Bali's back in style

JULY 2010

Bali is back on the map and proving to be a cost effective solution for corporate events without compromising quality. Hotels such as the Ayana Resort & Spa, The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa and the Holiday Inn all offer a range of conferencing options to cater to varying budgets.

AYANA Resort & Spa is a treat for the corporate senses. Meaning a ‘place of refuge’ in Sanskrit, Ayana is perched on limestone cliffs up to 30m above the Indian Ocean near Jimbaran Bay on Bali’s south-western peninsula.

The property enjoys majestic views and a secluded location across its 1.3km coastline, yet is just 15 minutes from Bali’s airport. The 368 guest rooms comprise 78 private pool villas and a 290-room hotel.

The resort’s spa, the Thermes Marins Bali Spa is the world’s No.1 Spa as voted by the Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Spa Awards 2010.

It is the latest accolade bestowed upon Ayana since it was rebranded from the Ritz Carlton in April last year. In January the resort received further accolade when it was announced by World Travel Award as Asia’s Leading Luxury Resort. It has also been awarded the No.2 Best Hotel in Bali by Destination magazine.

Cliff top villa guests enjoy a 24-hour butler service – just call on your personalised mobile phone – private pool and deluxe room with spa, king-sized four poster bed and of course – that view, sweeping across the bay in all its magnificence.

The revamped Rock Bar located on natural rocks abutting the ocean has become the choice de jour for those wanting a close up encounter while sipping cocktails under a setting sun. By far one of the best degustation menus in Bali, it’s essential to sample the food at restaurant Dava, where king fish sashimi will set the pace for the culinary delight ahead.

General manager Charles de Foucault, says the resort has enjoyed an emerging marketing in Australia, particularly higher-end visitors.

“These are the type of guests who want to escape the hustle and bustle and just completely chill out. The strong Aussie dollar is also supporting the increased demand for luxury villas. Since the middle of last year when we launched our branding exercise in the key markets of Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney, our Australian guest numbers have doubled. We expect this growth to continue over the next year,” he says.

If absolute beachfront is more to your liking, around 30 minutes away from Jimbaran Bay you will find The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa.

Guests here also enjoy a 24-hour butler service. It includes personalised services including the delivery of complimentary tea or coffee, packing and unpacking your luggage as well as offering advice and assistance in regards to dining, shopping, excursions and car rental to remove the hassle and allow visitors to concentrate on their holiday.

General manager David Cuddon, says primary markets include Indonesia and SEA with Australian corporate events now a key target.

“Further drive in Australia will remain another focus as the corporate confidence for Bali improves included in-market sales calls and increased presence from the Starwood global sales offices based in Australia,” says Cuddon.

“We have experienced a 100 per cent growth in Australian business (both Leisure and MICE) in 2010 compared to same time in 2009. With the introduction of low cost carriers from the west and east coast of Australia has made travelling to Bali such an attractive holiday destination.

“Although Australian guests typically only stay seven nights on average, lower than the typical European guest, the spend within the resort is far great and chance of repeat visitation is far higher. “

Located on one of Bali’s most beautiful beaches, a tranquil haven of tropical gardens and sparkling lagoons, Laguna features 271 guest rooms and suites reflect a contemporary Balinese style.

Lagoon access rooms entice guests to step from their private balcony directly into crystal-clear lagoon waters. The spa also has three restaurants and bars, meeting facilities and spa. The nearby Nusa Dua Beach Bar & Grill serves a delicious array of local fish including Mahi Mahi.

Closer towards Kuta, the refurbished Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali has a relaxed vibe and caters to families with a kid’s facility while babysitters available to allow mum and dad some downtime.

To alleviate the discomfort of late check outs, the beachfront resort has developed a departure lounge concept that provides a relaxing area complete with shower and all hotel facilities and sofas for guests as they await their flights.

No more hanging around at the airport waiting for a 9pm flight after a 12noon checkout.

The Holiday Inn is just minutes to the airport and its absolute beachfront location makes it a favourite among families and surfers with access to the outer reefs just a quick boat ride away.

Bali has transcended barriers and emerged from the global downturn stronger and more spirited than ever.

A resilience generated by the warm culture and climate, close proximity to Asia and Australia and those consistent broad Balinese smiles has in many ways sheltered the island escape from the severity of repercussions and cushioned the global blow following a significant decrease in international travel.

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