Meet and Greet
How a New York Designer fell in love with Jakarta and made a hotel the new neighbourhood go-to.
By Erin Florio
"I didn't want to come to Indonesia and default to the teakwood, barefoot-luxury vibe," says Alexandra Champalimaud, who oversaw the interiors of the new Four Seasons Jakarta. "I hoped to create something that reflected the open and social nature of the people in Jakarta," she says.
"They give the city its warm, wonderful energy." That's why the public spaces are the calling card of her 125-suite glass-and-steel hotel, which opened this summer in the central Jalan Gabot Subroto business district and draws just as many locals as out-of-towners.
Walk into the Tiffany-blue patisserie in the hotel lobby on any afternoon and you’ll find Jakarta's and guests sipping java and treating themselves to exquisite handmade chocolates. In the gold-tiled mahogany-aneled Library lounge, Malaysian and European suits unwind with pre-dinner drinks. And come nightfall, you’ll see plenty of deals being made over handshakes and single matters at the dimly lit, 32 banquette Nautilus Bar (not to mention well-heeled Indonesians knocking back clove-infused vodka cocktails).
Of course, to get it right, Champalimaud travelled back and forth to Jakarta from her home base, New York, over three and a half years and dove deep into the markets, restaurants, and bars that buzz with the city’s day-to-day rhythms. Here’s where you’ll find her if she’s in town (and all of those banquettes are already taken).