By Gilang Al Farisi
A big name in Indonesia’s automotive and hospitality industry, Imelda Sundoro, the founder of Sun Motor Group, has been continuously building her company to new heights since its conception. She founded the company together with her late husband Hoo Sundoro Hosea in 1974, selling used cars in Solo, Central Java. Over time she branched out into furniture, transportation, property and the hospitality business.
Recently she added two more hotels to her hospitality chain, Ibis Styles in Cikarang, West Java and Grand Mercure in Yogyakarta. The Grand Mercure Hotel opened alongside Ibis Yogyakarta Adisucipto, with both borrowing from the legacy of the Borobudur temple.
Every inch of the hotels is decorated with motives from the famous temple, from the ceilings down to the trash bins. At the opening, Imelda was given certification from Indonesia’s Museum of Records as the hotel with the most Borobudur-themed decoration, both in Indonesia as well as the world.
Her first venture into the world of hospitality stemmed from her diversification of the business. “I chose to venture into the business in order to expand the group’s range in business, as well as utilizing the land that I had accumulated through the years,” she told GlobeAsia.
Accor was a logical choice to manage the hotels, she said. “I chose Accor Group as a partner in the hospitality business 20 years ago, because of its connections and its experience in managing hotels from all over the globe.” And despite the hotels being managed by an international group, she has kept her hotels deeply rooted in Indonesian culture, decorating several to fit the culture of the regions where they are located.
A prime example is the Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta - MGallery by Sofitel, which combines Indonesia’s abundant cultural aspects and its history. “I like the hotel because of the lack of change it’s seen,” she explained, noting that while changing owners a number of times, all have preserved its historic and cultural significance.
Aside from her booming hospitality business, her automotive business is also going strong. “We still maintain the massive impact it has by innovating and adapting to the Indonesian market,” she stated, “Should the nation’s economy be shaken by the global market situation, we have to be patient and persevere in order to survive and flourish.”