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.
Meet Ravinder Dalal, who joins AYANA as Chef de Cuisine (Indian cuisine) at Padi restaurant, where he will work alongside the resort’s Indonesian and Thai chefs to present a pan-Asian culinary journey. Here, he shares his favorite dishes from his homeland, his first impressions of Bali, and why he admires Gordon Ramsay.
What made you interested to join AYANA?
Chef: I was interested to join AYANA because AYANA is a very good property, with a good hotel reputation and in terms of branding, the most famous hotel in Bali.
What is your passion working as an Indian Chef?
Chef: I really love to cook all kinds of Indian cuisine. Delhi is known for its distinctive food from the times of the Mughal era and people love to cook with various styles. Food from that time was rich and flavorful and sparked my interest and curiosity about the culture and customs of Indian gastronomy.
Which dish do you most like to cook?
Chef: Mouth-watering Kebabs with authentic aromatic flavors.
Which dish do you recommend guests try?
Chef: All! Because all of my Indian dishes are very special and have different flavors that complement the other. They are very nice to enjoy ‘banquet-style’ with your family or a group of friends. Some of my personal favorites are Dal Makhni (Black lentil stew with a blend of mild spices, tomato puree, cream and butter), Murgh dum Bryiani (Long grain basmati rice and chicken cocked with aromatic rice, served with raita), Arwaini Jhinga (Roasted shrimps with mustard seeds, yogurt, and agwain spice), Tandoori Murgh (Marinated tandoori chicken) and Roghan Josh (Lamb curry stew with Kashmiri spices).
I notice that you have won awards at many competitions including one in which you had to cook dishes that used mango as their main ingredient. Can you tell us a bit about this?
Chef: This competition was organized by Delhi Tourism and lasted three days. There were more than 100 participants from various hotels and restaurants, including 10 from the Hotel Park Royal Intercontinental where I was working at that time. On the first day, we had to cook an appetizer, on the second day a main course and on the third day a dessert. I was responsible for the appetizer and I created a Mango Chicken Fantasy and won the Bronze medal, as voted by the panel of seven judges. I was very honored and satisfied with this achievement as I entered the competition really just for fun.
What is your favorite thing about Bali?
Chef: Bali is a beautiful place. Balinese people are very polite and friendly. I also love the beaches here, I usually like to swim at the beach in my time off.
Do you have anybody you look up to or are inspired by in the cooking-world?
Chef: Yes, Gordon Ramsay for his passion, speedy work, creativity and excellent results.
Another one is Corporate Indian Chef, Anil Khurana.
What do you like to do in your time off?
Chef: Swimming, shopping (I usually look for clothes and shoes of good quality, when I see these two items at the mall I forget everything else!), watching movies and listening to music.
‘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.
Edward and Rachel Scheibler were the first couple to ever marry at this resort back in 1996 (when it was The Ritz-Carlton Bali, Resort & Spa). They recently returned with their two sons to show them the place where their lifelong commitment was made. In this blog post, they share some of their memories and wedding photos from both the original ceremony and their latest visit with us – a beautiful reminder of the legacy of Bali’s eternally romantic spirit!
I guess our wedding made history. We were the first ever couple to get married at AYANA when we eloped in December 1996, soon after the hotel opened. It’s been almost 15 years and we’re still going strong! This is our first trip back to Bali since. We now have two children: William, 11, and George, 9. We have told the kids so many times how special Bali is to us and how special the hotel is, and how much we’ve anticipated coming back here. We really wanted to show them the place where we got married, and we ended up having an informal ceremony to relive the moment, this time with our children in attendance. The pier was decorated in similar style to our original ceremony, with white flowers, a Balinese ringgit musician, Balinese traditional decorations, and glasses of champagne for our toast. It was magical!
Our original Balinese wedding wasn’t really planned; we were supposed to get married in New York with all of our family and friends but it was turning into a circus! We were travelling around Tokyo, Koh Samui and Bangkok, and when we came to Bali, the resort was so beautiful and relaxed, we just said, ‘This is the perfect place, let’s get married here’. We chose to get married on the jetty, surrounded by the ocean and dramatic cliff scenery.
We were meant to check out on Christmas Eve, but extended another three days. The resort handled all of the wedding arrangements at very short notice. Rachel is Catholic and I am Prodestant, but we had an Episcopalian minister and a Balinese civil servant who administered the civil ceremony. The staff from the hotel were our substitute family, so coming back here this time, we really feel like we came home to family. We have met staff who were here at that time and are still working for the hotel.
We were staying in a normal room but the hotel upgraded us to a villa for the wedding night. After the ceremony on the jetty, we had a traditional Balinese wedding dinner on our bale beside the villa pool, under the stars. We still remember that meal so fondly, the food was delicious and it was a very memorable experience. Back in New York, our families were very happy for us and we had a big party.
We have had a fantastic time coming back and the boys have both said they want to get married here when their time comes. They are thinking maybe on the waterslides. Who knows, stranger things could happen!