Translated from German, Zeitgeist means "the spirit of the moment", and is the key principle underpinning AYANA's service philosophy. Here, we share our inside tips and favorite haunts to help you experience the AYANA Zeitgeist.
My name is Gede Bear and I am a repeat guest at AYANA. I first checked-in last December and have come back this year with my new girlfriend Ayu to join an exciting festive program. It sparks to life with the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony tonight, and then I will be star attraction at the Teddy Bear Tea. (There will also be a big man in a red suit to hear the children’s wish lists, but I know Ayu will only have eyes for me.) We will not miss Breakfast with Santa at the Children’s Pool, jazz at Rock Bar, afternoon tea at Damar Terrace, the 12 Days to Christmas spa offers, Justin Quek’s guest appearance at Dava and the festive menus from our team of acclaimed chefs. Finally, what better way to welcome 2012 than with a New Year’s Eve performance by Mike’s Apartment, before hibernating in my villa to rest a little. An inside tip: like AYANA on Facebook for your chance to win exclusive giveaways.
Meet Saipul Herwin, an AYANA Superstar recognized as a key member of our team for his caring, sincere and passionate dedication to providing Villa guests with a level of service that does not just meet expectations, but makes them wonder how they ever put up with anything less. Congratulations Saipul, you make us all proud.
Q: What is your role at AYANA?
Head Butler – providing excellent service for our Villa guests to ensure maximum satisfaction.
Q: How long have you been with the hotel?
Q: How would you define great service?
I don’t provide good service or great service, but excellent service, which is defined by WOWing and thinking outside the box when it’s least expected by the guest. It’s not just anticipating guests’ needs, it’s anticipating the things they haven’t even imagined.
Q: You are an AYANA Superstar because our guests tell us that you always go the extra mile to ensure a memorable stay for them. Can you share an example of a time when you were able to help a guest or wow them with a surprise?
There are many occasions, I really love to find little ways to make people happy. If I think of the most recent one, a guest went to Nusa Dua to play golf early in the morning and they told me that they wanted to come back to the hotel by noon time. When they arrived at the hotel, I set up Pocari Sweat and fresh-cut fruits in their Villa with a little note. The guest was surprised and touched by the unexpected and thoughtful gesture. It was just a little thing but it made a big impact on their experience at AYANA.
Q: What would you recommend every AYANA guest experience?
It depends on the guest as different nationalities are attracted to different experiences. But if I were bringing my wife to AYANA, I would make sure we didn’t miss the Diamond Miracle treatment at Spa on The Rocks, sunset at Rock Bar, and ‘Pesta Lobster’ Dinner on the Pier.
Q: Do you have anybody you look up to or are inspired by?
My leader, Clive Edwards, for his energy
My colleague, Marian Hinchliffe, for her intelligence
My mom – as a single parent with 3 children, she has a really strong willpower to survive and provide me with the best.
Q: What do you like to do in your time off?
Surfing around Kuta and exploring Bali by visiting more remote areas like Nusa Penida and other neighboring islands.
International fashion model, eco-activist and host of reality show Supermodelme Season 1 & 2, Charmaine Harn is one of south-east Asia’s most in-demand models. A natural beauty of Chinese, French and Dutch heritage, she recently spent three days shooting for AYANA’s 2012 marketing campaign with British photographer Pete Seaward, who is shortlisted for the coveted 'Travel Photographer of the Year’ award by the British Travel Press Association.
I Made Madra, one of the 24 members of AYANA's Hindu Committee, led a ceremony at AYANA on 10, 11 and 12 October, to mark the resort temple’s anniversary. All Balinese-Hindu staff took part in this sacred 3-day ceremony, which included a parade, dancing and competition for the best gebogan (offering) which was won by Dava restaurant (AYANA's fine-dining venue).
What was the reason for the temple ceremony?
Every Hindu temple has a yearly ceremony, you can compare it to the birthday of a person. Ever since the temple was built in 1996, this ceremony has taken place every year, so you can say that this was the temple's 15th birthday. The ceremony's function is to bless the hotel and the people who work and stay at AYANA.
What exactly happens during the ceremony?
The ceremony takes three days in total. The first day is a preparation day also called "nanceb", when all the decorations and offerings are created and everything is set-up. The second day is the day the big ceremony takes place also known as "odalan", when all Hindu-employees wear their traditional Hindu attire and bring their families. The third day is the clean-up which is called "ngelukar". Most of us try to attend all three days, but you can probably imagine that it is very hard for AYANA's 763 Hindu employees to all be there every day. It is not compulsory to join the ceremony but basically every Hindu makes the time as it’s a very important day.
Is there a head of the temple? A priest?
Yes the AYANA temple has a female priest. The Mangku (priest) was chosen by the owner of AYANA, Rudy Suliawan, back in 1996. She was a friend of Pak Rudy before AYANA was built and helped him to choose a good piece of land to build the resort on. After the resort was opened, Pak Rudy decided to make her the Mangku of the temple. The Mangku is also the one that receives the honor to name the temple, and she named it Giri Wangi (Giri means mountain and Wangi means smile in Balinese).
Is it possible for Hindus to be members of more than one temple?
Yes it is possible to belong to more than one temple, almost every Hindu also has a family temple and a smaller temple or shrine at home (pelinggih). In the end we all honor the same god, it doe not matter in which temple we do that. We only have one god however our god makes his appearance as many different spirits: Vishnu, Siwa, Brahma and more. In total there are 33 spirits in the Balinese Hindu religion.
‘Sweet’ is not a word normally used to describe Indonesia’s biggest punk rock stars, but it will be a Sweet Sixteen birthday performance like you’ve never seen before when Superman Is Dead show their softer side at Rock Bar on 18 August. Only 400 tickets will be sold for this exclusive unplugged gig to celebrate the 16th anniversary since the band was formed by three attitude-heavy Kuta boys: Bobby Kool (lead vocal, guitar, dog lover), Eka Rock (bass, backing vocal, family man) and JRX (pronounced Jerinx, a prince-charming drummer and hairwax junkie). Recording most of their songs in English, SID are undoubtedly Indonesia’s most successful punk rock band. They have been signed with Sony-BMG since 2003, have toured the USA, Australia and Indonesia, and at the time of writing were ranked 21 on American Billboard ? making them the first band in Indonesia to be charted. Here is their view on how the band has evolved over the last 16 years.
What is the main message you like to communicate through your music?
To celebrate unity in diversity in a rock n roll way.
How has your music changed over the years?
We were a straight up 3 chords punk rock beer band. In 1999 we got so much into rockabilly, country and ballad. So we started to put in some organs, timeless lyrics and decent melodies here and there. But still, our roots is always been punk rock. And beer.
16 years is a long time together; do you ever fight or get tired of hanging out, or is the brotherly love still as strong as ever?
Of course we had our ups and downs at this context. That’s just life. But been together for so long made us understand each other really well. True we didn’t ‘hang out’ together as much as we did before. We had our crazy days and we can’t stuck at one point. But the chemistry we have when we’re playing/jamming is like wine, it gets better with times. Basically we were just 3 excited Bali kids trying to have fun with our music. And we like to keep the feeling stays like that. No matter how old we get.
What is your most memorable experience as a band? (ie best tour/charity event/album/achievement)
We’ll say the USA Vans Warped Tour we did in summer 2009. We were the first Indonesian (and second Asian) band that ever made it to this legendary festival. We did 16 cities in one month. Touring and playing in one venue with our heroes (Bad Religion, NOFX etc). We were driving a small van all over USA. From NY to LA. To promote our band, we walked around venues dressed up as traditional Balinese men with sign says ‘SID from BALI Indonesia’. And people were like “Where the hell is Bali? Are you guys Mexican?” It was fun, crazy, emotional, tiring as hell but we came as war heroes. Indonesian media, music industry and especially our fan base paid us so much respect for what we did.
What does the future hold for you?
Busy! After this August we’ll do more touring overseas and all over Indonesia. Start recording for our new album (release in early 2012)
And all the DJ have to hear this: this year we’ll release our ‘The Best Of’ album in vinyls! Scratch it baby!
Looking around Bali, the island has changed so much in 16 years as well. What do you see as the main challenges facing the Balinese today?
Our main challenge is ourselves. We made our choice. Are we willing to sacrifice for the greater cause or are we just gonna say yes to this fast-growing industry without thinking the long-term impact for this island? Education is very important. With enough education, people will make the right decision.
Visitors have long dreamed of being able to bottle the fragrance of Bali to take home with them. Now you can, by creating your own exclusive perfume at the L’Atelier Parfums & Creations studio at AYANA. This workshop, the only one of its kind in Indonesia, follows traditional French processes for creating perfumes unique to each guest, suited to individual personality types.
There are some 45 different essences, fragrances and raw materials with which to create your own blend. These include the most popular choice, frangipani, as well as lavender, jasmine, citronella, coffee, cempaka, vanilla, clove, wood and even civet, the cat-like creature whose droppings make the world’s most expensive coffee: Kopi Luwak. The children’s range includes fun scents such as bubblegum, strawberry, chocolate, and the added visual excitement of glitter.
The first step in making your own perfume is to answer a short questionnaire which will determine which personality traits you possess: Are you Different/Eccentric, Sensual, Romantic, Vivifying, Dynamic, Mysterious, Exotic, Masculine or Discreet? The results will point towards three of these adjectives (eg. Different/Eccentric, Dynamic and Discreet), which in turn correspond to specific essences.
The on-site perfumer will suggest fragrances matching your survey results and give you three small ‘test’ vials in which to make different blends. As you create the blends, you record the ingredients on ‘formula sheets’. You then select your favorite and the perfumer will present it in a 30mL bottle with a L’Atelier label inside a sleek leather travel case for you to take home with you. Those who complete the Theory and Perfume-Making Workshop will also receive a L’Atelier ‘Diploma’ Certificate.
Workshops are open to guests staying at AYANA as well as those visiting from outside the resort. There are four different workshops to choose from: Perfumery theory and perfume making workshop (2 hours); Perfume making workshop (45 minutes); Couple’s package (45 minutes); Children’s perfume-making Workshop (1 hour).
A nice memento of your time in Bali!
Wow, what an exciting week! We had American Idol winner Lee DeWyze with us this week, and he performed for 400 people at a private event last night – just another day in the office!
His performance was part of a Fox International Channels Gala Dinner, during the 2011 Asia-Pacific Pay-TV Operators Summit held at AYANA. Being one of the organizers of the summit (as part of our Conference & Catering Service Department), I was lucky enough to see Lee’s performance. It was magical! He stood on a small stage on the cliff-edge, against the ocean backdrop, with a guitar and supported by a pianist, and performed nine songs including two covers (‘Use Somebody’ by Kings of Leon and ‘Rocket Man’ by Elton John) and seven original tracks from his new album, Live It Up.
He said he hoped his next visit to Bali would be to perform at the Rock Bar. “I’m not just saying this, but this resort and Bali itself, is the coolest place I’ve ever been. AYANA is definitely the nicest place I’ve ever stayed,” he said. “Of all the places I’ve been on this tour, this is my favorite and I plan to come back very soon. I’d love to perform at the Rock Bar.”
Watch this space!
March 5 is Balinese New Year, otherwise known as Nyepi, or the ‘Day of Silence’. This is a very important date on our Balinese Hindu calendar, as it involves an island-wide purification. Some tourists avoid Bali at Nyepi time because of the restrictions placed on movement around the island during the 24-hours of silence, but I think it is a fantastic time to be here, an opportunity to experience many colorful festivals and ceremonies and learn a lot about our culture.
Nyepi is marked by 24 hours of silence, a day of introspection when everyone in Bali must stay inside their residence and keep quiet. No vehicle or machinery is allowed to operate (which also means Bali airport closes down on this day each year), no fire or electricity may be used, no work may be done. All shops and businesses will close and the whole island will literally ‘play dead’ from dawn on March 5 until dawn on March 6. The idea is that the demons who inhabit Bali will be fooled into thinking the island has been abandoned, and will go elsewhere, like Lombok or Java. A little sneaky of us perhaps!
For tourists, the rules are more relaxed, as long as you do not leave your hotel. AYANA minimizes use of lighting and power, halts its shuttle service, and asks guests not to wander around outside or leave the property. However, otherwise guests are welcome to use the resort grounds and facilities as normal, while keeping noise to a minimum.?
It is an interesting time to be in Bali, because in the days leading up to Nyepi, you will have the opportunity to witness some unique aspects of Balinese culture. These include the preparation and parade of ‘ogoh-ogoh’, large papier mache statues of various things, ranging from skeletons to monsters.
The night before Nyepi, you will see villagers all over the island parading ‘ogoh-ogoh’ through the streets and making a lot of noise with a marching rhythm band, as they spin the monsters around in circles. This is like the last ‘hurrah’ before the island shuts down on the following day, for the period of silence.
At AYANA, our Guest Activities team is busy creating two ogoh-ogoh dolls: one is a 2.5-meter-high figure of Hanoman, the famed monkey general, fighting a demon, while the second is a smaller 1.5-meter-high figure specially created for children. Tomorrow on Nyepi Eve, a priest will bless the ogoh-ogoh dolls and then we will parade them together with our guests, through the resort grounds, as we try to wake up the demons before we go to bed and ‘play dead’ for 24-hours. Hopefully our trick works and we can rid Bali of any evil spirits lurking about!
Happy New Year everyone! There may still be a few headaches, but at AYANA we are continuing the celebrations after being ranked among the world’s best hotels on the 2011 Conde Nast Traveler Gold List. And it’s YOU we have to thank!
With an overall score of 91.1, AYANA was just one of four hotels in Indonesia to make the coveted list, which in its 17th year is one of the most prestigious compendiums of the best hotels, resorts and cruise lines on the planet. Almost 26,000 travelers took part in the annual independent Readers’ Survey, representing people who are well-traveled, accustomed to luxury service, and have no tolerance for anything less than first-class. They demand innovation, reliability and the wow factor, so to be listed by such travelers among the world’s best hotels is a true honor for AYANA. It reflects our continued evolution since our rebranding to an independent property in 2009, and we can’t thank you enough for your support.
It’s a great start to the year and we look forward to sharing more unique experiences with you. Best wishes for 2011 and we look forward to seeing you soon!
This week’s blog is by Alma Desnuda frontman Tony Glaser, who tells us about the San Francisco band’s origins, spiritual practices, and community outreach work. You can catch them live at the Rock Bar every sunset from December 28 to January 3, excluding New Year’s Eve. Don’t miss them!
AYANA: What is your role in the band?
Tony: I’m the funky dude on the upright bass, singing with the other guys, and getting down with the California positivity!
AYANA: How did your Rock Bar performance come about and what appealed to you about performing in Bali??
Tony: To put it simply, us performing in Bali came from the hustle we put into our music everyday. We play everywhere, and I mean everywhere, so people see us and want to help. We met some great people one day, played for them, which lead to another thing, and another, and all of a sudden we have a tour booked in Bali and Australia! As for the appeal…umm, it’s Bali. Nuff said, ha! It’s also very spirtual and the culture is in line with our meditation and yoga practices.
AYANA: Can you tell us a little about Alma Desnuda (ie your style of music, how you got started, and where you’re going)?
Tony: Our music is a blend of sorts, acoustic soul to put it simply, but spans a wide range of styles, with vocal harmonies of conscious lyrics, funky grooves, and an appeal that makes all ages feel good. We met studying abroad in Spain, hence the Spanish name (Naked Soul), we’re headed to the top, and playing all over the world is the plan.
AYANA: What’s been the highlight of your music career so far?
Tony: I’m proud of our sincere commitment to using music as a vehicle for positive change in this world. We love to give back and it brings us a true joy, and so many highlights, Bali being a big one, as well as playing for the homeless, the neglected children, and for major venues. I had the priveledge to play for the troops in Iraq a few years back, and that was a major highlight.
AYANA: What other plans do you have while you’re in Bali (here’s an op for you to mention some of the community outreach work)?
Tony: We’re very excited to play for an orphanage in northern Bali. We asked AYANA to help us with our community outreach, especially since we raised money at our last SF show to bring out here to help give back to such a beautiful people as the Balinese, and they connected us with some children that we are stoked to play for. I hear there is some great river rafting, we’re going to surf for sure, and who doesn’t want to hang out with some monkeys?
AYANA: What’s next after Bali?
Tony: We’re off to Western Australia for a couple weeks. After that, back to the states, recording the next album, then a national college tour, then the world… with the help of our growing global community that we meet of course;)