Apartemen Ambasador 1 (also called Ambasador Kuningan, or Ambassador) is a midscale residential tower located just above the mall Ambasador, in South Jakarta. Be careful, there is another tower nearby, Ambasador 2, which is above ITC Kuningan and has a different lobby and different facilities.
It used to be an upscale property when it was completed in 1990, but due to the aging of the building and the lack of maintenance, this is no longer the case. Despite this, you can still find some excellent, well-priced renovated apartments inside.
The tower was developed by the group Sinar Mas Land, one of the largest property developers in Indonesia.
I stayed a couple of days in a 3-bedroom apartment in Ambasador 1, and here is my review of it:
The location of Ambasador 1 Apartments is excellent for anyone working in the Central Business District. It is halfway between Jalan Sudirman, the most important street in Jakarta, and Jalan Rasuna Said, where dozens of office towers can be found. Just across the street, you can go easily go to Mega Kuningan, a dynamic business area which is home to an important expat community.
Furthermore, the apartment is connected to the malls Ambasador and ITC Kuningan, meaning you get easy access to hundreds of services (banks, salons, ATMs, money changers, photos, etc), restaurants and shops (notably a Carrefour supermarket). However, these malls are targeting the middle class, so don’t expect to find chic brands and hip restaurants. Most of the boutiques are small and they sell cheap unbranded items. Two entire floors are dedicated to electronics (cameras, laptops, mobile phones, gadgets). If you like Indonesian food, the 5th floor has a huge and popular food court.
Walking distance from Ambasador, you can find two higher-end malls: Kuningan City (not so great) and Lotte Avenue (very popular). They also have supermarkets, cinemas, gyms, and more famous boutiques (H&M for instance). In Mega Kuningan, there are even more shops, especially in the Bellagio Boutique Mall, but it’s a bit further away (10-minute walk). There, you have some of the best venues for nightlife and eating out in Jakarta: Loewy, Basque, Bauhaus, J. Sparrows, Flow, McGettigan’s, Cazbar, and many more.
Something interesting about Ambasador 1 is that even though it is near the most modern areas of Jakarta, it is also adjacent to a traditional Indonesian neighborhood. Some may not like it, but for me, it is a positive thing. I loved to go there, eat some street food and chat with random people. You can also buy some services that can be useful from time to time (laundry, sewing, cleaning, etc). The downside is that it can be a bit dirty and you can hear the sound of the mosque 5 times per day.
It is quite convenient to get around from Ambasador 1.
As I mentioned before, it is centrally located between 3 major roads of Jakarta: Jalan Sudirman, Jalan Rasuna Said, and Jalan Prof. Dr. Satrio. In the latter, it is very common to get stuck in traffic, unfortunately. Still, if your office is anywhere in the Central Business District, you shouldn’t need more than 30 minutes to get to work.
For public transports, you will be limited to using the Transjakarta lines 6C, 6D and 6E, that all link Karet station to Tebet station.
You can walk quite a bit around Ambasador as the sidewalk is decent and the distances are short. Many of the attractions mentioned above are accessible by foot.
Design and Architecture
From the outside, the Ambasador tower looks neat, yet there is nothing spectacular or original about it. The first floors of the building are occupied by the mall, then on top of the mall you have the swimming pool and the garden, and finally, all the above floors are residential.
One major design issue is that the technical equipment for the mall and the tower (ventilation, air conditioning, electricity, telecommunication, water) is positioned near the swimming pool. This causes the area to look more like an industrial zone than a relaxing space. You can also hear the noise from the machines and see technicians working there from time to time.
Something else that I found problematic (but typical in Indonesia) is that there is no sidewalk for pedestrians to exit the tower and go to the main street. I found it incredible that the architects could not conceive that some people may want to use their legs to go outside.
As far as I know, there are only large apartments in the building: 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom. Each of them has a balcony.
The residence was built to good standards, by Sinar Mas Land, a respected developer. The best feature is the marble flooring in the lobby, in the corridor and in the apartment units.
Facilities and Services
The facilities in Ambasador Apartment 1 include the following:
– A decent swimming pool (see photo above), long enough for real swimmers, and not too crowded. There is a basin for kids, but it’s very small and not very fun. There are a few sunbeds, without mattresses. Overall, I didn’t find the area very attractive and pretty. The plants around the garden are sometimes set out randomly and the floor could use a scrub.
– A jacuzzi, a bit dirty and with cold water
– A gym, in a narrow room, with professional machines for weight-lifting and cardio.
– A kids’ playground, with rusted equipment
– Mall Ambasador and Mall ITC Kuningan: You will find many services, shops and cheap restaurants there. Among other things, there is a very busy Carrefour, a fruit shop and a food court.
Ambasador Mall is one of the most popular in Jakarta, especially with middle-class families looking for bargains on clothes. On weekends especially, the whole area is packed and full of life. If you are looking for a quiet place, you may want to look elsewhere.
I didn’t meet a lot of other tenants during my stay. I saw a couple of foreigners, and the rest were either Pribumi Indonesians or Chinese Indonesians.
Overall, the maintenance of Ambasador Apartments was decent, but some areas were underwhelming.
Around the swimming pool and the garden, I saw broken tiles, a broken doorknob, rust on some equipment (kids’ games) and scratched paint. Plants were left in plastic pots and not well-taken care of.
Some of the furniture was also outdated, like the sofas in the lobby or the sunbeds in the pool.
The cleanliness was satisfactory in the tower (lobby, corridors, parking) but it could be better in the swimming pool area. The tiles could use a scrub, particularly in the jacuzzi.
Guards are on duty in the lobby and at the gates 24-hour. The access to the lift requires a card. CCTVs are installed in all public areas including each on the corridors in each floor.
The staff was friendly and courteous, especially the guards.
Rooms and Prices
Prices at Ambasador may vary depending on the floor, the unit type, the room condition and the furnishings. Be aware that you may also need to pay for the service charge, the IPL (Iuran Pemeliharaan Lingkungan), the parking, the electricity, the water, etc.
On average, you will pay the following:
2-Bedroom Type (90m2) – Furnished:
- Rental 1 Year: IDR 12M per month
- Buy: IDR 2.200.000.000
3-Bedroom Type (118m2) – Furnished:
- Rental 1 Year: IDR 18M per month
- Buy: IDR 3.200.000.000
Which units are the best?
I was staying in a unit facing North, where Kuningan’s kampung is set. It is a pleasant view, away from the road, but there was a very loud mosque. It normally doesn’t bother me, but this one was really bad. I’d recommend choosing an apartment facing South instead.
Few Ambasador apartments are available for sale, and generally, their prices are quite high compared to the rent you can get from them. This is especially true if you consider that the facilities and the maintenance are average.
Obviously, people are paying a premium for the strategic and convenient location. It is certain that there will always be demand for flats in that area, and particularly in the mid-market segment.
That said, I don’t think prices will augment significantly in the future. Developers are building more and more towers nearby and this should help keep the inflation at a reasonable level. The potential for new construction is huge if you consider that, in the long run, the kampung will probably disappear and make space for high-rise buildings.
I also feel there are some defects in Ambasador that make it harder to find tenants. Most apartments have 2 or 3 bedrooms and they should interest families, yet facilities for kids are very poor (tiny pool and rusted playground). 1-bedroom apartments would sell much better I presume.
Jalan Prof. DR. Satrio No.18, RT 11 / RW 04,
Kuningan, South Jakarta
- Spacious, well-built apartments
- Decent pool and gym
- Prices relatively affordable
- Old residence (built in 1990), with some maintenance issues
- Loud mosque (maybe more than one)
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