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.
Bali is famous for its surf and culture, but this island is blessed with landscapes that also include towering volcanoes and endless rice fields. The green center of Bali is the spiritual heart of the island; traditional architecture denotes that all buildings and even bedheads should face the mountains. So what is so special about these mountains?
1. Mount Agung
As the highest volcano on the island, Agung stands at over 3100 meters tall and the last major eruption was 1963. This mountain is believed to be the center of the world for Balinese, as all temples are pointed towards Mount Agung, which is home to the ‘Mother Temple’, Pura besakih, nestled at its base. this mountain is in Kecamatan Karangasem, a 1,5-2 hour drive from Jimbaran. Jiking up Agung can take between 3-6 hours depending on the route you take. The temple is easily accessible at the base of the mountain and is well worth a visit on its own. Please take a sarong and long sleeved clothing with you if you intend to visit Pura Besakih, adhering to the cultural etiquette.
2. Mount Catur
If Mount Agung is a bit high for you to attempt to climb, try Mount Catur that sits at 2096 meters tall and is covered in trees. Once you reach the top you can see Bratan Lake and the breathtaking view around the volcanic crater. rent a hotel car, pack a day bag, and enjoy the ride; it takes around 2 hours to reach the base.
3. Mount Lempuyang
Home of Pura Lempuyang, this mountain stands at 1058 meters above sea level and is located on the eastern side of the island in Kabupaten Karangasem. Many climbers take on the mountain to merely visit the holy temple and enjoy the views of Mount Agung across the valley. Lempuyang is around a 2 hour 30 minute drive from Jimbaran.
4. Mount Batur
For sunrise chaser, this is the easiest and most accessible volcano to climb, taking around 2 hours to reach the top. The caldera-volcanic surface was formed by the collapse of land from a volcanic eruption many years ago. You can still feel the warm air from the cracks in the ground as you climb, because this volcanic mountain is still producing some lava! Batur stands at 1,717 meters above sea level in the area of Kintamani, Kabupaten Bangli and is around a 3 hour drive from Jimbaran. It is highly recommended to leave Jimbaran at midnight, and start climbing the mountain by 4am, so you are at the top for sunrise.
Being called the ‘Island of the Gods’ is not over-rated as Bali offers many beatiful natural attractions for you to explore. Ranging from beaches to forest and the magnificent mountains, get your trekking shoes ready and start the journey! A guide and private car are a must; please contact Guest Activities to assist with arrangements by email to firstname.lastname@example.org