A Quite Long History of Bali Hotel Architecture Part VI: Indonesian Designers

radit mahindro
28 min readDec 8, 2020


After completing the eight-part story about the history of Balinese hotel architecture, I realised that I missed a very important piece: a story about Indonesian designers (architects, interior designers, you name it). Though their influences are deeply appreciated in each part of the article, I think it’s essential for us to understand the context and integrity of their works much deeper.

This part should have started with Wija Waworuntu cause he’s practically the architect of Tandjung Sari and, together with Donald Friend, the visionary behind the Batujimbar Estate project. But since that period of time has been covered in the previous parts, I will go back to 1980s instead and put this chronologically as “Part VI”.

Atelier 6
The original Atelier 6 was initiated in 1968 by six architects and legally registered as an architectural firm in 1972. In 1980 the company started to diversity itself into other branches of project disciplines like interior design, structural & civil engineering, mechanical engineering, project management, and also property development — mostly owned and managed by the Indonesian government.

The Atelier 6 team is led by architect Darmawan Prawirohardjo, who received his training at the Bandung Institute of Technology. He is the president of Atelier 6 and responsible for the design of a number of the firm’s important completed projects that includes airports, hospitals, office buildings, and big resorts.

Darmawan and Atelier 6 designed the first hotel in Nusa Dua’s BTDC complex, the Nusa Dua Beach Resort, opened in 1983. As Nusa Dua’s premier resort, the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel was ambitiously designed to be a showcase of Balinese architecture, arts, and traditional crafts. Two elaborately carved towers flank the main reception building, a monumental reference to the traditional kul-kul drum towers found in every Balinese village centre. Throughout the guestrooms and public spaces Balinese sculpture, textiles, and ornamental details can be found.

In early 1990s, Darmawan and his team designed Sheraton Lagoon Nusa Dua Beach Hotel (now The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa), Sheraton Nusa Indah Hotel (now The Westin Resort Nusa Dua) — both owned by former President Suharto’s son — and helped establishing the “template” for newer big resorts in Nusa Dua area.

The almost identical The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa (first two photos) and the Westin Resort Nusa Dua (last two photos)

A more famous project carried by Atelier 6 team is the now-demolished Bali Cliff Resort, the first five-star hotel in Ungasan-Uluwatu area — also owned by President Suharto’s son. The team was also involved as the technical assistant the main architect WATG for Le Méridien Nirwana Golf & Spa Resort. The project attracted a protest movement against the realisation of the project due to its proximity to the holy sea temple of Tanah Lot in Tabanan. Resistance was silenced after direct intervention by President Suharto, and in 1997 Le Méridien Nirwana Golf & Spa Resort advertised its soft-opening.

The hotel was rebranded to Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort in 2010 and eventually demolished in 2017. The empty site is planned to host a new bigger resort and golf course complex, managed by Donald Trump’s Trump Hotels in partnership with Indonesian owner Hary Tanoesoedibjo’s MNC Group.

Aside from his role in Atelier 6, Darmawan once served as the President of the Indonesian Institute of Architects and Deputy Chairman of the Regional Council of Asian Architects (ARCASIA).

Hendra Hadiprana
In Indonesia, not many have the devotion and dedication to contribute to the arts scene like architect Hendra Hadiprana. Born Hoo Tjoe Heng, Hendra received a Lifetime Achievement honour from KOHLER Bold Design Awards on March 8, the first ever granted to an Indonesian. Sadly, the award was posthumously conferred because Hadiprana died on Dec. 20, 2018, at the age of 89.

Hendra Hadiprana was a graduate of Groningen’s Academie Minerva Afdeling Architektuur in the Netherlands. He started his career in Indonesia in 1957 and his works always assimilated western and eastern architectural features in an intimate tropical atmosphere, combined with distinctive traditional Indonesian nuances. A year later, he created the first ever architecture and interior design consulting firm in Indonesia, Grahacipta Hadiprana.

The year was 1960; Hendra Hadiprana and his wife just got married and decided to visit Bali for the first time on their honeymoon. After immediately falling in love with this beautiful island, Hendra and his wife started visiting Bali more often, bringing their family and friends with them. A few years later, Hendra was out on the sacred and mountainous area of Ubud where he visited a historic site called Goa Gajah. Near this site, he saw a massive field of rice paddies. That’s where he vowed to build a sanctuary for his family one day.

In the same year, Hendra began collecting and selecting paintings for his gallery, when Indonesia’s fine art world was starting to grow and art collection was still an uncommon activity. It was even at the time when visual artists were at the crossroads of their artistic standpoints.

Om (uncle) Henk, as the man was affectionately called, established the gallery in 1962 on Jl. Falatehan I, Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta. Named Prasta Pandawa, it was inaugurated by Minarsih, the wife of famous shipbuilding entrepreneur Soedarpo Sastrosatomo.

As the architect’s name was more familiar and identifiable than Prasta Pandawa, in 1967 the gallery’s name was changed to Hadiprana Gallery. Displays to highlight young painters and promote distinguished artists were regularly held here. Uniquely, all the events were linked with the prevailing architectural and interior atmosphere.

Hendra Hadiprana also initiated the use of ancient Greek-style pillars for building facades for two decades beginning from 1970. “The phenomenon received an overwhelming public response. Just imagine, houses from Menteng in Jakarta to Rogojampi village (in East Java) flaunted Doric, Ionic and Corinthian pillars, making Indonesia look like Greece,” he once said.

In 1984, Hendra fulfilled his vow to build a sanctuary for his family: a 500 sqm villa on a five-hectare land near a historic site called Goa Gajah in Bali. He asked locals to work in his villa, training them personally about hospitality and service. After realising that this beautiful place should also be enjoyed by the public, in July 2004, Hendra allowed GHM to take over, and they named it The Chedi Club Ubud (now Tanah Gajah, a Resort by Hadiprana). As well as 20 individual villas, more than 100 paintings and sculptures from Hendra Hadiprana’s private collection form part of this unique paradise.

The Chedi Club Ubud has won renown as one of the most sublime resort experiences in Southeast Asia, partly for its design appeal and setting in the rice fields of Ubud, and partly for the spectacular kecak dance performed twice a week on property by a troupe from a neighbouring village. Throughout its existence the resort has garnered dozens of major accolades from prestigious award events and publications.

The Chedi Club Ubud (now Tanah Gajah, a Resort by Hadiprana)

Hendra’s partnership with GHM started in early 1990s when he was asked by Indonesian businessman Robby Djohan to build The Legian Bali — the project paved the way for respected Indonesian architects and designers to showcase their skills and put the beauty of Indonesian-inspired aesthetics on the global map.

“It was always my dream to build luxury hotels but my first commission came about rather by chance. The owner of the world-famous The Legian, Robby Djohan, initially approached me to build an apartment complex. However, just as the construction work was nearing completion, opposition from the local authorities meant that the design had to be changed from apartment to hotel — no easy task, since apartments and hotels are two completely different beasts!” he shared with The GHM Magazine.

“Part of the original design was retained, though, meaning that The Legian has no Lobby as such; instead guests are welcomed into a unique ‘compartmentalised’ area which is always a source of intrigue! The hotel’s stunning seafront location also affords spectacular ocean views.”

The Legian Bali

Following this flagship project, Hendra was commissioned by Bambang Trihatmodjo, son of former Indonesian President Suharto, to design and build one of Bail’s largest luxury resorts at the time — the Bali InterContinental Resort, which boasts some 500 rooms and has won several awards for its architecture.

“The secret of my success is to fuse my own dreams and fantasies with my clients’ wishes and requirements. The ultimate challenge with such projects is to balance the familiar against the new, dream against reality. The key is for architects to work closely with hotel managers to enable them to translate their ideas into spaces which exude both comfort and grandeur. I have been incredibly lucky that so many of the projects I have worked on — and indeed continue to work on — have been in Bali. To me, the island is the ultimate location for a hotel: nowhere else in the world will you find such natural beauty and such unique cultural traditions in music, dance and art.”

From left to right: Bali InterContinental Resort, Mövenpick Resort and Spa Bali, and The Anvaya Beach Resort Bali

Hendra’s hotel works in Bali include Mövenpick Resort and Spa Bali in Jimbaran, Rumah Luwih Beach Resort in Gianyar, The Anvaya Beach Resort Bali in Kartika Plaza, and The Kayana Seminyak Bali in Petitenget. In Jakarta, he curated the artworks (paintings, sculptures, art pieces) for the Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta and Keraton at The Plaza — the hotel itself was designed by Singapore-based SCDA.

Hendra’s works extend beyond hospitality. He designed countless high-end residential complex and apartments, private houses and villas, office buildings, church and mosque, restaurants, and airport executive lounges.

Jaya Ibrahim
The late Jaya Ibrahim was an Indonesian designer who marked his name as one of the most respected hospitality designers in the world, with a stunning array of impressive designs including his works at the luxury hotel brand Aman. Having educated and worked abroad, Jaya took the opportunity to take pride in Indonesia as his motherland through his works of hospitality designs.

It comes as a surprise for many though, that Jaya Ibrahim never attended a design school. He was born in Yogyakarta to Sumatran-Javanese parents, who had nurtured him with good wealth and raised him with honourable royal manner. Jaya was sent to the UK to study economics and started his career as an accountant before deciding he much preferred doing the dishes and making sandwiches at The Blakes Hotel in London, arguably the first modern boutique hotel in western hemisphere.

At The Blakes Hotel Jaya met Anouska Hempel, who designed and own the hotel, and was already settled her name as a distinguished interior designer by then (she is ranked by Architectural Digest as one of the top 100 interior designers and architects in the world). He started as her assistant and often set her table setting for her own personal lunches which caught her eyes on his passion for details and having the utensils symmetrical and colour coordinated.

Jaya’s first independent project was his parents’ house in the mid 1980s. “I was in England at that time, I was influenced with the Memphis movement and the celebration of the centennial of Sir Edwin Lutyens,” said Jaya in his last interview with Indonesia Design.

Adrian Zecha, the mind behind Aman an GHM visited this house once and praised him on his majestic proportion and volume. Jaya was then assigned with Aman and GHM projects around the globe between the 1990s until his untimely death in 2015: The Legian Bali in Indonesia, The Datai Langkawi in Malaysia, The Setai Miami in the US, The Nam Hai Hoi An in Vietnam (now Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An), The Chedi Milan in Italy, The Chedi Muscat in Oman, Aman Summer Palace in Beijing, Amanfayun in Hangzhou, Amandayan in Lijiang, and two Aman ships Amanikan and Amandira which sail east Indonesian archipelago.

From left to right: Amandayan, Amanfayun, The Nam Hai Hoi An (now Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An)

Each of Aman projects exhibit a sense of place, while having a warm and humble ambiance that highlights his Indonesian manners. “As a Javanese descendant, I am fully aware of the basic principles in building and designing a house, including what direction a room faces and what view the room opens to. In fact, the principles are similar to the way Europeans design their homes where we are taught how to use axis, and to place focal point inside a room,” he said during an interview in 2012.

Jaya returned to Indonesia in 1992 to establish Jaya & Associates with John Saunders in Yogjakarta. This company later became Jaya International Design with American Bruce M. Goldstein as his business partner. The studio has offices in Jakarta, Singapore, Miami, and Shanghai

His design is known for its well thought out circulation, a human scale and a good background. “The interior design of a building needs to help making the building livable. If the design cannot be used, then it is a bad design,” said Jaya in also in 2012.

Symmetrical and well-balanced composition can easily be seen in Jaya’s design. For hotels, he considered that the guest would only stay for one or two days; therefore, he or she will not have a lot of time to digest elements of the design. Hence, visual impressions should be instantaneous. These two approaches created tranquility that makes the guests feel relaxed. “I want guests to instantly unwind when they get inside their rooms and enjoy their stay there, without moving any furniture to suit their needs,” he added.

Jaya once admitted that The Legian Bali was his most memorable project. “It was memorable because my first commercial project and its design is absolutely simple but it still dominates its surroundings and allows this energy to be a part of the interior. And it’s a masterpiece precisely because nothing was done to impress!” he shared.

“When designing it I must strive to ensure that the location remains the focal point. In other words, the location comes first and design second. For example, at The Legian, my first assignment for GHM, guests will notice that the overall design of the furniture is actually pretty awful and, although it is functional, it is no more than cheap garden furniture. Yet the hotel is so successful because everyone thinks they like the design. In fact The Legian’s furniture is the most frequently copied furniture in Indonesia. The secret here is that the design of the hotel and its rooms simply makes guests feel the desire to go outside and experience the power of the sea by seeing, hearing or feeling it. The design enables you to go and accomplish any of these things incredibly easily,” he told The GHM Magazine in mid 2000s.

The Legian Bali

When asked about the current trend in interior design, before he passed a way, Jaya regretted that it had lost the restriction dictated by the elite taste and sense of what is right and wrong. He thought that it was only a good thing when one immediately establishes a new discipline, otherwise it is just self-indulgence.

Aside from Aman and GHM, Jaya was also known for his exceptional works for The Dharmawangsa Jakarta (then managed by Rosewood Hotels), Conrad Bora Bora Nui in French Polynesia, Conrad Centennial Singapore, as well as Capella Singapore and Shanghai.

In 2017, two years after he passed away, Jaya Hotels & Residences were announced in partnership Two Roads Hospitality, a lifestyl hospitality bran that includes Alila, Thompson, US boutique hotel legend Joie de Vivre, and Destination Hotels. The first hotel Jaya Lombok was slated to open in 2020, located not too far from The Legian Lombok an The Oberoi Lombok. It was to feature 62 suites and 37 villas indulgently spacious and designed with unmatched excellence along 400 meters of unspoiled beach, all look out into the coral reefs and the emerald green lagoon they form.

Still in 2017, Blink Design Group announced its acquisition of Jaya International Design. The JID portfolio and team will be consolidated with Blink’s, and both entities will now operate under the Blink Design Group banner.

“We’ve long admired his contribution to the Asian design vernacular, defining it in such a compelling way that it resonated globally,” Blink cofounder Clint Nagata says of Ibrahim. “In following his work through the years, we found that we had a similar approach to design and shared his appreciation for timeless, elegant design. We wanted to find a way to preserve his legacy and ensure his design philosophy continues into the future.”

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay and The Spa at The Legian Bali

Ongoing JID projects were completed as planned, such as the renovation of Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay and The Spa at The Legian Bali, but Jaya Hotels & Residences has been in limbo ever since. The fact that Hyatt Hotel Corporation acquire Two Roads Hospitality won’t help either.

Quoting his words for Design Anthology: “I remember in the beginning, I went to a big hotel and noticed all the designers were foreigners. And this is one reason why I decided to get into this. I thought ‘I can do this too’. So they’re busy interpreting Asia, which is quite interesting. But I thought I can interpret it much better than them. The reason I can interpret it at an international level is because I’ve been away for many years, so you see it from a different angle, and you understand.”

The Setai Miami’s restaurant, Jaya, is named after Jaya Ibrahim.

Budiman Hendropurnomo
“An architect is a storyteller,” says Indonesian architect and INDE.Awards 2019 Luminary Budiman Hendropurnomo. “We take cues from the context and the site and we create a coherent scenario. Once we have that, we cast the actors — architectural elements like rooms, restaurants, landscaping and so on. The tricky part is the language that you use. What kind of language will be the most effective? It all depends on who you are talking to, who your audience is. You can’t use the same language you use in Jakarta when you tell a story in Bali,” he elaborated.

Born in Malang, East Java, Budiman Hendropurnomo is one of the most decorated and respected architects in Indonesia. In his illustrious, almost 40-year career he has completed more than 30 award-winning hotels and resorts and many of the country’s most recognisable and celebrated architectural landmarks.

And all these he accomplished under one company banner — Denton Corker Marshall (DCM) Jakarta, better known in his home country as Duta Cermat Mandiri.

Budiman joined DCM Melbourne in 1981 right after graduating from Melbourne School of Design at the University of Melbourne. In 1983 he relocated to Jakarta to lead DCM’s projects in the city. Four years later he was named the Director of DCM Jakarta and the company was formally incorporated under the localised name Duta Cermat Mandiri.

Under his leadership, DCM Jakarta successfully navigated the turbulent industry waters caused by 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and emerged stronger and more prolific than any of the other international architectural practices in the country.

The first Indonesian high-rise project that Budiman specified products for, circa 1983, revealed the constraints of the Indonesian construction market at the time beyond traditional modes of fabrication. “I remember, it was TOTO sanitary ware from Japan; they offered only two types of toilet in Indonesia. There was only one type of extruded non-slip ceramic in Indonesia, and that was it. Everything else came from overseas. The aluminium panels came from America, the glass came from Japan. It was quite amazing.”

He continued, “But right now, if I were building these towers, 95 per cent [of the materials and fittings] would be made in Indonesia… In 30 to 40 years, that’s how Indonesia has progressed,” he told In Design Live in 2019.

His first project with DCM Indonesia was Hotel Tugu, a collaboration with his fellow DCM Indonesia partner Hidajat Endramukti, in his hometown Malang. In all of their works, DCM represents current lifestyle into contextual architecture while also provides needs of client, and solutions for social and environmental issues.

“We did it (Maya Ubud) almost 20 years ago and it’s very sustainable. At that time the currency suddenly went from USD 1 to IDR 3.000 one week, to USD 1 to IDR 15.000 rupiah the next week. Therefore, everything had to be local; there was no way that we could buy anything from overseas. So, the thatched roof was from a kilometre away. The stone cladding was from the river. The frame is bamboo, and it is naturally ventilated.”

“If you look at traditional Balinese architecture, especially houses, that is how they were built. Now a lot of younger architects are looking at how we built in the past. You can design a modern form, but predominantly it should be ‘roof architecture’,” he said.

Maya Ubud

In late 1990 Budiman was asked to design the first hotel for Alila Hotels & Resorts in Pecenongan, Jakarta. Alila Jakarta its doors in 2001 and became Jakarta’s first high-design boutique hotel. And it’s about time, as Jakarta is a bustling, cosmopolitan capital — where else are the tech executives and media types supposed to stay?

The rooms are decorated in the minimal modern boutique style, but with some touches of personality, like parquet floors and earthy colors rather than the typical blank white. The clean-lined lobby, for example, is adorned with gallery-quality abstract art that’s brightened by soaring floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a serene courtyard.

Alila Jakarta is a high-rise hotel, and the rooms benefit from this fact, with far-ranging views of the city. High-speed internet is standard, and executive rooms have computers already installed, so you can give that laptop a rest. Facilities are more extensive than at most trend-chasing boutiques; the obligatory restaurant and nightclub are present, joined by a full-service spa, a fitness center, and a swimming pool, with a view and a poolside bar.

Alila Jakarta and Alila Solo

More than a decade later, Budiman worked on Alila Solo in Central Java, opened in 2017. Eight towers of accommodation surround the main hotel at staggered heights to create a new backdrop in the Solo skyline. Ranging from 11 to 27 stories, the buildings rise high above the city like modern giants in a predominantly low-rise neighborhood. Cladding in a natural stone that has been cut into small pieces creates an intricate, distinctive texture on the outside.

The design led rooms and suites at Alila Solo combine contemporary style with subtle Java nuances. Each room inspires relaxation and calm with a soothing colour arrangement of gentle hues and showcases an exclusively commissioned batik mural.

The interiors of the hotel feature a refined stone palette of marble, travertine and granite juxtaposed against soft shades of pale wood and Javanese highlights. Most stunning of all is the monumental floating batik sculpture featured in the striking lobby. Conceptualised by Budiman himself, the near 50 meter long suspended artwork incorporates thin aluminum plates with canvas paintings depicting Javanese wayang characters.

DCM Indonesia has also cultivated a robust hospitality portfolio. “The Jakarta branch is DCM Group’s think tank for hospitality,” says Hendropurnomo. He elaborates, “The beautiful thing about being based in Indonesia is everything can be made. We are rich in crafts and materials.”

The Apurva Kempinski and Anantara Uluwatu

Budiman designed Anantara Uluwatu, Maya Sanur, and most recently, the grandiose The Apurva Kempinski Bali in Nusa Dua. But his most striking works are probably the UOB Plaza, Perpustakaan Universitas Indonesia, and Australian Embassy in Greater Jakarta.

Tan Tik Lam
Tan Tik Lam is a self-practicing architect and a founder of Tan Tik Lam Architects in Indonesia. He graduated from Parahyangan Catholic University in 1995 and earned numerous local and international architectural awards. One of his works, Kayumanis Nanjing Private Villas & Spa, won the IAI Awards and China Best Design Hotel Award, both in 2009.

Kayumanis Nanjing

The currently biased paradigm of villas is made clear by Tan Tik Lam. “I was once commissioned to create a villa, but it was really a room with a garden. I refused. A single room construction with a garden in front an another garden at the back plus a swimming pool, for example, is not a villa. The total area could be about 150–200 sqm. I think that is not a villa. It is a room with a garden. A villa is not that small. A room with a garden is not the same as a garden with a room. For the latter, we think about the garden first, then the small room. Now that is a villa!” he said in Archinesia.

“In my opinion a villa must have a good ambiance, must be comfortable an homey. And villas are not classified in star ratings. It should be considered as luxurious residence. People who stay in villas may spend 70% of their day inside the room,” he continued.

“A villa is a piece of land surrounded by a wall of nature — an orchard or something similar. Inside a villa there are bedrooms with more functions than ordinary hotel rooms. There should be a living, a fully furnished master bedroom, a study room, and a swimming pool.”

Tan Tik Lam designed all Kayumanis’ properties in Bali (Sanur, Ubud, Nusa Dua, and Jimbaran). As a sweet, scaled down alternative to some of the bigger brand resorts, each Kayumanis property offers their own unique characters and natural settings to suit the wildest of individual preferences, all four Kayumanis bijou properties are equally gorgeous, serene and intimately sized — no larger than 23 villas.

Despite the “exclusive’ touch, it’s all about the small details and immersing guests in authentic Balinese traditional lifestyle, culture and charming local traditions. All starting with the reception front desk — or lack thereof; rather, a minuscule semi-open bale (pavilion) doubling as the lobby.

All villas follow a traditional Balinese architectural lay-out, purposely designed to emulate the Balinese family compound set-up and that irresistible semi-open style of island living. They even have aling-aling behind the entrance door, similar to traditional houses in Bali.

Villas in Kayumanis are super-secluded and serene, tucked away behind high walled gardens providing heaps of space and privacy. A one-bedroom Kayumanis villa is typically starts from 300 sqm and equipped with a generous-sized private pool and sundeck, a kitchenette, indoor and outdoor bathing options, a stand-alone pavilions combining indoor-outdoor living and air-conditioned bedroom suites, topped with alang thatched roofs. None of the villas are numbered; rather individually-named relating to a cultural or nature-related theme.

Kayumanis Ubud and Kayumanis Nusa Dua

“It is not a matter of new hotel or old hotel. People pay good money for a wonderful ambiance and aura. For me, aura and ambiance are the most important things to have for resorts and villas. Ambiance is the should for a villa.”

In late 2000s, Tan Tik Lam was invited by fellow Indonesian architect Andra Matin to involve in Tanah Teduh residential project in Jakarta. The project was initiated by Ronald Akili, the CEO of Potato Head, who eventually launched his own hotels in Bali.

Throughout his career Tan Tik Lam also won Indonesian Institute of Architects Award, and was a nominator for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Since 2011, he has served on juries for architectural awards at the national scale and is a regular guest design critic at several universities. In late 2015, he founded LAB_Local Architecture Bureau which focuses on public and civic buildings.

Hidajat Endramukti
The name Hidajat Endramukti, an acclaimed interior designer with dozens of years of experience, does not only belong to Surabaya, where he is currently based. The graduate of Delft University in The Netherlands has become a guru for those involved in the Indonesian design scene. Hidajat started nurturing an interest in heritage buildings when in high school in his hometown of Malang, East Java.

Before establishing his own firm Endramukti Design, Hidajat was an architect at DCM Indonesia, with Hotel Tugu Malang as one of his first hospitality design project. He gained compliments and further international recognitions from both clients and guests for his homey interior designs for Alila Ubud and the 46-meter phinisi ship Alila Purnama.

Alila Purnama and Alila Ubud

Alila Purnama’s owners, Tasya Ascobat Reza and her husband Zamzam Reza, initiatlly wanted to build a boat that she and her family would use themselves, but decided instead to go further and draw on Indonesia’s rich heritage to craft a product of love that everyone can enjoy.

The design furnishings for the luxury vessel were inspired by the many Indonesian maritime kingdoms that once ruled far and wide in the old Indonesian archipelago. Each of the four beautiful suites paid homage to the era of their namesakes with feature artwork in ol photographs and furnishings reflective of West Java (Cirebon), Madura (Sumenep), Central Java (Mataram), and Bali (Klungkung). As is typical with Alila’s hallmark, all of the artworks are presented in a contemporary manifesto of the cultural influences of the era.

“Luxury is all about creating a sense of place; a sense of belonging,” Hidajat explained about his interior design for Alila Purnama, “to achieve that effect I place strong Indonesian touches throughout, such as local materials and fabrics like the Balinese and Palembang Songket, an so on. All of the accessories in the interior are also all from Indonesia, such as Wayang Bali. And then of course each of the cabins are decorated in specific Indonesian theme, such as Cirebon, Java, or Bali,” he mentioned in Indonesia Design.

Kayumanis Nanjing and Kayumanis Nusa Dua

Hidajat was also involved in Kayumanis, designing all Kayumanis’ properties interior. He is also deeply concerned with the restoration of various projects and other heritage buildings. He did the interior design for The Shalimar, a colonial-style boutique hotel in his hometown Malang originally built for the Freemasons in 1933. In Surabaya, he restored De Soematra, a 110-year old Art Deco building, turning it into a high-end dining venue. “De Soematra is a public building, so it quickly became the topic of discussion for many people and has garnered a lot of media attention, even to this day. De Soematra is a Dutch colonial structure that we have managed to restore without too many alterations.”

Shinta Siregar
The Club at The Legian Bali was opened in 2002 across the road from the main The Legian Bali hotel complex. No stone was left unturned in designing a space that is totally indulgent, in terms of service, atmosphere, and facilities to compensate its lack of wonderful views. Utilising the services of architect Shinta Siregar and interior designer Jaya Ibrahim, the visually elegant villas is using Balinese traditional material palette. Coconut wood is use for columns, alang-alang for roofs, woven rattan on the underside of roofs and on the cupboars, and terrazzo with shell chips for floors.

One of the chief feature at The Club’s villas is the outdoor balé with a sunken dining table, while a clubhouse with a 35-meter lap pool, a restaurant, and a bar also functions as a private check-in and check-out zone for The Club’s guests separate from the lobby in the main hotel building.

The Club at The Legian Bali

Shinta’s next major project is Métis, a fine-dining and art gallery and a sort of Kafe Warisan 2.0, located in Kerobokan area near Seminyak. Until its lease ended in October 2009, French fine-dining restaurant Kafe Warisan was an institution in Bali for more than a decade. But far from packing up their pots and pans, founders Said Alem and chef Nicolas “Doudou” Tourneville have instead opened Métis, close to their original site in Seminyak. For the design of Métis, Shinta took her cues from the old Kafe Warisan, building a three-sided pavilion enclosing an open courtyard. She also added acres of space, including a 1.000 sqm lawn to accommodate occasional jazz performances. The overall effect is both elegant and causal, mixing contemporary colonial stylings with traditional Javanese themes and materials, which are ingeniously repurposed to thoroughly modern effect: ceilings feature whitewashed bedeg (plaited bamboo), while the rosette motif on the laser-cut iron screens is based on a batik sarong that Shinta’s mother once gave her.

In 2017, Alila Ubud expands its rainforest abodes with the launch of six new Terrace Tree Villas, all designed by Shinta Siregar and her team at NXST. The NXST team drawn inspiration from the temple forms and details that are evident throughout everyday life in Ubud. Local artisanship is also beautifully reflected in the volcanic stone tiles that give each villa a sense of mystery, showcasing the rich stone carving tradition prevalent in the surrounding villages. The villa interiors are classic Alila in elegance and restraint, accented with opulent handwoven textiles from nearby Sideman Village, and with spaces defined by the sensual interplay of light and shade imbued by the Ubud environs.

The Alila Ubud extension is actually not the first collaboration between Shinta and NXST with Alila Hotels & Resorts because Shinta herself was an apprentice for the late Kerry Hill who designed Alila Manggis and Alila Ubud in the 1990s. Other Alila projects completed by NXST are the interior design and styling of Alila Anji (2015), Alila Seminyak (2015), Alila Villas Koh Russey (2019), and Alila Koggala Lake (ongoing), as well as Alila Manggis’ Ocean Bar (2018).

Alila Ubud’s Terrace Tree Villa, Alila Seminyak, and Alila Villas Koh Russey

Franky Tjahyadikarta, who co-founded Alila and own the Alila Manggis, Ubud, and Uluwatu property, invited NXST to design the first hotel of his newly created brand, Dialoog, in Banyuwangi. The success and influences of the Alila properties have intentionally filtered into the DNA of Dialoog Banyuwangi, and it can be seen throughout the property. A sense of luxury is offered not by expensive finishes and details but with expansive open spaces and the generous use of single, well-selected finishes. As explained by NXST, “Our design strategy is to give each space one material detail that allows other surfaces to be unfinished”. Examples of these can be seen at the lobby, adorned with beautiful random andesite pavings.

It is also evident at Dialoog Hotel Banyuwangi that the garden is given as much attention as the buildings. The central grass area and original palm tree grid organise the site and focus on the magnificent sunrise view over Bali Strait. The pool is set low on the grass so only the umbrellas can be seen. Meanwhile the restaurant, bar and pavilion are located to the side of the property, creating more space for a green landscape to soothe the eyes.

Andra Matin
Andra Matin developed his skill after university by working at Grahacipta Hadiprana, an architectural and interior design firm established by Hendra Hadiprana, who was involved in countless projects including various luxury hotel projects in Bali. In 1998, after 10 years of working, Andra finally decided to go out on his own.

When asked about his design philosophy, Andra will answer “I have no idea.” One of his early works is the Tanah Teduh complex, commissioned by Potato Head’s CEO Ronald Akili, where he collaborates with eight other Indonesian architects who were equally focused on aesthetics and function.

Also distinguishing Tanah Teduh is its deep respect for the environment. The beautiful homes were built with local materials on pre-existing land that retained its original characteristics, including trees. As a result, each home is truly one-of-a-kind and follows the curve and features of its surrounding — an approach adopted by Ed Tuttle, Kerry Hill, and Tan Tik Lam when designing Amanpuri, The Datai Langkawi, and Kayumanis Jimbaran respectively. Tan Tik Lam himself was involved in Tanah Teduh project, designing house #6 called the Barnyard House.

Tanah Teduh

“The first thing I decided when I began working here was to keep as many original trees as possible, and to make an optimal use of the land contour. I also use the existing ponds on the west as the wastewater processing facility and water catchment area. The existing bodies of water also serve as aesthetic elements in the complex,” Andra said.

Tanah Teduh marks the first collaboration between Andra Matin and the Potato Head family. Their journey is further elaborated in the latest part of this nine-part story here.

Room inventory and facilities mentioned on this post are based on the actual situation during the opening year of the hotels.

A Quite Long History of Bali Hotel Architecture

This ten-part 130-minute blog story is made as a tribute to the hospitality world of Bali, and to the people who love and live it.

The story, more or less, chronicles the milestones of Bali hospitality and hotel architecture from 1930s to 2010s, celebrating the works of renowned hoteliers and architects Wija Waworuntu, Geoffrey Bawa, Peter Muller, Kerry Hill, Adrian Zecha, Hendra Hadiprana, Jaya Ibrahim, WATG, John Hardy, Ketut Arthana, and Andra Matin among others.

A Quite Long History of Bali Hotel Architecture (video trailer)

Each part is illustrated with images, sketches and site plans, including old photos of Tandjung Sari, Batujimbar Estate brochure, photo series documenting the construction of The Oberoi Bali and Amandari, Kerry Hill’s original design for the Regent Jimbaran Bay (eventually came into being as the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay).

There are also footages of Ronald Reagan’s meeting with Suharto in Nusa Dua Beach Hotel, Geoffrey Bawa’s unused site plan for the expansion of Bali Hyatt, TV commercials, World Bank’s proposal for the development of BTDC extracted from a 400-page BTDC-World Bank document containing mail correspondences, bills, and researches, and thirteen volumes of GHM’s late 90s publication: The Magazine — A Style to Remember.