GUEST EXPERIENCE INTENSIFICATION
This property is part of a hotel group, a hospitality division of an Indonesian family-owned conglomerate. I met socially a couple, who turned out to be directors of the hospitality division and they asked me to help them revitalize Padma hotel in Ubud.
The work here was to conduct a thorough analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the hotel that were, as they often are, linked.
The hotel is 45 minutes away from Ubud center, this has the advantage of being very peaceful and immersed in tropical greenery. Without a background story being offered to the guests the hotel lacked a marketable identity (Ubud Center Resort, Green Oasis, Art Hotel, Jungle Getaway…). The original project was a boutique hotel with two dozen suites however it ended up being a 150 rooms hotel. As a result, the outdoors (swimming pool, restaurant, gardens…) are critically undersized and not appropriate in terms of utilization and circulation.
Both issues could be addressed by reworking the property landscape and the outdoors along with a few indoor space reallocations.
The hotel’s remote location demands that the guests are offered on site activities and experiences in order to increase the appeal of booking a stay there. The challenge here was that the business had already been operating for 3 years and the gardens were already in place.
The buildings architecture follows the Balinese codes of constructions that are difficult to integrate in any landscape, because of the buildings’ scale, shape and proportion.
The views from the guests’ rooms were outstanding, however when looked at from outside the building did not seem at all in harmony with the natural site.
In order to resolve this imbalance, we advised working with a modern tropical vegetal vocabulary to narrate a story to visitors from the entrance, guide them through the different outdoor living areas, and to extend this narration indoors to create coherence between the indoors and outdoors. Series of easy-maintenance, graphic, artful plants set-up in large quantities (to provide volume balancing the building’s volume) with specific patterns provide a sense of stylish modernism.
The hotel access points are essential as they participate in the discovery of the place, they already carry the culture and values of the hotel, and they are the first opportunity to offer attractive, harmonious and elegant settings. Here, guest’s attention needs to be captured as soon as they access the property in order for them to understand the space, to feel reassured and not “confused” by the scale, 12 hectares, of the site. This is crucial as the drive between the first contact with the property, at the entrance gate (where security checks and booking documents validation are implemented) and arrival at the lobby takes 10 minutes, this first discovery part needs to be properly addressed and followed by a coherent check-in experience in the lobby. This was not the case as cars were visually too impactful from all the lobby spaces.
After a flight (often international), a 45 minutes’ drive from Ubud and another journey through the forest on the property grounds, seeing an uninterrupted flow of cars did not participate in creating a relaxing and reassuring guests experience, especially for guests looking for wilderness!
Indoors always need to be somehow linked with the outdoors, the solution here was to introduce some degree of wilderness, by choosing interior design features of the right color palette – shades of green here – and textures (plush velvet fabrics for instance) along with correctly scaled lush plants such as potted Monstera Deliciosa.
This participates in building a common thread, a signature able to enhance guests experience as this is the priority here. Guests’ decision to stay in this remote location needs to be validated by the experience as early and as often as possible.