May you - Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, dance like no-one is watching, screw like it's being filmed, and drink like a true Irishman.
On the shores of North Jakarta, you can find South East Asia’s largest integrated tourist “resort”. It’s called Ancol Dreamland and draws kids in their thousands, especially at the weekends. Rollercoaster rides, water park, the circus, that sort of thing.
But it’s not only the kids who have dreams, and not very far away from the candy-floss munching crowds at Ancol there is an altogether quite different “dreamland” at Jakarta’s one and only Alexis Hotel (Alexis, however, can only be considered a hotel in the very “loosest” sense of the word; no one ever comes here for a good night’s sleep!)
For those who enter Alexis a new world of possibilities opens up. Time stops still and you are transported into a sort of Barbarella science fiction fantasy but with an Asian twist – bikinis instead of silver spacesuits and jet-black hair rather than blonde.
Barbarella would be very much at home in today's Jakarta
Yet we are also faced with an enigma. Because Alexis doesn’t only present us with a vision of a glitzy utopian future – but it also looks back in time, paying homage to the Bacchanalian excesses of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations:
It is interesting to note that in the Julius Caesar era (100-44 B.C.) conservative values initially prevailed and the sexes were only allowed to bathe together provided two rules were obeyed: 1) “don’t stare” and 2) “behave as if one were fully dressed”.
It was only as Rome declined that the baths degenerated into salacious frivolity.
At Alexa the road to decadence has been well and truly started yet there is still some distance to go. But who knows? The way Jakarta’s political elite are going we could easily be in Caligula territory in another 10 to 15 years!
Away from the bathhouse and back down on the first floor is the intriguingly named bar, 4Play.
This place opens at 9.00pm but doesn’t really get buzzing until much later.
Being in Indonesia, the pretense is put on that certain things should not be directly seen and whilst this is quite ironic given what goes on here, the notorious “James Bond Silhouette Dancer Screen” is still a treat for sore eyes.
Other facilities at the Alexis are a spectacular karaoke complex and a top notch resto which serves gourmet Indonesian, Chinese, and Japanese food.
Regrettably, admission to such a tempestuous fantasy world is not cheap and it’s easy to spend two or three million rupiah in just one evening. So are you being taken for a ride? Most probably - but in which sense? Ultimately, there are worse ways to blow your money.
And just one final thing.
The hotel even has rooms to sleep if you want!
Alexis Hotel Jakarta
Jl R.E. Martadinata No 1
Jakarta Utara 14430
Phone: +62 21 6983 3333
Fax: +62 21 6983 1111
Also see: The 10 best plus plus spas in Jakarta