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Top 7 historic hotels in Indonesia
The latest data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) counted 1,996 starred hotels currently operating in Indonesia. The rise of Indonesia as a travel destination in the past decades has certainly fueled hotel development in the country, as the number is twice the amount of starred hotels available in Indonesia in 2004. Among many of these luxurious new lodging facilities, few stand out as hotels with historical significance. Those hotels were built decades ago and are now part of the country’s cultural heritage. Aside from impeccable comfort, historic hotels offer added value as they played a role in the nation’s past, whether during Dutch colonial time, Indonesia’s war of independence, or the early post-independence time. Here are The Jakarta Post Travel’s pick of seven Indonesian hotels that could add to your knowledge of the country’s history. Royal Ambarrukmo, Yogyakarta Built during the late 1850s, the place was initially a residential complex for the royal family. It also functioned as the royal meeting hall during the Dutch colonial era. The building was reconstructed as a hotel in the 1960s by order of then president Soekarno and King Hamengkubuwono IX. It developed into one of Yogyakarta’s finest lodging establishments since then, while still preserving many of its important historical aspects. You can find a museum and an old pavilion in the complex that holds many of the place’s ancient artifacts. Interesting parts of the hotel are the Bale Kambang bathing pool area and the Gadri dining room, which were considered sacred and only accessible by the royal family. Hotel Majapahit, Surabaya Hotel Majapahit was first called Hotel Oranje when it was built in 1910 by a Dutch family. It was later seized by the Japanese during their occupation and renamed the Yamato Hoteru. After the Dutch returned to the country in 1945, they took control of the hotel again and raised a Dutch flag over the roof of the building. This triggered the historical "flag-ripping incident", when Surabaya youth stormed the place and ripped the blue stripe off the flag, leaving only the red and white parts, which are the colors of the Indonesian nation. The name was changed again to Hotel Majapahit in 1969 when a local business bought the hotel. It continues operating today. Despite having undergone many renovations, the hotel has maintained its classic design. Savoy-Homann Bidakara, Bandung This hotel started operating even before the 20th century, but it has gone down in history as the hotel that hosted VIP guests of the first Asia-Africa Conference in 1955. Figures like Soekarno, Ho Chi Minh, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, U Nu and Gamal Abdul Nasser, stayed in the hotel during the event in their own ‘Asia-Africa Wing’. Charlie Chaplin also spent a night in the place during his visit to Indonesia. The Savoy-Homann kept the majority of the structures that were built in 1939. You can see pictures of the old Savoy-Homann and find the current building to be almost identical. Hotel Indonesia Kempinski, Jakarta It is almost obligatory to list Hotel Indonesia when talking about historic hotels, as it is one of the first five-star hotels to be built in the country (inaugurated in 1962) – again by order of then president Soekarno. Its location in Indonesia’s iconic traffic circle has allowed it to become the background of monumental events that took place there – although many of them were big protests. The hotel went into a hiatus from 2004 to 2009 to undergo major interior changes when the Kempinski Group bought the establishment. Hotel Salak The Heritage, Bogor A Dutch family first built the hotel in 1856 and named it the Bellevue-Dibbets Hotel. The war of independence saw Hotel Salak being used as headquarters of the Japanese’s military police in Indonesia. Only after 1948 did the establishment gain its current name, referring to its location under the foot of Mount Salak. Like Hotel Indonesia, this hotel was also closed down for several years, from 1991 to 1998, to undergo renovations. Inna Grand Bali Beach, Bali Speaking of the country's first luxury hotels, this place, built in 1966, was Bali’s first lodging of international standard. Initially named the Bali Beach Hotel, it is also the fruit of the ambition of Indonesia's first president, Soekarno. The hotel was the only local high-rise building back then, defying the local Hindu rule saying that a building should not be any taller than a sacred temple. It prompted a rule that banned buildings from being any taller than a coconut tree – although the rule is no longer in effect today. Hotel Tjampuhan & Spa, Bali When we emphasized Bali Beach Hotel as having been the first in Bali to meet international standards, that did not take into account the Hotel Tjampuhan, which is the oldest luxury lodging still operating today. To explain, it was only after the 1970s that the Tjampuhan became publicly available for paying guests. Before that, it was an exclusive guesthouse owned by the royal family of Ubud village. Walter Spies, a famous German painter and an important figure in the development of Balinese art, once resided in this place as the guest of the royal family. His room is now immortalized as one of the luxury suites available for rent. - See more at: http://www.jakpost.travel/news/seven-historic-luxury-hotels-in-indonesia-wIaSlp5RZYj0q3si.html#sthash.BDU33Dfu.dpuf
Where to eat in Singapore according to locals
"Forget Newton Circus, forget Lau Pa Sat, forget Boat Quay," said Erlangga Mangunkusumo, mentioning famous culinary tourist spots in Singapore because his favorite dishes and eateries are mostly off the tourist track. The great thing about asking recommendations from locals or residents is that you may come across such interesting places and feel more adventurous too. To find what's great to eat in Singapore, apart from Erlangga, an Indonesian doctor who now works at the National University Hospital (NUH), The Jakarta Post Travel also sought recommendations from Singapore's makan guru KF Seetoh who founded Makan Sutra, a Singapore-based company that celebrates food culture and is now preparing the upcoming World Street Food Congress (WSFC) in April this year; Elrica Diona who is an award-winning beauty blogger of Pink Buble; and last but not least chef Jonathan Kinsella, executive chef of dB bistro Moderne, a casual French Bistro in Marina Bay Sands. With the various exciting backgrounds of our sources, we'd like you to find out the interesting choices for each of the following categories: halal food, local favorites and fancy treats. Halal food "The Prata House at Thomson Road," gets Elrica’s vote. "Order the mutton fried rice, fried chicken biryani, and milk prata for the ultimate party of the taste buds." She cited the affordability of the eatery as well. Erlangga, who has been residing in Singapore since 2003, gives us a long list of his favorite halal eateries. Among the list he shared - rather reluctantly - is Thaksin Beef Noodle at See Lam Hern Stalls on Block 449 Clementi Ave 3. "I'm torn. I'd like to keep this place unknown, since I very much like it and hate it so much when it gets crowded," the foodie doctor admitted as the reason behind his reluctance, but he shared it anyway. The New York Times' Food Guide maven KF Seetoh said that if you wanted to have local style halal food with no frills and to 'hang out with the locals', head to Geylang Serai Hawker Centre at Changi Road. "They have many nationally famous nasi padang stalls, just look for the queues, and nasi biryani as well as Muslim Indian fare like sup tulang and even chapati bread with mutton keema stews." "Best to go about 11 a.m. when the food is fresh and the crowds are only streaming in," Seetoh suggested. For chef Kinsella, who has been residing in Singapore since 2013, his recommendation for this category goes to Geylang Briyani Stall a.k.a Hamid’s Briyani on Geylang Serai Temp Market #01-327. "Order their mutton biryani," he says, adding that the stall became his favorite because he thought it spicier than the average biryani. "The rice is perfectly cooked and the stall owners are always smiling and are super friendly. There is always a queue, and the food can sell out fast," he added. Local favorites "I like local cze cha [a Chinese cook and fry street restaurants mostly found in coffee shops]", said Seetoh. He continued by explaining that the eateries he recommended were usually not chain stalls and the chef normally was the boss. "Hoy Yong Seafood at Blk 352, Clementi Ave 2 #01-153 , is one of my current favorites. Boss chef Hoy Yong has signatures not found in other menus like the duck roll tempura, bean skin seafood fritter, and one of the best egg fried hor fun [wat tan hor fun] and even an 8 Treasure Soup," said Seetoh, adding the fact that the prices here were very reasonable as it was situated in a local area and customers would complain if it overcharged. Elrica's vote for this category was Char Kwe Tiau at the basement of Tang’s Shopping Centre on the famous Orchard Rd. "It's a must go for local lovers! The soft chewy kwe tiau and the tender juicy extra large shrimp is the main reason I love indulging myself on this menu at least once a week!" shared Elrica who is also a professional make up artist. Chef Kinsella recommended Wan He Lou Lobster Porridge Restaurant on 65 Maude Rd. "They serve the best lobster porridge in town, Wan He Lou is upscale but affordable. Get the tasting menu and try the chef's signature smoked duck, the seafood gyoza, tangy honey pork choplets, stir-fried vegetables with dried shrimp, and of course lobster porridge and dessert for about S$30 [US$24]," said the chef. "Wan He Lou also serves a simple steamed garoupa fish with ginger, chili and garlic that is outstanding," he added. Doc Erlangga recommends the already famous Mellben Seafood at 211 Toa Payoh Lorong 8 for their creamy butter crab dish and salted egg yolk crab dish, and the same dishes at Irvin's Seafood on Sembawang Hills Estate, 4A Jalan Leban, which he jokingly described as, "Mellben's evil twin sister". Erlangga also recommends Sin Kee Famous Chicken Rice at the Mei Chin Food Centre, 159 Mei Chin Road #02-22, saying that, in his opinion, it's the best chicken rice dish in Singapore. "Not only that, but they serve fish carpaccio too," he said. Fancy treats If you must splurge on a dish, chef Kinsella recommends Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck at #05-42/45 Paragon shopping mall on Orchard Rd. "This is the fanciest Cantonese restaurant in the city with amazing service and food. It has to be the best table-side carved Peking duck I’ve ever had, along with other dishes such as black pepper prawns, dry chili chicken, crab and corn soup and Szechuan-style boiled sliced beef," the chef explained. One of many places Erlangga recommends is the Napoleon Food and Wine Bar on 206 Telok Ayer Street. "They have an extensive wine collection and tasting, at affordable prices too! You can see me drafting my research proposal here if you are lucky," he laughed. Elrica recommends Hide Yamamoto at Marina Bay Sands, saying that this place is a must try for Japanese food lovers. "Although the prices are pretty steep, but the melt-in-your-mouth wagyu beef and the truffle chawan mushi definitely make me want to come back after the next paycheck!" she said. Last but not least, for fancy treats, Seetoh recommends Immigrants Gastrobar at 467 Joo Chiat Road, where celebrity chef Damian Da Silva rules the roost. The New York Times calls the place one of the top rare gems in Asia. Chef Da Silva, who is a Eurasian Singaporean, in Seetoh’s opinion, ditched his western food experiences and set up this gastrobar offering all the local fare he has grown up loving in Singapore, tapas-style. Visitors can expect to savor Da Silva's little platter, which includes Malay rendang, Chinese century egg tofu with pickled ginger and Indian Chicken 65. "Try the Nonya prawn rolls, plus a salted fish sambal pasta even. [The dishes are] truly local and unapologetically so but he gives a New York-style bar twist to the place and Damian loves his whiskeys, so some of the best Japanese single malts are offered there, naturally," said Seetoh. - See more at: http://www.jakpost.travel/news/where-to-eat-in-singapore-according-to-locals-0fDn4wk3SJvIYGUy.html#sthash.SbseFKWU.dpuf
Amandira to sail to Komodo and Raja Ampat in April
Following the launch of the Aman Tokyo in December last year, the Aman Group is set to provide another intimate travel experience for its guests through the Amandira in April, a custom-built 52-meter two-masted Phinisi sailing vessel that will meander around Indonesia's Komodo National Park and Raja Ampat in West Papua. Serving as an addition to Amanwana’s on-water offerings, Amandira -- named after the Sanskrit-derived word for ‘peace’ and dira which means ‘intrepid’ -- offers three spacious cabins, a foredeck where guests can relax on sun loungers, an indoor lounge, a library/entertainment room, a total of 14 crew and dive facilities that include the use of nitrox, allowing longer dive times for experienced divers. Able to travel under sail as well as by motor, the Amandira can be chartered in tandem with Aman's first custom-built coastal cruiser Amanikan, accommodating a total of up to 14 guests. Expeditions aboard Amandira include the seven-night Komodo Expedition which explores the UNESCO-protected Komodo National Park, cruising through the Nusa Tenggara island chain to Rinca and Komodo where the infamous Komodo dragon can still be found; and the five- or seven-night Raja Ampat Expedition renowned for its biodiversity that encompasses over 40,000 square kilometers in the northeastern seas of the Indonesian Archipelago. Founded in 1988, the Aman Group operates up to 26 luxury resort properties under the Aman brand in 18 countries, including Indonesia, where each features locally sourced materials to reflect the resort’s natural surroundings and the traditions of local cultures. - See more at: http://www.jakpost.travel/news/amandira-to-sail-to-komodo-and-raja-ampat-in-april-cNXmEwbLMySBC8lH.html#sthash.xejssAf8.dpuf
Must-try Lousiana-style crabs in Bali
Bali is one of the best places to enjoy seafood in Indonesia. Jimbaran, for example, has long been one of the island's most popular spots to savor this particular dish while enjoying an amazing sunset. For those longing for Lousiana-style seafood, there are at least two crab restaurants available in Bali; allowing you to eat with your bare hands on the table, without any fancy plates and cutlery to bother you. The Holy Crab Following its popularity in Jakarta as the 'it' place to eat Alaskan crab, Bali's Holy Crab on Jl. Petitenger No. 50 offers a great combination of world-class seafood and traditional Louisiana cooking techniques in a chic yet cozy dining atmosphere. “There has been such a great response to The Holy Crab from food lovers in Jakarta that we are bringing the whole concept and experience to Bali. It has always been a dream of mine to be a part of the island's culinary scene, which has a broader international audience,” said The Holy Crab owner as well as executive chef Albert Wijaya. Choices available on the main menu include Dungeness crab, king crab legs, snow crab legs and lobster with prices ranging from Rp 88,000 (US$7) per 100 grams for the Dungeness crab to Rp 120,000 for the king crab legs -- all served in a delicious secret recipe sauce with mild, medium and hot levels of spiciness. Sausages and corn are also available as additional dishes. According to Albert, the restaurant's crustaceans are imported straight from Alaska and some are from Indonesia. Crab Bar Situated on Jl. Batu Belig 106 in Seminyak , the Crab Bar was founded by famous Indonesian chef Ragil Imam Wibowo in August 2014 with the aim of becoming the first destination for people seeking to savor Lousiana-style seafood on the island. “In Bali, if people want to eat pork, they will head straight to Ibu Oka. We want that to happen to us too; we want to become the first place people recommend when they talk about eating crab in Bali,” said the restaurant's general manager Don Domingo. For newcomers, the Crab Bar's most popular dish is CB's Hot Bag which consists of 500 grams of mud crab, 150 grams of prawn, 200 grams of yabbies (Australian freshwater crustaceans) or clams, sausages and corn. A portion costs Rp 495,000. The CB’s Cold Platter, priced at Rp 450,000, is also recommended with cold Mud Crab, 200 grams of prawn, 200 grams of clams and four pieces of oyster or yabbies. The Crab Bar offers six types of sauce for its hot-platter menus with three levels of spiciness (mild, medium and TNT). The choices include original Lousiana-style with smoked Cajun butter, oriental-style CB’s Bali Sauce, Bangka curry sauce, chili sauce, teriyaki black pepper and garlic butter. While for the cold platter menus, foodies can try garlic mayo, tomato tartar and tom yam mayo sauce. - See more at: http://www.jakpost.travel/news/must-try-lousiana-style-crabs-in-bali-otImxpP0OU7Hu4aJ.html#sthash.rQELFKmb.dpuf