Jakarta. As part of Indonesia's preparations to host the Asian Games in 1962, Sukarno, the country's first president, introduced his "Lighthouse Project," which involved the construction of a national sports stadium, monument and hotel specially for the event.
His aim: for Indonesia to become a beacon a plan to build.
This project resulted in the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex in Senayan, Hotel Indonesia in Central Jakarta, and adjacent to it, the Welcome Statue, which was intended to welcome guests arriving in the capital for the fourth Asian Games.
And while it was a controversial decision, considering the state of the country at the time, Hotel Indonesia has since become a historic landmark and a symbol of national pride.
The time was right for Indonesia to open its doors to the rest of the world. In his speech during the five-star hotel's inauguration, President Sukarno made it clear that he wanted the country to be ready for this momentous occasion.
He commissioned Danish architect Abel Sorensen and his American wife, Wendy Becker, to design the 25,082-square-meter building, which forms the letter T to provide guests with unobstructed views of the capital and to allow them to enjoy the warmth of the sun from all rooms.
The hotel design incorporated elements of West Sumatran architecture, blended with nuances of modern Indonesian architecture. Hotel Indonesia was appointed as a center for artists, observers, state guests and athletes from Asia competing in the Games.
The hotel features various works of art from across Indonesia, including statues, carvings, paintings and mosaics – all depicting the diverse beauty of Indonesia.
The Jakarta administration declared Hotel Indonesia a cultural heritage site in 1993, which means that no changes may be made to the design and color of the building.
After a complete refurbishment, which commenced in 2004, the historic hotel reemerged as Hotel Indonesia Kempinski, managed by Switzerland-based Kempinski Hotels, Europe's oldest luxury hotel group.
The hotel is located next to the iconic Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in the heart of the city's main shopping, business and lifestyle district. Its 289 rooms and suites offer grand views of the city and a distinct glimpse into the vast culture of Indonesia.