Tue, 11 Jun 2002

Taking a break from oppressive Jakarta

Sudibyo M. Wiradji Contributor Jakarta

With serene and peaceful ambience, resorts surrounding Jakarta witness regular customers wishing to spend their weekends or holiday breaks. Staying in a resort has become an alternative getaway for Jakartans, especially revelers wishing to avoid the hustle bustle of the city.

Most of the retreats are situated outside the bustling metropolis but not too far away. It only takes a few hours drive to reach the sites.

Although guests at resorts wish to relax, most do not stay the whole day in a locked room without doing anything but will usually spend their time engaged in outdoor activities based on their interests. And several well-managed resorts do not only provide the needed facilities but also organize outdoor activities.

If you want to try the pleasures of spending your holidays in retreat islands, or some places located at the coastal area in the Sunda Straits or at a lake, there are a plenty of choices waiting for you.

Increasingly popular sea resorts are found in Kepulauan Seribu or the Thousand Islands, located to the north of the capital even though a few hours boat trip is needed to reach the site. There, a group of islands scattered across the Java Sea, where cottages with 'back to nature' concept are readily available. Most of the developed islands has its own resort, like Pulau Seribu Marine (Pantara Island), Kulkul Kotok Island Resort, Mentari Resort and Sepa Island Resort.

At the resorts, high heed is paid to preserving nature, with their buildings made of bamboo and wood instead of cement. Despite buildings adopting traditional architecture, the resorts or cottages are well equipped with modern facilities. However, certain cottages present 'fully natural setting' by using oil lamps, instead of electricity lights, creating a romantic atmosphere.

To the west of Jakarta, one can find a handful of resorts along the beach in Banten province like Carita Beach Resort, Anyer Beach Resort, Patrajasa Resort and Prima Resort.

Jakartans are the majority of guests taking advantage of staying at resorts, with executives, business people and families being regular visitors. The average occupancy rate of the resorts is between 50 percent to 60 percent but on holidays or the peak seasons, usually from June through August and December, the occupancy rate at particular resorts can reach more than 70 percent. Guests at Pulau Seribu Marine Resort also include Japanese and Korean.

Although resorts all offer comfortable facilities and services to stay and relax, each has its own outstanding appeal.

"With our 'Back to Nature Concept', all of the supporting facilities at Pulau Seribu Marine Resort refer to the concept. You will not find a television or radio in your room. The only sounds you hear are those of the roaring waves, singing insects and other natural sounds that you will not find when you stay in a busy city," said Pulau Seribu Marine Resort's marketing analyst Indon Nuvo.

Pulau Seribu Marine Resort is located about 35 kilometers from Jakarta, or about a one and half hour trip by motor boat.

The resort boasts clean and unpolluted sea-water, an ideal site for diving and other marine sports. The resort has 116 rooms available in standard, suite and cottage types.

With Java Sea encircling the Thousand Islands, visitors can enjoy exciting water sports, including wind surfing, water pedals, jet-skis, swimming, sailing or boating, snorkeling and diving. Almost every resort in the Thousand Islands provides water sport equipment.

Tourist attractions around Pulau Seribu Marine Resort include interesting diving sites around Papateo Island and Matahari Island. "We organize recreational activities for our guests. We offer boats and other water sport equipment for rent," she said.

Driving further to the south west of the capital, one can find resorts in Sukabumi, West Java, including those in the 'Jewel of West Java', Pelabuhan Ratu or a Harbor Queen that faces the Indian Ocean.

Unlike resorts in the Thousand Islands whose recreational activities are mostly linked to marine tourism, those in Banten and Sukabumi province with mountains, hills, lakes and bays also offer land attractions. 'Things to do' in the provincial resorts range from fun-filled activities like watching the sunset or sunrise on a beach, fishing and leisurely walks to the most challenging activities like white water rafting, climbing, skydiving, ultra light rides and scuba diving.

Padi-Padi Resorts and Hot Springs, located on Jl. Cisolok, Pelabuhan Ratu, is also known for its unique architectural and interior design. The building of the resort has been styled to blend traditional and modern architecture, with an interior design of Mediterranean ambiance.

Awaking to a Padi Padi morning is to find yourself immersed in birdsong from the rice-fields and the sound of Indian ocean waves as they dance on the sandy beach nearby. In the afternoon, the hotel affords romantic views of the sunset, and you can also comfortably view the mountains and forests of Halimun National Park.

The hotel has 25 rooms available in six types: Garden View, Sea View, Small Deluxe, Large Deluxe and Penthouse. Each has a different design that give a sense of individuality. The rooms are equipped with controlled air conditioning, refrigerator, international TV programs and laser disc equipment.

To satisfy your appetite, the Padi-Padi Beach Resort has two restaurants that serve seafood with their own special recipes. They also offer delicious cuisine from Sunda (West Java) and Europe.

As a beach resort, the Padi-Padi Resort offers a variety of outdoor activities, including white water rafting, ocean fishing, snorkeling, diving, boating, surfing and wind surfing. With a mountain nearby, the hotel also offers hiking and mountain biking.

If so desired, the hotel resort will readily arrange organized excursions, including waterfalls, hot springs, the harbor, bat caves, fishing trips, traditional markets, fish auctions, white water rafting and the Abah Anom trip.

Lido Lakes Hotel and Resorts is well known for its scenic beauty as it is encircled by Lido Lake, and having fresh air as well as the wide range of activities on offer. Outlined by the natural ensemble of greeneries, streams and hills, the Lido resort covers the total area of 17,000 hectares, rising to the height of 1000 meters.

"Most of our guests choose Lido Lakes as their primary holiday destination because they seem to be bored with Puncak which frequently suffer from severe traffic jam. Besides, Lido Lakes offers a form of 'eco-tourism' hotel which is different from other hotels," Dery Kuhr, the hotel's director for room, sales and marketing, said, adding that Lido Lakes is also a primary choice when it comes to aero-club, all terrain vehicle (atv) and other adventurous activities.

Room rates at resorts are varied, depending which resort you stay and which room type you choose. At Padi-Padi Resort and Hot Spring, Standard Garden View is set at Rp 299,000 per night, Suite at Rp 525,000 per night and Penthouse at Rp 699,000 per night.

Room rates at Lido Lakes Hotel and Resort are set between Rp 415,00 000 per night for a standard room and Rp 690,000 per night for suite.

The room rates at resorts in Thousand Islands are commonly calculated per package, not per room. The package will usually include round trip transportation, welcome drink, accommodation on twin sharing basis, a breakfast. two lunches, one dinner and 21 percent Tax and Service Charge. The Standard Package at Pulau Seribu Marine Resort, for instance, is Rp 600,000 (twin sharing, first night) for weekday and Rp 950,000 for a weekend.

Most of the resorts offer 20 percent discounts on weekdays and 10 percent on the weekends.