Balinese Hospitality

Anak Agung Gde Prastista
Managing Director, Putra Mas Group

Asia Dreams talks to Anak Agung Gde Prastista about his love of hospitality and his dream of creating a hospitality management company.

Anak Agung Gde Prastista

Q: Your education is in industrial engineering, what drew you into hospitality?
A: Being Balinese, I was born with hospitality in my blood. My parents taught me to be kind to everyone and, living in Jakarta, I noticed that they really seemed different from parents from other ethnic backgrounds. When my parents retired and moved to Bali, I looked at the family hotel and decided I could probably run it so it was more in line with our family philosophy.

Q: What is the secret behind your hotels’ success from your point of view and how have you been a part of this?
A: As an engineer, I analyse before doing anything. I saw there were many hotel options for guests in Bali, many offering good products, but I believed that tourists were most interested in visiting Bali because of the Balinese people, so I focused on that. We pride ourselves on our Balinese attitude in our hotels, for the heartfelt service that our staff offer. I have a knack for sensing which people will give service from the heart, so I make sure that these kind of people are the ones that I recruit.

Q: Were you also focusing on showcasing the Balinese culture?
A: Yes, of course. Bali has a unique culture and it is very important to me that we make a point of presenting our rich cultural heritage to our hotel guests, from the architecture, to the rituals and day-to-day behaviour.

Q: What is it that drives you on a day-to-day basis?
A: I always want to do better every day and provide better holidays for our guests. I love travelling too, so I’m always looking to my own experiences to see what I can bring back to our hotels and how we can exceed our guests’ expectations. People work very hard through the year to be able to take nice holidays, so I enjoy helping to make this a special time.

Q: How did you go from one hotel to three?
A: Bali Niksoma Boutique Beach Resort was doing very well, but people thought it was easy for us because we had a beachfront venue. I wanted to prove to myself, and to them, that we were much more than that, so we opened The Magani Hotel & Spa as a city-style hotel, and then more recently we opened The Bandha Hotel & Suites, so now we have three successful hotels, each offering a different style.

Q: You also run some successful restaurants. Could you tell me how that came about?
A: We saw that hotel guests often went out in the evening to eat and realised that they didn’t want to eat every meal at the hotel, they were looking for alternatives. So, we did some research and analysis and came up with the concept of Mozzarella Restaurant & Bar, which has worked very well for us. We now have five venues across southern Bali. Of course, to keep up our success we have to keep up with the market, keep evolving and maintaining our high standards. Engaging with our customers is vital in today’s rapidly changing world.

Q: Are you satisfied with your current successes, or do you have more plans and ambitions?
A: These are still early days for me and I believe there are still plenty of opportunities out there. From this foundation of three hotels, I plan on establishing a hotel management company. I believe that every hotel has its own charm and I’m keen to develop more hotels and see where that takes me.

Q: What advice would you give to people looking to emulate your success?
A: You have to love what you do, which means that your business is always on your mind, then everything else follows. If you enjoy your work, then you will be focused and always looking at how to keep your customers satisfied, from the smallest detail to the big picture.