A name synonymous with luxury, Alila Hotels and Resorts has changed the landscape of Indonesia with its stylish boutique properties. Staying true to its name, it is not their beautifully design properties but its philosophies in doing business that “surprises” us. Deeply rooted in the concept of sustainable tourism, Alila’s vision aims to link natural conservation, community and commerce within its framework. It has embarked on a give-back program with the community in which they operate from, pledging a donation to local causes with a booking. Alila also involves guests where they can, offering them the opportunity to support a local community cause during their stay. Its emphasis on giving back from where they take from has contributed to the success of not only their properties but also the communities that they work with. Alila also places importance on “going local”; be it with their staff or the product and services used, ensuring that the economic rewards are redistributed back to its community.
With a population of over 10 million, Jakarta is the most populous city in Southeast Asia and one of its fastest growing. What started as a trading port under the Portuguese and then the Dutch, Jakarta was made the capital city of Indonesia post-independence. Its name, while testament to the struggles and tumultuous history of the city, has its Sanskrit roots in “Victory” and its people and landscape personify this. With over a dozen districts carved out, from the posh Menteng to the bohemian Kemang, each district is a city in itself. Perhaps, that is why Jakarta remains as the destination of choice for expatriates and Indonesians alike, all wanting a piece of this metropolis affectionately known as the “Big Durian”, Indonesia’s very own version of New York.
Here, we speak to head honchos, Eric Faivre (EF) and Carter Crites (CC), of Alila’s signature properties in the heart of Jakarta districts; where it maintains its unique brand of hospitality through Alila Jakarta and Kemang Icon.
1. Both of you are not native to Indonesia, what are your backgrounds in the hospitality industry and what made you decide to take up your role at Alila and more specifically, in Jakarta?
EF: I graduated from Ecole Hoteliere de Strasbourg, France and built my carrier in hospitality all over the world (London, Moscow, Beijing, Chicago, Bangkok and Chiang Mai) for Peninsula Hotels and GHM, after being involved in restaurant openings for the Conran Group in London and 3 Michelin Star Restaurant “Le Crocodile” in my home town Strasbourg. I was attracted by Jakarta because it is an exciting city to work in. It has high energy and it is evolving rapidly in terms of lifestyle, fashion, restaurants, bars and clubs. I was very keen to come and work for Alila because of the strong reputation of the brand as well as the quality and passion of the management.
CC: While attending the Conrad Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the Univeristy of Houston , I started my career in hospitality in Indonesia for Amanresorts, firstly at Amanusa in Bali and then Amanjiwo in Central Java. After my stint in Indonesia I returned to the United States and to the sole American Amanresorts property at the time, Amangani in Jackson Hole Wyoming. During this time and after this time I was involved in a partnership for a restaurant/live music venue opening in my home town of Austin, Texas afterwhich I moved to New York City and Los Angeles to work for Morgans Hotel Group.
I had always wanted to return to Asia and in particular Indonesia. Alila always held an interest for me because of the diversity of its portfolio and uniqueness of each property. Jakarta piqued my interest because of its growth on the international scene in terms of the arts and the burgeoning restaurant and nightlife scene.