The Bali Times Interview with Hanno Soth

Hanno Soth, C151
Hanno Soth the man and the inspiration  behind Bali’s newest luxury development, C151 Resort Seminyak The Canadian native spoke to The Times this week about the 21-villa luxury resort development and beach club.

What is the concept behind the C151 Resort Seminyak?
A new level of luxury that when entering the Villas, allows guests to leave the traffic jams of Bali at the door  enjoying all the comforts modern technology has to offer.

You designed the villas yourself,  where did you draw your inspiration from?
The inspiration came from years of living in Bali  knowing what works and what doesn’t. Gone are the days of open-style villas that become soaked during the monsoon  season and typically are to hot to enjoy the rest of the year without air conditioning.

The villas are very high-tech  how important is that to your clients, both in terms of entertainment systems and connectivity with the internet?
Our guests come to Bali on holiday to get away from it all. Stereo speakers throughout the entire villa, including inside the swimming pool, a home theatre and high-speed wireless internet allows people to relax in total comfort and style,  yet stay in touch. It was not so long ago that visitors to the remote areas of Bali relied on unreliable IDD telephone, Fax and limited internet. Things have changed dramatically in the past decade.

Is there anything currently comparable in Bali to the C151 Resort Seminyak?
Not yet. We received a lot of attention during construction because many residents felt we were creating villas out of the norm of grass roofs and open concepts. However, that is changing quickly and we are seeing our competitors following our model.

How does the resort contribute to or change fast-developing Seminyak?
C151 offers a new level of luxury to those who are not satisfied staying in traditional accommodation.

Do you see a changing dynamic in the type of people who are vacationing in Bali, particularly in the Seminyak area, in recent years?
Absolutely. Bali continues to move away from the backpacker and mid market tourism,  to a more upscale 5 star destination.

How do you see the villa landscape in Bali these days? How is it changing?

The Bali villa landscape seems to be forever evolving. There has been a permit moratorium on new Hotels, so the market has turned to Villa Resorts to fill the demand for luxury accommodation.  Also  with the expansion of the International Airport Bali can receive several million more tourists annually.

In your view, do vacationers prefer staying in private villas over standard hotels.

Yes, there has been a movement away from hotels to private villas which provide greater privacy, many of the same five-star services of a regular hotel, at comparable rates.  Features like private swimming pools are ideal setting for couples and families to enjoy. Bali is becoming a unique destination offering many types villa accommodations,  thanks to the governments moratorium on  standard hotels

After recent disturbances in Bali, how do you see the current state of the economy, and what’s your prediction for the future?
There’s no doubt that Bali has an international appeal and travel market niche. These lulls always seem to give businesses time to revamp, expand and renovate.
Each time Bali comes back better than it was before. The class of tourist continually improves. Hotel rates and property values continue to soar and Bali will more and more become the playground for the rich and famous.

Your company, PT Hanno Bali, is also working on other developments in Bali and elsewhere in Indonesia. What can you tell us about them?
Yes, we have a number of new projects slated to begin in the next few months in Bali. Most of them in the Bukit and on stunning cliff-front properties. At the moment we have licenses for an 18-hole golf course, beach club, marina and hotel villa developments.
We just had the government of Riau province – the area across from Singapore – come to visit Bali and present our company with our latest permits. PT. Hanno Bali owns several islands across from Singapore which we are developing for luxury tourism.

What is your prediction of where Bali will be in, say, five years time, both in terms of development and tourism?

We have no doubt that Bali will be a premier destination.  Bali has blue skies and great weather most of the year, which the rest of Asia does not.   Singapore suffers from annual smoke from burning palm oil plantations. Hong Kong suffers from the smog created the rapid industrialization of Mainland China. So Bali is uniquely positioned. A short flight and travelers can enjoy blues skies and clean air.

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