Rita A. Widiadana, The Jakarta Post, Jimbaran
As soon as you arrive at the Ngurah Rai International Airport, a number of staff of the Bali Intercontinental Resort are ready to greet you warmly, take care of your luggage and immigration papers and escort you to a cool, luxury airport lounge while waiting.
Within a minute a Jaguar or luxury couch is waiting for you. If you are in a hurry, a helicopter is ready to transfer you directly from the airport to the resort in the Jimbaran area.
Welcome to Club InterContinental Bali.
These are our prime services to our privileged guests of Club InterContinental, a hotel within a hotel aimed at affluent clientele who need privacy and who enjoy royal treatment and luxury, said Amadeo Zarzosa, general manager of Bali Intercontinental Resort.
Club InterContinental, the premier accommodation facilities located within the private wing of the Bali Intercontinental Resort, has 425 air-conditioned rooms, including 84 Club InterContinental rooms, 55 two-story loft rooms, 10 executive suites, 10 junior suites and two presidential suites.
The resort has received a very positive response from the domestic and international market since it opened last year, he said. Currently, the resort's occupancy rates are at between 90 percent and 100 percent.
Club InterContinental and the airport arrival lounge are our new innovations and we continue creating more innovations to provide our guests with the ultimate experience, he added.
In the club, guests are provided with a 24-hour butler service throughout the duration of their stay to ensure that every possible need is taken care of.
Guests have exclusive access to the stylish Club Lounge for all-day refreshments, sunset cocktails and late night supper. An number of special privileges such as complimentary high speed Internet access, daily international publications and superior room amenities gives a new definition of the term luxury. The resort will open the newest facility on Monday, Sept 19, intended for Young Customers.
We will open Club J Turtles (Kids' and Teen's Club) with the theme turtles, where children and teenagers can learn all about turtles and turtle preservation in their leisure time, he said. The Club J will allow parents to leave their children fully assisted by the Club J staff and professional child-care staff while they are traveling across Bali.
The hotel industry in Bali almost came to a standstill following the deadly bomb attack which hit the island in October, 2002. The industry has been struggling since then to regain travellers' confidence with various kinds of sales promotion programs. The impact is quite positive, as reflected by the increase in the number of foreign visitors during the past several months.
Since the last three months, July, August and September, our business has been flourishing. A similar trend is also taking place in other hotels on the island, he said.
If this positive trend continues, by the end of 2006 or early 2007, the hotel industry in Bali would rebound to levels prior to the October 2002 bomb attacks, Zarzosa said.
Maria Sitanggang, the director of sales of Bali Hyatt, shared similar optimism. Compared to last year, business is much better. We are now heading to occupancy levels similar to the era prior to the bomb attack, she said.
International confidence had also gradually improved. Many European countries such as Germany, France, Belgium, Austria and Italy have lifted their travel advisories that warned against travel to Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia. A similar action has also been taken by the British government.
Europe has been our major market with around 62 percent, followed by Japan (32 percent) and the rest is made up of Australia, Korea and the domestic market, she said.
At present, Bali Hyatt, located in Sanur area, enjoys more than 90 percent occupancy as compared to only 70 percent in the same period last year.
Similarly, Wiwien Ong, the director of sales and marketing of Bali Padma in Kuta, said that this was the turning point of the hotel industry in Bali. July, August, September have always been our high season. Our occupancy rate has almost reached 100 percent, Wiwien said.
Even after the tsunami last December, guests still flocked to Bali. Between February and April 2005, the hotel's occupancy rate had already reached 60 percent, not too high but almost double the average of 30 percent recorded in the previous year.
A similar business trend was seen at the Hard Rock Hotel Bali, which caters to Australian and domestic tourists.
Dewi Karmawan, the hotel's marketing and communication manager, said that the Hard Rock hotel, which is located in the heart of Kuta, was fully booked on weekends.
In November, and December during the Idul Fitri and Christmas and New Year holidays, occupancy is also expected to reach 100 percent, she said.
Despite the promising outlook, Bali must be alert over possible disturbances including natural disasters, terrorist activities and the spread of diseases such as avian influenza.
Bali was shaken by a bomb hoax at Kuta Paradiso Hotel on Aug. 31. But, the authorities successfully dealt with the issue and have promised to tighten security.
Entire properties including hotels and resorts and other tourist facilities have also strengthened their security systems. Local hotels and tour operators, however, did not report any cancellations or a sudden exodus of guests following the bomb hoax.
Robert Kelsall, chairman of the Bali Hotel Association, an organization comprising general managers of star-rated hotels in Bali as well as professionals in the industry said the business was on the right track
Most hotels in Bali are currently enjoying extremely high occupancy rates, he said, adding that the prospect for the remainder of the September is quite positive. Hopefully, the positive trend will continue, Kelsall said.