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.
“When you say the word ‘Butler’, most people think of an old English man from a movie. And that’s the way it used to be. Now it’s more modern – they don’t carry around a silver tray, they help you book flights instead.” This was the opening to the Well-Placed Insider’s interview with Mr. Robert Watson from The Guild of Professional English Butlers.
It all started back in the 1960′s; hospitality was a growing and highly-demanding market. Manual keys were still in use, and the guests had to give it to the receptionist to prevent losing the key when they were out of the hotel. Back then, the role of a receptionist was very important in the hotel business. They’re the ones making that special connection with the guests… not just to hold on the guest’s keys, but they were also responsible for arranging dining reservations, reporting problems, and even for basic housekeeping matters.
Then came the mid 80′s, technology was booming and the electronic key was invented. As a result, the guests no longer had a reason to go to reception to communicate as much anymore. Inevitably, the relationship between the guests and the receptionists decreased. Then the era of pagers came, and the system where the guests could directly page the manager was implemented, and that is when the birth of the Butler service took place.
“We started to train small group of people to take care of guests at the biggest suite. They don’t pay a fortune just to get the suite just to get the same services as other guests in smaller room categories,” said Mr. Watson. This concept is applied to AYANA Resort and Spa Bali, where the guests at The Villas at AYANA Resort can enjoy they very own personalized Butler service 24-hour on-call, as “Personalized service is what makes people feel like they’re home,” he reminded.
Mr. Watson has been in the hotel industry for 52 years, has been setting the benchmark for the Butler service. “I started in London in 1990, we were the first hotel who had Butler service. I was a Butler Manager for seven years. There, I looked after three American presidents, Michael Jackson, Madonna Mariah Carey, Bruce Willis… oh, Lady Diana and Price Charles as well.”
While I was still in a state of awe, he continued his story, “If I don’t come to Bali once a year, I feel like there’s something missing in my heart. This island has something that other’s don’t, it is the Balinese people who are naturally caring, warm and smiling all the time – that, you don’t find anywhere. It’s not just about serving and saying thank you, your heart has to be in it. In Bali, you can feel that their service is from the heart. And I believe, the Butlers at The Villas at AYANA Resort don’t just care for you, they care about you.” From then I knew that Bali lingers in his heart.
He then sips his coffee and tried to find something in his phone. He showed me some pictures of smiling faces from our Butler at The Villas at AYANA Resort. I was so surprised knowing that the training could be that fun! As Mr. Watson said, “I think when people are laughing, then they are learning.”
And that is when I knew that I learned some valuable lessons today.
While ‘love’ on the tennis court normally reflects no score, it was the opposite for one couple who proved that it can be the ultimate Grand Slam. Australian-based couple Clarrie and Dominic met during a tennis tournament in 2007, when Dominic says he fell in love at first sight of watching Clarrie in action on the court. Seven years later, and many tennis games later, they chose AYANA Resort and Spa Bali to tie the knot.
Now residing in Australia, Clarrie was originally from Singapore and Dominic from Malaysia. Bali was a convenient central meeting point for their families from their home countries, as well as friends from Sydney where most of their 62 guests would be traveling from. “We had never visited Bali and did our research online and AYANA stood out from the rest. With the amazing cliff side views, we easily made our decision,” said Clarrie. They wanted the best sunset views and chose the exclusive three-bedroom 3,000sqm AYANA Villa as their wedding venue on 9 September 2014.
The decorations followed a mint and coral theme as coral is Clarrie’s favorite color. The couple created an unusual hashtag #mroxandmrspigheah for guests uploading photos of their big day; the name came from the fact that Dominic was born in the year of Ox and Clarrie was born in the year of pig, and Heah is their surname. They even had AYANA’s team create special touches like a tennis ball wedding cake in honor of their first encounter.
Clarrie calls her thoughts and feelings of the big day: “It was a day filled with anxiety, tears and extreme happiness. Friends, family, great food and first-class service made for a truly unforgettable experience and a fantastic way to start our journey as husband and wife.”
So, the moral of the story is, if you are still searching for your other half, do not lose hope as love turns up in unlikely places, even on a tennis court! Clarrie and Dominic’s seven year journey also proves that the fabled ‘seven year itch’ is not set in stone. And so we pronounce, Game Set & Match to Clarrie and Dominic! Congratulations on a beautiful wedding and best wishes for your life together.
Have you ever heard of an island that completely shuts down, where there are no activities, no people and transportation on the streets, television and radios are off, no stores are open and even the airport is closed?
That’s Bali during Nyepi, which falls on 21 March this year.
Nyepi is New Year’s Day for Balinese Hindus. And while most other cultures mark their New Year with a vivacious evening that ends with fireworks, the Balinese celebrate in silence. Because we believe that Nyepi is the day to purify ourselves with Catur Brata rituals consisting of: Amati Geni (no fire or electricity), Amati Karya (no activity), Amati Lelunganan (no noise or travelling), and Amati Lelanguan (no pleasure or self-entertainment). We observe these rituals to prepare our spiritual readiness for all the challenges that the new year will bring.
In this way, we can say that Nyepi is the most important day of purification in Bali. We believe the island must be weary from working hard to please its visitors, and the New Year is the time for the island to enjoy a ‘day-off’ to rest.
But while Nyepi itself is a ‘Day of Silence’, the day before Nyepi, 20 March, will be a day of noise and rowdiness. Across the island, villagers will join an ‘ogoh-ogoh’ parade, where enormous papier-mache statues of demons will be paraded around the streets with loud music and dancing, to wake up the evil spirits. The idea is to rouse the evil spirits and trick them into thinking there is a big party, and then be silent for the next 24 hours, so that they go looking for their party elsewhere, on another island!
At AYANA Resort and Spa Bali, we have our own ogoh-ogoh parade within the resort grounds, and then from that evening Nyepi’s silence rituals begin. Although guest must remain within the resort grounds for the 24-hour period, we still have plenty of recreation available. Ten of our 15 dining venues will still be open, lights will still be on (albeit dimly-lit), televisions in rooms can be used for movies, and our resort’s complimentary shuttle will still operate between pools at AYANA and RIMBA Jimbaran Bali by AYANA. Make sure you stay up to get your seat at RIMBA Lobby’s sunken lounge to gaze at the gazillion of stars above, to complete your Nyepi escape!
P.S.: Here are some reasons of why Nyepi is the best time to visit Bali:
When most people hear ‘Bali’, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘paradise’. There is an exotic aura around this island of ours, it is a very special place with a unique culture and the most beautiful, generous-hearted people on Earth. There are so many things you can and should do here; they say you haven’t been to Bali if you haven’t tried:
1. Cultural Experience
Everywhere you go in Bali you will be exposed to the Hindu culture. There is always a ceremony happening or family traveling in full costume to the temple. Children can learn about these rituals with special activities like Balinese dancing at AYANA or RIMBA Kids’ Clubs, while adults can learn how to make ketupat and canang offerings, or simply witness the amazing spectacle of traditional dancers in action at our themed dinners.
2.Turn up the Romance
There’s a reason why Jimbaran is called the ‘sunset coast’ and is the preferred destination for honeymooners. Reconnect with yout other half over aprivate candle-lit sunset dinner or an exclusive Spa on the Rocks pampering ritual.
3. Private Beach Picnic
Enjoy a swim in the waves, read a book, savor a picnic on the sand, or ?just take selfies against the bluest of blue backgrounds at our private beach, exclusively for guests of AYANA and RIMBA
4. Sunset Happy Snaps
Famous for its spectacular sunsets, AYANA is lucky to have so many viewing spots for guests to get that perfect photo. Sip a cocktail while enjoying a dramatic sunset from Rock Bar Bali down in the waves, or take the cable car up to Sami Sami Bar on the top of the cliff to avoid the crowds and soak up the cliff-edge views. Or simply recline in the sunken lounge at RIMBA’s Lobby for another ‘wow’ sunset experience, as the colors of the sky dance across the lobbys’s reflecting pool. Don’t miss the violin performance every Saturday at sunset from this viewing points.
5. Local Cuisine
Yes, this is a must-do for food lovers, but rather than just eating local foods, why don’t you try to learn how to cook them, so then you can eat them over and over again? Our professional chefs will explain all about Balinese cuisine including the locally-sourced ingredients, traditional cooking methods and the role food plays in daily rituals. Even if you don’t like to cook, it is worth joining this activity to really appreciate the amount of work and traditional methods that go into every dish of Balinese cuisine.
6. Great Outdoors
Keep fit on holiday (so you can keep indulging guilt-free!) by jogging around the resort and breathe in the exotic fragrances of Bali. For more adventurous activities, go cycling to Jimbaran Fish Market and meet the fisherman arriving with their catches fresh from the sea, and put your bargaining skills to the test!
7. Spa Time
No trip to the island is complete without spoiling yourself with a Balinese massage. Using long strokes and finger pressure, combined with warm aroma-oil, a Balinese massage is a sublime experience that takes you to another realm of relaxation! At Thermes Marins Spa, we also offer unique treatments such as a seashell massage, bamboo massage, and ayurvedic trance-including welllbeing ritual. Let yourself be massaged into a coma!
It might take some time to do everything on the list, but the important thing is not to leave Bali with any regrets! Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to prepare an inspiring itinerary for your upcoming stay.
The ‘dry’ season from April to September is usually the busiest time in Bali, thanks to the perfect blue-sky days, the excellent conditions on the west coast’s surf spots, and the lack of torrential downpours. For those visiting from the southern hemisphere, it means escaping the cold of their winter season, for sun-kissed skin that lingers with the scent of salt. The endless summer in Bali is indeed a wonderful time to visit the island.
But, what happens to Bali during the monsoon season? Here are some considerations, before you black-out the October to March ‘wet’ season. It actually has its own benefits!
Less crowded in the busy tourist areas, means no need to reserve that iconic restaurant or bar in advance, you can normally just walk-in without being put on a waiting list! And it is faster to get around the island too.
Less pricey for low season! Many airlines and accommodations offer lower rates and special promotions (excluding the busy Christmas and New Year period, and Chinese New Year)
Less guilt because the wet season is when some of the most delicious Bali fruits are at their best, so you will be sure to be eating healthy and enjoying every mouthful! Savor the ripe flavors of Mangosteen, Avocado, Kiwi and the snake-skin Salak - and you will have no excuse to be weighed down by the calories of the famous Babi Guling!
Less heat, which is nice for those who prefer to avoid too much UV exposure. The rain, which is often just a passing shower that clears to blue sky, freshens the air and nourishes the blossoming forest and flowers on our hill – and is perfect for sleep-ins!
Less rush to catch the mighty Bali sun, as it rises around 06:18 – 06:23 and sets around 18:40 – 18:47 at this time of the year, which is later than during the dry season. The sunset looks different to than usual due to the clouds; it appears as various shades of color palette.
Less queueing, for example to Rock Bar if you’re not staying at AYANA and RIMBA (in-house guests enjoy Priority Access to skip the queue anyway rain, hail or shine). But just make sure you check the weather before making the trip out to Rock Bar, as if it is raining, we have to take cover, while our sister UNIQUE Rooftop Bar & Restaurant provides a sheltered venue with a rooftop pool and stunning views!
And what’s more, you get to hum that song with a glorious feeling, while strolling through Bali with a happy refrain, just singing in the rain!
Doing last minute gift shopping this festive season and out of ideas? Don’t despair, we make shopping easy with some inspiring gifts that you can arrange by phone or email, for delivery within the next week! Your gift will be presented as a personalised gift certificate, valid for 12 months to provide freedom for the recipient to choose their most convenient date and time to experience the special treat you have chosen for them. With the world-class facilities of an integrated resort spread across cliff-top gardens with spectacular ocean views, 15 restaurants and bars, award-winning spa and extensive recreation, you can choose from a variety of unforgettable experiences :
1. Everyone needs a holiday, so a gift voucher for a memorable stay at AYANA or RIMBA would never disappoint. Choose one of our Special Offers (http://ayanaresort.com/en/specialoffers) or the Suite Deal at RIMBA.
2. Plan a perfect family holiday for the next year! AYANA & RIMBA offer a family holiday package with two rooms including a 50% saving on the second room, and daily breakfast for four people. Connecting rooms and suites are available, and our 5-star Bali hotel offers on-site babysitting and 2 Kids’ Clubs.
3. An exceptional dining experience is another amazing gift from Indonesian, Indian to Chinese cuisines, from buffet to fine dining, you have the freedom to choose amongst 15 venues at AYANA and RIMBA and present a gift voucher for who you think will most wow your special someone.
4. For a more intimate dining experience, what could be more memorable than a romantic dinner under a star-studded moonlit sky alongside your loved one? Present one of our Romantic Dining Experiences and our culinary experts will prepare a tantalising menu for an unforgettable evening.
6. For those addicted to self-rejuvenation, one of our luxury spa treatments offers a perfect gift. Pamper them with the unforgettable sensation of Thermes Marins’ signature Diamond Miracle treatment at Spa on the Rocks! They will remember it always.
7. A 2-hour session in the world’s largest Aquatonic Seawater Therapy Pool provides a head-to-toe hydromassage that reportedly burns 500 calories per session! This treatment is recommended for those traveling long hours to combat jetlag.
8. Sometimes it seems people have everything, but few have made their own perfume. Give a voucher for a perfume-making workshop at L’Atelier Parfums et Creations Studio, where the on-site French perfumer will take you through the process of creating your own 30ml eau de fragrance.
9. A trip to Bali must include a visit ti the award-winning Rock Bar, but a gift that avoids the stress of queuing at sunset would be well-appreciated! Give one of our Spa + Rock Bar packages to see your loved one skip past the queue and down to the waves.
The choices are endless, and definitely not limited to the above ideas. Design and customise a perfect holiday escape with us; our professional staff would be delighted to recommend the best solution for you.
For more contact email@example.com
This family does not go to the hill when their hearts feel like singing. They simply head to a quiet corner of AYANA to play instruments that have been in the family for generations, hit a chord and sing along. Every afternoon, they play at the Main Lobby or Villa Lobby, with the Indian Ocean and our guests as their audience. Here, we speak with Wayan Januraga (WJ) and daughter Dyah Purwantini (DP).
How long have you been a rindik player at AYANA and has this always been your dream job?
I started to play music when I was a boy. At AYANA, I started in 1997 and yes this is my dream job. I cannot think of doing anything else. But my ultimate dream is to see my family’s Balinese music known worldwide.
Since what age did your daughter join you?
WJ: Hmmm I cannot really recall.
DP: Well I remember, I was 9 years old when I first joined you. I am 13 now!
It seems that you enjoy this very much, Dyah! Do you join your Dad everyday after school?
DP: Yes I really enjoy this. This is my hobby and at the same time spending time with my Dad. But I am not allowed to do this everyday as I have to put school as the priority. Only when I have done my homework and have no tests the next day I may join my Dad to entertain the guests at AYANA.
Pak Januraga, have you always educated your family with music? Especially Balinese music?
WJ: Always have and always will. It is in my ancestors’ blood and one of my missions in life is to pass this talent and knowledge down to my descendants. I taught my two children how to play traditional musical instruments like rindik, gamelan since they were 3 years old. As they grew older, they started to take on more challenging instruments like Gender Wayang. The one we perform at AYANA is the classic Balinese music with a little bit modern twist in the chords.
What about your wife? Is she also musically inclined?
WJ: My wife comes to play with us at AYANA’s Villa Lobby every now and then, mys on takes turns too, but he has less time now that he is about to enter college.
Dyah, what do you want to be when you grow up?
DP: A professional musician and dancer and to be able to perform Balinese dance and music all over the world with my Dad, Mom and my big brother. I love to participate in music and singing and dancing competitions in Bali. That is my starting step and let’s see what comes next.
Any advice you would like to share about music, Pak Januraga?
WJ: We have to pass on our Balinese music to the next generation and hope they will do the same to their children. Be proud of it, learn it, spread it, and keep it alive.
An unexpected guest is the last thing you want on your wedding day. Let alone, a gorgeous female who makes your groom’s heart tremor with excitement.
But that’s the exact scenario that Minni You faced on her wedding day in Bali, June 22th 2012, when an ‘uninvited’ female made an entrance just as the couple prepared to exchange vows. Minni watched as her groom, Tuan Pham, stared as the female sauntered down the aisle. She saw her husband-to-be’s pupils dilate as his attention was drawn to The Other Woman. But Minni wasn’t worried, because she’s the one who arranged this surprise for her groom! Here, they tell us the real story:
1. Tell us about The Other Woman.
We are big dog-lovers and we wanted our Golden Retriever, Pepsi, to be with us on our wedding day. I was not very optimistic about our chances, but Tuan was more hopeful. He tried everything but in the end, with all the logistics, paperwork and quarantine requirements, we had to let go of the idea. We were upset as Pepsi is like family to us. But then I found out that AYANA has its own kennels with many gorgeous dogs, and I??thought it would be nice to have one of these dogs represent Pepsi instead.
2. How did you end up having Laura at your wedding instead?
We arrived a few days before our wedding day, and I was missing Pepsi and went to AYANA’s kennels to see all these gorgeous Golden Retrievers and Labradors. They were really happy and healthy and I was drawn to one who looked a lot like Pepsi…her name was Laura. When my wedding consultant told me that I could actually have her at the wedding, my heart was filled with joy to the rim!
3. How did your husband react to that idea?
I managed to keep it as a secret from him until D-day. I remember sneaking out of my room the night before to see Laura, to tell her that we will have a big day tomorrow and she will be part of it. You can imagine how surprised Tuan was to see Laura, big-dreamy-eyes, all fluffy just gracefully walking down the wedding aisle towards us, as though it was a normal everyday thing!
4. What did your guests say about this beautiful, furry, “unexpected” guest?
We had 30 guests on our wedding and they were all so surprised! Our families even thought it was Pepsi for a second. Too funny!
5. We heard about the treats you sent to AYANA for Laura after you got back home from your wedding; that’s very sweet.
It’s the least we can do for Laura. I wish we could adopt her. Pepsi would be happy to have a friend but Laura belongs to the great AYANA family.
6. How would you sum up your wedding day at AYANA?
Beyond perfection. The exceptional memories that we experienced at AYANA have made us loyal guests for life!
How long have you been a dog-handler at AYANA and has this always been your dream job?
Ten years in total. Dream job? Not at first as I used to be afraid of dogs. I started at AYANA as a helper at the kennel, just to do cleaning. Then a K9 squad chief started to train me in a few basic skills about handling dogs. And I fell in love. First with the dogs, then with the job. So I went from being the trained one to being the trainer!
How many dogs in total do AYANA and RIMBA have now at the kennel? Are they all trained in security?
We have a total of 19 active Retrievers (16 Labrador Retrievers and 3 Golden Retrievers). Most hotels will use security dogs that belong to the K9 squad of the local Police Department. We breed our own and let the K9 squad come here to train them.
What’s their training schedule like?
The K9 squad from the Police Department comes here to train the dogs every day. As we have so many dogs, they have to take turns. The training is done on a lawn behind the kennels. Our dogs specialize in detecting explosive substances, so they are likely to be calmer, focused and less agressivve.
What role do you take part in training the dogs?
The chief of the Police Department’s K9 unit personally trained me for years to have the same level of handler skills as he had, because I am here every day along with my six colleagues. We know each dog’s personality, their ups and downs, the vitamins they need, their grooming schedule and of course, the mating season. I also know the best vet on the island as we only trust our dogs to be handled by the best vets.
In your opinion, what is the benefit for hotels having their own kennel?
A lot. We know our dogs really well and they know the area very well too. Their health is easier to monitor and control, too. We had a new litter this year, they are now six months old and will join basic training in a few more months. In the last 10 years, AYANA has bred six litters.
What do you love about dogs? Do you have a favorite from the entire pack?
You know that unconditional love? Dogs are an expert in that. I work with Retrievers, they are working dogs with the warmest character ever so it is impossible not to fall for them. But other breeds are just as loving. It is us humans who define what kind of a dog they will be.
I love them all but Adam (yellow lab) has been here longer than the rest so I have a strong connection with that smart boy. I helped Yessy and Olin (black lab) give birth, I took care of Nacha since he was the weakest puppy who has now become the strongest, so that also creates a special bond.
What advice would you give to a dog owner?
1. Commitment and patience to train them and to let them know you are boss. 2. Take them for walks, this allows you to create a close connection with them. 3. Never bail on them; they will never do that to you. 4. Longer walks :)
1. What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I got a really bad headache when I was working on a cruise ship as Waiter in 1998. The doctor could not find any medical illness and I also tried alternative healing treatment but did not recover so well. Then one day, a Balinese Priest came into my dream and gave me healing water. The priest also advised me to meditate and pray to the Gods for good health. I eventually recovered after meditating for more than two years. Through meditation and spiritual guidance, I also learned how to stop the rain and people started asking for my help to do this.
2. Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes?
The most interesting thing was when I was commissioned as a rainstopper for a summit event in 2003, during the peak of the rainy season. I worked with four of my friends and we were proud that we managed to stop the rain for this big event.
3. What is the worst part of your job?
I had heavy rain three days in a row few years ago and I could not manage to fulfill my mission because of opposing wind forces, and the clients who hired me did not fully believe that a rainstopper can stop the rain. If the client doesn’t really believe in what I do, it affects my ability to do it.
4. What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite thing is seeing my client happy and satisfied with my job, and seeing the event runs smooth and successfully.
5. What is one of the scariest thing behind the scenes?
There are many that I ever experiences. The most scary that I remember was in 2004. Me and my friend were on standby at a Hotel Temple and we fell asleep around 11pm. When we awoke around midnight we saw a very large, tall man in front of us and we were really shocked and scared. But he disappeared after a few seconds.
6. How many companies or hotels use your service?
Apart from AYANA Resort and Spa, there are several hotels who hire me for a special event and also clients hire me for Balinese weddings.
7. What do you do for fun during your time off?
I spend my days off having quality time with family and shopping with them. I also enjoy taking overseas clients coming from Japan and other countries, on tours around my favorite places in Bali.
8. What is something you’d like guests to know about a rainstopper?
Rain is natural and sometimes we cannot predict when it will fall. My suggestion for guests who would like to hold an event, is that they should find a location that has a back up venue especially during rainy season, just in case the rainstopper ?cannot prevent the rain during the event.
9. What happens if rain falls during an event that you’ve been hired for?
I give the client back their money if it rains.
10. What do you do for a living in the dry season?
I run a property business because being a rainstopper is not my livelihood, it is my natural calling but it cannot be the main source of income for my family.