Interview with Mr. Randy Shimabuku,
General Manager of Four Seasons Resorts Bali
Showcasing Bali at its authentic best, Four Seasons offers two distinct experiences. The iconic all-villa beach retreat of Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay cascades down 14 hectares of hilly headland and tropical water gardens adorned with hundreds of statues and shrines, to the sparkling Indian Ocean. Signature experiences include onsite Cooking Academy, a curative journey at The Healing Village Spa, surfing tours with Tropicsurf, and all-day dining and beach club at Sundara. In the central highlands near Ubud, Four Seasons Sayan invites you to an intimate hideaway nestled between two rivers. Entrance to this architectural icon is via a footbridge high above the treetops, which brings you to a stunning rooftop lobby pond to start your descent into paradise. Retreat from the world in spacious suites and private villas submerged in the jungle and embark on a culinary journey at Sokasi cooking school. Visit Sacred River Spa for chakra-rebalancing treatments, meet the resident Wellness Mentor for meditation and a Sacred Nap, and take a private rafting journey down the Ayung River.
Recently, Mr. Randy Shimabuku has been appointed General Manager of Four Seasons Resorts Bali, taking leadership of the two iconic resorts at Jimbaran Bay and Sayan at a critical time as Bali reopens to the world. The appointment marks an exciting new chapter as the Bali resorts unveil a brand new spa, new culinary team and immersive experiences that showcase the island’s vibrant culture and diverse landscapes.
“As a leader, you have to be inspired and enriched in order to enrich others,” says Randy. “There’s so much inspiration in Bali, I feel like a kid again. I want to soak it all in and learn about their culture, their foods, their traditions – that sense of community is as important to our company culture as it is to the guest experience.”
A member of the ‘Three Continents Club’ – having worked across North America, Africa and Asia at nine properties in his 34 years-and-counting with Four Seasons – Randy’s credentials are impressive. His journey with Four Seasons has taken him from Toronto to Tokyo, Beverly Hills to Kuala Lumpur, and to more than his share of crises including not one but two revolutions during his eight years as General Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence. Most recently, he was the host-extraordinaire as General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa, where he oversaw major renovations and led the team to stellar results in guest service and employee satisfaction.
“Coming from Hawaii, the ‘Island Mentality’ is very deep in my DNA. Being more aware of myself and open to learning as much as teaching, is the only way to truly maximize my exposure to everything a new destination has to offer,” said Randy Shimabuku. SpaChina interviewed him.
How do you see worldwide travel trends now, especially after Covid?
With Bali reopening to the world, guests are seeking longer stays, private activities and wellness offerings throughout every element of their resort stay, from the food menus to in-room amenities and of course deeply nurturing treatments at the Spa.
At The Healing Village Spa, the average duration of our treatments has increased by over 50%, as guests are now wanting more than just a massage. They are adding on body treatments like scrubs and wraps, crystal and colour therapy, sound healing meditation, facials, and packages combined with yoga, culture and culinary offerings. To cater for this, we have launched a number of new packages such as our Spa and Afternoon Tea package, and the Tennis, Spa and Breakfast Package on our grandslam quality hard court.
I’ve heard people call it revenge spending – they are making up for lost time and putting their wellbeing as their top priority, both at home and when travelling.
We know Four Seasons always provides strong availability and accessibility to a wide range of wellness professionals and practitioners, including ones offering holistic and alternative modalities. What about Four Seasons Bali?
We are thrilled to be reviving our International Visiting Practitioners program at our two spas in Bali starting this July, following the opening of Indonesia’s borders. World-leading experts such as energy healer Rashdy Ahmad, psychic medium Marco Della Vaile, shaman energy healer Marianna Jacobs, and world-renowned astrologer Debbie Frank will be available exclusively for guests of Four Seasons Resorts Bali. This program enhances our weekly wellness program and complements the traditional Balinese healers and therapists who we partner with.
What are the highlights in terms of the “sustainable” concept for Four Seasons Bali? Do you have any substantial sustainability policies and practices?
Four Seasons Resorts Bali has a very stringent and robust sustainability program, as part of our commitment to minimize our impact on the environment. Beyond waste management programs which have been established since the resort’s opening, we have continued to innovate in the area of sustainability and have created experiences for guests to get involved directly at the resort. We have our own water purification plant to supply drinking water in all guest rooms, and we are now offering guests the opportunity to tour Bali with the island’s first electric cars. Our traditional architecture also reflects sustainable design principles, and our Telu bar (opened in 2021) is made 100% from upcycled materials, salvaged and repurposed to create a vibrant new venue where our bartenders lead sustainable cocktail workshops for guests.
In what ways does Four Seasons Bali consider the quality-of-life for locals who benefit from tourism, the creation of jobs within the industry, and the creation of a market for locally-made products and services? Could you share some of these with us?
There is no understating the important role that tourism plays on the local economy, and on the livelihoods of Balinese people through investment, employment and locally-sourced goods and services. We prioritise local sourcing for the majority of our Food & Beverage operations as well as room amenities and building amenities. During the Covid-imposed border closure, we are proud to say we did not let any of our local staff go. Some staff who had been with us since the resort’s opening chose to take voluntary retirement on full benefits; their loyalty is greatly appreciated and we recognize that and returned that loyalty in full. We are truly a business powered by people, and nothing is more rewarding than seeing our staff and the communities in which we operate, develop and grow with us.
Another example of this is our ongoing outreach program with breast cancer survivors from the Bali Pink Fighters, a support group of the Pink Ribbon Foundation. Our Spa therapists have completed specialist training accredited by the Standards Authority for Touch in Cancer Care, and use bespoke oils to soothe dry or radiation-irritated skin, release scar tissue and provide lymph support. The groundbreaking treatment is available for anyone, at any time during their cancer journey, and is as much about emotional nurturing as physical and mental. We provide complimentary Cancer Care Massages and yoga classes to women from the Bali Pink Fighters, as part of our support of the local community.
How important are natural assets important for the wellness destinations?
The connection between nature and wellness is extremely important for all of us, and is intrinsic to Balinese culture and the wellbeing experiences we offer at both resorts. Whether it’s a spa treatment on the edge of Jimbaran Bay to the soundtrack of the ocean, or a Sacred Nap amidst the rice fields at Sayan where you are rocked to sleep like a baby by Ibu Fera while listening to the songbirds – the beauty and power of nature offers a sensory immersion that is incredible soothing and healing. It’s the foundation for every aspect of our resorts, from the indoor-outdoor architecture to the spa and dining experiences, and local cultural discoveries.
Please recommend some wellness and sustainable packages to our readers for each of these two Four Seasons Resorts.
At Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, the 3-day wellness package Elevated By Energy celebrates the launch of the Healing Village Spa, and aims to detoxify and invigorate from head to toe, using age-old Balinese rituals and revolutionary thermotherapy. At Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, the 4-day wellness package Guided By Gratitude has been curated by resident wellness mentor and former Buddhist nun, Ibu Fera, and is for anyone who needs time out to restore inner peace and strength, and rediscover gratitude for the simple things in life.