A step in the right direction in Bali 

The Apurva Kempinski Bali

Are resort grown micro herbs on my meal and some fish food golf balls going to change the world?  Let me tell you how.  Like all of the young people I meet these days, particularly the two I regularly travel with, there is a courage and confidence to take the steps required to make change and while those steps may be small, sooner or later you look back and all those small steps have got you a long way.

I must admit to a fascination with sustainability in travel.  I’m aware that any overseas travel is a luxury and a privilege.  It’s also an expense not just to me but to the planet.

The best I can do now is make decisions that are less harmful, offset the damage and at least show a resolve for making a difference.  And listen to my kids.

So, travelling on a jet plane to another country is difficult when it comes to reconciling sustainability issues.  The only way most airlines can contribute to sustainable travel is through offsetting programs, like planting trees to offset emissions of the fuel they are burning and as my next generation of adults (who are my two children) keep telling me, “Offsetting is off trend.” 

Travelling on Air Asia for a recent Bali bound adventure I was read their ‘Guide to Aviation Sustainability’ and how collaboration with their stakeholders – including passengers’ input – is developing ideas that progress decarbonisation and green operating procedures that look to do more than offset.

The spectrum of change being undertaken by Air Asia ranges from the ease of which you can eliminate plastic packaging for infight meals and cutlery to the complexities around introducing biofuels and sustainably produced and reuse of tyres.

Our steps must start somewhere and as we all remember the first steps our children took, we know that every step represents achievement and growth and that’s why we celebrate the steps we take, no matter how small they seem in the face of the problems ahead of us.

As my family arrive in Bali, it’s clearly about making some decisions that support culture and sustainability while accepting that our five-star resort is going to provide everything we need for a luxurious family escape – but – just like a jet airliner, needs to think about waste and use of energy. 

The Apurva Kempinski Bali is a spectacular resort that exceeds what a perfect resort looks like when you close your eyes and imagine a glorious resort escape.

This is the postcard perfect resort you come to when you realise you deserve the best from your holiday time and perhaps time spent with those you love the most.

This is the resort you come to for private relaxation in spacious suites with private pools or participation in activities ranging from whacking fish food golf balls into the sea to sipping sophisticated cocktails as you listen to the tinkling of a grand piano amid a graffiti artists studio.

Arriving at Ngurah Rai Airport and negotiating the new passport scanners, we’re quickly into our resort car (two of which are electric and available to take guests to local attractions) and cool towels are distributed for sweaty necks and then best of all, a cool glass of jamu. 

More than a tonic, jamu is traditional Indonesian medicine full of natural ingredients. 

While I like jamu I know I don’t understand jamu.  At my request, we undertake a jamu class at Apurva Kempinski and sample our way through this heritage beverage.  With the benefit of tasting, I can tell you that my jamu studies took in five samples, from the antioxidant rich Sinom to the sweet and stamina producing Beras Kencur with its strong notes of pandan.  Am I sounding like a jamu barista now? I loved seeing how lemongrass, ginger and tamarind, betel leaf and lime juice and other wonderful ingredients can be used to boost immunity, lower cholesterol, increase stamina and so much more.

Perhaps demonstrating just how much stamina enhancing jamu he has each morning is general manager Vincent Guironnet who is by far the most engaged resort boss I have ever known.  I don’t know how many times I bumped into him throughout the day and into the night. He’s always on his way to check out something else in the resort and he wants to make sure everything is just right. I also know he’s an emerging saxophonist so I’m looking forward to his debut gig in 2025 when he will take a corner in L’Atelier, the Kempinski’s new roof top bar that is also the workspace for the amazing French graffiti artist Cyril Kongo. 

When the Apurva Kempinski opened about five or so years ago, sustainability through preserving culture, empowering the local community, protecting the environment and prospering through finding ways to recycle, repurpose and reuse was already seen as the way the resort would define itself to the local community and to its guests.  

I’m here to find relaxing joy with my family through luxury accommodation and the finest restaurants that include Michelin star chefs and massive aquariums but having a meeting with the Apurva Kempinski team, touring the rooftop and exploring the vegetables and herbs that will be used in the meals for my family was inspirational.  

Exploring the resort commitment to sustainability is an opportunity available to any guest who is thinking about a travel future that delivers the highest quality in luxury products and services but does so by taking steps in a direction that leads towards an environment and society that is strong and healthy.

We need to take steps to make sure we can continue to explore the world. Our steps should still be allowed to be on beautiful distant shores with funky bars, private pools and brilliant food. I think our steps just need to carry the weight of responsibility and thought about how we can make a difference and how a difference is being made by who we travel with and stay with.

I’ve made my choice and I’m happy with the steps I’m learning to take. 

Apurva Kempinski has become the first Global Sustainable Tourism Council certified hotel in Indonesia.