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(9/5/2008) Anantara Seminyak Beach Resort & Spa's listing among 15 Hotels to Watch in the just published Travel + Leisure poll [See: Bali Still Celebrated, But Less So] of the best cities, islands, hotels, tour companies, airlines and rental car companies appears to cut little slack with Bali officials in the ongoing fight over zoning and building violations allegedly committed by the Resort.
Reports in the local press have listed a number of alleged violations allegedly committed by the Resort, including: building too close to the high-water mark in contradiction of setback rules; building a structure that does not conform to the approved building plans; building a structure that exceeds the 15 meter height restriction; failing to provide sufficient on premises parking; and violating of local sound ordinances.
A page-one story in BisnisBali tells of how the Chief of Bali's Tourism Office, Gede Nurjaya, took genuine umbrage at the Resort's scofflaw reputation and refused to attend a dinner hosted by the Anantara Resort to welcome Dayana Mendoza, the reigning Miss Universe.
According to the report, Nurjaya arrived at the resort at about 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 24, 2008, to attend the reception on the property's much-celebrated rooftop bar. BisnisBali said that upon entering the Hotel Nurjaya dispatched members of his staff to seek an explanation from the management over several outstanding violations, reportedly raising his voice while proclaiming: "This hotel has violated the beach set-back and height limits rules. That is not good."
Nurjaya told the press that if the hotels were merely allowed to violate the rules, Bali's reputation as a world tourism destination will eventually be ruined. He said that hotels and other tourism businesses cannot be allowed to disregard exiting rules.
At the same time, Nurjaya suggested that official events held in Bali must refuse to use properties found to violate Bali's regulations. This is necessary, he insisted, to show appreciation to those companies that do follow the rules.
Resort Cited for Numerous Violations
Anantara Seminyak Beach Resort & Spa was cited by the Bali government earlier this year for violating setback regulations from the high water mark and disregarding the 15 meter height limit. Cipta Karya - the zoning and building authority for Bali, issued warning letters to the owners and operator of the hotel following an on-site inspection by a team of local officials.
In May 2008 hotel told the local press that a resolution had been made with local officials and the top floor of the resort would be removed within 30 days. That self-imposed deadline had come and gone with no renovation of the property's top floor.
Anantara has adopted recently a more militant stance in its official statement with its Director of Human Resources, Wayan Gede Yudiana, telling BisnisBali that the Resort places little heed in the latest warning from the provincial government, saying they have not received a formal reprimand from the Badung (regional) government. Yudiana also said that following a hearing with the Badung regional government officials, it was his opinion that the Anantara has no problem as regards setback or height issues.
Moreover, he added, there have been no complaints made by the public regarding the hotel's distance from the shoreline.
The Anantara Resort is one of several ongoing high-profile cases involving the Badung Government's readiness to grant exceptions and building permits in contradiction to provincial regulations.
In the continuing developments in the case, a Bali Post report on August 28, 2008, may indicate that support from the Badung region in the Resort's battled with the provincial officials may be wavering. In a seeming about face last week, the head of the regional enforcement authority Pamong Praja Badung called on the Resort to honor its May pledge to demolish and remove the sixth floor of the building. The Head of Badung’s Pamong Praja, I Wayan Adi Arnawa, told the press that his force were adamant in the insistence that a written pledge signed by the hotel to remove the offending floor be honored. He warned the hotel that if it failed to remove the top floor that violates local laws and does not match the approved architectural drawings, then his staff would not hesitate to undertake the task and demolish the upper floor.
Adiwarna told the Bali Post: "Again, we ask the understanding of the Hotel Anantara to obey existing rules. If strong action is not taken, this will become a bad precedent for the ongoing efforts of the Pamong Praja to enforce local law."
Latest Development: The Bupati Speaks
Assumptions that the Resort enjoyed special protection from Badung's Bupati (Regent) were turned on their ear when NusaBali reported on August 30, 2008, that A.A. Gde Agung has issued an absolute deadline to the owner to remove the top floor by Kuningan (30 September) he would dispatch a judicial team from the Regency to do the job.
[The Height of Arrogance?]
[Up on the Roof at the Anantara Resort]