St. Regis Slammed Over Butlers’ Western Names

By I Gusti Made Putra

DENPASAR ~ A luxury hotel in the tourist enclave of Nusa Dua urging its Balinese butlers to adopt Western names so that their well-heeled guests will feel more at home has enraged one of the country’s top spiritual leaders.

The St. Regis Resort and Spa, which opened to fanfare in March 2009, requests that its team of butlers uses names that are plucked from British literature, such as Edgar, in an apparent strategy to confer on the service staff an inference of the traditional British servant.

Anand Krishna, who runs spiritual centres and workshops in Bali and writes a weekly column in this newspaper, said he was outraged that the butlers were told to use Western names.

“I think the management of St. Regis is totally ignorant of the very purpose of tourism,” he told The Bali Times on Thursday.

“It is not only saddening but disheartening that a hotel of their repute could make such a blunder. A totally wrong understanding of the concept of tourism,” he said.

What’s in a Name: The entrance to the plush St. Regis at
Nusa Dua where butlers provided for high-paying guests
take Western names to help the wealthy cope with Bali.

The marketing and communications director at the St. Regis, Geetha Warrier, confirmed that the resort, located along the white-sand Geger Beach, employed butlers among its 30-strong, mostly Balinese team who used Western names.

“They are given a stage name derived from the most famous butlers in the world. It is a gimmick, a talking point, which is received very positively by the team and guests alike,” she told The Bali Times.

“These English names are chosen by the butlers themselves and are not forced upon them. We have butlers who use their own names.”

However, some of the butlers at the St. Regis, who cater to guests who shell out up to US$5,500 per night, according to rates on the hotel’s website, have reportedly said they are uncomfortable using an adopted Western name and would rather use their own.

Krishna said foreign tourists should be open to the experience of enjoying the delights of a different country.

“The original idea of tourism was to visit new places, and learn new things. A Peter coming to Bali must get to know Putu here, and taste some pasar (market) delicacies,” he said.

“When I visit my daughter in Spain, I do not look for Indonesian satay or Indian curry there. I prefer tapas and Sangria. I do not want nasi goreng in Los Angeles; I would rather have bacon and sausages for my breakfast. I eat fish and chips in London; I would not look for ikan bakar. I go all the way to Raffles in Spore to have a Singapore Sling.”

The spiritual guru, who has worked with the Dalai Lama, called for action against the St. Regis.

“I suggest that Bali Tourism Board and other government institutions reprimand the management of St. Regis, and ensure that this situation is changed immediately,” he said.

Meanwhile, Desiderius Rian Karismaputra of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) in Jakarta told The Bali Times that the top-end hotel’s policy violated the intrinsic rights of their employees.

“Under the law, Indonesians have the right to use their own name, and cannot be forced to change it to something else,” he said.

“According to the Law on Antidiscrimination of Race and Ethnicity, Article 4, there is a term of one year in jail or a fine of Rp100,000 (US$10,600) for violations,” he said.

The St. Regis joins a growing number of high-end hotels in Bali. Part of the US-based Starwood group, its sister properties in Bali include the Westin, Le Méridien and Laguna, while a W hotel is under construction.

Suarno of conflict-resolution section of the Department of Manpower in Badung regency, where most of the island’s tourism is located, said, however, that if there was an agreement between the hotel and its employees that was approved by the All Indonesia Workers Union (KSPSI), there would be no problem.

“But if the company is not a member of the KSPSI, the workers of the hotel can complain directly to the management of the hotel, that they don’t like using a Western name,” Suarno told The Bali Times.

The St. Regis said that because it was a new hotel, its employees were not yet members of the KSPSI.

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75 Responses to “St. Regis Slammed Over Butlers’ Western Names”

  1. Dayu Says:

    let save our bali with save the balinese name from our Greatest Ancient ..

  2. Putu Says:

    That’s all St. Regis marketing strategy,just let’s wait and see, are their guests will love to stay with them just because the butler names are western names. That’s all their problem. The important thing is the butlers feel no one forced them and they feel comfortable using western names.
    Don’t close our eyes, we are in this generation love to give our children different names(not only from balinese name). Did you find new baby with name’s I Made Sentul. I think it will more easier to find Made Fery, right? Nothing bad about that, that’s all good. Balinese will have more vocabulary. Bravo to everybody!!!!

  3. Putu Kusuma Yudha, SH Says:

    that’s the STUPID policy I ever Heard….

  4. Dwita Says:

    There is nothing wrong with this. We must realistic.Our young generation in fact many adopt western names combine with balinese names Putu “Edward” Narayana, Komang “Kelvin” Ramananda etc. If we are look from the other angel I think this is make BALI go to GLOBAL as long as no force each other.Hyang Widhi will be with you always…..suksma

  5. Wayan Kaler Says:

    Kepada Management St. Regis, sebaiknya segera mengganti aturan itu ataupun yang diklaim sebagai “alat” untuk membuat tamu anda nyaman dengan memanggil nama butlernya dengan nama asing. Butler anda terlahir dengan nama pemberian dari orang tuanya.. anda tidak berhak untuk mengganti ataupun hanya sekedar menyarankan untuk menggantinya… sangat aneh rasanya mendengar ada nama “edgar” dengan muka orang Bali…
    Bagi orang Bali… nama tidak hanya sekedar nama itu semua mempunyai arti yang didoakan oleh orang tua kami..

    Bagi rekan2 management dan karyawan St. regis yang dari Bali dan wilayah Indonesia lainnya, mana rasa nasionalisme dan kebanggaan anda sebagai orang Bali dan sebagai Bangsa Indonesia??? kenapa hanya karena bekerja disana anda mau menerima aturan ataupun yang dikatakan “ALAT” oleh management anda???

    (maaf moderator, saya tidak bisa memberikan komentar dengan bahasa Inggris… karena saya “ORANG BALI TULEN DAN ASLI BANGSA INDONESIA!!!!!!!”

  6. Irfan Says:

    well mostly, i agree with you Mr. Krishna.
    However, in this case i am not agree if all the butler staff at St. regis bali were forced to used their butler name. The butler names at St. Regis Bali, were given to their staff to helped all the guest who stay in there to recognize their name more easier. And they introduce their name ” as they butler name ” not “as their name “.

    And there is no policy from the hotel if the butler staff must used their nick name. and they used it only for the optional in operational.

    That is, i hope we all be positive thinking about this matter. And don’t judge others without know anything first.

    Just be wised people…

  7. nick's the butler Says:

    well,i am a butler too,so nothing wrong with it,
    we were choose that name because they were great,as a butler we would like to be famous like them,right?because they using western name instead made,komang or putu its doesn’t mean that it will changes bali,bali still the best island ever.go for it st.regis


    oh my god…………………i am so sad,dont hurt my bali any more……

  9. I MADE SURATA Says:

    ridiculous,..for a respected establishment like st regis to make a statement or policy like that. What a dummy blunder, please dont take our Character and Identity away from us. Its a sacred things took a tons of ceremony just to give a balinese people their name. Now they want to change it? its not that easy my friend.
    bravo proud of your island and who you are.

  10. Mahardika Says:

    Thanks Bapak Anand, we 100% agree with You. Thanks for all of You.. Brothers and sisters…….let save our Bali with more right action

  11. Pramudya Says:

    What a “Monkey Show”…

  12. levyndo Says:

    To Nick’s the butler…

    Come on man, you’re completely out of your mind. Why would every butlers want to be famous ? Those butlers have chosen their own path instead of want to be famous. I think it’s your only dream who want to be famous. If you want to be famous, don’t work as a butler, but you can join the Idol programme. Wake up, man !!

    Remember, Bali is famous for its appreciation of their culture and how they keep their culture !!

    Furthermore, you don’t speak good english to be famous !!

  13. made doplank Says:

    Why the comment become very racis now???what’s wrong if balinese having name like edgar,james or other western name…preserving balinese culture is not just only using balinese name,come on people let see in bigger picture.My neighbor name is putu dharma putra,but he drunk arak daily and disturb other nighbor,that you call save bali????
    it’s writen clearly in the article that the hotel never force their staff to use western name….so what the problem then????as balinese we are famous because we are friendly and very open minded…

  14. nick's the butler Says:

    To levyndo…

    you will never understand what butler is?
    so please learn more about such as an idiot dude.

  15. otong Says:

    hah.. dasar jaman sekarang cari duit susah.
    nama aja harus diganti, itu kan yg ngasih bapak saya..

    oke deh kalo gitu saya mau panggil nama GMnya sesuka2 saya boleh kan..

    nextime kalo ketemu gw panggil dia “Otong”

  16. Icha Says:

    Okay, first let me get several things clear:
    1. I’m a Balinese Indonesian and I write this in English because I want to communicate with other ppl who don’t necessarily understand Indonesian language. I am in no way disrespectful to my own mother tongue by writing this in English (a language that I’m fond of as well).

    2. “They are given a stage name derived from the most famous butlers in the world. It is a gimmick, a talking point, which is received very positively by the team and guests alike,” she told The Bali Times.

    “These English names are chosen by the butlers themselves and are not forced upon them. We have butlers who use their own names.”

    But doesn’t St. Regis sees how colonial it is? It’s like forcing Mumbai into becoming Bombay, or Kolkata into Calcutta. Don’t get me wrong. I love British culture. I adore Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell and Spooks. Name any Brits pop culture and I’m on it. Heck, I know more about British TV series than US TV series!

    But by inserting the use of English name into the management rules, it annexes and ignores local cultures and wisdoms. It’s a different thing if an Indonesian couple chooses ‘Christina’ or ‘Peter’ as the name of her Javanese/Balinese daughter/son. But once a person has his/her own name, it’s very unwise to ask them to change or adopt a stage name to please the guests, who are most likely more willing to interact with local names anyway instead of encountering another Richard.

    St. Regis, please drop the colonial mind-frame and respect local cultures. If a person wants to change his name from ‘Wayan’ to ‘Wayne’ in the passport and KTP, it’s up to him. But it should be done voluntarily, and not forced (or even mildly suggested) by the management.

  17. billy Says:

    Hey, don’t you think we were provocated over this simple thing ???

    Come on people.. Nothing’s wrong with St Regis and Nothing’s wrong with Bali…


  18. Made Dogler Says:

    @Made doplank…. it’s not about right or wrong if Balinese people has western name but it become a problem it that people asked to use different name for “some bussiness purpose” like St. Regis done.. yes I agree there are so many of our brother with Balinese name still drunk and disturbing their neighbour… But thats different case man….
    What do you think if you work for them and the management give you your bussiness card with “Jhon” name on it??? dont you have a pride with your Bali name??? If you dont like your Bali name just change it and change your nationality.. Bali is famous with our friendliness and oven minded but dont too oven minded and change your balinese caracter ok… (Bli de ke barat ke birit nah)

  19. Made Keplug Says:

    @ Nick the butler… where are coming from? if you are a balinese with western butler name than you are not trully balinese… just change your KTP ok and apply for other nationality in other country…. if you are not balinese than stay away and dont put any comment in this case coz you will not understand the meaning of our Balinese Name…

  20. cool the suck Says:

    to nick’s the butler:

    you should go back to USA then ,, the land of opportunity… rather than stay in Bali but using western name…

    Saya setuju dengan pendapatnya Wayan Kaler
    saya jg orang bali asli.

  21. richard Says:

    cant imagine wats happening in the resorts in bali. get well soon st. regis

  22. komang randy Says:

    to all..don’t you have better thing to do???? by post a comment in this forum, only make it realistic and open minded, we all are not a saint, we are just human with lots of limitation..come on no body perfect in this world…..stop judging other people,cause we are no better…

  23. Alfredo Says:

    These measures by St. Regis – (and by the brand which this hotel belongs to, Starwoods Hotels) are sanctioned not only by Indonesian labour law, but also by the International Covenant on Social and Economical Rights, articles 2 to 5, just to mention one. In addition, both European and American laws have clear restrictions for abusive measures, such as this “renaming of workers” would be considered to be.


    Hey Guys… As a balinese, i am proud everything about Bali and Indonesia as well, please people! open your mind! It’s just a small thing then people try to mix up our mind by take the culture of Bali in this matter. There’s nothing wrong on both sides and this matter, you may say everything as you want! People, do you realize? Actually it’s same like a sheep fighting when colonial did last time. And now you may see what’s up with spiritualman? so, Just keep your way in the right way and not to hurt each other!

  25. putu kusuma yudha, SH Says:


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