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What comes to mind when you think about yummy food in Indonesia? Nasi or Mie Goreng probably, and that's cool, but the Hotel Indonesia Kempinski wants you to know it's more than all that. There's also...chocolate.
The hotel and its Executive Pastry Chef, Kevin Curry, have reserved the month of May to be a spotlight on chocolate...but with a local flavor. We're talking about chocolates with a little spice, or pandan-flavored marshmallows.
If, for some reason, you find yourself in Jakarta this month (as we did), then all the goodies can be had at the Kempinski's own Kempi Deli inside the attached Grand Indonesia Mall. Or, you know, there's always a few special events to sign up for:
Staying at a hotel that's 3+ stars in Jakarta, Indonesia means you'll likely have a view of the city; many of the central high-rise buildings house hotels. That said, it's rare to have such a straight shot view to the iconic Wisma 46, Indonesia's tallest building nicknamed the "Fountain Pen."
Hopefully you can see why this pointy, 48-story skyscraper looks as though it's ready to write its John Hancock on the Jakarta smog layer. And, hopefully, you're checking it out from inside a cushy room at the Hotel Indonesia Kempinski, which sits smack dab at the traffic circle around the "Bundaran HI" welcome monument.
The Hotel Indonesia itself is a landmark relic from the 1960s, and now that it's managed by Kempinski the vintage exterior is countered by a seriously modern interior; we're talking designer furniture in the lobby and guestrooms that look like they're in Manhattan, versus a chaotic capital in Southeast Asia. Rooms at the Hotel Indonesia Kempinski being around $250 per night.
It's not huge news in the US, but over in England, the News of the World phone hacking scandal and paper closure is all anyone can talk about. Thus, it's no surprise that paparazzi have been trailing both News Corp head Rupert Murdoch and News International chief Rebekah Brooks over the last few days, watching their every move during this stressful period. One stop on the Murdoch-Brooks itinerary was the five-star Stafford Hotel, just near Murdoch's London residence.
The Stafford is a properly British hotel, discreet and exclusive, so it's no wonder Murdoch, Brooks and James Murdoch retired here to dine and discuss the fact that they've just put over 200 people out of work and shut Britain's oldest paper amid controversy and police inquiries. We're assuming they reserved a private dining room, otherwise they'd risk having entrees pitched at them. Oh wait; we forgot. This is Britain and therefore the most intense a confrontation would get is maybe dirty looks and snotty tsk-tsking from across the room.
Now that the royal couple is married and in our neck of the woods, we can focus on some other London hotel news, like the new renovations at the Stafford Hotel .
The hotel just finished a £6 million makeover, leaving it with a spiffed-up new lounge, reception area, restaurant and more.
Well well well, the folks at the Stafford are getting serious now that it’s been taken over by Kempinski. Maybe it’s a reaction to Big Brother, maybe they’re offering us a cunning excuse to drink away the evenings, but they’re launching a new series of lectures called Pub Talk in their American Bar.
When we say “lectures”, we mean it in the loosest sense. The official description is “evenings filled with fine pursuits” – by which they mean drinking, eating, and having a little conversation. They call it an “interactive lecture” – by which they probably mean they’re expecting boozy heckling. And at the helm will be “in-house experts and luxury brand ambassadors discussing some of the finer things in life” (think booze).
Now that pretty much nobody in London cares about the World Cup anymore, it’s time to put those big screen TVs to another use (than hurling abuse at). At the Stafford Hotel, that use would be screening Wimbledon. How very genteel!
But far better than the big screen is the Lawn Tennis Afternoon Tea that they’re serving up with it.
We tend to think of Kempinski hotels as historic properties but this one is a departure from the norm – a brand new build in a new development – the River Park, on the bank of the Danube, under Bratislava Castle and within walking distance of the Old Town.
For a good few years, now, everyone’s been banging on about Croatia being the hot new Med destination. And now it’s got the Kempinksi seal of approval too – they’ve just opened the Kempinksi Hotel Adriatic on the Istrian peninsula in the north of the country as their latest pin on the board of world domination.
We approve of the choice of location – Istria (the closest bit to Italy) isn’t the most obviously touristy bit of Croatia, so presumably that will make for a nice feeling of isolation in your luxury. We also approve of the price – rooms start at €200 ($293 or £175), which isn’t bad compared to some of their properties – especially considering it’s a seaside resort.
The “seaside” bit sounds pretty fly, too – on a clear day, they reckon you can see Venice (only minus the hordes and the smell) across the water. Plus, you’ve got your free wifi, Bang & Olufsen TVs and three restaurants to choose from.
There you go – Croatia’s all blinged up. Definitely no excuse for not going now.
It may be the Berlin hotel of choice for visiting dignitaries, like Queen Elizabeth II and President Obama, and it may occupy a sweet spot next to the Brandenburg Gate, but the Hotel Adlon Kempinski suffers from a serious case of inflated ego.
Perhaps they'd remember that it was out of their windows that Michael Jackson dangled his baby? Or maybe they'd take a second look at their less than 5-star website? But no, the Hotel Adlon sure loves itself and knows that when you pay some 1,900 Euro for one night, you too are head over heels for their snooty exclusivity.
For the reason that the Adlon simply can't imagine that their guests would stay with them and be able to continue living without a hotel-monogrammed cheeseboard, you will find the hotel's very own store around the corner on Wilhelmstrasse. If you think the W Hotels' stores are a bit much, then please stay away from the Adlon.
There are a few Leela resorts around India but the very first in northern India has just soft-opened: the Leela Kempinski Gurgaon near Delhi, close to the Indira Ghandi International Airport. But hotel delays even happen to the best of the best in India. The hotel's website is currently boasting a planned opening date of January 15, so it's a couple of months late and not everything's up and going yet.
However this hotel's unique selling point is that it's the only hotel or resort in the region that's got a full range of accommodation choices, from rooms and suites through to three-bedroom residences.
When you stroll into your hotel room, plop down at the desk and open up your laptop to discover that the hotel WiFi doesn't work, it can be an overwhelming, emotional moment: you feel isolated, alone, betrayed, stranded. And we imagine all those feelings are greatly amplified when that WiFi failure moment occurs when you're perched atop...this. A purple pumpkin-ish velour ottoman/desk chair.
When I was in London last, I stayed at the Courthouse Kempinski [...] I got transferred to this room because my other room's bathroom was broken. Apparently this is an upgrade? It was kinda hard to work on my computer sitting on that chair (which apparently didn't matter too much, as their wifi service was down).
Bummer. This chair, though whimsical and cool and funky-looking, has got to add insult to WiFi-related injury.
HotelChatter's AmandaK gives us the latest on Kempinski Hotels.
We’re pretty intrigued by some of the exotic destinations that Kempinski has picked out for its coming-soon hotels. And we’re not sure if the chosen spots are an indication of future hot-spots for tourists and business travelers or whether Kempinski are just randomly throwing darts at a world map and then opening up hotels where they land.