On Friday evening, January 23, 2007, a luxurious cocktail party was held in the gardens of the Ritz-Carlton, Bali Resort & Spa - a farewell of sorts to the Ritz-Carlton Brand at the 77 hectare resort featuring 368 guest rooms. Effective April 1, 2009, the West Paces Hotel Group will assume management of the resort which will be renamed as the Ayana Resort & Spa.
The parting of the ways between Ritz-Carlton and the Indonesian owners of the resort, PT Karang Mas Sejahtera, came of as the result of a U.S. Federal Court ruling that found the Marriott Hotel Corporation had acted in bad faith and violated non-competitioon clauses by acting as managers and helping to develop the luxury Bulgari Resort, located a short distance from the present Ritz-Carlton. (See Related Articles Below.)
The Garden party to bid farewell to Ritz-Carlton and welcome Ayana Resort was a truly lavish affair in which a multi story Indian Palace was built especially for the evening, acting as a backdrop for a large performance stage where a troupe of "Bollywood Style" dancers entertained the guests interspersed with traditional Balinese dances. Thousands of torches and candles surrounded the venue for as far as the eye could see, while laser light shows and fireworks filled the night's sky.
The Resort's in-house Indian chefs presented two separate buffets while bartenders kept a steady flow of beer, wine and specialty cocktails flowing throughout the evening.
Brief speeches punctuated the evening with the owner of PT Karang Mas Sehjahtera, Rudy Suliawan, sharing his vision for the hotel's future and providing background on the "split" with Ritz-Carlton; David Wilson, General Manager of the Ritz-Carlton welcomed the guest to what was essentially a "last hurrah" for the Ritz-Carlton at the world famous resort; and a brief speech of introduction by Horst Schulze, Chairman and COO of the West Paces Hotel Group.
Everything Old is New Again
And while the Indonesian Owners of the Resort are separating after a legal defeat handed to Ritz-Carlton in the U.S. Courts, there can be little doubt that they still have an abiding respect for the service standards and reputation of the Ritz-Carlton Brand. This is demonstrated by the fact that the man heading the West Paces Hotel Group, who will manage the Bali property, is Horst Schulze, the highly successful former President, COO and Vice-Chairman of Ritz-Carlton; a past affiliation proudly underlined both in his speeach and the press release announcing the change in command. Similarly, many of the key management positions in the West Paces Hotel Group are held by Ritz-Carlton alumni.
West Paces Hotel Group
Founded by Horst Schulze, the West Paces Hotel Group manages properties in Alabama, California, Chicago, Georgia, Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey German and, starting in April, in Bali, Indonesia.
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