MULIA JAUNT

The analogy is simple. If men fancy cars I fancy hotels. A hotel isn’t just a hotel although on the surface level they all might look the same. Having worked for a corporate travel magazine as writer and editor, I dealt with hotels closely. I’m partial to certain hotels because they appeal to my notion of service and aesthetics. The Ritz-Carlton, with its high ceilings, wide spaces and earth tones, is still number one for me in terms of face-to-face service. A smile greets you the moment your vehicle pulls up at the entrance and continues even after the annoying bag search – I’m not particularly fond of it but I know it must be done – and right through your departure after your meal at Asia restaurant. But for non-upfront service, Grand Hyatt, Jakarta, is quick to reply to e-mail inquiries even if you sent the e-mail on a weekend. They replied in something like less than 48 hours. But Ritz-Carlton, Mega Kuningan took a little longer like Shangri-la, Jakarta.

Anyway, I‘d been passing this hotel en route to Plaza Senayan or Senayan City and I’d never been inclined to get down and explore it. I’d visited it though several years ago as part of a hotel inspection for a business trip and the ballroom was what I vividly remembered – it was massive and made a good venue for the recently concluded Olivia Newton-John concert despite the arctic-like temperature. Friends have mentioned it: a student-friend loved eating there while another friend loved unwinding there with her favourite poison after a hard day at work. Meanwhile, a friend who’s based in Thailand and who specialises in the travel trade industry had good words for Hotel Mulia. During his last visit to the city, he approved of the high thread count of its duvet and the scrumptious food of the hotel. As far as he was concerned, it was the best in town.

The concierge is ready to assist you when you check in at Hotel Mulia.

I was piqued. Our annual girls’ getaway (from the routine and all) was the perfect reason for a Mulia jaunt. Despite the appalling but forgivable front desk service where one of the staff completely forgot his manners, Hotel Mulia,with its high ceilings and muted color scheme, made it to my hotels-to-go-to list. First, the bear mascot at the front desk called out to me with its smile and uniform. Second, the Chocolate Boutique on the lower level was completely astounding. Disappointing as it may, but, on hindsight, the policy of no- taking of photos of the fantastic chocolate sculptures of dragons decked in diamonds, pearls and branded bags, and the edible Louis Vuitton and Chanel bags is understandable. The secret must be guarded, after all.

Caffeine fix with local coffee at The Cascade Lounge

Third, high tea at The Cascade Lounge and buffet spread at The Café. Being serenaded by the quarter (or was it a trio?) at high tea at The Cascade Lounge was absolutely calming, soothing over the feathers that were ruffled immensely the past week. Ensconced in the plush chair, I nibbled on the savoury delights from the Indonesian tea set and sweet stuff from the International tea set while sipping Japanese green tea. Coffee lovers will certainly have no problem about their caffeine fix – it’s freshly brewed in front of you with this fancy coffee maker. My gal-pal who jetted in from Singapore for our Mulia jaunt couldn’t have enough of the brewed coffee and cappuccino even during dinner.

Catch up with a friend at high tea and enjoy scones, clotted cream, jam and many more

The Café was a revelation. Steven, my Thailand-based friend, was absolutely right about the buffet spread that included everything a gourmand could possibly imagine. Breakfast was a sunny affair of mushroom omelette (it’s not dry!), fresh coffee, Danish pastries, chicken sausages, mini pancakes drizzled with maple syrup and a bit of nasi goreng, coffee and orange juice.  I’m not much of a coffee or orange juice drinker but I having refills like never before. Dinner was a glorious event too. Its Indian corner with its chicken tikka and fresh naan (the cheese naan was divine!) showed up this other hotel buffet I frequent. The duck was succulent and the Japanese station, which is in between the Indian and Chinese stations, and the paella corner, had crunchy chicken kaarage. The dessert and seafood stations were in a separate room. The latter was a corner of a cornucopia of fresh shrimps, mussels, oysters and crabs, while the dessert spread was protectively sheltered under the glass display counter. Ask and you shall receive your glasses of chocolate mousse and its relations.

Sweet coup de grace for dinner at The Cafe

Even the most diligent employee (read: workaholic) can be wearied from the daily grind that is compounded with pretentious folks, and when a complete change in scenery, pacing and routine is almost next to impossible, hiding out in a hotel is a pleasant alternative. A break at Hotel Mulia can do wonders to the fatigued road warrior and ilk.

Hotel Mulia Senayan

Jl. Asia Afrika, Senayan, Jakarta 10270 Indonesia

Reservations:

The Cafe: (62-21) 5753270 | (62-21) 5747777 Ext. 4088, 4188, 4288)

General: (62-21) 5749449

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