Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Life for the Grande Old Dame of Jakarta

After three years of major reconstruction that retained most of its original external design, the iconic Hotel Indonesia will officially be back in operation on Saturday under a new brand, Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta.

“To build a hotel within a hotel is among the most difficult jobs in the world,” Gerhard E. Mitrovits, general manager of Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta, said during a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday when asked why the reconstruction took so long.

Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, inaugurated Hotel Indonesia in August 1962. It was the first hotel in the country to offer international-standard service and became a city landmark.

US architects Abel Sorensen and wife Wendy were retained by President Sukarno to design the 25,082-square-meter building. The couple successfully outlined and brought to life a modern hotel that included elements of Indonesian architecture.

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