So the question is this: how does one re-create something that is no longer there?
The Hotel Des Indes was the oldest and the grandest of the Grand Hotels in Southeast Asia, having been opened in the 1860s. It was the toast of Batavia, far more renowned than even the Raffles Hotel itself was at one point.
Unfortunately, it was demolished in 1972 by Soeharto, to make way for a MALL. And when I went to see where it used to be, I discovered that the mall had denigrated into something even less evocative – Carrefour.
Thankfully, the spirit of Hotel Des Indes lives on in the the many other colonial buildings that still stand in Jakarta, and quite fortunately, also in portions of the very modern hotel that I chose to stay in for this trip.
Here’s a glimpse into my recreation of something lost forever.