Living in Jakarta can be both wonderful and dreadful, depending what side of the traffic jam you are in. In response to the imminent stress-induced ailments my back is prone to suffer I have found the perfect solution, about 400 meters from my apartment building, in the form of a traditional Indonesian Spa: The Martha Tilaar Center.
The Martha Tilaar brand name is well known across Indonesia as a traditional and elegant purveyor of beauty products and treatments. They have several branches throughout Indonesia and I am lucky enough to have one close to home right in the heart of Menteng.
The center in Cikini has a wonderful array of treatments available including diverse variations of the culturally pertinent cream baths and Balinese treatments and a great amount of specialized treatments such as those including ginger and cranberry infused-products, hot stones, pregnancy, post-pregnancy and even massages for babies.
I often visit the center for the traditional one-hour oil massage. For about 35 dollars you get a full hour of treatment including a 10 minute session in a steam chamber. I’ve never had any issues with the pressure being too light or too hard as the three different ladies that have given me massages have understood my instructions and been able to achieve the desired results, whether they are to pretend they are massaging the table underneath me when I really need to get rid of some bumps or to just take it slowly and help me relax without making me fall asleep. At the end of the session you are able to take a shower right there and are offered hot ginger tea afterwards.
The aromatic cream bath is certainly worth trying, too. I often try to get a cream bath when I’m getting a manicure and pedicure and I have found all of their services to be very satisfying. Be prepared to be there for a couple of hours if you are getting both a mani and pedi. Martha Tilaar also manufactures their own aromatherapy and beauty products with Indonesian raw materials so you can be sure you will get traditional Indonesian service and find yourself enamored with the scents and sights of this place.
I have also gotten a haircut here and to be honest I wasn’t a fan of the end result. I cannot entirely blame the stylist, as my meager bahasa was probably not good enough to portray what I was looking for. I was very happy with the manicure and pedicure although it is not at the cheaper end of the scale, nor at the most expensive end. A manicure and pedicure combo sets you back around 400,000 rupiahs if you get the special aromatic treatment.
Overall I would definitely recommend this place to someone who is looking for a no-fail, nice and clean place. This is not as fancy as the Four Seasons but it is the perfect place for a nice morning or afternoon with your girlfriends or your mom or mother-in-law. Make a reservation and enjoy a few hours of bliss. With moderate prices the ambience is just what you need to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. If you have a diplomatic kitas make sure you present it as the 15% discount is a nice incentive to go back on a weekly basis!
Martah Tilaar Center in Menteng Cikini Raya No. 83 Menteng Jakarta Pusat Tel: 021 319 37616 Click here for more locations.