AYANA Zeitgeist

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.

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At 21, Made Sekarini (Sekar) had never set foot outside of Bali, did not have a passport and had never stayed at a hotel or even been on holiday. So when she was told that she’d been selected as AYANA’s Top Achiever for 2010 and had won an all-expenses-paid trip to Hong Kong, it was a dream come true. It was also proof that determination and hard work can overcome every obstacle to pull a young girl out of the rice fields and into a promising career in the hotel industry. Here is her inspiring story, as recorded with the help of a translator.

My name is Sekarini, my friends call me Sekar. My parents are rice farmers in North Bali, in the former capital, Singaraja, around 3.5 hours by road from AYANA. The views are beautiful but there are not many opportunities for work outside of farming, in my village. Rice farmers make barely enough to eat and clothe themselves, and my parents struggled to educate me and my four younger brothers.

After High School, my parents couldn’t afford to send me to university but my uncle in Denpasar offered to sponsor my education. I left my home and moved south to live with him. I worked hard and finished top of my class, graduating with a Diploma in Tourism.

I joined AYANA on an apprenticeship as a guest relations staff member. I loved the job and meeting all of our guests, helping them in any way I could. I was promoted to a full-time permanent position in October 2010, as a hostess at Ocean Beach Pool and Kisik Restaurant.

I was very surprised a couple of months later, when I received the news that management had selected me as AYANA’s Top Achiever. I was just working, doing my job to assist our guests in any way possible. I did not consider myself any better than anybody else working at AYANA, but I guess I am just more lucky.

When Pak Charles and Ibu Cynthia (General Manager and Human Resources Director) told me I was going to Hong Kong, I thought they were kidding, I didn’t believe it. I was so happy. This was my first trip out of Indonesia, even out of Bali. I had never been on an aeroplane before or stayed in a hotel. I loved it.

I spent three nights at a luxury 700-room high-rise hotel in Hong Kong. With a local guide, I went to Disney Land and met Mickey Mouse and rode a roller-coaster, went shopping at the markets and did a day trip to Macau to see the temples and casino resorts.

I had never seen such tall buildings like in Hong Kong and the weather was quite cold. No snow but cold. There were so many businesspeople and not many motorcycles, mostly cars and buses. It was very interesting but this experience made me realize how lucky we are in Bali.

I am hoping my next trip will be to Japan. I can speak, read and write Japanese. But first, I want to go back to university part-time using the money I have saved from working at AYANA, to get a higher level Diploma.

I never had a dream like this before because I could never afford it and my parents have to support my four younger brothers. But now I believe anything is possible. Thank you very much to AYANA guests, because they make my job very rewarding and are so kind to me. I feel very lucky.

Greetings! Allow me to introduce myself, I am Gede (Big) Bear, and I have checked-in to AYANA for the festive season. My first port of call was of course Thermes Marins Spa, where I enjoyed a reflexology treatment and nourishing cream bath (Indonesia’s version of a conditioning head massage which was absolute bliss for my frazzled fur!) I’d heard this spa was voted the #1 in the World by Conde Nast readers this year, and I can only agree with the voters. It is definitely the best pampering experience I’ve ever had, and I’ve had quite a few in my neck of the woods!

I also joined the hotel’s little guests for the Teddy Bear Tea with Santa last Saturday, and have been moving around between the pools, restaurants, lobby, Club Lounge and Rock Bar. Obviously I’m not shy of having my photo taken!

I have to say I’ve been most impressed with the Christmas decorations. There are no boring old Christmas trees here, instead there are custom-made trees using local, sustainable materials, designed by French floral artist Sebastien Lathuile and hand-crafted by Balinese artisans.? I had the privilege to meet Sodikin, the Florist Manager who worked on the concept with Sebastien.

“In the 14 years since I first joined this resort as florist supervisor, this is the biggest budget I’ve had for Christmas decorations. It’s about three times last year’s budget, when we just had standard Christmas decorations,” said Sodikin. “This year, we wanted to do something really unique and so we went back-to-nature with materials such as rattan, recycled wood, seashells, cinnamon sticks and other spices such as star anise and vanilla. It was a celebration of Bali’s rich natural resources and artistic heritage, which can be seen in the intricate carvings and fine handiwork. The result is striking and I am glad that you like it.”

Like it? We love it! There are beautiful seashell stars hanging from frangipani and banyan trees throughout the gardens, a 4-meter-high tree in the lobby made of recycled wood, a pure white seashell tree at Dava, and other unique creations dotted around the property. Great job Sodikin and Sebastien, I can’t wait to see what Santa puts under these beautiful trees!

Merry Christmas to everyone, and Happy New Year!

Love Gede Bear