With careful attention to taste, quality and service, Jimmy Gunawan creates his own version of opulence.
Success can come from a combination of many different things. For Jimmy, success comes from hard work and a match made in heaven. It started with his wife, Michelle Tanaya, whose father owned a small compound of villas in Kuta called Villa de Daun which, at that time, functioned mainly as a holiday home for the family. In 2005, Michelle was asked whether she was interested in running the property. It wasn’t a small responsibility, but the couple took it in stride and studied as much as they could, visiting successful hotels, spas, restaurants, while running the day-to-day maintenance and making all the necessary renovations.
Villa de Daun became the first property with many more to follow. Finding themselves working very well together and reaping success with Villa de Daun, the couple opened DaLa Spa in 2007, an award-winning rejuvenating space with old Indonesian rituals. Tanaya Bed & Breakfast was opened in Kuta the following year, aimed at smart travelers seeking comfort and affordable but stylish accommodation.
By 2010, the experience welled up into an inspiration to create something from scratch. It materialized into an ideal hotel in their minds, a unique version of opulence that can relate to all guests. Again, the husband and wife gave all their hard work and took their respective roles to tackle all the challenges. “I take care of the big picture, from the construction, finances, sales to marketing and my wife works out all the details, from the interior to furnishing,” Jimmy said. “And finally, Alaya Ubud was born.”
Designed by a famous resort architect, Grounds Kent Architect, Alaya Ubud sits among the charming rice fields and natural landscape, with 60 luxurious suites, statement swimming pool, a traditional bar, Petani Restaurant and DaLa Spa. What makes Alaya different is its authentic Indonesian luxury feel. Aside from the signature hospitality, local materials are widely used in all elements of the villa. Bamboo and farmer’s hat, for example, are integrated in such ways that it feels far from cheap. It also helped create the rustic Indonesian ambiance popular among the guests, especially foreigners. “What we want is simple: for Alaya to become the new standard. When people think of luxury, they think of Alaya first and foremost. When they seek Indonesian experience, Alaya comes to mind right away,” Jimmy explained.
To bring all of their properties under one collective management, AIM Hospitality was finally established, with Alaya Kuta and Tan’s Bakery & Pastry being the recent additions in their continuously growing portfolio. In the near future, AIM Hospitality has plans for a new restaurant and a retail center, both with Indonesian elements in mind. Local artists and designers will be invited to fill the retail center, allowing the visitors to take a piece of Indonesia back home. An extension is also in plan for Alaya Resort Ubud along with a third Alaya property. For investors and developers, AIM Hospitality is currently open for new opportunities and partnerships.