SWISS-BORN PAUL LINDER IS A NATURAL BORN AMBASSADOR FOR THE GOOD LIFE. EXUDING WARM AND REFINED EUROPEAN HOSPITALITY, HIS EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE AND TIME SPENT MANAGING THE BEST HOTELS IN ASIA CULMINATE IN OVERSEEING NOT ONE, BUT TWO COMO HOTELS AND RESORTS PROPERTIES IN BALI; THE AWARD-WINNING WELLNESS RETREAT COMO SHAMBHALA ESTATE AND UMA BY COMO, UBUD’S MOST STYLISH HAVEN FOR FAMILIES AND VISITORS WISHING TO BE IN THE HEART OF BALI’S CULTURAL CENTRE. WE TALK TO PAUL ABOUT WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE TO WORK IN PARADISE.
ASIA DREAMS: You first visited COMO Shambhala Estate in 2004 as a guest. Please describe what it felt like to experience such a magical property.
Paul: You are absolutely right saying that this is a magical property. The property’s previous owner first invited me and the experience was almost surreal – I couldn’t believe how someone could create such a beautiful and peaceful sanctuary in the midst of a majestic tropical jungle at the Begawan Village. It wasn’t my first time to Bali – I had been twice before in 1992 and 1997. But this time it was different. I think, and in fact I believe that COMO Shambhala Estate had a big part in my falling in love with the island.
ASIA DREAMS: Some would say you manifested your destiny by becoming the general manager of a resort that made such an impact on you. What do you think about this possibility?
PAUL: Yes, perhaps you could say that I’ve manifested my destiny by becoming the general manager of the Estate, a dream that became reality. It’s unbelievable to me – I feel very fortunate to have moved from one paradise in Thailand to another in Bali! And I was fortunate to have been offered so many opportunities after managing Chiva Som for more than 10 years including The Ritz in Paris, Grand Hotel Du Cap Ferrat, One&Only group and many more around the world – but my choice was COMO Hotels and Resorts and since COMO Shambhala Estate is the flagship for COMO Shambhala, the award-winning holistic health company owned by the COMO group, I can say with a genuine smile that only the best is good enough!
ASIA DREAMS: You are fortunate to not only manage one, but two COMO resorts in Ubud. Please describe the nature of traveller each resort caters to.
PAUL: At COMO Shambhala Estate, we are a destination located within a destination. The Estate’s residential approach aims to immerse you in a positive, 360-degrees of holistic healing experience from the moment of arrival. Every aspect of the Estate answers to this greater purpose – the design, facilities, staff, treatments, cuisine, accommodation and community. At Uma by COMO, we strive to transform tourists into travellers through immersion, participation and discovery into local culture and adventure. We provide memorable insights to local culture, nature and traditions through specialist guiding, treks and tours, physical activities with daily yoga and tailor-made programs. Each Uma property (there are two others in Bhutan – Uma by COMO, Paro and Uma by COMO, Punakha) and its services are defined by local aesthetics and cuisine, interpreted by COMO.
ASIA DREAMS: On a rare day off, please describe your perfect 24-hours in paradise.
PAUL: It’s difficult not to think that I am on holiday when I’m working in such a beautiful environment! But on a rare day off I wake up very early in my beautiful house located right by the Estate. Go for a morning swim and run, some stretching and my morning exercise. This is then followed by a wholesome breakfast at COMO Shambhala Estate and a drive down south to the beach for some more swimming or a surf. The day ends by going to Seminyak for dinner either at a friend’s home or in one of the area’s many great restaurants. On my day off I have to do things and move around – I must have been a gypsy, as I just love traveling all the time.