ALiLA SCBD Jakarta Review [2019]

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Alila is one of my favorite brands to stay at and once I heard Two Roads Hospitality (parent company of Alila) was being bought out by Hyatt I got very excited. This stay at the Alila SCBD verifies how much I love the Alila brand. From check-in to check-out, the stay was fantastic and I couldn’t be happier.

In this review, I share my experience of staying at Alila SCBD. I explain how the service was absolutely amazing, show off one of my favorite hotel elite breakfasts at Vong Kitchen, and explain the XL Studio room I received.


How to book Alila SCBD

I booked my two nights at Alila SCBD using cash as I was saving up my points for an aspirational property. I booked it the same day I checked in.

The total bill was $380.50 USD, including the meal I had at Hakkasan.

From this stay, I gained 4,474 points. 2,000 points are from staying at Hyatt’s new brands for the first time as a World of Hyatt member. It’s a Hyatt promotion to promote World of Hyatt members to try out their new Two Roads Hospitality brands.

So, when you stay at Alila, Destination, Joie de Vivre, and Thompson brands for the first time, you will get 2,000 points for each brand (up to 8,000 points). Once you stay at all four brands, you will also get a category 1-4 free night certificate. This promotion ends on December 31, 2019.


Alila SCBD location overview

Alila SCBD is located in the SCBD district of Jakarta, or more specifically right next to Pacific Place Mall. The Pacific Place Mall is nine floors of premium luxury shopping and restaurants.

The SCBD is also where you will find many corporate office buildings and other luxury hotels like Fairmount, Four Seasons, Raffles, and Ritz Carlton. Many boutique restaurants and shops are in the SCBD area catering to office workers and expats alike. There are numerous other malls in the SCBD that offers discount to luxury shopping.

If you are looking for tourist sites, SCBD won’t be ideal, but then again Jakarta isn’t really a tourist destination. It’s great for food with many different options ranging from street food for $1 or less to meals that cost $100 or more per person.


Getting to Alila SCBD

As I was already in Jakarta, I just took a short 20 minute GrabCar to Alila SCBD.

If you’re coming from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK), the best way to get to the hotel would be taking GoCar or GrabCar. It will cost you around 150k IDR, which is around $11 USD, with the addition of paying for tolls. It should take you with traffic about an hour to get from CGK to Alila SCBD.

If you prefer a private car transfer that you prebook, Traveloka works great for Golden Bird reservations. 


Check-in

When you arrive at Alila SCBD, you will be greeted with security checking around your vehicle and the trunk. Security is typical in Indonesia at every hotel, so don’t be alarmed as it’s completely normal. The U shape driveway is tiny with a few parking spaces including a ramp down to underground parking.

Once you pull up to the entrances, you will see two entrances, one for Hakkasan and one for Alila SCBD. Both entrances go to the in-house and Hakkasan elevators, which are both connected to the lobby.

I was greeted by two employees wearing the most casual clothes ever. I thought they were guests until I saw they had name tags. They immediately grabbed my bags without hesitation and said don’t worry they will handle it. I love how proactive they are.

Exterior front entrance doors to Alila lobby
Exterior front entrance doors to Hakkasan

After security, I walked through the front doors, as someone was holding the door for me, I noticed about five people wearing more casual clothes standing around talking. One person immediately came over and escorted me to the front desk. Again, I almost mistook her as another guest.

I was asked for my passport, which by law they have to copy. She pulled up my reservation and immediately thanked me for being a Hyatt Globalist.

She told me how I was upgraded to their XL Studio and explained how it’s their highest category room as they are still in their soft opening phase (opened their doors back in February 2019) finishing up their suites. So, right now they only have two category rooms available, the Studio and XL Studio.

She then explained how the breakfast is from 6:00am to 10:00am in the Vong restaurant and how it’s included as a Globalist.

Lastly, she asked what I wanted as a welcome drink. I asked for watermelon juice, and she said they will make it fresh for me.

After the smooth and friendly check-in process, I received my key card and was told my luggage will be sent up right away.

A little bit about the lobby, it’s very casual and beautiful. I truly love Alila lifestyle design, it’s always different at each property, and they did a great job for a city hotel.

Lobby lounge
Lights in elevator hallway

Alila SCBD uses an elevator reservation system. An elevator reservation system is where you tap your keycard, type in the floor, and it will tell you which elevator you will take.

I do wish more properties add this system. It eliminates awkward elevator rides with others stopping at almost every floor imaginable.

Elevator reservation keypad

My XL Studio was room 1007, which is on the 10th floor. It’s kinda near the elevators, but the noise coming from the elevators during my stay was minimal. I could still hear them though.

Alila keycard with the 10th floor hallway in the background

Luggage and welcome drink small mishap

I had two pieces of luggage, one was wrapped, but it’s not mine and I was transporting it for a friend. After about 15 minutes in the room, I received my luggage.

They were super proactive and didn’t ask to unwrap the luggage but did anyways. I would have loved this approach of not asking if I needed my luggage unwrapped. Yet, I didn’t want the luggage to be unwrapped. I ended up calling down an hour after arriving in the room explaining how I didn’t ask nor wanted this luggage to be unwrapped as I was transporting it for someone else. They immediately apologized and offered to rewrap it. I accepted their offer thanking them.

At the same time over the phone call, I mentioned how I didn’t get a welcome drink. They again apologized for that and mentioned how I should have gotten the watermelon juice. 

Within minutes someone came up to deliver the delicious watermelon juice and take away the luggage to be rewrapped.

After getting the luggage back, it shows they don’t have the proper luggage wrapping material, but they were very kind to rewrap the luggage and it still worked great.

Luggage after they rewrapped it

I wasn’t upset over the mishap. I was glad they were proactive, as I prefer being proactive over passive interactions.

On the other hand, the welcome drink forgetfulness was a little disappointing in my eyes. Luckily, these were the only issues (very minor issues) during my stay.


XL Studio room at Alila SCBD

As Hyatt Globalist, I got upgraded to the XL Studio room, which is the highest room category open during my visit in September 2019. All the suites are under construction right now and expected to be open in the coming month or two. (They say by November 2019 the suites will be completed.)

As it was a studio room, it only consisted of two rooms: the bedroom and the bathroom. There was a walk-in closest, but nothing elaborate and not enough space if you wanted to open up two carry-on suitcases on the shelf.

I do like the design of the room I was in. At Alila SCBD each room is slightly different, so the one I got might be different from the same category room that you would get.

I guess the only criticism of my room has to be the lack of artwork or specialty designs like you might have seen in the lobby or the main exterior wall entrance. I feel like something inspired by the rest of the property will bring some color into the gray looking room.

When you first walk into the room, you will see the walk-in closet to the right. Like I mentioned above, it’s nothing elaborate and not enough room for multiple suitcases. If you wanted to store things in drawers, you’re out of luck.

For just me, it’s more than enough as I live outside of my single carry-on.

In the closet there is a safe, laundry bag, super soft black Alila branded robes, hangers, and black slippers.

By the way, the Alila robes provided are to die for. I absolutely love these super soft robes. In fact, I am not a fan of robes but when I wore this robe I fell in love.

Down the short hallway from the front door, you will find the bathroom and bedroom.

We will first tour the bedroom.

In the bedroom, you will find a king-sized bed, TV, desk, two-person sofa, mini-bar, refrigerator, coffee machine, and Marshall speaker. 

I was surprised to see one thing missing from the room — an alarm clock. I was okay with this as I always dim the alarm clock to the max and use my phone instead. Luckily, they still had an in-room phone. 

In the corner of the room, by the sofa, there are two cabinet doors built into the wall with the mini-bar, refrigerator, and coffee machine. You will find complimentary glass bottles of water in there too.

Beside the bed, you will find two end tables with two USB ports on each side of the bed. There are regional outlets on each side, but they are hidden under the end tables being used by either the phone or the speaker.

On one end table, you will find the Bluetooth Marshall speaker. It gets loud and sounds pretty good for its size. I enjoyed using the speaker during my stay. I do hope more hotels have stereo systems or quality speakers like this. It just makes the stay so much more enjoyable being able to blast whatever you listen to.

At the desk, you will find the only universal outlet in the whole bedroom, two USB, LED lamp, in-room dining menu, tissues, and a do not smoke sign.

The chair at the desk is alright, it’s not an office chair, but it gets the job done providing enough support.

I would like to point out how the TV is on a moveable arm that can extend and retract from the wall. This makes it super easy to plug in my Nintendo Switch or laptop to the TV via an HDMI cable.

Transitioning over to the bathroom, it’s a good-sized bathroom for a non-suite room. The bathroom does have a sliding door for privacy from the bedroom, but it doesn’t lock.

The bathroom has dual vanity sinks with two of everything, even two liquid hand soaps.

At this time, I would love to mention how Alila products are one of my favorite hotel-branded toiletries. It smells and feels good on the skin. Actually, I prefer Alila toiletries over other Hyatt branded toiletries.

The toothbrushes and toothpaste provided are normal-sized. There is also a vanity mirror on the wall that is attached to an arm.

There is a universal outlet in the bathroom by the sinks. It’s not a shaving outlet, but an actual full power universal outlet. Thank you Alila SCBD for putting a full-powered outlet in the bathroom. 

I especially love the design of the cups in the bathroom.

The bathtub is beautiful. They provide a luffa, bath salts, and bubble bath soap with an oversized bath mat. 

The blinds are down by default, every window has a blind, but I put some up to let in more natural light.

By the windows, you have the toilet facing the outside world. Luckily there are blinds, but if you enjoy an audience from the nearby office buildings, you can open the blinds.

The toilet has a built-in bidet, but it’s not a Japanese toilet seat. I do question why it’s just a regular toilet seat when other similarly priced hotels in Jakarta have a Japanese toilet seat.

The shower is right across from the sinks.

The size of the shower is big enough to fit two people. In the shower you will find a handheld showerhead and a rain shower. Unfortunately, both shower heads cannot be used at the same time.

You will also find shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel in eco-friendly reusable big bottles. I do prefer these big bath toiletries as I always use a lot of shower gel and hate asking for more.

I like how the handheld showerhead has buttons for the different types of settings making it easy to switch between each one.


Alila SCBD dining

Alila SCBD has three in-house restaurants.

The two that are managed by Alila kitchen is Vong Kitchen and Le Burger. Then on the very top floor, there is Hakkasan, a Cantonese fine-dining modern fusion club franchise restaurant. Currently, the 26th floor rooftop isn’t open yet but expected to open later this year.

Vong Kitchen (breakfast)

For Globalists, you can have breakfast at the Vong Kitchen on the ground level. Could this be the best hotel elite breakfast in Jakarta? I believe so and it’s all because of the menu.

Vong Kitchen entrance

Breakfast is from 6:00am to 10:00am. I wish they could extend the hours to 10:30am for the late risers or when you aren’t hungry when you first wake up. 

The Vong Resturant is set up with an a-la-carte menu that has no limitations to how much you can order. You can order as much as you want, at least when you’re a Globalist. The menu is not huge but has everything you might want. From eastern to western options. Then if you wish, you can request the chef to make you something else. I just hope they offer dim sum in the future.

Here is the menu available:

Vong Kitchen menu
Vong Kitchen menu

The restaurant has an industrial contemporary design, which I absolutely love. Notice how there are few people at breakfast. I love to eat breakfast in a setting that isn’t crowded and Alila creates a wonderful setting.

Vong Kitchen
Vong Kitchen
Vong Kitchen outdoor seating
Vong Kitchen

For the first breakfast, I ordered Silver Moon TWG tea, eggs benedict with spinach, and aromatic broth. They gave me a variety of bread too. I also requested a side of sambal. I ended the meal with Comptoir des Indes TWG tea.

Overall the breakfast was nice. I enjoyed every dish, even the excellent croissant. The eggs benedict were cooked correctly with the muffin being crispy and hollandaise sauce flavorful and not overwhelming. The aromatic broth hit the spot being very light. 

I did enjoy the sambal. They make it in-house using their own recipe, but I gave them feedback about making it a bit more spicy as this I found it a little mild.

Vong Kitchen eggs benedict
Vong Kitchen eggs benedict
Vong Kitchen aromatic broth
Vong Kitchen aromatic broth
Vong Kitchen in-house made sambal

The second day, I had fried rice and eggs benedict with salmon. They did end up giving me extra sambal without me asking. Loved how they remembered how much sambal I used from the day before.

Again, these two dishes were good. I enjoyed the fried rice and how it wasn’t too rich. The eggs benedict with salmon was better compared to the spinach option. 

Vong Kitchen fried rice
Vong Kitchen eggs benedict

I would love to compliment the staff in the restaurant for being so friendly, welcoming, and remembering what I like. It’s nice that the second day of breakfast the staff remembered me asking me if I wanted to order the same tea, food, etc. It feels great to be recognized not as a number, but as a person. 

I also enjoyed talking with the restaurant manager about his time working in the US.

There is one sort of feedback I would leave for the Vong Kitchen though, sometimes drinks take too long to arrive. It seems like drinks were always an oversight and I prefer not waiting for water to come last after the meal and tea or having empty cups of water or tea.

Hakkasan (lunch)

I won’t go into much detail about Hakkasan as it’s a worldwide franchised restaurant.

Hakkasan is only accessible from the lobby and someone has to escort you up. It’s because it’s also a club/bar and they don’t want a bunch of non-in-house guests taking the guest elevators. 

When I exited the elevator an ex-employee of another hotel noticed me right away and welcomed me to Hakkasan. She used to work in the club lounge at another Jakarta hotel that I frequently visited. We caught up a little bit and she gave me a tour. 

After the brief catch-up and tour, I settled into my seat at my table and browsed the menu. I never knew about Hakkasan before coming to this restaurant. The first time learning about Hakkasan is googling it while I rode the elevator.

I ended up getting the lunch set that had some dim sum, entree, and dessert. I then got a truffle cocktail.

Here is the menu for the lunch set I ordered:

Hakkasan lunch set menu

The meal was alright. It was definitely overpriced, but it wasn’t too bad. I really enjoyed the truffle har gau and crispy prawn with truffle. The passionflower dessert was fantastic. The truffle cocktail was very nice and truffly. Yet, everything else was okay.

Hakkasan dim sum
Hakkasan dim sum
Hakkasan entree
Hakkasan dessert
Hakkasan cocktail

Would I recommend going here? Maybe the a-la-carte menu is better and just get truffle dim sum. I’ve definitely had better dim sum that was cheaper, so paying those prices for non-specialty dim sum gives me a headache.

The service was great and super attentive. They always made sure my tea glass was filled and didn’t want me to lift a finger.


Alila fitness center

I am not a person that workouts at a gym. I like to walk, but only if I am walking to a restaurant. Maybe I should workout more?

Nonetheless, I found the gym impressive and empty. They have a few studios for group workout sessions, just like W properties. Then there is a whole gym with lots of different equipment that made me question what some of it is for. (If I am questioning what equipment is, that is a good sign since it’s probably for some special workout.)

Alila gym and fitness center attendant that is also the pool attendant
Alila gym and fitness center
Alila gym and fitness center
Alila gym and fitness center
Alila gym and fitness center
Alila gym and fitness center (studio 1)
Alila gym and fitness center (studio 2)

They do have a tiny store where you can buy drinks and snacks if you prefer anything else instead of the free infused water and fruit.

Alila gym and fitness center mini store

Alila pool

Alila has an impressive rooftop pool and hydro pool for relaxing or doing laps.

I didn’t swim, but if I did I would have been alone as most of the time the pool is completely empty.

There isn’t anything in terms of amenities for the pool. You get the towels from the Alila counter right before you exit to go outside. There are showers to rinse off before and after a dip in the pools. Some sun chairs and tables, but that’s about it. Maybe a poolside bar would be awesome, but as there are no guests at the pool it probably won’t do so well.

Hallway to the pool
Pool
Pool
Pool
Hydro pool
Outdoor showers

Alila service

The Alila treatment is what makes me love Alila branded hotels.

Alila treatment is where the staff knows who you are by the end of the first day. It feels great as they know your face and name without you ever meeting them. Even at the restaurant, the waiter and waitress remembered my drink and food orders from the day before without looking at a sheet.

When I first checked in, the general manager left a note with his business card and some Indonesian desserts in my room. Always a nice touch.

Then the delayed, but delicious fresh watermelon juice as a welcome drink was perfect. (I really love watermelon juice.)

Then the staff tried so hard to fix the luggage mishap and made it right. Since I already explained the luggage mishap above, I don’t have to go over it again, but they fixed it without me having to worry about rewrapping the luggage when I got to the airport. Again, this was a minor issue and they did great fixing it.

Even housekeeping did a fantastic job for keeping the room stocked and putting things back perfectly like I was checking in to the room again.

However, there is one moment where Alila really surprised me making me go, “wow.”

I was staying in my room the second night watching YouTube on the TV and playing on my laptop. I just wanted to relax and do nothing. Then I heard the doorbell ring. I answered the door and there are two front desk agents holding a bottle of prosecco and popcorn.

The two front desk agents said, “We saw how you didn’t go out tonight. So, have some bubbles and popcorn for you.”

They also provided a note.

The way they presented the bottle and wrote the card made me laugh and smile. I love how they used to the word bubbly. 🙂

The whole team did a fantastic job during my two-night stay welcoming me and I cannot be luckier. Thank you Alila SCBD team for being amazing.


Final word

In short, Alila SCBD is wonderful. From the fantastic proactive attentive service to the splendid room. I enjoyed my time at Alila SCBD and loved every moment of it. 

I will definitely return and would fully recommend the Alila SCBD to anyone staying in Jakarta.

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