The Family of the Family

CO2 Markets & Reforestation

The Family of the Family

Borobudur boutique hotel in Jakarta

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Surabaya, March 8th 2024– As a young boy growing up in Palembang, East Sumatra, Indonesia, Kaharuddin Salamun, had his dreams, of course. He also had the urge of seeing the world and bringing changes in what he was going to do later in life. 

Majapahit General Manager Kahar 

He now is the General Manager of the Majapahit hotel in Surabaya, East Java after a stint in Bali, the so-called Paradise Island of Indonesia, where he also worked in the hospitality business. 

The Majapahit hotel has a most fascinating history started in 1910 by the Sarkies family when Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands and highlighted by the proclamation of the country’s independence on August 17th 1945. 

With his guidance and under his management, an even more exciting future, even after the recent slowdown in the tourism industry caused by the Covid thing, is awaiting.

And that is not going to be an easy thing considering the hotel has to restore to the old and glorious days.

‘ First ‘, he says, ‘ you have to motivate the Team you’re working with. Not only by upgrading their salary scale, but even more so, by touching their hearts and minds, convincing them to become part of the Family ’.

Looking at years and years of constant and almost perpetual loss on the balance sheets, he also turned those numbers into profit which made the owner smile, even knowing that being rich doesn’t necessarily mean a few Ferraris in the garage. But even more so in the beauty of life itself, transcribing and applying that onto the absolute and impeccable beauty of his Majapahit hotel, even with fewer family members than before covid. Donating and sharing his knowledge and experience to upcoming generations thus making a better world.  Particularly sharing with his family and children. 

His Australian wife still lives in Bali, where he served before and he visits home every two weeks. His daughter started playing the violin at a very young age and frequented conservatorium studies for further education. While the dream of his now 15-year-old son is, since he started to walk and talk, to become a professional basketball player. 

His guests are mostly from Australia, China, SE Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Almost no Americans although Mr. da Costa from Chicago used to be General Manager before him. Mr. da Costa later went to Shanghai and is now  GM at the equally chique

Borobudur boutique hotel in Jakarta
Borobudur boutique hotel in Jakarta

The Majapahit scene

He often greets them personally at breakfast and chit-chats away almost always about further improving and personalizing the hotel services, having his guests feel at home. He appreciates properly and elegantly dressed guests ( and once suggested an improperly dressed guest looking for another establishment for his lunch ) very much, as they reflect his taste and confirm his desire and wish to succeed in building the dreams.

Surabaya’s Family of the Family at the Majapahit

Despite its undeniable charm, Surabaya’s tourism industry remains with plenty of room for further development.

One factor hindering tourism growth is Surabaya’s image as a bustling industrial center. While this industry fuels the city’s economy, it overshadows the historical and cultural gems waiting to be discovered. Tourists seeking a serene escape might bypass Surabaya for Bali’s beaches or Yogyakarta’s artistic heritage.  An important and surprising reason behind this underdevelopment also is the revitalization of classic, historical hotels

The gardener family

Secondly, the city’s current hospitality landscape caters primarily to business travelers. Modern, high-rise hotels dominate the skyline, offering a generic experience devoid of local character. These hotels however, fail to capture the essence of Surabaya’s unique identity.

Here’s where classic hotels like the Majapahit step in. These grand dames of hospitality, often steeped in colonial-era architecture and imbued with local narratives, offer a strong portal to Surabaya’s mesmerizing past. Imagine stepping into a meticulously restored lobby, its high ceilings adorned with intricate moldings, and feeling the weight of history. Luxuriate in rooms that once housed esteemed guests, their vintage furniture whispering tales of bygone eras.

These classic hotels could attract a new breed of tourists, seeking authenticity and a unique connection to the destination. They crave stories woven into the very fabric of their surroundings.

Surabaya’s potential as a tourist destination is undeniable. 

And if, only if, it would be Kahar’s destiny, things could be different. ‘ But I am happy ‘, he says, as he greets his guests for breakfast. ‘ As long as my staff and guests are happy and we think we could make a difference,  my dreams from back then as a young man in Palembang seem to have come to be true “.

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