My first stop will be Jakarta (formerly Batavia) and I am booked to stay in a hotel well suited to the purpose of this trip. In fact there is only one other place better suited and that’s all booked up. Once I found out the history of this hotel though I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity of making it home for a while.
If, back in 1863, you were living in Batavia and had a craving for some “bonbons and chocolate, Dutch, Havana, and Manila Cigars, fine comestibles, wine – beer, liquors, etc. etc. etc.” then chances are you would head to the “toko” of C.A.W. Cavadino located on Rijswijk and Citadelweg (now Jalan Veteran and Jalan Veteran 1). If you felt like a full meal you would head to the upstairs restaurant Cavadino, catch the breeze and a glimpse of the flowing canal. If you felt sleepy afterwards you could get a room at the Hotel Cavadino.
By 1899 though, your cravings would have to be satisfied elsewhere. Cavadino himself fell off the grid in 1870 and no records ever surfaced as to his whereabouts. By the turn of the century the Hotel du Lion d’Or was in its place and then sometime before 1941 it changed again, this time becoming the Park Hotel.
One of the great aspects of staying in this hotel, for me, is that my mother and her family lived on Citadelweg after the war. ..no more than 100 feet from this hotel. I have spoken to her about it and even though the memories are vague she definitely remembers this hotel sitting on the corner of her street. You got to love that kind of circle of life.
In the mid 1950’s the hotel sold again becoming the Sriwijaya and for a time it was used by the Indonesian Air Force as a mess hall, presumably where the old restaurant had been. The Sriwijaya continues today with an almost unbroken record of over one and a quarter centuries as a hotel. The Cavadino “toko” is now the hotel restaurant and for four days this October it is where I will be eating my breakfast.