Bali’s MICE-oriented hotel on Legian injects playful touches unique to the island’s usual offerings.
BY SAMANTHA COOMBER
Positioned near Legian Beach and all the Kuta-Legian-Seminyak action, The Stones Legian Bali, a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel, offers over 3000 sqm of flexible MICE facilities. As the largest in the area accommodating up to 2200 delegates, it includes one of Bali’s largest pillar-less ballroom of 1493 sqm.
“Since The Stones opened December 2012, we’ve seen a healthy increase in MICE business, especially with our large capacity, state-of-the-art MICE facilities,” states director of sales and marketing, Pamela Ong. “We anticipate MICE to be on par with the increased leisure travel to Bali.”
308-room The Stones, a MICE-oriented hotel, is aware of the importance of focusing on MICE as a business segment “not only to boost room occupancy, but also contributing to F&B departments,” explains Ms Ong. “With increased flight frequencies from regional destinations to Bali, especially now from Singapore, this increases opportunities for MICE groups combined with expanding number of hotels opening with MICE facilities – contributing to Bali as a preferred MICE destination.”
“Currently our strongest markets are Australia, domestic Indonesia and Singapore; forward plans include participation in regional MICE tradeshows from emerging markets such as China – especially Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.”
The Stones defines itself by ‘less predictable stays’ and ‘unexpected delights’ and continually aims to offer something different for both MICE and leisure guests, invariably with unique, playful touches. “We strive to make every day a unique experience for our MICE guests, with a wow factor, getting away from usual island offerings,” says Ms Ong.Pre-booking, The Stones sends out a succinct online powerpoint presentation to stand out from competitors in both presentation and execution, making it easier for planners to choose from multiple venue options.
“In terms of helping event organisers to compile hotel reservations, we can custom-build a dedicated group website for delegates to book accommodation at negotiated conference rates,” states Ms Ong. “We provide a one-stop dedicated service assisting organisers from planning, vendor sourcing to the execution of events, taking away the hassle.”Utilising local knowledge, this can cover securing reservations at the island’s hippest restaurants to well-sourced delegate gifts, such as traditional Balinese souvenirs presented in a customised gift box with explanatory description.
On arrival, The Stones can offer airport transfers in vintage VW Kombi vans; once at the open-air marbled lobby, a separate tailor-made group check-in zone can be organised. Rather than standard welcome drinks, delegates receive a more refreshing three-flavoured popsicle.
Welcome receptions can be hosted beside the hotel’s 3000 sqm lagoon-style pool (which their three meeting rooms look out over), surrounded by an entertainment deck and three F&B venues; again customised, from cocktails and fresh oysters to dramatic fire dance performances. Delegate in-room “welcome surprises” include Bali Survival Kits or multi-coloured muffins at turndown. Inventive, tailor-made themed coffee breaks in the break-out area are also a Stones signature.
“With three to four day meetings, organised dinners and then home, delegates may not have much time to see Bali, thus within this important 20-30 minute window, we try to introduce the Balinese culture,” explains Ms Ong. Themes include artists from Ubud (Bali’s arts and crafts hub) recreating an artists’ studio (quirky touches include food served from decorated paint cans), or a kitchen or living room set-up.
Besides poolside terrace lunches, or Gourmet Express – The Stones’ hip alternative to room service – hotel food can be served from authentic mobile food carts. With “spirit to serve the community” as Marriott’s company culture, The Stones’ activity focus is corporate social responsibility, arranged with local orphanages or other charitable organisations.