The ultra-luxe retreat’s recently appointed General Manager tells us about his career, helping employees in a time of crisis, and brand-new guest experiences.
You started out your hospitality career in F&B after graduating from culinary school. What were some of the most valuable lessons you learned from those early days in the kitchen?
I loved working in the kitchen and still have a great passion for food. My early days in the kitchen were very valuable for me as I quickly learned that in this business it is all about passion and creativity. I often think back to my days in operations, especially when we are working on projects with our F&B team.
Here at The St. Regis Bali, we have incredible leadership and talent in the kitchen. It is so inspiring to work with these passionate professionals on a day-to-day basis.
You’ve worked in luxury hotels across East and Southeast Asia for more than a decade. Was this a goal you had from day one?
When I started my career in hospitality, I knew that Asia was the right place for me to be. The warm Asian hospitality is what makes working here so special — an experience in a hotel in Asia is so different from anywhere else in the world. From a development perspective, Asia also offers unparalleled opportunities: there are so many exciting new hotel openings across various markets around the region, and Asia is leading the world from a hospitality development point of view.
You were part of the opening teams at St. Regis Langkawi and St. Regis Macao Cotai Central. What were some of your proudest moments during that time?
Being part of a pre-opening hotel is a privilege, it is truly an unforgettable experience. You work day and night with passion on the project and welcoming the first guests is so special. In Langkawi, His Royal Highness the Sultan of Malaysia attended the grand opening — that is something I will never forget.
You joined St. Regis Bali in 2019 as a Hotel Manager. What differences are there in the guest experience now compared to before the pandemic?
At The St. Regis Bali Resort, we have always strived to give personalized services and extraordinary experiences to our guests. In response to the current circumstances surrounding the pandemic, it has reinforced us to continue giving guests the same exclusive experiences while implementing new protocols and practices. Their safety is our utmost priority, and we want guests to enjoy their exquisite escape in an immersive environment. This period has given us the opportunity to explore the activities we can offer and allow guests to enjoy their privacy.
“Tiny Afternoon Tea” and “Evening Outdoor Cinema” are examples of our newly curated programs at The St. Regis Bali Resort. “Tiny Afternoon Tea” is dedicated to our younger guests, who can enjoy an afternoon tea set-up by our St. Regis Butler in the comfort of the villa. “Evening Outdoor Cinema” is an exceptional experience that allows you to relax and unwind with your loved ones under the starry sky with a backdrop of the Indian Ocean.
How are employees at St. Regis Bali being supported during these challenging times?
We are proud to have been able to keep all our associates employed during the crisis and we still provide all benefits such as full medical insurance, compassionate allowance, and the annual religious bonus payment. Throughout this crisis we also recognized that many associates did not have in-depth knowledge about financial management, and to assist our associates we have provided training specifically focused on that topic. Through our partnership with Surya Husadha Hospital, we have also been able to provide seminars hosted by various doctors and professors to raise awareness about physical and mental wellbeing.
Is the resort also involved in initiatives aimed at helping out the wider community?
Yes, absolutely. We have distributed hundreds of food donation packages for those in need. These boxes contain essential items such as rice, cooking oil, sugar, and eggs, amongst others. We have also made various donations such as bed linens to Udayana Hospital and [local children’s cancer charity] Yayasan Kanker Anak Indonesia.
Ahead of Bali’s eventual reopening to international tourists, are there any physical improvements being made to the property?
Various areas of the resort have been improved and restored during the past months. Throughout the pandemic we have maintained the property with the same intensity as if there were [a normal number of] guests. In addition to this, all beds have recently been replaced, our swimming pools have been drained and retiled, and we have taken time to upgrade our outdoor villa facilities.
As GM, what do you hope to achieve in the next year or so?
Rebuilding our business together with the community and our associations is our immediate goal.
Whilst doing so, and knowing that our guests are tremendously looking forward to coming back to Bali we are working very hard on enhancing our on-property experiences such as F&B and our Butler services. For example, we are currently developing new beverage concepts for our King Cole Bar and we aim to raise the bar even higher with our personalized service delivery.
We are really looking forward to welcoming back our regular guests who have not been able to travel to Bali for the past 18 months.