Best of Bali

If Thailand’s holiday home resort market has a rival, it might be Bali. The Indonesian island, home to roughly four million, was recently named the world’s most popular destination by TripAdvisor,  as evidenced by tourist numbers double that of the population each year. Five-star hotel operators like St Regis, the Four Seasons and Alila Soori have been flocking to the island since the 1980s, and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (MOHG) is joining the club come 2018. Better still? Residences at Mandarin Oriental follow one year later.

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The time is now
Mandarin Oriental’s first Bali project will be perched on the island’s southern tip, within the integrated, championship-level Bukit Pandawa Resort & Golf. With Chinese outbound travel recently displacing Japan for tourist numbers to Bali, a still-burgeoning Indonesian middle class, and Asia being the world’s hospitality hotbed for the foreseeable future, it’s no surprise Mandarin Oriental is moving in. According to Colliers International, over 8,000 new hotel rooms will open in Bali in 2017, and though occupancy rates at the end of 2016 were slightly above average (60%), “We anticipate occupancy to hover relatively at the same level, which will impact the distressed room rates. If the anticipated supply in 2017 arrives and if there is no external action and supporting policy from the authority, the hotel market in Bali will continue to experience a tough time.”

In addition, locations like neighbouring Lombok, and government-targeted Belitung, Komodo Island, and Sulawesi are making noises as the next great vacation destination. None of that concerns PT Bali Ragawisata Marketing Director Lily Dawis, the developer behind the Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Bali. “Bali has an amazing, ever-growing and hard-to-match luxury market, with sincere and warm people who form the soul of an authentic culture that only gets better with age. I have been to Bali countless times over the years, and every single time I visit, I find something new.”

Fortunately, Colliers also predicts tourist numbers will continue trending up, based on the patterns from the last six years. “The 2016 month-on-month number of foreign visitors to Bali has surpassed the performance of the previous years. This could translate to a higher occupancy performance.” That’s good news for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, as well as for investors. “Ownership may include the opportunity to place your home in a rental arrangement,” notes Dawis.

As complicated as foreign ownership can be in Indonesia, the Residences’ structure is based on a 99-year lease agreement for PT Bali Ragawisata-owned land and optimised for overseas owners — but is the same agreement locals enter into. Dawis expects interest to come from discerning Indonesian and Asian buyers, Bali’s traditional Australian market, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, from young families who may choose to live there to long-term investors. As an investment Dawis is confident in the Residences’ performance potential, as the Mandarin’s “Branded properties are traditionally very good investments for their owners. One Hyde Park: The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, London keeps breaking records, and so do other Residences around the world.” 

A generation in the making
The hotel and Residences were not a project cooked up in the last year or two.  Between masterplanning and cultivating the land for development, the project has been in the works for nearly 30 years, and aside from other international hotel brands, the area will feature almost 20 dining outlets, an arts centre, and of course the 18-hole golf course. It might be the peculiarity of the land itself, however that will ultimately give the Residences its character. Situated on naturally sloping land, MOHG, PT Bali Ragawisata and Denniston Architects (Montenegro’s singular Aman Sveti Stefan, Chedi Andermatt) wanted to respect it, and used a cut-and-fill process to sculpt the hill.

Residences at Mandarin Oriental

“The topography lends itself beautifully to a series of tiers that is really reminiscent of the terraced rice paddies you see all around Bali. So even from the villas at the very back of the complex, you have these unobstructed, 180-degree views of the ocean,” said Denniston’s Jean-Michel Gathy in a statement. “This is not London or Singapore or anywhere else. It's Bali. We took that into account every step of the way. But we didn’t go overboard. And that’s an important distinction to make.”

Residences at Mandarin Oriental

On just a fraction of the project’s 150-hectare total, the Residences will comprise 91 one- to five-bedroom (with wiggle room) villas, featuring landscaped flat roofs, state-of-the-art technology, floor-to-ceiling windows,
glass doors, infinity pools and understated local flair courtesy of interiors by Kiat Architects (Hermitage Hotel, Jakarta). Contemporary on the surface, the design is essentially Balinese, and heavy on stone, timber, light clean colours, emphasising natural ventilation and seamless flow between indoor and outdoor spaces. The villas will be steps from a cliff-side eco-trail and two kilometres of private white sand beach. Residents are also afforded access to the hotel’s suite of services and amenities.

Residences at Mandarin Oriental

Every developer claims there is nothing like their project in any location, but Dawis argues, “The mandate of our founders is to shape Bukit Pandawa Resort & Golf as the legacy of our family for the world.”  Combine a cliff-top peninsular location in the world’s favourite destination, rich culture, centuries old traditions, world-class architecture and design, and forward-looking infrastructure and it’s a formula for a one-of-a-kind property. “Why go to so much trouble? Our collective dream as a family is to create a safe, idyllic space to bond, grow and live as families — for our elders to enjoy their twilight years; for younger generations to grow with our little ones; and to welcome [others] to also grow with us, from moments and holidays nurturing relationships that will be valuable in years to come,” finishes Dawis. “It truly is home. Redefined.”

Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Bali is scheduled for completion in early 2019. Prices begin at approximately US$615,000 (HK$4.8 million).

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