no jet lag, he declared with a flourish!) learning more tricks of the trade from Tom himself and proudly showed off his jars of vegetables — broccoli, fennel, peppers, shallots, onions — all fermenting in wine, beer, white and red wine vinegar and used as condiments at every mealtime. Tom Aitken himself curates the entire menu and visits for a week every six months to ensure everything is ship shape.

TLJKT Toms 1

Alice, the Alice-in-Wonderland-themed modern French brasserie patisserie for which The Langham is synonymous, sits on the ground floor, with tables inside and out serving breakfast, afternoon tea and champagne — and busy all day long.

The final piece of the puzzle is the Langham Club, available free of charge to those guests staying in Executive Cityscape rooms and above or for IDR 1.000.000/person/night (around £55). Sitting on the 59th floor it has a dining and library area, with food and drinks available all day long — from turmeric and ginger shots to watermelon juice and delicate rose-water scones as well as Indonesian and European favourites. I hopped in and out of here over the two days of my visit and only ever once saw another guest; aside from the lobby area and restaurants, the layout of the hotel with its small guest spaces give the feeling of real privacy. During my visit The Langham was at 70 per cent capacity but only occasionally did I share a lift with any other guest.


The lifts, actually, are a thing. Because of the layout (hotel and its amenities, aside from the outdoor pool on the sixth floor) and security, guests must use a complicated system of taking one set of lifts to the Lobby, then transfer to another quad of lifts to go back down to the ground floor. There are private lifts to the presidential suite and private lifts to the Langham Club, and more than once I found myself on the wrong floor, or in the wrong lift. But I am sure it works if you’re not jet-lagged!

Exploring Jakarta from The Langham Jakarta

The Langham Jakarta sits in the vibrant, clean SCBD which has shopping malls to rival Dubai. Central Jakarta, the old town, old port and the main sights, such as the National Monument, National Museum of Indonesia and Jakarta’s extraordinary cathedral, are a 30-minute trip at a good time. During bad traffic, you can triple that. On the second day of my trip I circumvented that traffic by jumping on a Grab bike — at my own risk, scooter riding is frowned upon by insurance companies but with only two days at my disposal, there was no time to lose.

As well as getting lost in the colonial old town, Jakarta is for shopping. There are scores of malls – the more downmarket are almost empty since COVID-19, but the upmarket malls with designer brands such as Louis Vuitton, Coach, Fendi and even Gallerie Lafayette, are thriving. There are two just a stone’s throw from the hotel — Pacific Place Mall and Grand Indonesia Mall.

Jakarta Panorama

There is a constant buzz about this city but The Langham Jakarta offers a cool, quiet oasis away from the noise and smog. Once the rooftop garden and bar opens, it will be perfect. While the government may claim Jakarta is sinking, The Langham is evidence that there is life in this city yet.

The Langham, Jakarta
Sudirman Central Business District 8
Senayan, Kebayoran Baru
South Jakarta City
Jakarta 12190

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