The general manager of Pullman Jakarta Indonesia shares his experience managing a renowned hotel and his love for Jakarta
Having been in Indonesia for six years, Alexander Poindl, the general manager of Pullman Jakarta Indonesia admits he immediately fell in love with the country the moment he stepped foot in Bogor –where he started his Indonesian life with AccorHotels. Following a stint in Bali, he has called Jakarta home since June 2015.
Born and raised in Vienna, Alexander has always worked in the hotel industry. Alongside his studies at the University of Vienna and after graduating with a master’s degree, he worked at a local hotel company before beginning his illustrious career with AccorHotels in 1994. After five years managing the Sofitel Vienna, he thought it was time to go international. “It all happened with a phone call. Out of nowhere I got a call from the head office in Singapore and I was told I’ve been accepted as general manager in Bogor, at the Novotel. I actually had to look up Bogor first,” he admits.
Fast forward to the present day, Alexander is now tasked with managing Pullman Jakarta Indonesia and wants to attract the vibrant, sophisticated, and cosmopolitan travellers. “We would like to differentiate ourselves with other players. We want to be the shark among whales,” he says. From well-equipped gyms to international breakfasts from different countries, Alexander has made it his mission to keep the property and its services in line with modern needs where pleasure and work can be seamlessly mixed. “I would categorise our hotel at the upscale-luxury level, but we call it lean luxury. It’s not the service with the gloves on anymore,” he says. “It’s contemporary and up to date.”
After undergoing full renovations from top to bottom, the hotel is now looking to the future and Alexander already has a couple of cards up his sleeves. He says that Pullman will be holding a regular Supper Club Series that will kick off in May in the form of a collaboration with the celebrated Cuca restaurant in Bali. Furthermore the hotel is also planning a regular pool party dubbed the Pullman Pool Series that will start in April. “I’ve always thought pool parties are somewhat lacking in Jakarta. That’s why we created this event and we will partner with well-known international DJs,” Alexander says. “I think these type of events, when they are well executed, when they are well marketed, people will appreciate it even more.”
What’s evident from the very beginning is Alexander takes pride in what he does. “We want guests to leave happy. Only when a person leaves happy, they’ll think back on the experience and want to come back,” he says. Interestingly enough, there’s a short story as to what formed his pride and passion towards the hospitality industry, “A lady once approached me at a famous pork rib restaurant in Bali. We were talking about my job and she said ‘You must love what you do,’” he recalls. Since then, it has been embedded into Alexander’s psyche. He even created a personal mantra that says “Do what you love and love what you do,” which is as good as a personal quote can get.
10 Things Alexander loves about Jakarta
- Kind by nature
The people of Jakarta are friendly and will always give you a big smile.
- Others first
Connected with the first point, the people are very respectful towards each other. For example giving way to others by stepping back. This is something really unique for a big city like Jakarta and I can see it’s genuinely coming from the heart.
- Food courts
You can find all sorts of food courts that serve Indonesian and Asian delicacies. Even the food courts in malls are awesome.
- Outdoor bars
Even though we also have an outdoor area in the hotel, two of the most spectacular outdoor bars in the city are within walking distance and they have fantastic views of the city.
- Feasts on Sunday
It’s not a case of what to do on Sundays, rather it’s which Sunday brunch should you go to. I need at least one typical Indonesian soup for my brunch if there isn’t sop buntut.
- Movies with friends
I learned that Jakartans are movie-obsessed. When they don’t hang out with friends, they go to the movies. Whenever there is a new movie out, they have to go see it immediately.
- Big city feeling
When you’re at one of the rooftop bars, you can gaze out at the city lights and get the undeniable feeling that you’re currently in a very big city. And I love it because I like living in big cities.
- Trendy areas
You have neighbourhoods such as the Senopati area where you can find numerous awesome restaurants and shops that were created from the minds of young entrepreneurs. I have to admire their bravery because they had an idea and they just opened up a store.
- Music Events
I’m actually going to the Java Jazz Festival not long after this interview is finished. Festivals such as this plays a big reason on why I love Jakarta. You can’t be boxed in talking only about your own professional life, but you have to talk about other things as well. Occasionally these music events, festivals, and concerts allows us to do exactly that.
- My job
It is the best job ever. To have the opportunity to manage this flagship property is really a joy.
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