Ayana Resort and Spa celebrates GRAND OPENING in Bali with new management and fresh image
The highly-anticipated AYANA Resort and Spa has welcomed its first guests following its re-branding, with a new management team representing the world’s top hoteliers, and a fresh image imbedded in Bali’s mystical culture.
Sporting a new name derived from the Sanskrit word for ‘place of refuge’, as well as a new logo, new uniforms, new General Manager and new renovations program, AYANA has embarked on the next phase of its evolution – as an independent hotel under the same ownership, with the freedom and creativity to offer today’s savvy travelers an unrivaled guest experience.
Previously known as The Ritz-Carlton, Bali Resort & Spa, the expansive cliff-top property overlooking Jimbaran Bay celebrated its rebirth as AYANA Resort and Spa on 1 April 2009. The grand opening was an opportunity for guests to meet General Manager Charles de Foucault as well as executives of the newly-appointed management company, West Paces Hotel Group, which was founded by Horst Schulze, a former president of The Ritz-Carlton Group and founding member of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.
Charles de Foucault is a veteran hotelier with more than 30 years’ experience, including a distinguished background in hotel openings and strong credentials in food and beverage. He spent 17 years with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company during which he opened numerous resorts from the ground up, as well as led the re-branding of the The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain & Spa after its changeover from Le Royal Meridien Bahrain. Most recently, he opened the Leela Kempinski in New Delhi, India before serving as General Manager of the Leela Palace Kempinski in Bangalore.
“I’ve been in the hotel business for over 30 years, and you don’t get opportunities like this very often, to work in a destination as beautiful and rewarding as Bali, managing a property as amazing as AYANA,” said Charles, a French national who is also fluent in English and German. “I am thrilled to be working with AYANA’s owners, who have developed this incredible property over almost 13 years. This resort is a one-of-a-kind, offering guests complete immersion in an authentic, intimate Balinese experience soaking up the culture, hospitality, tranquility and stunning location, and that remains truer today than ever before.”
“I am also delighted to be working with West Paces Hotel Group,” Charles continued. “Horst Schulze and his team represent the top professionals in the hotel industry, driven purely by service and quality standards. It just doesn’t get any better than the combination that we now have at AYANA.”
Horst Schulze, who is famous for creating the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company’s service standards, said AYANA’s world-class facilities are matched by its committed service philosophy. He has set the bar of service quality at the resort even higher with the introduction of West Paces Hotel Group’s unparalleled Canon service standards.
“AYANA’s opening is a landmark event in the hotel industry,” Horst said. “The owners have created one of the world’s premier resort destinations and now, as an independent hotel working under our guidance, AYANA will take the overall guest experience to new heights.”
To celebrate its grand opening, AYANA hosted a reception for some 650 guests, media and travel partners at its new avant-garde Champa Garden, a beautiful, multifaceted 20,000sqm outdoor venue. Under a canopy of 2000 frangipani trees surrounded by tiered water fountains, guests received a taste of the refined elegance, secluded setting and Balinese warmth of the AYANA experience. A dramatic tek tekan performance involving 100 Balinese men playing traditional bamboo instruments and 21 garuda wisnu kencana dance performers set the tone for the occasion, along with a live performance from Indonesia’s famous ‘touch tapping’ guitarist Wayan Balawan and his band Batuan Ethnic Fusion, which gives traditional gamelan music a modern jazz/fusion edge. Guests also enjoyed a select sample of the resort’s award-winning cuisine with a buffet dinner cooked fresh at three ‘live’ hot food stations.
The resort’s harmonious blend of Balinese ambience and hospitality with contemporary comfort and style was tangible in other changes showcased at the event, from staff uniforms to the new logo. Staff cut striking figures in Balinese-inspired attire designed by Indonesian fashion icon Ghea Panggabean, whose celebrity clients have included Cindy Crawford and Julia Roberts. Her collection of four separate lines for the resort’s 950 staff combines traditional cuts and prints with practicality and comfort. A signature batik print designed exclusively for AYANA is featured on buckles, sashes, sarongs and shirts. The motif was inspired by the complex and ancient double ikat weaving technique known as gringsing that is unique to Tenganan village in East Bali.
AYANA’s eye-catching logo was also unveiled for the first time. Drawing on the fundamental Balinese concept of Tri Hita Kirana – whereby the universe can only attain perfect balance when god, man and nature live in harmony together – the logo depicts a tree of life. Intertwining plants, flowers and wildlife are colored a distinctive azure blue, reflecting how the waters of the majestic Indian Ocean merge seamlessly with AYANA’s azure sky. The logo was created by renowned Japanese graphics artist Hiromura Masaaki, who has created logos for some of the world’s most recognized brands including the Nissan Motor Design Center in Japan.
Meanwhile, De Foucault said AYANA is already embarking on intensive renovations at several dining venues and guest rooms. These include a stunning new Rock Bar by renowned interior designer Yasuhiro Koichi of Japan’s Design Studio SPIN, whose works include NOBU Tokyo and NOBU Hong Kong, and The Knolls at Capella Singapore. Virtually suspended over breaking waves at the base of the cliff, near the Ocean Beach Pool and sand-floored Kisik seafood restaurant, the Rock Bar will offer guests an unobstructed vantage point for cocktails on the beach. Koichi is also re-designing the Sami Sami Italian restaurant, which will be converted into a grand two-storey structure, and Damar Terrace. Padi restaurant is also being renovated and its Thai menu expanded to include Indonesian and Indian cuisine.
“We already have such an incredible property, the type of place where you can spend a week and not go out at all, just soaking up the cultural experience and one of the world’s biggest spas, fine restaurants and lavish guest rooms,” said Charles. “But there are more advancements to come as AYANA Resort and Spa reshapes traditional concepts of a luxury resort. Watch this space!”