I’m a big fan of hotel club lounges, and access to them is one of the elite hotel perks I value most. What do I like most about club lounges?
- I work “full time” from the road, and it’s great to be able to work from somewhere other than a hotel room; when jetlagged I have an easier time staying awake if I’m working from somewhere other than my room, as it helps me avoid the temptation of working from bed
- It’s a place from which you can grab a bottle of water or coffee at anytime, so it saves time and money
- When I’m traveling alone and am jetlagged, sometimes I’d rather just snack on things in the lounge than have a solo dinner; it’s not something I always do, but it’s a nice option to have
Club lounge quality can of course vary greatly by location and hotel brand. Typically U.S. properties have among the most lackluster lounges out there, while at some foreign properties club lounges serve food that could easily substitute dinner.
So while I’ve been to some great lounges (including at several Ritz-Carltons), I think I’ve found my favorite Starwood club lounge, and perhaps my favorite club lounge of any hotel I’ve visited.
I’m staying at Keraton at the Plaza in Jakarta, which is a Starwood Luxury Collection property, and it’s fantastic. It’s modern and doesn’t feel cookie cutter, which I appreciate.
Perhaps the highlight of the hotel, though, is the club lounge, which is called Lima Five.
When I first walked into the lounge I was a bit confused:
- There was no food spread in sight, so I figured I was in the wrong place
- I was presented with a menu, so I figured this was similar to the Westin Cape Town, where the club lounge is basically a restaurant and they charge you to order food
Nope, that’s not the case. At this hotel the club lounge has an all day dining menu, and everything is complimentary, including the food, alcoholic drinks, etc. You can order food and drinks anytime between 10AM and 9PM (and then you can have breakfast in the restaurant).
This isn’t just some small menu, but rather there are about three dozen food options to choose from. All the portions are on the small side, which is great, since you’re encouraged to order multiple things. The kitchen is located in the back of the lounge, so everything is freshly prepared.
For example, for lunch we ordered beef skewers and spicy tuna rolls.
For the main course I ordered chicken curry.
Then for dessert I ordered colenak, an Indonesian dessert.
This lounge is also a fantastic location from which to get work done, as their coffee is strong and service attentive, meaning my cup never gets empty. 😉
This is only the second ever time I’ve seen a club lounge that’s truly “a la carte.” The first time was at the Westin Cape Town, where they charged for all the food. This is such a great concept, since you have so many more options than you’d have with a traditional buffet. On top of that, everything is free all day.
Has anyone else seen a club lounge concept like the one at the Keraton? Do you prefer this concept, or one with a buffet?