The Apurva Kempinski Bali
Vincent Guironnet, General Manager of The Apurva Kempinski Bali, has had a long career in high-end hospitality, including seven years in India and over 12 years in Bali, and is passionate about the industry. Asia Dreams talked to him about the creation of The Apurva Kempinski Bali and what he enjoys most about being a hotelier.
Q: You’ve lived in Indonesia for over 12 years, what do you think are the country’s strong points with regard to hospitality?
A: Indonesia is a very diverse country with a strong cultural heritage and a great many naturally beautiful places, such as Borobudur Temple, the rice fields of Tegallalang and so many more from North Sumatera to Papua. On top of the strong culture, the Indonesian people are very welcoming, which adds to the allure of spending time here.
Q: In your opinion, what makes a great general manager?
A: To me, it’s really about passion and creativity. Passionate people excel when they are given the freedom to use their creativity, and in turn, creativity brings an environment of excellence and individualism that enhances the hotel. So it’s important to ensure this environment so that the team can be passionate about what we are creating and delivering, about the service levels and the guest experience.
Q: Can you share a couple of your favourite experiences from your career with us?
A: The best experiences are when your guests and business partners become long-term friends. It’s great to meet up with them, especially when they come and visit you when you move to a new hotel. We all have guests like this and cherish these relationships.
Q: The Apurva Kempinski Bali is an impressive hotel, what do you think makes it so special?
A: The Apurva Kempinski Bali has been carefully designed to represent Indonesia in all its cultural aspects so that it really gives our guests a strong sense of the destination. It pays homage to the country’s artistic history, from the carefully selected batik designs, to the carvings, the artwork – it is a tribute to the richness of Indonesia’s cultural heritage. Our employees are very proud to identify with the hotel and this in turn reflects in the guest experience delivery.
Q: Where did the vision come from for the hotel’s astoundingly beautiful lobby?
A: Our owners have a deep understanding, love and passion for Indonesia and had the vision of bringing together the country’s architecture and interior design. They have overseen every detail, material and process so that their vision could become reality and provide us with something unique and magnificent, which is what apurva means in Sanskrit.
Q: What did you enjoy most about being part of the pre-opening team? You were the first person on the team, I understand?
A: I’ve been part of many openings and what I find most satisfying is bringing together a group of skilled people with such different backgrounds and forming them into a cohesive team that shares an overall direction. It’s wonderful to see how they grow as their careers develop. Some of our team have really taken ownership of their positions and blossomed when faced with unexpected challenges.
For The Apurva Kempinski Bali, we have also made a narrative booklet about the making of the hotel, which connects what guests can see around them with the history and culture that inspired it.
Q: What advice would you give people thinking about hospitality as a career?
A: Hospitality is a great business because it offers so many diverse careers, but it requires passion and creativity to be successful, as well as the understanding that it will take up your personal time and become your life.
Asia Dreams November 2019 – January 2020