Quarantine has become a reality for many business travellers, especially here in Asia. In Jakarta, a select list of properties has been approved for Indonesia’s five-day hotel quarantine, and this includes the Wyndham Casablanca Jakarta.
Located in the Indonesian capital’s Golden Triangle, the iconic Wyndham Casablanca Jakarta is a grand dame hotel built at a time when houses of slumber were expansive destinations in themselves. Consequently, the hotel’s rooms are typically very large, which is a major consideration for guests who will not be allowed to venture out for an entire workweek.
My flight from Hong Kong arrived late at night (transfers are included in the quarantine package) and I checked in for my quarantine stay just after midnight. The Wyndham Casablanca Jakarta was quiet and the check-in process, which involved me showing my arrival documentation and confirmation of my negative pre-departure PCR test, was slow but pleasant. As part of the arrival process, quarantine guests need to take another PCR test – the first of two – at the time of check-in and for this, I was escorted to the hotel’s events facilities for a very quick swap test (the mandated two tests are included in the package) before then being taken directly to my room.
I did notice that unlike Hong Kong and other cities, there was no electronic bracelet or any means by which the hotel would be able to monitor my movements and I’m sure I would have been able to leave the hotel without anyone noticing, which seems rather trusting on the part of the Indonesian government.
I had booked an Executive Business Room which was very large and well-appointed. A small foyer led into the main room, which features a king-sized bed, a large sofa and coffee table, a large L-shaped workspace, and views across the expansive Menteng Pulo Cemetery.
Ideal for a quarantine stay, these Executive Business rooms have everything an isolating business traveller will need; the workspace (which I was particularly excited about as many hotels have done away with work desks) has plenty of power points and a proper office chair for those looking to maintain productivity; while the lounge suite faces a large flatscreen television with international channels. The bathroom also boasts a bathtub and standalone shower, and there is ample storage space so you can really settle in without feeling like you’re trapped in a hotel room and tripping over suitcases.
The room is also spotlessly clean and blissfully quiet despite the major highway located outside the hotel, which is great for both work and play during a quarantine. The expansive main room also means you can create a workout routine with plenty of room for yoga or stretching exercises without having to move things around.
The hotel also boasts even more impressive spaces including suites and condo-style rooms that sleep between two and six guests, complete with a full kitchen.
There are not many elements to a quarantine – you can’t leave the room after all – so second only to the room itself is the dining. The Wyndham sent me two menus before I travelled – one for Asian cuisine and the other for Western – and the hotel’s quarantine package includes three meals each day, which consist of a main with a side salad, delivered (hung on the door with a knock) in cardboard boxes.
I would say the biggest weakness of the Wyndham quarantine stay was the dining. While you don’t expect much under the circumstances, the food was a disappointment. The delivery times stated created three windows each day when you might expect that little knock but in reality delivery times varied greatly within those windows – sometimes I would need to call to see if my breakfast was actually coming (it seems I was forgotten a few times) and others the knock would wake me up around 6 am.
Perhaps there were many quarantine guests in residence (and it’s a big hotel) but only one out of the 17 meals served during my stay arrived with any trace of warmth – the others were all stone cold by the time the fateful knock came.
Quality-wise, the meals were comfort food at best, canteen fare at worse but my request for chilli was faithfully fulfilled with every new culinary arrival. Several times I had to call down again as meals were delivered without cutlery (which was plastic, sadly, and which took 40 additional minutes to arrive)) but staff were only too willing to oblige. Meals on the Western menu would range from grilled chicken with french fries and salad, to beef goulash with potatoes and carrots; while Asian dishes included Nasi Kuning, Hainan Chicken Rice, and beef teriyaki with soba noodles.
I did order room service once or twice and the dishes proved a vast improvement over those included in the package so that might be something business travellers will consider for what is a relatively short quarantine (note: quarantine for foreigners have recently been increased to eight days). Unfortunately, the hotel doesn’t allow food delivery.
This is another element where the Wyndham shines for quarantine stays. Despite the issues with the food, which apparently came from a different kitchen than those serving the hotel’s restaurants, and the very real challenge of getting through to anyone in room service or front desk, when they were alerted, staff were attentive and always happy to help make my quarantine more bearable. They delivered harder pillows and stationery and other little essentials with speed and professionalism. The package also includes five garments laundered each day which allows business travellers the chance to leave the hotel with a suitcase full of fresh clothing.
In addition, the hotel offers amenities for an additional charge ranging from a yoga mat and dumbbells to a portable modem.
Room for Improvement
I would say the major points the hotel could focus on were better communication about meals, menus and movement at the check-in process, and of course the food delivery. I hazard to guess that had any of those meals arrived hot, they would have been quite delicious. The room also needed a little maintenance, from the buzzing bathroom lights to the non-operational phones (of the two, only one worked intermittently at best).
At the end of the day what you need for quarantine is a room with working amenities, and the space to ensure you don’t get cabin fever. Throw in ever-smiling staff and the Wyndham Casablanca Jakarta offers a great experience for business travellers arriving in Indonesia.
The Wyndham Casablanca Jakarta quarantine package includes five nights accommodation, airport transfers, two PCR tests, and three meals per day. The rate for an Executive Business Room is IDR11,000,000 (US$760).
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