Friday, October 28, 2011

Another Jakarta business trip

I took the late night flight last Sunday from Manila to Jakarta via Philippine Airlines, scheduled to arrive 5 minutes before midnight (12AM of Monday). As expected, it was already past midnight when I got out of the airport after clearing immigration and customs.
I blogged yesterday about my disappointment over the meals provided by Philippine Airlines in-flight so I'm not repeating it here. :) I sure do hope this is temporary.
From the airport, I took a Silver Bird taxi cab which is available as soon as you get out of the terminal. I didn't bother booking with the hotel this time as it was cheaper (only IDR214000 compared to IDR270000). There were a few taxi available at that time and because it was already late at night, I didn't chance to take the other cheaper options, notwithstanding that I don't have cash to pay the taxi as well.
This time, I stayed in Shangri-La Hotel, Jakarta. I would have stayed in JW Marriott Jakarta where I previously stayed earlier this year given the choice but the hotel was too expensive already at that time even at corporate rate. I was booked for a Deluxe Room King Bed rated at IDR1180000++/night (company-negotiated rate), inclusive of breakfast and internet. I find the room very spacious (at 43sqm), and there was a lot of space for me to put my stuff or walk around.
The bathroom was also top notch, I like the touch of details given in making it. Marble countertops, walls and flooring that doesn't feel overly done like other hotels do. It's just giving the right "at home" feel.
I like also the fact that bathtub and shower were separated. I hate it when I sometimes have to climb the bathtub and it is slippery, very prone to accidents.
Toiletries were nice too, in huge bottles sizes and doesn't feel like your being limited in quantity.
I was surprised to find a router inside my room though. I mean I know the internet is included with the room rate, but a router inside the room? I wonder if its intent is to be shared with other users on the floor?
Woke up a bit late Monday morning because I slept almost 2AM already that same morning. This is the view I have outside my window.
Breakfast was served in SATOO, a restaurant located at the ground level.
It was a gastronomic delight for me, as the breakfast spread was literally catering to different and international tastes there was chicken station, noodle station, egg station, western food, cereals, cheese, local cuisine, etc. that for sure most people would have something to eat.


my plate
After breakfast, I went out on the grounds and explored the area. There were at least four in-house restaurants, a spa, a large pool and of course conference rooms.
the building structure
view of the pool from my room
I then proceeded to Citywalk Sudirman to buy some items and groceries for myself. On the way, I chanced upon the entrance to TPU Karet Bivak (Karet Bivak Cemetery), second largest in the city. I'm sure glad my view from the room is not facing this way!
 Citywalk Sudirman
hotel building façade
Around lunch time, I went to our office located in Jakarta Stock Exchange, known locally as BEJ (Bursa Efek Jakarta). Across the building is Pacific Place so I grabbed my lunch first at Café Betawi.
After coming back from the office that afternoon, I was happy to see some fresh fruits in my room. I finished most of them in one sitting!
For dinner, I just went to KFC in the next door Wisma BNI 46 and bought a whole bucket meal. This is to avoid confusion (as I had a hard time ordering) and as lazy as I am, so that I don't have to go out again as most establishments are actually far from the hotel, other than those located in Wisma BNI 46. It is beneficial too since I need to prepare a lot of things for my engagement in the coming days. I'm sure you're wondering. No, I didn't finish them all. I had been eating the dame until the day after. 6 pieces chicken, original flavor with rice and 3 drinks costed IDR89000.
Tuesday morning. Before going to the customer site, I had breakfast again at SATOO. The rest of the day was spent mostly with the customer.
For dinner, as I was lazy again to keep me up all night, I had another bucket from KFC (I know!). This time I opted for the spicy chicken which costs a bit more (IDR91000) than the original flavor. 
I also bought a box from Mister Donuts for my dessert. Yum yum!
Wednesday. Nothing special as I again spent the day with the customer. I ate lunch with the customer at Planet Hollywood (which is near their office) and had dinner with some colleagues at Seribu Rasa. Too bad I didn't take pictures at the restaurant.
Thursday, spent the morning with the customer again to close out the engagement and half of the afternoon was free. I roamed outside the hotel at the nearby eateries and bought drinks. The one in the sealed cup is from The Poci Milo, which is just a cold Milo drink.
I felt some headache and a bit dizzy since afternoon though, which lasted until past dinner time. I bought some medicine at a store next door but the pain continued. That night, I just ordered a burger and orange juice from room service. It looks good but I didn't have the appetite to eat much that I just finished not even half of it. I ordered it with freshly squeezed orange juice which I hope would help even a bit as I'm flying out the next day.
Because I was asleep most of the afternoon until dinner time, I had a hard time to put myself back to sleep so I just took some pictures of the night skyline from my window.
Today (Friday), I was feeling a bit better. Perhaps the idea of me finally going home after being away for a week-long from my family helped in some way. I took the same airline on my flight back to Manila, but this time there was a stop over in Singapore. Again like the last time, I love the fact that they serve hot sandwiches in-flight in between Jakarta and Singapore and glad to see the same familiar orange juice I liked the last time. I was disappointed again though because of its small size. 
in Singapore
The meal service from Singapore to Manila was definitely better. It doesn't look like it's from Philippine Airlines though. Perhaps they got a local airline catering service which is an advantage in my opinion for the passengers flying inbound Manila.
As you can see, my business trip this time in Jakarta was mainly jumping between hotel, office and customer site that I didn't get a chance to see a lot of the city. Furthermore, due to the busy preparation I've been doing I didn't get much chance to explore the city either, not even the local cuisine. Perhaps next time for I'm sure there will be another chance that I'll be back in the city. By the way, my experience eating in Seribu Rasa was great! Hope to be back there soon too!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Downgraded food service from PR?

Earlier this week, I had my first chance of flying Philippine Airlines after the hiatus around flight cancellations due to employee strikes condemning the (already started effective October 1) outsourcing plans of ground crew (Sky Logistics), in-flight meals (Sky Kitchen) and call center operations (SPI).

One of the things I always look forward to for PR flights is the hot meal service. I was surprised and it indeed was my first time to receive a box from the flight attendant.

The box contained two set of salted crackers, pack of dried mixed fruits, caramel bar and utensils. We were offered no choice in food (they used to offer choice between meat and fish or sometimes between two types of meat) and was served with a "chicken inasal". If you've been following my posts where I usually show what they served me at certain flight, this one is definitely smaller and thinner (realize the relative size by comparing with the crackers and caramel bar, if you know them).

Don't take this post negatively. I'm not actually whining that this is just what they have served at that flight. I'm just surprised that the usual amenities and effects were gone amidst the time when PR is luring its loyal customers back after what have happened. I sure do hope this is not part of the cost cutting measures and that it is only temporary or isolated. Did I mention I was still hungry later in the flight because of that dinner serving size? :)