A leader with a passion for overseeing projects from the ground up, Australian Mark Stanford brings more than 25 years of expertise to the first-ever urban lifestyle resort in Bali.
Q: What drew you into the hotel industry?
A: I was lucky enough to have travelled a lot when I was a child, and always admired what the staff did and how they were engaged at the places we stayed at around the world, from top-class resorts to European mansions. The way the staff looked after people and delivered experiences was something that drew me in.
Q: Ovolo Group is a newcomer to Indonesia’s world of hospitality. What does it bring to the country?
A: Effortless, modern, fun hospitality experiences. An award-winning, definitely not your cookie-cutter style hotel brand. Something fresh for Indonesia.
Q: What expectations do guests have for a stay at MAMAKA by Ovolo?
A: Very high expectations as this is the first true lifestyle boutique property in the Kuta and Legian region for a long time. Ovolo as a group is well known in Australia and Hong Kong for delivering amazing experiences and accommodations. This is why people come for the experience, and stay for the memories.
Q: One of MAMAKA’s tag lines is to share good vibrations with this vibrant island. Would you highlight how MAMAKA does this?
A: Definitely! Our key tag line is “Bringing the Good Vibrations” back to Kuta beach, which means we are wanting to and are being part of the resurgence of Bali’s most famous beach and tourist hotspot. Kuta and Legian now have a modern urban resort with top-class facilities along with dynamic food offerings and buzzing bars that have been needed for a long time. A modern venue that can now be enjoyed in Bali, and you don’t have to be a hotel guest either. From Quiksilver Surf Academy to a wellness zone complete with a mechanical surfboard, MAMAKA has it all.
Q: You have been in the industry for more than two decades, mostly for the pre-opening period. What makes you choose that?
A: MAMAKA by Ovolo is the ninth resort property globally for which I have been on the pre-opening team, and fifth as the general manager, there is nothing better than seeing an owner’s vision come to fruition successfully, from the conceptual stage and beyond. They say a hotel or resort’s early success is largely due to the pre-opening phase, and I agree 100 percent. Above all, my favourite is seeing the team unite in success from the pre-opening stage and beyond. The management team, in particular, that I have at MAMAKA has some of the best hoteliers I have worked with, and that’s priceless.
Q: You are not a stranger to Bali. Have you seen significant changes in the hospitality offerings compared to when you first arrived?
A: Totally. I have seen the delivery level of hospitality service grow as many of the local teams are now gaining from the last 10 years’ industry growth, and cutting-edge companies and professionals are now on the island, so of course this rubs off on experience and training too. The offerings of the hospitality industry have diversified, in a good way, so much over the past 10 years, just like the Island of the Gods has itself, which is why millions are attracted to holiday here. The F&B scene especially is now truly on the world stage!
Q: What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve come across in your career?
A: To be honest, not having a formal hospitality college or university background. I have come through the industry from the ground up, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears has paid off. I have also been blessed to have great owners and bosses who have believed and trusted in me.
Q: What are your plans for the hotel going forward?
A: Ensuring that we remain at the forefront of personalization, imagination, creativity, guest experiences and having fun. Oh, and did I mention we’re soon launching Bali’s highest rooftop beach club, Sugar Palm Social.
Q: Outside the hotel, what do you do to relax?
A: I have four kids, and two of them are under the age of three years old, so, there’s not much relaxing. Of course, I’m only joking! On a serious note, spending some down time with the family at one of Bali’s best beaches is my favourite relaxation.
MAMAKA by Ovolo
Jalan Pantai Kuta
Bali 80361, Indonesia
T: (+62) 3618496500