Trying To Justify NOT Booking A Four Seasons Suite…

As many of you know, I’m pretty loyal to Hyatt and Starwood. Generally when I’m headed to a city I check whether either brand has a hotel in the city, and if there are multiple options, I compare them and choose the one that seems best regarded. Then sometimes I’ll look what else is out there, but a vast majority of the time I stick with Hyatt and Starwood.

Well, I’m headed to Jakarta soon, and my mind was made on staying at Keraton At The Plaza, which is a Starwood Luxury Collection property. The hotel looks really nice and I’ve heard great things, and the hotel is pretty reasonably priced, at ~$183. Seems like a great option, eh?

keraton

However my decision making has been shaken up a bit by reader Travis, who left the following comment on a recent post:

On a semi-related note, I just returned from Jakarta this week and took advantage of the “One Night on Us” promotion for a Premier Suite at the new Four Seasons

It was a great deal considering the complimentary treats with Premier Suites and a very enjoyable stay overall.

I appreciate the tips you guys provide, so I had to look this up. Well, as it turns out the new Four Seasons is cheaper than Keraton at the Plaza when factoring in the second night free.

four-seasons

Furthermore, that books straight into a suite, and comes with complimentary evening cocktails and snacks.

But that’s not all. If you book through Four Seasons Preferred Partner (Ford has access to those benefits), you’d receive complimentary breakfast (either via room service or in the restaurant), a $100 food & beverage credit, plus a further room upgrade subject to availability.

four-seasons-jakarta

As a points addict, this is a situation where I’m rather conflicted. On one hand I’m all about miles & points, but I’m also all about maximizing value. Do I go with a points hotel that looks really nice, or do I go with a hotel that’s about the same price, probably nicer, and comes with a lot more perks?

As we’ve written about in the past, sometimes these programs (Virtuoso, Fine Hotels & Resorts, Four Seasons Preferred Partner, etc.), let you be treated like a loyal guest even when you’re not, which sometimes makes me wonder why I bother with elite status.

What’s one to do in this situation?

Comments

  1. Would recommend the Keraton. Nicer location. Next to a few malls and more centrally located. Plus the big downside of staying in the new Four Seasons, there’s a huge mosque next to he hotel. Be prepared to be woke up everyday at 4am by the sounds from the mosque . Stayed there recently as with other friends. All complained of the noise . Asked for room change to different side and higher floor but didn’t help. Hope it helps

  2. I guess you said it all. You are addicted to points and that is good and bad. I understand your desire to get more points but sometimes Hyatt and SPG are not the best options so I couldn’t care less for those. Asia is a great example where you can stay in amazing properties that are not Hyatt or SPG for a very cheap rate. It has been a while I haven’t been in Jakarta but I used to travel there at least 6 times a year and I stayed mostly at the Mulia Senayan which was fabulous. I also stayed at the Shangri-La. I would definitely stay at the Four Seasons. In Asia, with amazing properties from Mandarin, Peninsula, etc.. the last place I would stay is at a Hyatt or SPG.

  3. I would say that unless you need the SPG stay/night credit for elite status as this calendar year comes to an end, go ahead and try out the suite at the Four Seasons and enjoy all those perks!

  4. As a fellow Starwood loyalist, I feel like a traitor for saying it, but you gotta go with the perks on this one. Four Seasons. Final answer.

  5. How many hundreds of thousands of Starpoints do you have again…Come on, this is a no-brainer…Four Season, p e r i o d . . .

  6. You don’t even mention if you need the stay credits to make a certain status. That usually plays significantly into the calculation. Why would you omit such an incredibly important detail? What’s up with your writing these days?

    Not only that but look at your recent experience in Baku, was it? Where you ended up at a decidedly mediocre property when there were clearly better alternatives in town.

  7. Do you need the SPG points for a milestone?

    Do you need to cover the property for the blog?

    If the answer to both questions is “no”, then Four Seasons, all the way.

  8. Four seasons for sure..I think you should look at the overall benefit and the experience that you would enjoy at the four seasons property..

  9. I am curious on how Keraton will match up against Four Seasons.

    Just because it is a Starwood property, does not mean that it cannot compete. Some of the Luxury Collections are really really nice.

  10. I’ve been finding great value lately in booking suites with free night deals and forgoing points – recently in london.

    While I’d say Four Seasons for a treat, hearing above comment that the location isn’t great and call to prayer may be an issue, I’d pick SPG

  11. Love Four Seasons hotel. But, consider the location of the Four Seasons Jakarta, as it’s a big city and if the hotel is not centrally located, it will add time to your sightseeing. Last time I was in Jakarta, I stayed at the well located and nice Mandarin Oriental. Have fun in Jakarta.

  12. I’ve not been to Jakarta, but I would heed to advice above re: overnight loudness if it was me.

    If you really want the best “value” though I agree with Santastico that in Asia the best values are local chains or independents.

    Personally, I always choose a hotel based primarily on location.

  13. Pick a hotel. It’s not rocket science. You have 2 nice options.

    The Keraton may be as nice or nicer than the Four Seasons, depending on your preferred location and amenities. If the FS is indeed adjacent to a mosque, the early morning call to prayer will be quite annoying. I’d avoid that. But you should do what makes you happiest.

    The Four Seasons may be nicer than the Keraton…but I’d research to be sure. There are many instances where the FS isnt all that it’s cracked up to be. Sydney and Beijing come to mind immediately, but Austin and Vancouver aren’t so amazing, either. I suspect a lot of people are making the assumption that the FS is obviously better than the Keraton simply based on name…and that isn’t always the case.

  14. Thanks for the shout out. I’d say go with the Foiur Seasons. 😉 

    I agree that that the Keraton has a better location, but if you can accept the traffic, or your trips around town will be more off peak, I think the Four Seasons will be a more gratifying choice. 

    My other two observations that the Jakarta experts here may have better info on are:

    The turnaround time with Ubers was not wonderful at peak times. If you take one of the metered Silver Bird cars parked downstairs (or orderable), it will be more, but still less than a US big city Uber and most likely a more pleasant ride. 

    I had a very yummy meal at recently opened GIOI (pan-Asian with Indonesian influences, i suppose.). It’s 10-20 min away in Senopati, amidst many other restaurants.

    http://jktgo.com/gioi-jakarta/

  15. While Keraton is located on top of the mall, it has its own gated entrance, the service is impeccable, and the location can’t be beat. Hotel Indonesia, which the movie “Years of Living Dangerously” used as a backdrop, is next door, so that’s one for historical visit. Many museums within a short taxi ride away. I visited the hotel a year ago, and I’m planning to return.

    Four Seasons’ new location is in the hustle and bustle of the city, but there’s nothing to see around the hotel. When I visited to see the rooms at the old location (during my hotel industry days) they were very welcoming to visitors. If the service then is any indication, you will definitely love this property. Besides, it’s the Four Seasons!!!

    For points and location, I’d choose Keraton But, I’ve never seen a comprehensive online review on the new Four Seasons in Jakarta, so this is probably a good opportunity for you to provide your readers.

  16. Also, for the record, I occasionally heard the mosque calls, but I slept through the early morning ones.

    Perhaps those free free refreshments from 6pm-9pm were a factor. :O

  17. Just ask yourself what Evil Kermit would do in this situation 🙂

    Personally I would side with the Four Seasons!

  18. I agree with @Bill: Four Seasons can often be a disappointment. Too many FS properties look like they’ve been decorated by some fussy old granny. That being said, the FS Jakarta does appear to be quite refreshingly stylish.

    I have never stayed at the Keraton at the Plaza (I was loyal to the Dharmawangsa); however, my colleagues wouldn’t consider staying anywhere else. As others have mentioned, it is a serious mistake to assume a Four Seasons property would naturally be superior to a hotel in the Luxury Collection.

    As for the location: does it matter? Does Ben intend to attempt a tour of Jakarta? I actually like Jakarta but it’s not a city one can simply spontaneously explore.

    Personally, I am intrigued by the styling of the Four Seasons Jakarta. And as I mentioned in a previous post, I think Ben should give it a try just for a change of hotel scenery.

    Is Ben staying in Jakarta for more than one night? It would be fascinating if he could do a side-by-side comparison of the FS and the Keraton at the Plaza. However, he would certainly waste precious time transferring from one property to the other.

  19. In Jakarta my number one hotel is the Ritz-Carlton pacific place. Lovely big rooms and a nice club lounge (included in every rate). Staff is great and I love the smaller setting of the hotel. It has only 50 rooms I think. The hotel is located on top of a mall and located in the business district. Most museums are a “short” taxi ride away, although this really depends on the traffic.

  20. Unless you need the stays for some SPG milestone, I would say Four Seasons all the way. It’s a better value and you almost never stay at/review them. It would be interesting to see your take on what is supposed to be a pretty good Four Seasons property.

  21. The JW is only a Cat 3 and therefore just 5k SPG points per night. I realize that one of Marriott’s flagship brands is slumming it for you, but I don’t see how you can argue with that math.

  22. Four Seasons. Depending on the timing of your visit, you could very well get stuck in the middle of a protest as the location of the Keraton is at the epicenter of any large size demonstration in Jakarta, which I expect will be quite common due to the current local political situation.

  23. This “new” Four Seasons was intended to open as a St Regis. It is NOT the same building as the old Four Seasons, which is now being renovated as the St Regis. Owner of both buildings is supposedly the same. That said, this FS has many attributes that are very St Regis centric.

  24. Keraton is much more centrally located, in the heart of Jakarta. And location is very important in Jakarta considering the traffic situation here. I live in Jakarta, been reading your blogs for quite a while now. Can get in touch with me for any assistance while in Jakarta. Would love to meet you whilst you will be here in Jakarta.

  25. When I heard you are coming to Jakarta. I would have heavily recommend keratin,kempinski,grand Hyatt or the mandarin oriental (and maybe shang ri la) but as you’ve narrowed down ur options to keraton and four seasons I would recommend keraton as it is arguably the fanciest and best hotel in jkt. Moreover, keratons location is superb, it is neighboring plaza Indonesia and grand Indonesia (2 fantastic malls for shopping and dining) whilst four seasons is quite a distance from the main attractions of the city. Additinally, grand indo is also one of the biggest malls in the world.

  26. The hermitage a Tribute property had fantastic spg plat recognition and is rate it a much better than the 4S Keraton.
    The suite I had was absolutely off the hook! Totally devine

  27. Stayed at Grand Hyatt Jakarta about 3 years ago. Next to Monumen Selamat Datang, the great room road circle with a fountain shown in most ads for Jakarta, meaning this is a centrally located hotel, next to the big malls. When I stayed at the GH, Hilton had no properties in Jakarta. I might still stay at the GH even now that Hilton has DoubleTree that is styled almost like a Conrad…

    It is sometimes about money, sometimes about loyalty, but always about feeling comfy and having a good time.

  28. ‘room road’ is the ‘smart’phone editor inserting words it thinks I should insert. There should be no ‘room’ for that!

  29. The Keraton is absolutely one of my favorite hotels in the world – and that includes many Four Seasons that I have stayed at. Even the standard rooms have amazing bathrooms, japanese toilets, floor to ceiling windows, electronic blinds, etc. What really makes this hotel special, though, is the service (Alex with concierge is amazing). If you happen to be staying there on a Friday, the Central Business District where the hotel is located has a car free day in the morning and the hotel sometimes offers free bike tours with Alex as the guide. The spa is also amazing and the rates, like most thinks in Indonesia, are VERY cheap for those with USD.

  30. I just came back from Jakarta last week and benefited from the One Night on Us Promotion. I really think this Four Seasons property was amazing.

    The Premier Suites is beautifully decorated and so spacious. Though I think maintenance could be improved to keep the rooms in tact (something that Indonesian hospitality service is lacking). The staff service was stellar. Not to mention that when you book the promo rate it is inclusive breakfast, evening cocktail (Nautilus bar is beautiful – art deco style), complimentary pressing (understand not everyone will use this but useful for business trips), and guaranteed late checkout until 4 pm. I was weighing beteen Four Seasons and the newly opened Westin (which is located in Jakarta’s highest building), but did not regret at all going with the former.

    Good luck in choosing!

  31. After seeing many comments here on Keraton, i think it is a very, very good property. There r really some stunning luxury collection properties n just becos they r not called four seasons or ritz carlton (or becos they r part of starwood) does not make them any less desirable.

    If u can, review both.

  32. Two articles on the Four Seasons and now an Four Seasons banner advert across the top of your home page… :-/

  33. Lucky, it really comes down to making a choice between a known entity versus taking one for the team for the purpose of reviewing a fairly new hotel.

    I always get a little apprehensive about staying in a hotel which has recently opened. When faced with making a decision between two fairly comparable hotels, my experience has taught me to err on the side of caution and go with the more mature product. The service standards will be more established, and you won’t have the same teething problems you’re likely to encounter with new staff getting to grips with a new property. And yes, you can still have staff and service issues at the FS level (I worked there once upon a time, so would know). The Keraton experience I had earlier this year was a hugely enjoyable one, and I would recommend it without question. Here’s my write-up: http://travelhighlife.com/hotels/keraton-plaza-a-luxury-collection-hotel-jakarta-haven-of-private-luxury/

    The other point rightly mentioned by some of the pundits here is location. The FS is outside what is considered the main thoroughfare of central Jakarta. It is however closer to the airport, so will cut down on your journey time. If this is a typical in-and-out overnighter, then there could be merits to trying out the FS, especially as I’m quite curious to hear what you make of the whole experience. Otherwise if you have a day or more to spend on the ground, as a fellow SPG loyalist, go with the Keraton Plaza. Hope this helps!

  34. I go to Jakarta 6-7 x a yr and I’d go with the keraton as its location is much better then the FS. Walk right out and you’ll have plenty of dining and entertainment options. A lot of the ‘local’ restaurants are nearby being a short taxi ride away. Plenty of taxis nearby – get either a bluebird or silver bird taxi. Traffic in Jakarta can be awful so location is extremely important.

    You’ll also have access to the club which serves food on demand for most of the day and you’ll be upgraded to a large junior suite as a plat. Plus if you’re there on the weekend or car free day in Jakarta it’s real nice to get onto a bike and do a bike tour of Jakarta.

  35. If you combine this with the offer you mentioned about 20% on your most recent post about four season gift card sounds like a great deal to go with four seasons.

  36. I’ve reluctantly learned not all FS are created equal. I absolutely love FS HK, would not stay anywhere else in HK. FS LA Beverly Hills never ever again (unbelievably arrogant staff plus one time the room was not serviced until after 5 pm). FS Big Island Hawaii really poor service.

    It’s almost as if the best FS are overseas properties.

  37. Considering how much you stay with your preferred chains, I”d go with venturing outside your normal travel pattern if you can get such great value out of it. Try something new! You have more than enough points to be able to stay one or two nights at a non-points hotel once a year.

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