Bali Reimagined: An Insightful Dialogue with Frank Guglielmo at Hanging Gardens of Bali

Frank amazed us with his openness and hospitality, and of course, his extraordinary story. He is one of those who opened their heart to Bali and, having come once, found the meaning of life here. This Frenchman from Nice does not regret a single day he left the French Riviera.
“It's a pleasure to deal and work with local people in Bali; the work here brings joy, and all difficulties are easily resolved. The sun, the jungles, and the temples provide energy,” - Frank shared with us.
Through over 15 years, Frank made a career from a rank and file employee to hotel general manager and learned the Indonesian language in a few months only. he puts his soul into his work and believes there is no better place on earth.
iPremium: Could you share your experience and journey to Bali? What does ‘Hanging Gardens of Bali” mean to you personally, and how would you describe your hotel in three words?

F.G.: Bali is known for its rich and vibrant culture, and expat life in Bali is a full cultural experience. Living on this tiny island allows immersion in Balinese traditions, ceremonies, and daily life. The island is famous for its stunning landscapes, including lush rice terraces, beautiful beaches, and volcanic mountains; there is a lot to explore even after 14 years!

Serenity: The resort's location in the heart of the rainforest provides a tranquil and serene atmosphere, ideal for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Luxurious: Hanging Gardens of Bali is known for its luxurious accommodations, world-class spa facilities, and top-notch service, ensuring a pampered and upscale experience for guests.

Scenic: The resort's design and setting offer some of the most scenic and picturesque views in Bali, with the infinity pool and lush greenery creating a visually stunning environment.

iPremium: What inspired the unique architectural and landscape design of Hanging Gardens of Bali, and how does it contribute to the overall guest experience?

F.G.: The Hanging Gardens of Bali stands out for its innovative design, blending the natural beauty of Ubud's rainforest with traditional Balinese culture to create a breathtaking environment. Key features include the resort's iconic split-level infinity pool, offering spectacular rainforest views and serene tranquility, and the harmonious integration of its structures with the Ayung River gorge's terraced landscape. Each private villa boasts panoramic views, merging luxury with nature through open designs and glass use. Traditional Balinese architecture and extensive tropical gardens enhance the resort's authenticity and serenity. Commitment to sustainable practices and the showcasing of local art and decor enrich the guest experience, making the resort a luxurious, culturally immersive retreat.

iPremium: In what ways does Hanging Gardens of Bali immerse guests in the local culture, providing a distinctive Balinese experience beyond the typical amenities found in luxury hotels?

F.G.: At Hanging Gardens of Bali, immersing guests in local culture is a multifaceted endeavor. The hotel's design and architecture draw heavily from traditional Balinese styles, providing an authentic and tangible connection to the island's rich heritage. Guests are treated to a plethora of culinary experiences, including the chance to savor local and traditional Balinese cuisine at on-site restaurants, along with unique opportunities like cooking classes and food tours that delve deep into the region's flavors. Furthermore, the hotel organizes a variety of cultural activities, workshops, and performances, such as traditional dance and music, which are complemented by the showcasing of local art and decor throughout the property. This cultural immersion is further enhanced through community engagement, where guests can interact with and learn from local artisans and craftsmen, participate in guided tours to cultural and historical sites, and experience traditional Balinese spa and wellness practices. All these aspects are woven together with a commitment to sustainable and responsible tourism, ensuring not only a deep cultural immersion for guests but also a positive impact on the local community and environment. These experiences are customizable, allowing guests to tailor their stay according to their interests, ensuring a deeply personal and enriching encounter with Balinese culture.

iPremium: How does the hotel's culinary approach reflect the diversity and flavors of Bali, and what efforts are made to source local ingredients for an authentic gastronomic journey?

F.G.: HGOB showcases the diversity and flavors of the local cuisine, including efforts to source local ingredients for an authentic gastronomic journey by emphasizing the use of locally sourced and seasonal ingredients to showcase the flavors of Bali, including fresh produce, herbs, spices, and other culinary elements specific to the region and collaborating with local producers.

Our extensive menu features a variety of traditional Balinese dishes, prepared with contemporary techniques. This allows guests to explore the richness and diversity of Balinese cuisine.

We also offer culinary experiences, workshops, or cooking classes where guests can learn about the preparation of local dishes and the significance of specific ingredients. This hands-on approach enhances the overall gastronomic journey. Our executive chef has created some signature dishes that incorporate local flavors and ingredients in innovative ways, offering a fusion cuisine that blends Balinese elements with international culinary trends. In addition, we have established our on-site garden to grow herbs, vegetables, and other ingredients used in the kitchen. This farm-to-table approach enhances the freshness and authenticity of the dining experience.
iPremium: Can you share insights into the hotel's commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly practices?

F.G.: We have undertaken efforts to preserve and protect the natural environment surrounding the resort, which remains in its original condition. We implemented energy-efficient technologies, such as LED lighting and energy-efficient appliances, to reduce the resort's energy consumption and carbon footprint.

Water conservation is also important; water conservation measures have been implemented, including rainwater harvesting, water recycling, and the use of water-efficient landscaping practices. In addition, we have reduced the consumption of single-use plastic such as straws, disposable cutlery, and plastic bottles within the resort premises. Our water sterilization and purification systems provide guests with safe and clean drinking water, including the use of filtration systems and UV sterilization.

Waste reduction and recycling: Establishing waste reduction and recycling programs to minimize the amount of waste sent to landfills. This includes composting organic waste, recycling materials, and encouraging guests to participate in sustainable practices.

Finally, we prioritize the use of locally sourced and sustainable materials, as well as supporting local communities through responsible procurement practices. This extends to the sourcing of food and beverages for the resort's dining facilities.

iPremium: With the rise of wellness tourism, how has Hanging Gardens of Bali integrated holistic well-being into its offerings?

F.G.: Hanging Gardens of Bali integrates holistic well-being into our services to meet the rising demand for wellness tourism, with spa and wellness facilities. Yoga and meditation, fitness and outdoor activities, healthy cuisine, wellness retreats, and programs focus on various aspects of well-being, including physical fitness, mental health, and spiritual growth. Our 3-night Retreat and Wellness package, designed to purify and refocus minds clouded by daily life and unhealthy environments, knows a resounding success.

iPremium: In the dynamic hospitality industry, how do you plan to stay ahead of trends and ensure Hanging Gardens of Bali remains a destination of choice for discerning travelers?

F.G.: Staying ahead in the hospitality industry involves continuous adaptation, a combination of creativity, flexibility, and a deep understanding of the market. The ability to anticipate trends, respond to guest feedback, and continuously innovate is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge.

We are continually looking at new ways to impress our guests and to exceed their high expectations, it comes with new personalized experiences and services to cater to individual preferences. This includes such as personalized concierge services, room customization options, or tailored wellness programs.
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