Unlike Jakarta that seems to be brimming with every luxury hotel brand opening a branch, Bogor had been on the lacking side with its luxury hotel options. Until in earlier 2016, when the much awaited Royal Tulip, the luxury brand of the international hotel group Louvre International, finally opened their first five star hotel to the public. We reached out to the General Manager of the hospital, no less, Mr. Mario Stanic, who was more than happy to introduce the new hotel that he currently manages.
Congratulations for the opening! Tell us a little bit yourself!
Thank you! My name is Mario Stanic, the General Manager of Royal Tulip Gunung Geulis, Bogor. I’ve been a hotelier for 30 years now. I grew up in Australia, went to hotel school there, and had my first job in Sydney. I had my first international job in Chile, Santiago, in 1994. I’ve been traveling around the world ever since, and Indonesia is my 12th country.
Is this your first time in Indonesia?
Actually, no. I was in Lombok last year until I moved to Bogor to as part of Royal Tulip Gunung Geulis’ pre-opening team since October last year, until it opened May this year. It has been a really exciting year.
How do you like Bogor so far?
I love it! It is 800 meters higher than Jakarta, so it is nice and cool, with fresh air and much less pollution. It rains a lot, with lots of beautiful scenery and green. And what I like about it too is if I want to get some city life, I’m one hour away (in the right time of the day!) from Jakarta where I can get great bars, restaurants, lots of good places to go. Bogor is a great location, I’m really enjoying it. For my villa to the office is like a two minutes commute.
Tell us a little bit about Royal Tulip.
Royal Tulip is part of an international group called Louvre International Hotels, the fifth largest hotel group in the world. We are the second largest group in Europe, which is where our base is. The company started with Golden Tulip in the 60s, and it started from there. We have just been acquired by a Chinese company, so we’re currently in a huge expansion program and planning to have our Asian head office in China soon.
Louvre International Indonesia started about 4 years ago with one hotel, and now we currently have 16 in Indonesia and our property is the first five star brand of the group in Indonesia. We opened officially on May the 9th this year, and since then have opened another Royal Tulip in Ubud about a month ago, and a third one is coming to Bali in October. The company plans to have 30 by next two to three years in Indonesia.
What’s your hotel’s positioning in Bogor/Jakarta market?
We are currently the only 5 star international hotel in Puncak-Bogor area, as currently there are only 2 international groups in the area, and we are the only international level 5 star.
Do you focus on golf leisure market?
Golf is not our primary, but definitely one of the markets we’d like to attract. Leisure market from Jakarta remains our main and biggest market. Having said that, our hotel is the only hotel where you can walk to one of the many golf courses in the area, in our case, the Gunung Geulis golf course, which has been there for more than 15 years and is one of the first golf courses in the area. It is definitely a unique selling point for us.
How do you like Jakarta?
Growing up in Sydney, I’ve always like the vibe of big cities. So I do love Jakarta and I like to go to its restaurants, bars, and clubs. You also have great shopping options, both Jakarta and Bali. I would love to visit more places in Indonesia, but I haven’t had the time.
You’ve spent your professional career going all over the world, what draws you to the business?
What I like about the hotel business is, never one day is the same. When I started, my first job was a bartender in Sydney. I loved it! I was 19 years old, I had a great time. I love the energy surrounding the business, the unpredictability. It’s very unique and different. It does have long hours, and you work on holidays, etc., so you really have to be passionate about it. And after 30 years, I am still passionate about it. It also affords me 30 years of traveling around the world!
Tips for a Bogor weekend getaway?
For people living in Jakarta especially, as I said before, Bogor is a perfect getaway for its weather, clean air, it is also very tranquil, and a place where you can do a lot of outdoor activity to relax and unwind. Our resort especially, we have a world class spa, steam room, pedicure and manicure facilities. Perfect for couples too. We have a jogging track, gym, and we’re planning to open up biking track. You obviously can play golf in 2 of the world class golf courses nearby. For children, we have a kid’s center, 3 different swimming pools. We also have great restaurant options that offer both authentic Indonesian food and western options.
For yourself, how do you like to unwind?
I like to travel if I have the time, go the movies, I like racket sports, squash and tennis, and on my days off, I like to come to Jakarta and try good restaurants and enjoy myself.
5 words to describe yourself?
Energetic, perfectionist (which can be good and bad thing!), friendly, passionate, and sporty.
What’s New Jakarta would like to thank Mario Stanic and his team for the interview. For more information about Royal Tulip Gunung Geulis, visit www.royaltulipgununggeulis.com