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Exclusive Interview with James Costa, General Manager of Hotel Borobudur Jakarta


James Costa, the General Manager of Hotel Borobudur Jakarta, took the time to speak to Eat Vacation about his journey in hospitality and life at Hotel Borobudur Jakarta.

James Costa’s career in the hotel industry began almost accidentally. He had originally served in the US Navy in the early 70’s and was stationed in Japan. Whilst living in Japan, he learned Japanese and fell in love with the country. After leaving the U.S. Navy and completing his degree at George Washington University in Washington D.C., he returned to Japan to look for work. “After looking for what seemed to be an eternity, I was called for a reception desk position at Prince Hotel in Tokyo,” he reminisces.

After 35 years, he finds himself still in the hotel industry and loves it more than ever. For his inspiration, he cites Mr. Alfred Hirdesky, the General Manager of a hotel in Guam he worked as the Director of Sales and Marketing, who spent hours with taking his advice.

“I remembered how much he loved this job, how he was consumed about delivering the best possible service to our guests and at the same time, taking care to always support his team and the hotel family,” he says about Mr. Hirdesky. While he says that he got into the hotel industry almost by accident, he loves working in the service of others and helping people, which led to his life’s ambition.

Commenting on his management style he developed over his career, he characterised his approach to managing others are detailed, but relaxed and also strategic, yet realistic.

“I always believed in the power of demonstrating your concern for those that worked with you. I have high standards for myself, having learned that continually learning and keeping up with ‘best practices’ and then translating this learning into actionable processes will result in committed long teams that are engaged and focused on delivering a great guest experience.”

His career in the Indonesian hotel industry started at Hotel Majapahit in Surabaya, which is filled with classic Indonesian culture and heritage. These same qualities drew him to Hotel Borobudur Jakarta, as he sees it as another hotel icon in Indonesia. His favourite thing about Hotel Borobudur Jakarta is that he sees it as an icon of Jakarta with a very rich history. Specifically, he loves that the hotel is known for their famous sop buntut, or oxtail soup, that everyone in Jakarta has heard of, as well as the garden oasis at Hotel Borobudur Jakarta.

According to Mr. Costa, Indonesians are, in his experience, among the friendliest and happiest people in the world. “I always tell my colleagues, ‘you don’t have to teach Indonesians hospitality, it is part of their culture!’ In all honesty,” he says with a proud smile, “Indonesia is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable places I have worked in my career and look forward to having the opportunity and pleasure to work in Indonesia for a long time to come.”

Mr. James Costa is very excited for Hotel Borobudur Jakarta’s future, with one future plan being a renovation to rooms. These renovations will include updates amenities, improved connectivity and even smart technology in some of the suites. They are also going to expand the lobby area and add a few new food and beverage outlets. All in all, Mr. James Costa has shown great enthusiasm in Hotel Borobudur Jakarta and sees a great future ahead.

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