PHOTO BY Bagus Tri Laksono
Why did you choose Ubud as the location of your first resort?
Here we can get a clear view of a bend in the Petanu River, which means that from this site we face two sides of the surrounding area, and not only towards the front. All of our rooms are blessed with this kind of view—everything has an open design and looks out towards the natural surroundings. If you stay in the corner room at the edge of our resort, you will have to walk a bit further to reach it, but once you get there, you will be presented with a truly mesmerizing view, just like in nirvana. When I lived in Denpasar, I used to frequent Ubud to refresh my mind. The name Ubud, people believe, is derived from the local word ‘obat,’ which means medicine. So people come here to be relieved from their illnesses. Here, everything is still natural, which is good for your health. Not to mention the religious, cultural and artistic qualities of this place, which are still strongly felt amongst the people. All of these elements combine to help cure our hearts and minds.
What was the design process like for this project?
Truthfully, I am not an architect. I am actually a contractor who happens to deal with numerous hotel and resort projects in my line of work. I have also learnt a lot from my family who happen to own hotels. But being an avid reader of various books and magazines, soon after I purchased this land in 2013 I began designing this resort based on what I have read and seen. I also got my inspiration from brainstorming sessions with friends and families as well as from the projects that I have taken since 1990.
What was the reason behind the selection of the name ‘Udhiana’?
My father’s name is Oka Udhiana. The name means a beautiful flower garden in heaven. So, I use the name out of respect for my parents and also because similar sounding names are abundant in Bali. You can check yourself the total number of hotels with the suffix ‘-na’ in this island, which makes the name quite representative for a property in the land of Bali.
I see a lot of wooden ornaments throughout the resort.
All of the wood works here are made of Ulin timber, from the visible ones like doors and frames to the hidden ones like the roof structure. I used a total of around 500 cubic meters to finish the whole development. I began collecting the wood for the project five years ago—I bought recycled wood blocks that once were used to build docks so that their endurance is indisputable. Aside from being termite-resistant, an imperative quality considering the humidity in this area, Ulin timber also has a good aesthetic character. Obviously I want to get a good result for my first hotel, so I began with giving it the best start, and selecting top-notch materials.
Why do you use ornaments from Kalimantan in both the rooms and for the landscape?
This is a form of my gratitude towards Kalimantan for its gift to us in terms of natural resources, especially timber, which is used abundantly in Udhiana. These ornaments also provide a unique perspective for the resort. But a Balinese accent is still the dominant element in the compound design and architecture style that is finished by adapting local shapes and materials. Also, in terms of service, the majority of our staff are native Balinese people.