Puspa Anggareni – Resort Manager at Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape

Going Back to Her Roots

Never one to shy away from new challenges, the natural-born leader Puspa Anggareni decided to head home after harnessing her leadership skills abroad. Now running one of the most exclusive retreats on the island, she told us about her experience working in a male-dominated field.

Puspa Anggareni

Q: Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today.
A: My career in hospitality began in 2003 when I joined the pre-opening front desk team of an international five-star chain hotel in Ubud. After being recognised as an Outstanding Employee by LQA GAP Analysis, I was promoted to work in the Caribbean. I developed my career abroad and worked in the room division in a variety of positions, including night audit supervisor, guest service manager and assistant. I returned to Bali after five years away. I gained more knowledge about how to establish an unordinary kind of hotel during my most recent experience, which was opening a luxurious tented camp in Ubud, before joining Buahan.

Q: With its no doors, no walls ethos, Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape offers guests a novel way to get in touch with nature. What do you perceive as the biggest challenge for the resort?
A: Maintenance and finding great resources who are ready with such adventurous terrain, location and unique products.

Q: During your career, you have been involved in a few pre-opening teams. What thrill did you get when joining a pre-opening team?
A: Introducing and examining more novel ideas, launching a new product, rising to a fresh challenge and inspiring a new team.

Q: What would you say sets Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape apart from its competitors?
A: Its exceptional setting in a high valley with a private waterfall, its open, sustainable and eco-friendly design with no walls and no doors, as well as its immersive experience that allows visitors to harvest or pick in the organic garden or take part in local cultural events

Q: What would you say is your leadership style?
A: Developing close relationships with the team and creating a helpful, collaborative work atmosphere is, in my opinion, necessary for reaching a higher goal. I also encourage my team to share ideas and feedback with me so that we can all grow together because I value open communication and transparency.

Q: How has the luxury market evolved over the last few years?
A: The definition of luxury has changed over time to accommodate the evolving needs and preferences of travellers. Travellers are looking for more customised experiences as the world gets more connected.

Luxury, in my opinion, is no longer limited to elaborate 100-room hotels, but, it is a combination of quality products and refined service and the personalisation of creating a priceless, meaningful experience that creates an emotional connection. It entails a great deal of intimate and personal storytelling. 

Q: Your resort has a community-driven approach. What specific things is Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape doing to give back to the community in Bali?
A: The Escape brand incorporates and upholds the Tri Hita Karana, a local way of life that emphasises preserving three primary relationships – with nature, the divine and the community – into every aspect of our guest experiences.

We minimise imports by using 80 percent local products and ingredients in our culinary offerings. Only using organic rice to promote free-chemical farming and collaborating with local experts to bring back the fireflies. Buahan employees are 100 percent local Indonesian, with no expatriates. In addition, Buahan works with local transportation providers and wellness specialists, such as healers, to promote community offerings while also supporting the local Banjar community and the subak farm irrigation system.

Q: What is it like to work in a male-dominated field, and what advice do you have for young women who aspire to this job?
A: A sense of adventure and a desire to learn new things, meet new people and see new places have motivated me throughout my career. As a woman, I think that people who dare to go after their dreams, no matter how scary they may seem, will own the future. Many women face similar challenges in their careers, particularly in male-dominated industries. But despite the difficulties, I think my adaptable personality and way of thinking have enabled me to go on and succeed. I have gained the confidence to push past my comfort zone, take chances and have faith in my skills.

I would advise any woman who is pursuing her goals to always be her own biggest supporter and to take inspiration from those around her. I firmly believe that you should be brave, take chances and strive for growth while remaining modest and encouraging if you can get over your feelings of insecurity and fear of the unknown.

Asia Dreams Volume 50

Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape

Jalan Banjar Selat, Payangan

Bali 80572, Indonesia

T: (+62) 3616208181

E: reservations-buahan@banyantree.com

W: escape.banyantree.com

IG: @banyantree.escape