Charles de Foucault, General Manager, AYANA Resort & Spa, Bali
1) Please can you give our readers a brief overview of your resort and its key selling features?
The resort is home to 78 private pool villas and a 290-room hotel, spread out along the 1.3km coastline and in 77-hectares of tropical gardens, so that it never feels busy even when occupancy is at peak levels. Guests come here and discover a new experience every day, exploring our 13 dining and bar venues including the Rock Bar, our five pools, secluded beach, cycling and trekking tours, our Thalasso spa and Aquatonic pool which was voted the number one spa in the world in the 2010 Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Survey, and the extensive recreational facilities. This is all surrounded by the Balinese hospitality and ancient rituals, so guests will see staff making an offering to the gods or joining a ceremony at a temple. This cultural vibrancy adds a very unique aspect to your typical resort sanctuary.
2) What are your key source markets, and are you noticing any key trends in terms of your business and nationality mix?
Japan remains our biggest market but our customer mix is diversifying throughout Asia, Australia and Europe. Most of our guests are newly-weds or wedding parties attending a ceremony at AYANA. We also attract a lot of corporate incentive groups because of our extensive MICE facilities, and the sheer size of the resort means that these different guests need never bump into each other!
3) How has your hotel performed in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, and what is your outlook for 2011?
Bali has been relatively buffered compared to other destinations, perhaps because it is still very good value, and because of its unique attractions, location and accessibility. Bali’s tourism data shows some key markets such as South Korea and Japan dropped off, but this was more than outweighed by growth in markets such as Australia, France and China. We enjoyed a record year in 2010 and are on our way to another in 2011, with strong growth in both occupancy and ADR. Some hotels are slashing rates and offering a lot of free nights to remain competitive but this inevitably affects your ability to provide the services that our high standards require. Instead, we are being more creative and offering more ‘value’ for every dollar spent with us, with special packages and spa bonuses, for example.
4) You are currently a member of Elite Resorts of Asia Pacific. How has this helped your business?
Our partnership with Elite has helped to build awareness about the AYANA brand and position us amongst the most esteemed brands in the industry. A measure of your standing is the company you keep, and we are honored to be included in Elite’s portfolio of the best resorts around the region, offering unique and memorable experiences that take luxury beyond the mere ‘hardware’ of a property.
5) What new developments can we expect from your hotel over the next 12 months?
AYANA is continually evolving. Since our rebranding in April 2009 (when our owner appointed West Paces Hotel Company, replacing The Ritz-Carlton), our owner has invested millions of dollars in upgrading the resort facilities. We opened the spectacular sunset venue, the Rock Bar, and subsequently extended it to more than double capacity to cater for the strong demand. We also renovated the Padi Restaurant, Damar Terrace restaurant, conferencing facilities and ballroom, and our Club Lounge, and are completing renovations to 55 hotel rooms and suites. We are also in the process of obtaining eco certification through TUV Rheinland, which is expected to be complete by the third quarter. Watch this space!