Two Days Trip in Jakarta – Checking in Kempinski Hotel (Day 1)

My client has invited me over for his daughter’s wedding dinner on a Sunday evening and I thought this could be a good opportunity to take a break away from work for a day or two and enjoy the weekend with my girl friend.

It wasn’t my first time in Jakarta yet the only places I have visited was only the factories and industrial area. Thus, I have make a point to find a hotel that is near the city centre to enjoy the views and maybe some shopping at the same time. There was ample good hotels around the vicinity but eventually we have chosen Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta since it looks like a decent hotel which is linked to the shopping malls.

We arrived Jakarta in the late morning and was greeted by the hot weather. As usual, the places is packed with people and taxis (legal and illegal) trying to get some customers for taxi hire. Fortunately, my client has arranged to pick us up from the airport to his factory. It was just a short two hours meeting before we requested to be send back to our hotel.

During the factory visit, my girl friend actually hit off went with my client and while they was chatting happily about plants and fruits, my client stopped by one of the supermarkets along the road which my girl friend could shop for some fruits. Before our eyes were rows and rows of fresh fruits like mangoes, pineapples and even durians of many different varieties – an uncommon sight in Singapore. It took us almost an hour before we could finish shopping just on the fruits section alone – so just imagine !

 Talking about fruits, did we missed our lunch ? Apparently, we was so busy buying fruits that we had totally forget about our lunch. My client has offered us for lunch which though we have politely reject but his persistency paid off and we agreed to have a light meal at a local restaurant – Sari Minang, a Nasi Padang restaurant.

As usual, hotels in Jakarta are often with security and Kempinski wasn’t exceptional. It was a quick check before we drove to the front porch. The moment the vehicle stopped, a porter immediately opens our door while the bell boy is standing right beside him waiting for our luggages. A female staff politely greeted and ushered us to the reception counter for our check-in which took less than ten minutes before accompanying to the lift. What a service !

Kempinski Jakarta Hotel
This is our room ! We have booked for an deluxe room but maybe they does not have sufficient room and upgraded us to grand deluxe room instead ! Comfy !

Kempinski Jakarta Hotel
Comes with a sofa set where you can sit down to watch TV and enjoy our fruits from supermarket.

Kempinski Jakarta Hotel
A stylish glass-made table top for all your business discussion and writings.

Kempinski Jakarta Hotel
A chair by the window facing the parade square where you can sit down with a nice cup of coffee with watching the busy streets and central square

Complete view of the central square from the hotel’s window.

Two basins – full with amenities. You does not need to wait for your spouse to finish her make-up to brush your teeth.

Last but not the least, a bath tub. It has a TV at the side which you can watch your favourite shows or simply relax with an overview of the central square – with a glass of wine.

Details of the hotel can be found below

Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta
Jalan M.H. Thamrin No. 1
10310 Jakarta, Indonesia
Tel: + 62 21 2358 3800

My Short Trip to Istanbul Turkey – Renaissance Polat Istanbul Hotel (Day 1)

It was a last minute decision for the business trip, I could not get a direct flight from Singapore to Istanbul which is available on Singapore Airlines, I had to transit via Doha before reaching Istanbul. We arrived almost 5am in the morning and there wasn’t much crowd and the weather was freaking cold !

Change Currency and Purchase Sim Card !

Turkey does not really relies on Euro currency for daily usage and 23 did not managed to find any currency exchange for Turkish Lira while we were in Singapore or Qatar airport. The first thing was to find a currency exchange counter to change my US dollars into Turkish Lira. Internet connection would be the second on my mind. While strolling inside of the departure hall, we managed to purchased a 4GB sim card for 84 Turkish Lira (est. 44 Singapore dollars), sufficient enough for our 3 days in Istanbul. We had to deal though “finger language” as the salesperson only speaks their local language.

Tip: Try downloading World Nomad’s Turkish Language App from iTunes App Store, I believe that will help with better communication in Turkey.

Getting From The Airport To The Hotel

taxi stand outside of Istanbul airportAs we walked through the departure hall, a relentless cold wind blown across our face, sending shivers down to our spines. However,  that didn’t stopped me from lighting a cigarette before pulling out my winter jacket from my luggage. A line of bright orange taxis were waiting for customers, chatting among themselves.

We finished our last puff of cigarette and hopped into the first cab in the queue. The driver was not able to understand english and I had to pulled out my booking confirmation and showing him the address below he drove off. It was an exciting journey to the hotel while the cab driver was speeding and we could hear our luggages rolling for side to side in the car’s boot. It took us less than 10 minutes before reaching our hotel. The driver looked annoyed when I was trying to pay him with a 50 Lira note and rudely demanded that I should change at the hotel’s reception counter. I searched through my pockets and managed to pulled out some small changes to pay for the cab.

Tip: Try to get more small changes at the money exchange counters as it will be much easier to pay for the cab and other stuff. It was understand later from my Turkey’s friend that they does not like to accept large notes.

Our Hotel – Renaissance Polat Istanbul Hotel

We was greeted politely by a intern staff and I tried to check in our rooms but in normal cases, they only allowed us to check in at 2pm in the afternoon. It was only 6am in the morning and there was still a couple of hours to go before our appointment. There was two choices – either we stay at the lobby and check in after our appointment or we pay for another night’s rate. Fortunately, the intern staff tried to consult his manager and they allowed us to have an early check in for an additional 100 euros which we agreed immediately. This allows us to have a good bath and rest, keeping ourselves refresh. Furthermore, they have upgraded us to a sea view room without any additional cost !

Renaissance Polat Istanbul Hotel
Sahilyolu Cad. No: 2 Yesilyurt
34149, Turkey
Tel: + 90 212 414 1800

Reaching Somerset Hotel Apartment in Melbourne

Did not catch much sleep during the flight and ended up sleeping in the cab till arriving at our Somerset hotel apartment at Elizabeth Street. This is more like a family service apartment which has much amenities and also a small cooking area for perhaps some home cooking. But the stupid thing about this service apartment, if you are going with your family, why is there only one bed ? I thought they should include a sofa bed as well. The rooms cost est. AUS$ 250 per night, kind of expensive of this standard though.. Anyway, we are just going to put down our bag and go out for lunch.

Luckily the view outside was still not bad .

My One Day Stay at Kobe Portopia Hotel

Nice views, this area is mostly surrounded by industry as it is near to sea ports and companies would use this advantages to boost their company services.

Views of the hotel room. Though the size is not that big, but the design is quite modern. The only bad thing about the room is probably the lighting. Good for travelers, but if you intend to do some business meetings in the room , I think it is better to change a place for it.

Kobe Portopia Hotel
10-1, 6 Chome, Minatojima Nakamachi
Chuo-ku, Kobe, 650-0046, Japan
Tel: +81-78-3021111
Fax: +81-78-3026877