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.
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.
After working for 5-star hotels on one of the most beautiful islands in the world, Phi Phi Island in her native Thailand, Chef Lert moved to another tropical island to join AYANA as Head Thai Chef at Padi restaurant.
Q: Did you cook growing up?
Chef Lert: Yes, a lot! I helped my mother all the time back home in Phuket. I also went to cooking school, so basically all I did was cooking. I cooked during the day at school and afterwards when I came home again I cooked for myself again. Cooking is a big part of my life. My mother taught me a lot but I also learned a lot from all the people around me.
Q: What made you decide to become a professional chef?
Chef Lert: It was quite clear from the beginning that I was destined to become a professional chef, I just love to cook and that will never change. A great hobby that allows me to travel the world!
Q: What is the main difference between Balinese and the Thai cuisine?
Chef Lert: To be honest the food is quite similar, both Asian. Only I would say that Thai food is a little spicier than Balinese, and also we use a lot more curry in Thailand than they do here in Bali. My all time favorite Thai dish is Tom Yam which is also available at Padi.
Q: Do you have anybody you look up to or are inspired by in the cooking-world?
Chef Lert: Not one person in particular, I am inspired by everybody I work with. I learn from everybody, everybody is specialized in a different area. Some chefs are very good at making a salad while others are very good at making desserts. I carry a notebook with me all the time and as soon as I see an interesting recipe or idea I write it down. There are many recipes in there now, gathered throughout my entire career.
Q: What would you cook at home but never cook in a restaurant?
Chef Lert: I make papaya salads at home all the time. Actually I can also make this at Padi, but it’s not currently on the menu. I just really like this salad so I make it often at home, plus it’s healthy.
Q: Which Padi dish would you recommend and why?
Chef Lert: Well the menu is a compilation of Thai, Indonesian and Indian recipes. If I may choose one from each country I would say my favorite Thai dish is the Tom Yam like I mentioned before. My favorite Indonesian dish is the Lobster Nasi Goreng i meme, and my favorite Indian dish is the Tandoori Murgh. But of course all dishes on the menu are good, that’s why they are there!
Q: What is your favorite thing about Bali?
Chef Lert: So many things, I like the Batik, the culture, the creativity, the wood carving, the paintings (laughter). I also really like the Balinese dances, when there is a Kecak or Ramayana dance at Langit Theatre I always get my camera to take some pictures.
Q: What three ingredients would you recommend everybody have at home?
Chef Lert: Chili, onion and garlic. I use these three ingredients in EVERY dish I make. They are essential for every kitchen. I love spicy food myself so chili is a real must, just sambal is not spicy enough for me.
Kyra and John, a couple from Western Australia, decided to escape their everyday hectic life and instead of getting married in Australia, get married in a more peaceful setting at AYANA Resort and Spa Bali. Kyra shares her wedding experience.
Why did you decide to have a destination wedding? How and why did you decide on the location of your wedding and what makes this location special to you as a couple?
Not long after our engagement we went on a preplanned holiday to Bali. Whilst we were there I saw the Rock Bar in a magazine and made it my mission to visit the very next night. As soon as we arrived at AYANA we were amazed by the beautiful resort and friendly staff. In the inclinator on the way down to the Rock Bar I was so taken by the sight of the stunning bar and the ocean just below, I started tearing up, it was just the most magnificent place I'd ever seen! It wasn't until we were down there, sipping on some cocktails that we entertained the thought of being married in such an individual and original location. The conclusion was, why not? We must investigate this further. After further discussion we decided that a destination wedding would allow us to have an intimate celebration with only our closest family and friends. It also appealed to us because it's different and original nobody else we know had done a destination wedding. We were able to have a relaxed wedding and break a few traditions, plus everyone was in "holiday mode", and thoroughly enjoyed a whole week of wedding activities instead of just the wedding day itself. This allowed us to spend more quality time with everyone, which was great.
Tell us about the wedding ceremony, including where it was held. (E.g. vows, religious ceremonies etc).
The ceremony was held at AYANA's Tresna Chapel. We wanted our marriage to be recognized in Australia so decided on a full legal ceremony. This includes a religious and civil ceremony where we chose our own vows and readings. Both my fiance and I were very nervous as the ceremony approached, mainly because we were going to be married in front of all our friends and family, we are not used to being the centre of so much attention. I couldn't believe that the moment had actually arrived, all the planning and hard work had come together and I was about to walk down the aisle.
Tell us about your flowers, cake, and bonboniere.
Our flowers & cake were arranged by AYANA, I held a round bouquet of ivory roses and the bridesmaids had a mix of pink, purple and ivory roses to match their dresses. The cake was not the traditional wedding cake, you see in Perth. It was a Torte Regina Chocolate Castle Cake, absolutely delicious!
Describe your thoughts and feelings from the day.
We were both extremely nervous, but not about marrying each other but doing it in front of so many people. We were excited and amazed that all our hard work had finally paid off. I was a little emotional in the morning, but thanks to my bridesmaids we got it all out of the way early, so there were no tears once my makeup was on! I think I was just overwhelmed with the realization that I was actually getting married today!
What was the most memorable and unique part of the day?
Our wine box ceremony was the most unique, it was similar to a time capsule. My Dad made a wooden box with a glass front containing a bottle of wine, two glasses, and two love letters. My fiancee and I described in the letters, the good qualities we found in one another, the reasons we fell in love, and our reasons for choosing to marry. The letters were sealed in individual envelopes and we had not seen what the other had written. The box is prominently displayed in our home as a constant reminder of our commitment to each other. If we ever find our marriage enduring insurmountable hardships, we are to as a couple, open the box, then separate and drink the wine and read the letters we wrote to one another. The hope is, however, that we will never have a reason to open this box. And if this is the case, we will open the box to share and enjoy on our 5th wedding anniversary!
Would you recommend a destination wedding to other couples?
Yes, I would recommend destination weddings to other couples. It's a wonderful opportunity to break tradition and have a unique wedding in your favorite holiday destination. It's more than just a wedding day. It's a wedding week, which gives you the opportunity to spend quality time with every one of your guests, whilst in a beautiful tropical location. All the hard work definitely pays off and both the guests and the bride and groom will have memories to last a lifetime.
What is the best piece of advice you received for your wedding day?
Not to stress the little things and enjoy every moment as the day goes so quickly.
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.
AYANA Resort and Spa's pastry chef I Made Sutisna was recently awarded best pastry chef in Indonesia, after being judged the best overall performance in the international Fonterra Pastry Chef Challenge 2011. The chairman of the judging panel said the most important criteria for winning this competition was having a WOW factor, and Chef Sutisna's creations astonished the jury and most definitely satisfied this requirement.
First of all, congratulations on winning this contest. With which creation did you become Indonesia's best pastry chef?
Chef: I won the contest with my chocolate mousse cake with kaffir lime passion cream and macadamia croquant, a multi-layered cake which I call Literati. I had to make two of these, one only to display and one for tasting. The jury gave us 8 hours to prepare our cakes.
Is the dish available to AYANA guests, if so where can they get it?
Chef: This cake was specially created just for the contest, but it might be available in the future. It would best suit Sami Sami, as it fits the Italian menu because it's a very European type of cake.
How many chefs competed in the contest?
Chef: Ten Chefs in total were allowed to enter the competition, there were two from Bali, one from Bandung, one from Medan and six from Jakarta.
Have you won any other competitions in the past?
Chef: Yes, a lot (embarrassed laughter). I took the first place in the Asian Pastry Cup 2010I also joined the Fonterra competition two years ago in 2009 and came 2nd. This year I finally won the contest, very happy!
Do you have anybody you look up to or are inspired by in the cooking-world?
Chef: Yes, my mentor was a French pastry chef who taught me how to make beautiful and artistic creations with food. He taught me how to make up the plates but he also taught me many things about the tastes of food and how to use certain products.
What would you make at home but never serve to AYANA guests?
Chef: The birthday cakes I make for my children. They are very colorful and a bit childish, it would look a bit funny to serve them to our guests. They are also a little simpler to make than the complicated creations I make at AYANA.
What is your favorite thing about Bali?
Chef: Wooden sculptures, they are distinctively Balinese and very different from sculptures at all the other Indonesian islands. The sculptors have an amazing eye for detail. It is a typical Bali thing that I am very proud of, we (Balinese) have been making such sculptures for a long time and the workmanship is often passed from father to son, very traditional.
What three ingredients would you recommend everybody to have at home?
Chef: Sugar, flour and eggs! That was not too hard, since these are the three ingredients to make a cake with. It will be a simple cake, but the ingredients are essential for each cake no matter how complicated.
Any future competitions you will be joining?
Chef: Yes, the next competition I will be joining is regional final of the Fonterra competition, it will be held in Singapore in April 2012. I will be defending my title, we will be using the exact same ingredients only the rules of the competition will be different. I do not know yet what I will make for this contest.
How did you end up as a professional pastry chef?
Chef: When I was young I saw my uncle making cakes. I was interested and loved to help him. When I grew a little older I joined the school of Tourism, I chose to specialize in F&B, Pastry in particular and now here I am as Pastry Chef at AYANA. There is one very important thing to be successful at what you do: you have to be motivated and enthusiastic. Being passionate gets you so much further.
Hi everyone, my name is Mike O’Leary and I head up R.O.L.E Foundation. We were recently invited to partner with AYANA to hold the first ever ROLE Models Charity Dinner last month, and it was a success beyond the wildest dreams of the seven Balinese who joined this program.
These seven students, who have never had formal schooling and were illiterate before they joined R.O.L.E’s vocational training program, are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to getting jobs in Bali’s lucrative tourism industry. This program changed that, by giving them the opportunity to learn new skills and open new doors.
The dinner was held at Padi restaurant and marked the end of 10-weeks of hospitality training for our trainees, who were taught basic Food & Beverage skills by AYANA’s F&B team. The dinner was the culmination of their training sessions and was the first time they served guests. They were nervous, but as it turned out, they had no reason to be as they excelled on the night and impressed the 100+ guests who attended.
The dinner and silent auction raised Rp54,200,000 in cash support for R.O.L.E Foundation, but it was the skills development and job opportunities that have really changed lives.
Serving at this event, they were pure professionals and you could see them brimming with confidence and inspiration to change their lives for good. Two of them have been offered permanent positions with AYANA, and there were at least another four or five job other offers on the night from wine companies, hotels and restaurants. We’ve also got mad interest from other hotels to conduct their own training program with our students as a result of the successful AYANA ROLE Models dinner. Talk about a good result!
Congratulations to the trainees and the trainers alike, and we look forward to continuing our partnership to fight poverty.
‘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.
Let me start by saying I am not your typical spa junkie. In my time off, I’d rather do something more active like play tennis or other sports. But since so many men seem to be showing more interest in spas than ever before, I decide to see what all the fuss is about. After all, I am in Bali which is one of the spa capitals of the world.
The spa at AYANA is considered to be one of the best on earth. In 2010, it was voted by Conde Nast Traveller readers as the #1 Spa in the World. Seems to me, there is no better place to embark on my first ever spa adventure.
I am feeling a little uncomfortable thinking I will be the only man there. But the opposite seems to be true: men almost outnumber women in the reception area when I arrive and I start to feel more comfortable. But have I missed something, I always thought the spa was a ladies thing? (Later, I jump on the internet to do some research and learn that men actually account for 35% of the entire spa-going population, making them the fastest growing segment according to Conde Nast Traveler, and that number is expected to increase further in coming years.)
As soon as I arrive, the very-friendly staff offer me their signature welcome drink of ginger and lemongrass tea. This drink is a perfect reflection of what a spa experience is all about: it’s healthy, refreshing, unique, and makes you feel like you’re treating your body well, summarizing the reasons why you are probably there in the first place.
My first treatment is the Detox Body Treatment, which comprises a seaweed body mask to release toxins. My therapist wraps a warm blanket around me for 25-minutes while the mask does its work, during which time she gives me a facial massage. Afterwards, I shower and then enjoy a full body massage that leaves me feeling completely cleansed and re-energized.
The second treatment is the Men’s Facial. Now, I know the word facial sounds very feminine but this is actually a facial developed especially for men, and incorporates a full body massage to make it as attractive as possible to men. I am not used to the sensation of someone cleaning, scrubbing, moisturizing and applying a mask that makes my face feel frozen, but I am convinced of the benefits of this, as I did feel a big improvement in my skin and very refreshed afterwards.
My last treatment is the Exotic Bamboo Massage, which is a very firm (ie. manly!) massage based on a technique that uses different types of heated bamboo tools. The therapist shows great skill in using her hands, elbows and the bamboo tools in long strokes to release knots and tension. I fall into a deep state of relaxation (and may have drooled into the flower bowl just a little).
After experiencing all three treatments, I can now say I am a spa-convert and believe it is far more effective in reducing stress levels than having a drink after work. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting you exchange your nightly aperitif for a spa treatment, but why not benefit from both? The spa is more than just women’s beauty treatments, the focus is not really on how you look at all, but on how you feel. And men like to feel good too, simple as that. Another round of pampering please!
When he is not managing the 12 dining and bar outlets spread out across AYANA, Food & Beverage Executive Jerome Colson has a very peculiar idea of fun: running ultra-marathons in balmy tropical heat. The Belgian native and father-of-two just joined the Sundown Marathon held on 28 May in Singapore, where he finished in the top 3% with a time just over 4 hours, coming 249th? overall (and 34th in his division) out of 7388 runners in total. An impressive result for a ‘hobby’ runner. The race was part of his training for the ‘real’ event: the 2011 Ultra Trail Marathon in Sabah, Malaysia, covering 100km. We asked Jerome about his motivation and preparations for the race, and the charity he is raising money for, R.O.L.E Foundation, which is supported by AYANA. (The resort is hosting a charity dinner for R.O.L.E this August, where guests will be served by disadvantaged Balinese who have completed 10-weeks of hospitality training with AYANA’s F&B team, as part of a vocational skills program aimed at securing long-term employment. For more information on this event, visit AYANA’s website
Why are you taking part in this race?
There is no such race in Indonesia. Malaysia is close by. I have done many marathons, trails, ultra trails and stage races but never did a 100km trail race. It’s just a new challenge that I can tick off my list.
What training are you doing?
I never really stop running. Training for a 100km race is not much different than for a full marathon. I average 50-70kms per week and for this occasion I have added a couple of hours of cycling. The danger is fatigue and injury caused by ‘over-training’. In the past two months I have also completed a 55km trail(2500m positive ascent) and a full marathon.
Are you on any special diet?
Not really, just reducing alcohol consumption, a lot of carbs, fresh fruits and trying to stay away from fried food. In the days before the race I eat a lot of pasta!
When you do these races, is there any point when you feel that you can not go on, and if so, how do you challenge your body’s limits to finish?
I think it happens to everyone running anything over a full marathon distance. I do not think it is your body that has limits, it is usually mentally that it is most challenging. The minute your mind starts doubting that you can complete the race, you start feeling pain. It is usually very difficult on these long distances as you very often find yourself running alone. An ultra marathon can only be completed if you are mentally prepared.
Why did you choose R.O.L.E Foundation as your charity?
I happen to know about R.O.L.E as they are established in the Bukit area, where I live and train five days a week. For me, associating the completion of this challenging race with fundraising brings another meaning to the personal achievement. I am very fortunate to work in a luxury environment and every run I do around the Bukit, it brings me back to the reality: the daily life of the majority of the Balinese who have very little and who need support to have the opportunity to be educated and eventually qualify for a career in a 5* luxury hotel.
How can guests donate?
At the Front Desk or at the website www.accrorun.be.
Hello everyone, I am the Spa Director at AYANA, and for this blog, I’ve chosen some of my favorite dishes from our new Spa Cafe menu. These dishes use organic ingredients wherever possible with a focus on fresh garden vegetables and seafood, and local herbs and flavors. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some healthy indulgence: the desserts are to-die-for, minus the guilt!
Here are my favorites, selamat makan (enjoy your meal)!
Granola and Yoghurt Rp45.000++
Fresh Granola and low fat yoghurt, topped with seasonal fruit?
Boosts immune system, rich in vitamins, and contains healing properties
Rice Paper Rolls Rp135.000++
Vegetables, prawns, glass noodles, mint, garlic, spicy dipping sauce
Refreshing and nutritional, rich in proteins and vitamins
Cumin beef wrap Rp140.000++
Lemongrass and cashew nut sauce, garden vegetables
Rich in protein while cumin is great source of iron and has anti-carcinogenic properties
Lemongrass energizes mind and spirit
Poached barracuda mille-feuille Rp130.000++
Citrus, microgreens, pickled salak and cinnamon sauce
Rich in protein and iron, strengthens immunity while the salak is high in fiber
Flowerless chocolate cake Rp65.000++
Lavender sorbet and lemon caviar
Soothes and moistens the throat, chocolate is therapeutic to the stomach
Lavender is renowned for its ability to induce sleep and relaxation