Having lived in Jakarta for more than eight years now, an experienced hotelier Kenneth Rogers knows the city like the back of his hand and passionately describes his time here as ‘exciting’ and ‘never boring’. Hailing from Perth, Kenneth first came to the capital to serve as Regional General Manager of Indonesia and Australia for Ascott Limited, an operation that later grew into more than 15 Ascott, Citadines and Somerset properties in the two countries.
At the moment, Kenneth and his team are preparing the launch of Somerset Kencana, a serviced residence scheduled to open its doors in the second quarter of 2017. He recently sat down with us to talk about work and his hopes for Jakarta.
How is the local election frenzy affecting the property business and what hopes are you pinning on the new government?
Business always slows down a bit at the beginning of the year. It is not directly caused by the elections and I am sure everything will go back to normal soon. The property business in Indonesia is quite steady, especially because the demand of mid-market keeps getting stronger from year to year. I suppose the new government will need time to set up everything, but I hope they can get things moving quickly later on and realize every programme they’ve been promising for the sake of Jakarta’s improvement. I also hope that the new government in Jakarta will invest more in infrastructure, which I believe will stimulate better economy in the future.
Ascott Jakarta is an award-winning property and one of the leading serviced residences in Indonesia. How do you maintain this strong position?
I believe that comprehensive facilities are an important key while excellent service is the soul of our properties. Most of our guests are long-stay residents, so we try our best to make them feel at home by delivering personalized services based on each guests’ character. Since our guests come from different nationalities, we approach them in different manners according to their preference to make sure they enjoy their stay here. We also like to tweak our facilities regularly to make sure that our guests can experience something that’s a little bit different every now and then, to keep them excited. The whole staff at Ascott are willing to go the extra mile to look after our guests. So I think that’s what makes our quality consistent from year to year.
Tell us about your newest property, Somerset Kencana.
Somerset Kencana is located in the Pondok Indah enclave, just a stone’s throw away from one of the best shopping complexes in the country. Pondok Indah neighbourhood is a really nice place to live. While it seems like a sanctuary away from the city’s hustle and bustle, it is still in fact within reach to Jakarta’s main business district, so residents will have easy access to travel around the city. In order to give a “home away from home” experience, we also prepare complete facilities, from jogging track to swimming pool and fitness centre. In the second quarter of this year, we will open several rooms only and invite clients and staff to try out and see what is right and wrong here. We’ll keep perfecting everything before welcoming our guests.
You’ve been living in Jakarta for more than eight years now. What do you like the most about this city?
I’m really enjoying my time in Jakarta. For me, life here is very exciting. There is always something new coming up. You can always experience something different every day here, which is very interesting and motivating. Of course Jakarta’s daily problems, especially heavy traffic, can be very challenging, but I think it is a part of the city’s dynamics. I must say that life never gets boring in Jakarta.
What do you do in your free time?
What is free time? (laughing) When I have time to spare, I would get my golf sticks and escape from the city’s hubbub for a bit by playing golf, as I find the activity very refreshing and relaxing at the same time. There are many great golf courses available in Jakarta so I like to move around and try out different courses. I’m also a passionate reader. I read news from online magazines and blogs, and I like to try new mobile applications to keep myself aware of what is happening out there.