Five things to know about the historical Hotel Indonesia

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Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta is one of the country’s oldest hotels and cultural heritage sites.

The first hotel in Indonesia built to international standards, it has become a source of national pride.

Here are five things to know about Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta:

1. Houses a collection of artworks from local and international artists

Hotel Indonesia boasts numerous masterpieces from local and international artists, thanks to the country’s first president, Sukarno, who wanted to reflect Indonesian culture in the hotel.

An art enthusiast, Sukarno was known for his excellent taste and helped supervised the construction of Hotel Indonesia.

The artworks include a Dewi Sri sculpture by Trubus, a large mosaic depicting an Indonesian traditional dance by G. Sidharta, a flora and fauna themed painting by Lee Mang Fong, along with a stone-carved relief by Yogyakarta-based Sela Binangun workshop, according to a statement from the hotel.

2. A center for cultural activities and urban lifestyle

During its heyday, Hotel Indonesia routinely staged musical and theatrical performances that helped catapult numerous Indonesian artists to fame, such as Slamet Rahardjo and Rima Melati.

It also became a center for urban lifestyle as the elites, government officials and successful business people often held meetings and social functions in the hotel.

The property also became a preferred venue for state dinners, like in 1962 when president Sukarno hosted a dinner for Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia.

 

3. Designed to depict a blend of modern and traditional architecture

The hotel’s 25,082-square-meter building was design by United States architect Abel Sorensen and his wife Wendy.

Sorensen was commissioned by Sukarno who wanted the hotel to showcase a modern Indonesia.

Sorensen gave the hotel a modern and minimalist style, but at the same time, incorporated elements of local architecture, namely from West Sumatra. The building was also designed to form the letter T, so guests can get an unobstructed view of Jakarta.

4. Built to promote tourism

Hotel Indonesia is located strategically in the heart of Jakarta for a good reason.

During the hotel’s inauguration, Sukarno said Hotel Indonesia’s doors were wide open for tourism. It indeed became the face of Indonesia as many notable people, from Indonesia and abroad, came to the hotel to stay and hold events.

The Welcome Statue located in front was intended to welcome guests who visited Jakarta during the fourth Asian Games in 1962.

 

5. A hub for the 1962 Asian Games

Hotel Indonesia was designated as an information center for the fourth Asian Games in 1962, the property’s first major event.

From there, information about Indonesia spread around the world and the hotel became a dynamic hub of activity. It even cooperated with one of the US’ biggest newspapers, the New York Times.

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