Its first foray into operating hotels paid off with the Mulia Senayan Jakarta where it currently ranks second (behind Mandarin Oriental) on Trip Advisor’s list covering 242 hotels in the capital. And while one can debate any ratings system, competition is fierce with a Four Seasons, two Ritz-Carltons, a Shangri-la, Grand Hyatt, Kempinksi, Luxury Collection’s new Keraton at the Plaza, The Dharmawangsa and others battling for online reviewer supremeness.
Having proven its mettle in the city hotel category, last December Mulia took its shot at one of the most competitive resort destinations in the World – Bali. While its branding may be somewhat confusing – there are actually three different hotels within the resort complex, all using the name Mulia – the results again are Premier League.
Mulia Villas are the most exclusive – the villa hotel within a hotel is currently ranked second by Trip Advisor out of 35 Nusa Dua area resorts. There are 108 stand-alone hillside villas in one bedroom, two bedroom and ‘family’ configurations with the Mulia Mansion and Presidential Villa at the top of the pecking order. Rates range from about $800 to $15,000. Design is sleek, modern and clean with Balinese woods and cream colors. Each villa has a resistance pool and bathrooms feature swimming pool size tubs and walk in showers big enough to have your own rice paddy.
The Mulia is an all suite oceanfront hotel with three levels of suites, the Marquees being top of the line. With 111 keys, a complex of pools lined by cabanas (there is no cost to guests) and wide hallways, one feels like they are in a small luxury hotel. Mulia Resort refers to the largest hotel of the three. For me it brings back memories of the destination megaresorts pioneered by the late Chris Hemmeter in Hawaii in the Eighties.
There is an extensive pool complex leading to the beach, a large gym and spa, ballrooms and spectacular outdoor space for large incentive groups, conferences and weddings. There are several top suites and suite categories among the 500 keys, and of course there is a multitude of restaurants.
The finishes at each property are top notch, however only guests at The Mulia and Mulia Villas have entrée to all three. Guests in the villas can use the more private pool and beach area of The Mulia for example. Of course for those that want to party there is a disco open until 3 am in the large resort.
The entire complex got top rating on the 2013 Conde Nast Traveler Hot List as “Best New Hotel in the World.” All three are part of Preferred Hotels & Resorts which itself has added several flagship properties with Nizuc in Riveria Maya, Mexico and the Salamander due to open later this summer outside of Washington D.C.