Morgan Martinello – General Manager at Alila Villas Uluwatu

Originally from Italy, Morgan Martinello worked in the food and beverage sector for most of his career before rising to the position of general manager in five-star resorts across the globe. Since becoming captivated with the hospitality industry as a kid, he believes that the key to all managerial success lies with the people he works with.

Morgan Martinello

Q: First of all, what drove you to pursue a career in hospitality?
A: When I was young, my family, particularly my dad, always travelled a lot. As a result, when I travelled with him, I became enthralled with the hospitality industry — its people, atmosphere and allure. So, when it was time to choose my study, I enrolled in a hotel management school in Italy.

Q: You are now the general manager of Alila Villas Uluwatu. How does it feel to work with one of the most prestigious resorts on the island, and what sets the property apart from its competitors?
A: Of course, it is an extreme pleasure for me to be leading this beautiful resort. And I feel very happy and proud, not only because this is one of the most exclusive resorts in the world, but because it is set apart for many reasons, in particular for its design. 

The design is very unique; it’s very focused on sustainability. The use of light and space is very well thought through. Another thing worth mentioning is the location. We have a breathtaking view of the ocean and sit on an amazing cliff. However, our people are what set us apart the most from other resorts. We have a unique collection of people that makes this place special. Most of the people who work here have been here since pre-opening, which in itself is very unique for the hospitality industry. I think these are the three most important elements that set us apart from the other resorts.

Q: You have an enviable track record in the food and beverage industry. How involved are you in the day-to-day operations and quality control in the F&B department at the resort?
A: I am very much involved because F&B is my passion, not only at work but also in my personal life. Indeed, I spent the majority of my professional life working in the food and beverage sector. So, I am very much involved with the team, with the chefs and with the rest of the staff. I eat at the restaurants every day and I provide them with feedback. To add something special to the resort, we are introducing a new menu for CIRE.

Q: Besides championing sustainability, Alila Villas Uluwatu is a community-driven resort. How does the resort give back to the community and its staff?
A: As I said before, part of Alila’s brand identity is the people. They are at the core of what we do. Our co-workers are treated with great respect and care. We talk to them like we talk to our friends, and we always want them to feel completely at ease. We support a local orphanage as part of our community service because it is a cause that is dear to my heart. Taking care of the young generations is the best we can do for the future and the community.

Q: Having worked and lived in numerous countries over three continents, what have you learned from being exposed to different cultures, and how do you adapt each time you relocate?
A: The way I do it is pretty simple. I always try to get close to people and, as I said earlier, to be their friend. Even at the resort, I don’t want people to think of me as the boss because I will be there to support them. And this is the same with the local community. I try to strike up a conversation with the people in the shops and taxi drivers when I am in a new area because that is how I get to know them. I chose this job because I love people more than anything else, and I consider myself a people person. So it became very natural to me.

Q: How have you changed since you first started in the luxury hospitality industry?
A: I changed a lot because the industry is also changing. In the past, luxury hospitality was about luxurious materials, luxurious rooms or other luxurious things. But it’s not about that anymore. It is about the experience and the people. As I always say, we sell experiences, not rooms or villas. I, therefore, made a shift in my approach to my work and informed my team that our emphasis now lies more on selling the experience rather than the tangible goods. Our stunning resort is still our main priority, of course, but it is not as much now.

Q: Being a newcomer to the island, how do you find Indonesian cuisine, and what’s your favourite dish so far?
A: I love Indonesian food! Being an Italian, I like my risotto. So, Nasi Goreng has been my go-to dish since living in Bali. Another dish that is also my favourite is the Sate Lilit because I love the freshness of it. I always order these two dishes from the resort’s restaurant, The Warung.

Q: Outside of the resort, what do you do to unwind?
A: I enjoy playing golf in my spare time, and it is very easy to do in Bali. Aside from playing golf, I also like to visit other places, such as restaurants. Being an avid foodie, it is always great to try new food on offer. Bali is also a great place to socialise and meet new people.

Asia Dreams Volume 51

Alila Villas Uluwatu
Jalan Belimbing Sari, Pecatu
Bali 80364, Indonesia
T: (+62) 3618482166
IG: @alilavillasuluwatu