TALK OF THE TOWN

Indonesia 2018 | TOURISM | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Sven Fitjer, General Manager of The Hermitage Hotel Jakarta, on the importance of creating an experience for guests, its unique offerings, and the hotel's vision moving forward.

 Sven Fitjer
BIOGRAPHY
Sven Fitjer holds a hospitality diploma from the hotel management school in Heidelberg, Germany. His international career started 2001 in the US, and over the last 16 years he has worked in destinations such as Boston, Hawaii, Sydney, Jakarta, and Bali for international hotel companies including Marriott International, Starwood, Four Seasons, Kempinski, and Hilton. After his last appointment at the Laguna Resort and Spa Bali as hotel manager, since August 2016 he has been the General Manager of the Hermitage Hotel, which belongs to the Tribute Portfolio brand and is managed by Marriott International.

Serving both business and leisure travelers, how do you position Hermitage Hotel within the hospitality market?

The hotel is located in the heart of Jakarta's most prestigious district. It is minutes away from Sudirman as the CBD area and world-class shopping malls. It is the perfect location for business travelers to conduct their meetings or unwind in a location a short distance away from the chaos of the city. Leisure travelers can still enjoy Jakarta's touristic spots. The hotel is a beautiful colonial style building; however, with hundreds of hotels in Jakarta alone, the amenities of the hotel are not enough to attract guests. It is the service we give as hoteliers that makes our guests' stay memorable; we create an experience that keeps them coming back and sharing with their friends and family. This is what we strive to achieve and more so at the Hermitage.

What are your unique offerings, and how can people utilize your premises for special events?

On the ninth floor, guests can unwind and relax at the fitness center. They can take a dip in the infinity pool before having a drink at our signature venue, La Vue rooftop bar, with panoramic, 360-degree views of the city skyline. Both the pool deck and the rooftop deck can be used for special events. The hotel presents an ideal venue for sophisticated weddings, business meetings, and social events. Our newest highlight is the transformation of our courtyard. We have recently added a glass ceiling that creates a unique indoor venue with the feel of sitting in a botanical garden, perfect for enchanting and intimate events up to 60 guests.

What should be done to unlock the full potential of Jakarta as a leisure and business travel destination?

The only unbearable factor about Jakarta is the traffic. The government is doing a great deal to change this, such as adding the mass rapid transit system as well as enforcing bus lanes and the restrictions of cars and motorbikes during peak hours. It has helped, though there is a long way to go. Adding helicopter transportation service, such as the one in São Paulo, could assist in offering a solution for high-end customers. Reducing customs tax on imported items, which are not available locally as alternative options, would allow hoteliers to improve our service and offerings to our guests. Waiver or reduction of visa fees or doubling the stay limit could entice more business and leisure travelers to truly discover Indonesia. Jakarta has a lot of unique charms and history to discover hidden in the midst of a busy metropolis. Take away the traffic issues and Jakarta is truly one of the most amazing cities to visit in Indonesia.

What were your ambitions when you started, and what is your vision for the Hermitage Hotel Jakarta?

The goal in the beginning was to put together a winning team, hungry to make a true difference and put the Hermitage on the map in Jakarta. This is what we have now. Since Marriott has taken over, the team has become more driven and excited with the changes and opportunities to be the best. Additionally, our main focus is to drive greater awareness of the hotel. Even though we appear to be an independent hotel, we are a part of Marriott International, which has become the biggest hotel management company in the world after the merger with Starwood and has unmatched customer loyalty programs. We have a fantastic product and great associates who are passionate about providing personalized service to all of our customers. The vision moving forward is to establish the Hermitage as the leading five-star hotel in the boutique segment in Jakarta. In addition, we want to be known as the leading wedding destination for small- to medium-sized weddings and become a favorite destination where the locals meet, eat, and drink.