A day in the life of a travelling salesman

When you travel up to 80% of your working life, it’s a hard life no matter how comfortable the hotel is, or how good the meals are.

Dinner (or Supper?)

Landed late in the city (as usual) and by the time we navigated through the traffic of Jakarta, we were hungry and tired. Decided not to venture out for a quick bite and ate at the hotel café. This is not recommended as most hotel food are quite standard and uninnovative, empty carbs as I usually say.

The menu has both local and international flavours, as all good hotel café would. We skipped through the burgers, sandwiches and Chinese, and went straight to the local section, which is quite meagre in comparison to the international choices. I picked a couple of local favourites.

The gado-gado (Indonesian tofu salad) had a lot of flavours packed in the thick sauce, but it was too little sauce. We had to ask for more sauce. The chicken sate (satays) are quite different from Singapore/Malaysian-style satays. Firstly they are flat – easier for grilling, but also easy to get the meat overcooked, which in this case they were. Also the sauce is quite different – very peanuty and thick, unlike ours that have pineapple or more assam in it.

But my choice of the main choice, sup buntut (oxtail soup) was really delicious, especially for a late night meal. Light as it is a clear soup but powerful because of all the spices used in soup. The taste of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, anise came through with really tender buntut. It came with rice as sup buntut is a main course for Indonesians, but I am carb conscious and decided to skip.

Hotel Breakfast

Bacon, tomatoes, baked beans, eggs, sausage, hash browns, breads, OJ and coffee – the standard English breakfast. The hotel breakfast buffet spread in Asia spoils the guests with even more.

Keraton breakfast is included for most rates and it is an amazing spread. Live cooking stations for eggs, noodles, and (get this) shabu-shabu. Additional choices from their ala carte menu – lobsters, steaks, prawn teriyaki, cut fruits and smoothies made to order.

Feeling peckish?

Coming back to hotel after a meeting nearby, the entourage was just relaxing at the hotel lounge before a business dinner. Bar food with a punch.

The Suite Life

Disclaimer: Not my room 😉

Half of the property is a service apartment accessed from a different set of lifts, so you never meet the folks except in the gym or during meal time. Only the top 15 floors are hotel rooms, as it is sharing the same grounds as Plaza Indonesia, so you can access the mall directly from the ground floor of the property. However, you will not notice the foot traffic from the mall. A nice and quiet oasis in the bustling CBD of Jakarta.

Welcome gift
Welcome gift for a loyal customer

As a loyalty program VIP, one get special treatment when one check back into their properties. Some give bottle of wine, champaigne; most give a fruit basket or chocolates. I am surprised that they gave a whole plate of candied pastries, macaroons and chocolate pralines. Even the stones are candy. And when I didn’t touch any of it, they swapped it for a cut fruit platter the next evening.


You may be wondering, where’s the gym in all this? What about the pool? That’s exactly it, the reason why I am (and most travelling salesman are) gaining weight on the road. It takes a lot of discipline to resist all the good food and temptations (for skipping a workout) out there.

As you move from one timezone to another, your body clock wrecks havoc on you. You get tired and hungry at the wrong timing. You succumb to temptation to take a break, there’s more travelling and meetings ahead. Life on the road is hard.

Keraton at the Plaza
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No.Kav. 15, Gondangdia, Jakarta, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10350, Indonesia
Tel : +62 21 50680000


Date Visited : Aug 2019

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