My New Favorite Starwood Club Lounge In The World

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.

keraton-at-the-plaza

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:

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).

keraton-jakarta-executive-lounge-1

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.

keraton-jakarta-executive-lounge-2

For the main course I ordered chicken curry.

keraton-jakarta-executive-lounge-3

Then for dessert I ordered colenak, an Indonesian dessert.

keraton-jakarta-executive-lounge-4

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. 😉

keraton-club-lounge

Bottom line

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?

Comments

  1. Hi Ben:

    Is Starwood club lounge access just a regular room amenity, or is there something else we need to know about to gain access?

    Thanks.

  2. Did you have the pleasure to enjoy the IC Sydney Club Lounge, yet? I’d say it is pretty much the best Club Lounge out there (at least of the ones I’ve been to). During the day, there’s an à la carte menu with a couple of options, in the evening there’s a buffet including oysters and such as well as two freshly prepared hot options. The service is very good as well. Plus, the view of the Opera House and the stunning terrace are heard to beat. Yet, the Keraton seems to be a little superior when it comes to the food spread (yet, it’s Asia, so we need to set different standards).

  3. Wow, that’s amazing! It’s like having breakfast, lunch, and dinner included in your hotel fare.

    Obviously, there’s no substitute for going out to local restaurants, but lord knows I’ve had work trips before where it was impossible to leave the hotel for days at a time—this would be a godsend.

  4. I was commenting that Keraton might just be one of the really unique Luxury Collection property that can compete with the very best hotels like Four Seasons & Ritz-Carltons.

    Because Luxury Collection is such a wide range of possibilities, perhaps the very, very unique Luxury Collection could be named “Grand Luxury Collection” (just like the “Grand Sheratons” to differentiate them from the normal Sheratons).

    There were reports that Keraton might even be better than some St Regis, and that caught my eye, even though I have never been there.

    Waiting to see a full report on it. But I am glad Indonesia is actually setting global standards in hospitality, and for Lucky to name the best club lounge he has been to is in an Indonesian hotel, and probably the best airline service he has experienced is from Indonesia’s national carrier, must have been a testament that something is going right with training and execution there. This is first world’s service.

  5. Your first time in Jakarta and having meals in the lounge instead of outside

    Good job wasting your life! Spend your youth in drab lounges instead of getting life experiences!

  6. @ B — First of all, I’ve had one meal in the lounge. Second of all, you understand review airlines and hotels is my job, right?

  7. Hi Ben,
    That looks like an awesome Lounge! Thanks for all the awesome trip reports. I’ve been doing a good bit of binge reading! XD Is there going to be a trip report about the current trip you’re on soon?

    Have fun, and get some rest.

  8. @ Gary Leff — Ahhhh, you’re absolutely correct! Man, that has been a long time. Too bad the club experience has been devalued since then. Also, I believe the IC only had complimentary alcohol in the evenings, while here’s it available all day (moot point for me, since I’m not drinking, though).

  9. I will never understand why people like @B are so hateful. If you have a message maybe a comment like “thats great, hope you get to try the local food” or anything that not so negative.

    Sounds like your having a great trip Lucky. ENJOY!

  10. No people like me we are not hateful, we stumbled onto this blog and the stuff is exciting…I had to get daily fix. but I’m young and not worth the stack of credit cards, so I have to rely on my limited life experience to make some comments. I cant wait to get out of college , get a job so I can apply for cards & try the flights & hotels myself.

  11. “when jetlagged I have an easier time staying away if I’m working from somewhere other than my room”
    You mean “staying awake”?

  12. Lucky, doesn’t the Starwood Business Card from Amex come with lounge access? Or is the lounge access limited to Sheraton lounge only?

  13. @B that would be like telling you that you’re wasting your life for the 8 hours a day that you spend in your cubicle. Ben’s work takes him all over the world. While we are working in an office, he is working in a plane, hotel, or airport. There’s no difference except his job is way cooler.

  14. Benjamin: I must say, reading your reports from 2008 is such a breath of fresh air, before your life took this sad turn and you became a lump of doughy, giant douchebag. It’s easier to read from your writing that you were so much happier back then, even when staying at Holiday Inn Macau. It’s too bad. And another thing, my son Seth is NOT a homosexual, thank you. This is Bobbie Dooley, President of the Western Estates Homeowners’ Association.

  15. @ Bobbie Dooley

    Thank you very much for wasting your time to write that comment. I sincerely appreciate the thought and effort that went into the process of writing it. The way you worded it was beautiful too. Describing Ben as “a lump of giant doughy douchebag” really spoke to my soul, and inspired me, that I too, could be as kind and uplifting as you. It’s people like you that make blogs like this worth reading. You must be very smart too, considering your title as President of some homeowners association, a prestigious plot of land where only the elite and top-class may live.

    Thank you for being an inspiration to many, Bobbie.

  16. @B @Bobbie Dooley

    Hello gentlemen (odds are you’re both male). We’ll start the group therapy sessions on Monday. You can get the anger out there and then, where it will be more appropriate.

  17. I stayed here as an SPG Plat a few months ago and didn’t much like the overall experience – too sterile for me. Now I go back to the Hyatt on the other end of the same plaza.

  18. While not giving a free menu the lounge at the Nines hotel n Oregon has a nice array of free light bite food, a club style atmosphere, good drinks and extremely helpful and friendly staff.

  19. The Executive Lounge in the Marriott near Barajas in Madrid, Spain is super nice as well. It’s huge to begin with with a nice spread of hot and cold food, salads, and a reasonably large fruit and desert bar. The wine, beer, and spirits are upon request, but quickly served by the staff. The lounge is large, quiet, and has many seating options and areas. Even the breakfast rivals full breakfast buffets at most places. The hotel itself is really top notch.

  20. Honestly this doesn’t touch Grosvenor House Dubai’s lounge IMO … unless I’m missing something?

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