Discover The Rich History of Jakarta

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The legendary Hotel Des Indes was once one of the oldest and most prestigious hotels in Asia. Located in Batavia in the Dutch East Indies, the original Hotel Des Indes accommodated countless patrons throughout its existence from the 1820s to the 1970s. It was one in par with equally iconic hotels such as Raffles Hotel in Singapore and the Oriental in Bangkok, in which the mere mention of the hotel's name would instantly brings to mind the name of the city associated with it.

The story begin in 1829, when Antoine Surleon Chaulan bought a real estate that was once used by an unsuccessful all girls school. He converted the place into a hotel and named it after his birthplace in France, "Hotel De Provence". In 1845, Etienne Chaulan bought Hotel de Provence from his brother Antoine, at an auction for 25,000 Dutch guilders. Etienne made the hotel famous for being the first to sell different types of European style ice cream. Then in 1851 the hotel was bought by Cornelis Denninghoff, who changed the name to "Hotel Rotterdam". Despite the hotel's location next to the elite "Harmony Society" and French tailor shop "Oger Freres", it lost prestige and the next year was bought by a Swiss staff member named Francois Auguste Emile Wijss. Continued in 1856, a famous writer Eduard Douwes Dekker, who is a friend of Wijss and also a regular patron of Hotel Rotterdam, suggested Wijss to change the hotel name to the much more chic-sounding "Hotel Des Indes".

Many guests were impressed by the luxury and superb level of service. Some of them left a special notes:

"From John T.McCutcheon - 1910 (Pulitzer Prize-winning American newspaper political cartoonist who has known as the "Dean of American Cartoonist") > You have to have lunch early so there's enough time to enjoy it before dinner. Lunch was served by 24 waiters lining up from kitchen to table. Each waiter brings a plate of food containing one side dish of a total of 57 side dishes to Rijsttafel*. You take yourself a side dish with one hand until tired, then alternate with other hand again. When you are all ready to begin, your plate looked like a rice covered bunker on a golf course"