Photos by The Gaia Hotel Bandung and Ari Wibisono
Amidst the mountains of North Bandung, West Java, is The Gaia Hotel Bandung. The 5-star Art Deco- inspired hotel sits on 2.3 hectares and is designed like a modern village, offering abundant facilities and activities for everyone from business travellers to relaxing family vacations.
Gaia Design and Green Initiatives
Arriving at the hotel’s drop-off, the hotel’s signature square pattern
on the façade is a welcoming sight. Climbing the stairs, the semi-open triangle mezzanine that connects the entrance, lobby and restaurant, the vastness of the hotel not obvious from outside is realised. The lobby design is spectacular with a repeating square pattern of warm wooden hollow boxes adorning wall and ceiling. An elongated shallow pool at the bottom of the wall directs the eye to a glimpse of forest at the very end of the hall. The use of clear glass throughout allows unobstructed views of the lush forest, the valley, the swimming pool and their landmark structure, Altitude, which is a multifunctional venue that’s often used for wedding ceremonies.
The Gaia Hotel Bandung’s architecture is unique. “Bandung is known for its Art Deco buildings. It is a timeless style, and that’s where I drew my inspirations,” Bandung-raised architect Ferry Ridwan says. “But normally Art Deco buildings have a lot of features with solid look and materials. I thought Gaia should have a lighter look. So, I just took some principles of Art Deco, such as repetition and modularity,” he adds.
The hotel design consists of four towers: A, B, C and D, which stand in a nonconsecutive order at varying directions, heights and elevations. The irregularity of the buildings was intentional. “We want to be an eco- friendly company. There are many initiatives we’ve done on the corporate side to achieve that,” says Brand Director Gaia Hotels and Resorts Anggle Sugianto. The current arrangement allows the buildings to have ample open space to embrace the surrounding natural beauty, sunshine and cool climate. It also minimises electricity for lighting and air conditioning.
To reach the desired number of rooms, the choice was either to build horizontally which meant using up more land, or to build taller towers. They chose the latter to allow for green space. “The hardest thing about building this hotel was to make everything interconnected horizontally and vertically, which is basically arranging the flow of the rooms,” Ferry says. Hidden shortcuts are needed for the mobility of the hotel staff.
Guest Rooms and Facilities
The types of guest rooms include Deluxe, Studio, Suites and Club units, and the interiors were also designed by Ferry. A signature feature in all rooms is the Art Deco-influenced lamp post. The modern décor, comfortable mattresses and winning views mean each room is a haven for resting. “We put colour pencils in each room because colours make people happy. To the least, it’s exciting for them to see these pencils,” says Anggle. Gaia’s efforts to be environmentally friendly include using paper packaging for bathroom amenities, a basket for laundry and reusable bags for the slippers.
Tower D houses an exclusive area which is accessible via Tower C. The Club’s interiors – its exclusive lobby, restaurant, meeting rooms, the gym and spa – were designed by CWDO. Art Deco influences are more obvious here. With bussiness guets as part of the target market, Gaia has a myriad of meeting rooms, including the multifunctional ballroom and the theatre presentation rooms.
At the weekends, Gaia is favoured by families. There is a vast garden for children to run around in and at the kids’ club, Kids CADS, activities encourage creativity. Next door is a music room where guests can play any band instrument and record themselves.
For those wishing to enjoy music on a bigger scale, there is an amphitheatre in the garden. The Gaia Music Festival held in November 2022 is now planned as an annual event due to the positive response.
Wining, Dining and Brewing
“When developing the concept of this hotel, we imagined it as a modern village instead of a hotel because it’s huge and there are facilities for every mood,” Anggle explains. There’s Inspira Roasters, a café where the roasting process is itself an attraction, which also serves sandwiches and pastries. Upstairs is Gaia Semeja Asian Kitchen offering comfort food from all over Indonesia and the region.
Monomono, a fine dining restaurant that has become a hit in Bandung is another highlight of The Gaia Hotel Bandung. The menu is a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines, called Nikkei, rare in Indonesia. Monomono is the place for conversation over drinks. The bar stocks a wide range of wine, liquor and cocktails.
A more casual atmosphere is found at The Food Truck, located at the pool side. It offers family-favourites like hot dogs, pizzas and a selection of cold drinks and ice cream. Each of these dining venues, including the restaurant at The Club, has outdoor seating so that guests can enjoy the natural surrounds and mountain air.
Artworks at Gaia
A key feature throughout the hotel is four contemporary commissioned artworks by Bandung-based artists. “Echoes” by Bagus Pandega is an installation of lamps collected from all over Bandung. An installed censor, switched on at certain times, makes some lamps light up in response to sounds such as hand claps. In the middle of the swimming pool is a silver cloud sculpture by Erwin Windu Pranata. The title “Mega Suryalaya” means a piece of cloud in heaven.
The mixed media work
“5.0 – IND” by Nurrachmat Widyasena depicts an imagined Indonesia of the future and is installed just outside the theatre meeting rooms, while the painting “Yang Menyelang di Dua Saat” by Agung Fitriana featuring soft blended colours, leaves the viewer to interpret its meaning.
Currently, the hotel is in the process of obtaining a new artwork: an interactive digital gamelan, a traditional music instrument from Java and Bali. “We put artworks in the
hotel because art will always inspire, even though people have different levels of appreciation towards it. It speaks to people in different ways,” Anggle says.
Although The Gaia Hotel Bandung opened less than two years ago there are already further plans in development, yet to be announced. Meanwhile, experience The Gaia Hotel Bandung whenever you can because it is everything you would dream of in a hotel.