Essence Darmawangsa

Kebayoran Baru, Kemang, South Jakarta, Upscale

Essence Darmawangsa is an upscale residential complex built on 5.2 hectares of land.

Currently, 3 towers out of 4 have been completed:

Eminence (2008) has 28 floors and 242 units.
The South (2013) has 36 floors and 244 units.
The East (2014) has 38 floors and 244 units.

A fourth tower, The North, and a 5-star hotel (Ammi) are still on hold as of today.

I stayed for a couple of days in the Eminence tower, which is the least luxurious among the three. If you know about The East or The South, please leave a comment at the end of this article.

Location:

Neighborhood and Transportation

In which neighborhood of Jakarta is Essence Darmawangsa located?

Location of Essence Darmawangsa in Jakarta

Essence Darmawangsa is located in Kebayoran Baru, a posh district of South Jakarta popular with rich Indonesians and expats (especially Japanese and Koreans). More precisely, it is in the neighborhood of Dharmawangsa, a rather peaceful and low-rise residential area where you’ll find some of the most expensive houses in the city.

Even though this location is a bit far from the business district, foreigners enjoy it because it is near the best International schools. It is also within 10 minutes from Kemang, home to a large expat community.

How does it look like around the apartment?

Street in front of Essence Darmawangsa

Surroundings of Essence Darmawangsa

By car, with normal traffic conditions, how far is it from:
– Jakarta Airport (CGK): 60 minutes
– Grand Indonesia Mall: 55 minutes
– Sudirman Business District: 35 minutes
– Kota Tua: 80 minutes
– Kemang: 10 minutes

Public transportation and access to highways:
– Nearest Transjakarta halt: Jalan Dharmawangsa X (1km away)
– Nearest train station: Kebayoran (4 km meters away)
– Nearest MRT station: Blok A (1.3 km away)
– Nearest toll road: Jakarta Inner Ring Road (7km away)

Landmarks Nearby

These are the important landmarks nearby:

Malls:
The nearest mall is Lippo Kemang (2.5km away), a mid-to-upper class shopping center with a cinema, an Ace Hardware, a Hypermart, banks, pharmacies, fashion boutiques, restaurants, salons, etc. Not too big but enough for most of your needs.

There is also a boutique mall called Dharmawangsa Square, just 1km away. It has a salon, massage parlor, cafés, restaurants, fashion shops, and a supermarket.

Blok M Plaza and Pasaraya Blok M are two other options nearby. They are middle-class malls with cheap electronics and clothes.

For more options, you will need to ride a car at least 15-20 minutes: Gandaria City (4km), Pondok Indah Mall (4km), or Plaza Senayan (5km).

Supermarkets:
The nearest ones are Ranch Market in Dharmawangsa Square or Kem Chicks in Kemang Mansion. Both have a lot of imported products, but they are expensive. There is also a Hypermart in Lippo Mall Kemang.

A cheaper option is to go to Transmart-Carrefour or Giant in Blok M.

Restaurants:
Apart from one coffee shop in Eminence tower, you will need a short car ride to go to nearby restaurants. Kemang has plenty of them, just 10 minutes away. I also recommend trying “Little Tokyo”, a red-light area with many authentic Japanese restaurants.

 

Bars and Nightlife:
Kemang has a decent nightlife, including several expat bars like Eastern Promise and Murphy’s.

Schools:
Many of the best international schools in Jakarta are located nearby:
Mentari Intercultural School (200 meters)
Pelita Harapan (1km)
Lycée Français (3km)
New Zealand School (3km)
Australian Independent School or AIS (4km)
Jakarta Intercultural School (5km)

Preschools:
Mirai, Mentari (see above) and Bambino

Hospitals:
Kemang Medical Care
SOS Medika Cipete (most recommended for expats)
RS Pondok Indah
RS Gandaria
Brawijaya Women and Children Hospital

Siloam Hospital should also open soon in Kemang Village.

Building Quality

Building and Architecture

Who is the developer?
Essence Darmawangsa was developed by PT. Prakarsa Semesta Alam, a subsidiary of PT Saligading Bersama. The latter is the main shareholder of ABMA, the owner of properties like Nifarro Park (together with Tommy Suharto), Royal Betawi (Tangerang), Samala Park (Cilegon), East CBD (Surabaya), Tanjung Layar Lagoon (Makassar), The Kahyangan (Solo Baru), North CBD (Jakarta) or The Simprug Signature (Jakarta).

The company is also behind the hotel group Samali (with the brands Ammi, Allium, Arum, Azara).

The official founder of this company is Ir. Musyanif, who seems to be the owner of the Dharmawangsa Hotel. He was also the previous director of the public contractor Pembangunan Perumahan (PP).

However, it seems unlikely that Ir. Musyanif alone could finance such enormous projects. After some investigations, it appears that the Tahir family (Mayapada group), one of the richest in Indonesia, is probably a shareholder and investor in this company. I don’t know for sure, though.

Anyway, I don’t like the fact that it is very difficult to know precisely who owns Essence Darmawangsa. If a problem arises, it’s always better to know exactly who will take responsibility.

Who is the architect?
The design was done by PTI Architects (PT. Prada Tata Internasional), a member of the Peddle Thorp International Group. Even though it is part of an international network, it remains a local firm and it is unclear whether any Australian architects were involved in Essence Darmawangsa.

That said, PTI is one of the leading architectural consultants in Indonesia. They’ve worked on major projects such as Kuningan City, Gandaria City, Residence 8 and Bellagio Mansion.

Who is the contractor?
The contractor was PT Pembangunan Perumahan (PP), a large company, government-owned, that has built several midrange and high-end properties in Indonesia (especially in Surabaya).

What is the situation with the land certificate?
The developer has a Hak Guna Bangunan Murni, which means the property was built on its own land. As an apartment owner, you get a “Strata Title di atas HGB Murni”.

Design and Appearance

How does the building look like?

From Outside (Facade):

Eminence tower (in the back) and The South tower (on the right)

The East tower in Essence Darmawangsa

Facade of The South tower in Essence Darmawangsa

Entrance and Lobby:

The gate to Essence Darmawangsa is massive and quite impressive:

Entrance of Essence Darmawangsa

Entrance gate of Essence Darmawangsa

Car drop off in Essence Darmawangsa

Car drop off in Essence Darmawangsa

Lobby of Eminence tower in Essence Darmawangsa

Lobby and reception of Eminence tower

 

Landscaping and Public Areas:

According to the management, 70% of the 5.2 hectares of land are reserved for public spaces. There is a small park with a pond in the middle of the property which is quite pleasant.

Site plan of Essence Darmawangsa (The North and the Serviced Apartments have not been built yet)

Landscaping of Essence Darmawangsa

Garden in Essence Darmawangsa

Garden of Essence Darmawangsa

Garden area in Essence Darmawangsa

Corridors and lifts:

My apartment in Eminence tower had a common lift. If you stay in the South or the East tower, the units have a private lift.

Lift in apartment floor Essence Darmawangsa

Lift in Essence Darmawangsa

Corridors to apartments in Essence Darmawangsa

Door apartment in Essence Darmawangsa

Size and Types of Apartments

The apartments’ size is approximately the following:

Eminence tower (common lift)
1-bedroom units (1 bathroom): 60m2
2-bedroom units (1-2 bathrooms, maid room in some units): 65-85m2
3-bedroom units (2 bathrooms, maid room): 100-140m2
4-bedroom penthouse (2-3 bathrooms, maid room): 168-200m2

The South tower (private lift):
3-bedroom units (2 bathrooms, maid room): 163-185m2
4-bedroom penthouse (2 bathrooms, maid room): 269m2

The East tower (private lift):
2-bedroom units (2 bathrooms, maid room): 134-136m2
3-bedroom units (2 bathrooms, maid room): 153-180m2

Materials and Equipment

What is the quality of the materials, furniture, and equipment used in the construction?
This is an evaluation of the quality I observed (ranked from 1 – worst – to 10 – best):

In common areas:
Tiles lobby: 8
Painting (wall, ceiling): 7
Lighting fixtures: 6.5
Doors/windows: 7
Ceiling: 7
Elevator: 8
Gym equipment: 8
Pool equipment: 6.5
Furniture: 7
Artwork: 7

In the apartments:
Tiles/Parquet: 7.5
Bathroom equipment: 7.5
Kitchen equipment: 6.5

Overall Quality: 7.2/10

Comfort

Facilities and Services

What are the facilities provided in the property?

– The swimming pool in Eminence tower is quite small. I didn’t see the pools in the other towers, but it seems they aren’t very big either. 

Swimming pool of Essence Darmawangsa

Kid’s pool in Essence Darmawangsa

Sun beds in Essence Darmawangsa

– The gym in Eminence tower is ok for cardio training. For weight-lifting, there aren’t enough machines and free weights.

Gym in Essence Darmawangsa

Cardio equipment in Essence Darmawangsa

– Other facilities:

Kids playroom in Essence Darmawangsa

Tennis court in Essence Darmawangsa

Kids playground in Essence Darmawangsa

Basketball court in Essence Darmawangsa

– Facilities not pictured here: Jogging track, sauna.

What are the services available within the property?
There are a few services available: Minimarket, coffee shop, laundry, ATM.

Something annoying was that GO-Food or GrabFood drivers were not allowed to drive inside the property. If you order a meal with them, you will have to wait a long time until they walk from the gate to your lobby.

Coffee shop in Essence Darmawangsa

Are there issues with the electricity supply?
None that I know about.

Are there issues with parking?
None that I know about.

Are there enough lifts?
Yes.

Atmosphere

Is the property busy?
Yes, it is quite busy as you have more than 700 units in the complex.

Is it noisy?
It depends on which unit you are staying in. You should know that behind the Eminence tower, there is a kampung with a mosque. If possible, choose a unit facing the pond.

What is the background (ethnicity, social status) and attitude of residents?
The residents are a mix of Indonesians and expatriates.

Management

Maintenance

Are there visible damages?
Yes, there are a few.

Overall, I didn’t find the property was in great condition. Nothing too serious, but disappointing for an upscale property. Here are a few examples:

Bad maintenance of the deck near the pond 

Maintenance issue in Essence Darmawangsa

Overall maintenance rating: 7/10

Cleanliness

I found the cleanliness to be satisfactory.

Overall cleanliness rating: 7.5/10

Gardening

The maintenance of the garden was ok.

Overall gardening rating: 7.5/10

Security

Guards: There is a very secured gate at the entrance of the complex, and then you have more guards in the lobby of each tower.
CCTV cameras: In the lobby, public areas and lift
Access: You need a card to reach your floor

Overall security rating: 9.5/10

Hospitality

The staff is friendly and professional.

Overall hospitality rating: 9/10

Rooms and Prices

Prices at Essence Darmawangsa may vary depending on many factors such as the tower, the floor, the unit type, the room condition and the furnishings. Generally speaking, the Eminence tower is cheaper than the South tower and the East tower.

Be aware that you may also need to pay for additional fees: Service charge, parking fee, electricity and water bills, etc. Here are a few examples of prices and ratios for this property:

1-Bedroom (60m2) in Eminence tower – Well-furnished:

  • Rental 1 Year: Approximately IDR 168 million (or 14 million per month)
  • Buy: Approximately IDR 2,300,000,000
  • Break Even Point (Buying Price/Gross Annual Rental): 13.6 years
  • Average buying price/m2: IDR 38 million/m2

2-Bedroom (134m2) in East tower – Well-furnished:

  • Rental 1 Year: Approximately IDR 300 million (or 25 million per month)
  • Buy: Approximately IDR 4,600,000,000
  • Break Even Point (Buying Price/Gross Annual Rental): 15.3 years
  • Average buying price/m2: IDR 34.3 million/m2

Investment Potential

Reasons to buy:
Popular area for expats
Famous complex
Still limited competition in the area (most of the current housing is low-rise)

Reasons NOT to buy:
Maintenance issues
Not enough information about the developer
Construction of the North tower: Will it make the prices of the older towers depreciate?

Would I buy this property? (On a scale from 0 = “not at all” to 10 = “yes absolutely” ): 4/10

Address

Essence Dharmawangsa
Jalan Darmawangsa-X No.86, Cipete Utara,
Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta 12150, Indonesia

More Photos

My Ratings

I do my best to write honest and detailed reviews of the apartments I visit. If you disagree with my rating, please let me know why and leave your own rating at the end of this page.

Essence Darmawangsa
3.5 / 5 My Rating
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 5 Readers' Rating (0 votes)
What I Liked
- Location in the posh neighborhood of Dharmawangsa, within 10 minutes from Kemang.
- Huge property with a pond and a small park.
- Good quality apartments, floor-to-ceiling windows.
- Very safe.
- Many expat residents.
What I Didn't Like
- Maintenance could be improved.
- Facilities are disappointing for an upscale property, especially the swimming pool.
- You cannot go anywhere near the complex without a car.
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