I have three loves in my working life. One, obviously, is work itself. The other is flying, which I undertake habitually as part of my work (and only sometimes for leisure). The third is hotels, which are my home away from home, whether on work (or away from it). I am a fan of the author Arthur Hailey’s 1960-era novels, Airport and Hotel, which became bestsellers by virtue of their ability to demonstrate how human agency directs the operations of large, impersonal organisations within the wider interplay of commerce and politics indicative of the workings of advanced industrial civilisation.
Well, when it comes to hotels abroad, I must say something about the Four Seasons in Jakarta. It describes itself as being located on one of the city’s central arterial roads, an all-suite hotel which is an intimate oasis for Jakarta’s fashionable elite. I can attest to that. I tried another 5-star hotel in Jakarta for a decade. It degraded considerably.
Breakfast at the Four Seasons awaits you beneath a custom Lasvit chandelier. I succumbed also to the refined culinary temptations of its Salmon laksa, nasi goreng and gado-gado at Palm Court Restaurant; to the Renaissance re-awakening of the five senses at the Italian Alto Bar and Restaurant; and to the relaxed environs of the Nautilus Bar for a rendezvous with friends. A walk through a curated collection of local art will guide you through the Indonesian archipelago’s history. If you are lazy, you can take in the city at your own pace, beginning with views from the wall-to-wall windows in your suite. You might never want to leave your room.
By and far, this is about the best to be expected from Jakarta. I regret that I stayed elsewhere over several years till I saw the light.
The Four Seasons has converted me because it is structured along the synchronisation of leadership. The General Manager Simon Barnett is not only the hotel’s chief executive: He has managed to plant his recipe for success in every employee, from the chefs who prepare food for the gods to the attendants who anticipate or fulfil every legitimate human need. (I asked for, and got, the very brand of honey that I wanted for my mother.) The staff have a very high IQ: More importantly, they have a very high EQ. The hotel respects the privacy of its guests as if it were a national secret. It protects their safety as if it were the nation itself.
I wonder what Arthur Hailey would have made out of this hotel. For me, it represents a near-mythical recreation of all that mortal lodgings can offer me on my foreign travels.
Do try the Four Seasons out. It is trans-seasonal. No stress. And great leadership.