The Pan Pacific Nirwana
The Pan Pacific Nirwana was an iconic hotel in Bali for a very long time. 20 years of serving customers and over 3 million guests, 1000 weddings it will be sad for this gem to be demolished. When the resort opened some 20 years ago it was Bali’s first integrated resort. Integrated resort means there is residential and a resort under the same roof. The management banner has changed throughout this time but the charm has remained.
The resort sits on Bali’s west coast where the vast majority of the tourist activity is further south in Seminyak and around Kuta. Recently the eastern coast has become popular and now nearly every hotel brand you can think of has a hotel/resort on the island of Bali. Whilst being governed by Indonesia the Balinese are very different people to Indonesians and different approaches should be sort. Bali therefore has some interesting sensitivities.
The Balinese have a deep spirituality and part of their spirituality is taking care of the land and its habitants. The grounds of the Pan Pacific Nirwana was home to many temples and the view of the nearby Tanah Lot Temple make for breathtaking views and blissful sunsets behind the temple. The resort was home to a multi-award winning Greg Norman 18 hole golf course.
Nirwana Bali has closed
The doors closed at the end of July to make way for an ‘ultra-luxury Trump 6 star resort’ PT MNC Tbk are the Jakarta based owners of the resort who have made the announcement of the joint venture. This will be the first trump resort in Bali and only the second in Asia.
With 103 hectares of natural landscape along the south coast it is easy to understand why the interest from such a prominent hotel brand. There is conflicting information and like most things in Asia the ‘truth’ may not be revealed until much later. There is talk that the development intend to buy some of the nearby rice fields to create more space. According to the property owners, Greg Norman is coming back to redevelop the golf course and there will be a collection of exclusive villa and mansions,
Controversially the building plans have created some debate. A Trump style tower would not go done well in Bali. On the Indonesian resort island of Bali, building heights are measured by coconut trees. Anything taller could anger the Gods the Hindu locals believe inhabit the island.
Therefore plans to build a Trump tower overlooking a 16th-century temple and turn with upgraded and expanded golf course, are causing some angst. The Balinese are gentle people and are not good at speaking up. The sacredness of the temple is of large concern to them. The Tanah Lot Temple is a UNESCO listed World Heritage site. Furthermore a golf course is not a tower. Neither is it a forest or nature so conflicts with the philosophy of the sacredness of the temple.
3,000 people losing their jobs in an area where there are no neighbouring resort creates concern for their welfare. With the additional purchase of more land, local farmers will also be forced to sell and move. They may have to settle in areas where they may not find land of the same fertility and size. This is turn will compromise their ability to support their families.
With some issues ahead of them it will be interesting to see what the end result is. I have never before stayed at a resort that despite having so many people at one time you could find areas and places of privacy. The pool being split over four levels was an ingenious design with varying levels for age groups and demographic. The gardens blended beautifully with the pool area, the resort and the golf course. Especially relevant will be the ability to create such beauty and ambiance again.
Once the design has been finalised and agreed, the past guests will all have a vested interest to see what was agreed. It will be interesting to see what an Indonesian tycoon can manage to develop with Trump as his partner. To loose the magic of those views and the warmness offered to all the guests would be heartbreaking to those with fond memories of this iconic resort. Exclusive villas and mansions are great but you don’t want to lose the magic to gain that. Family travel is a special time creating lovely memories to have always. Whilst the Nirwana Bali may be gone consequently the memories will always be with us.