Falling in Love with Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort & Spa
Muhamad Munir, General Manager of Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort & Spa, has served in the hospitality industry for 19 years. His future mission is to make Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort & Spa the number one resort in Yogyakarta. Grace Solarbesain
How long have you been at Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort & Spa?
I first stepped into Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta on July 15, 2008. Until now, I am still standing here as the humble GM for all associates.
What attracted you to Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort & Spa?
I fell in love with it. Number one, because Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta is the only resort from the Starwood Hotels & Resorts group in Yogyakarta, the city of hospitality. Number two, the resort has something that everyone finds jaw-dropping. The resort occupies a 5.6 hectare site, BRaY. Mooryati Soedibyo decided not to demolish a hill but used it to add to the character. That is how we got our lobby on the 7th floor with the rooms below, and also an uphill entrance. The resort concept was also away from city noises, even though it is only five minutes away from the airport. With a strong foundation based on culture and heritage (BRaY Mooryati Soedibyo is a direct decendant of Sultan Pakubuwono X, from the Surakarta Palace), this resort has always looked like a royal palace. It is authentic: take a look at all the details, plus its focus on heritage and conservation.
After many years in Yogyakarta, How would you describe Yogyakarta hospitality?
If I may so, Yogyakarta is the heart of hospitality. Literally, it comes from everyone around, and is not just limited to the hotelier and hospitality people. Yogyakarta people serve from the heart. That is why it feels so warm and secure, because everybody here just likes to “take care of you”.
How does Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort & Spa differentiate itself from other hotels in Yogyakarta in the same five-star luxury category?
I would say a lot! I could list the differences to make it easier for anyone to understand. First of all, we are a proud Starwood property. With its international chain well established and trusted, who could ask for more?
It has a very complete facilities for five-star resort, more than most other hotels in this category. All rooms have a bathtub and private balcony. It is closest to the airport and its security systems and procedures are audited every year. The business facilities are ideal for MICE clients and there is complimentary internet access in rooms and public areas also Link @Sheraton facilities. There are seven meeting rooms and a large, pillarless ballroom that can be partitioned into seven smaller rooms. There are two shuttles to Jl. Malioboro and a drop-off service to Prambanan. The car park can accommodate 280 cars and up to 50 buses. The brand-new Ganesha Ek Sanskriti Indian Restaurant & Bar is becoming a big hit for F&B lovers and the Indian community in Yogyakarta and its surroundings. No wonder, because the authentic taste comes from the executive chef from North India.
What are you trying to achieve in 2014?
Increased revenue. Creating distinctive programs based on culture and heritage. Having more international weddings. We could make Yogyakarta one of the best wedding destinations after Bali. I also aim to win awards, local and international, this year. We were officially nominated in the World Luxury Hotel Awards 2014 in three categories. Also, I am planning to open 14 more meeting rooms at the main building to cater for the high-demand from the MICE sector.
How would you describe your general manager journey?
Challenging and extraordinary! I always keep in high spirits whereever I go and enjoy the journey. Life is a learning process and I never stop learning from everybody I have met and am about to meet in the future.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Meeting so many people and harmonizing every single obstacle as part of the work of the team. Being a leader of a team is always a pleasure to me; aspiring and inspiring people at the same time.
If you could do anything, what would be your dream job?
(laughs) Ummmm … I would like to be the owner of a hospitality property or the CEO of an international hospitality industry brand – a leader of leaders.
Who or what inspires you every day?
Allah SWT and Nabi Muhammad SAW. Then, mom, dad, wife and daughter and my great team where I work and collaborate with every day. I could not thank them more for who I am right now.
Where is your favorite destination to spend your holiday? Why?
I have no specific spot or city. But the most important is, it has to be Indonesia. I go abroad only for business matters. Holiday at our own ‘home’ is always a lovely journey. I love hills, mountains and beaches. Nature calls me every time I get a chance for a holiday. Also, playing golf, if available at the site. It’s a must-do activity.
What is your favorite restaurant in Yogyakarta? and why!
Right now, I am going to say ‘Ganesha Ek Sanskriti’. From the food taste, interior design to their warmest service, UNBEATABLE!
If you were to invite any famous person to the Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort & Spa who would they be and what would you recommend about your hotel?
We invite Miss Universe winners every year to experience Yogyakarta, so, I think there is no need to ask an ‘if’ question (laughs). I would be eager to ask US President Obama and his family to enjoy our resort. I would take him to know more about Yogyakarta’s heritage, taste the local food, wear traditional attire, make handicraft like wayang or ceramics and I would let him experience our best spa treatment at the well-known Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa.
What legacy would you want to leave behind?
I want to be the best leader to every single associate I’ve ever worked with. A leader with an ‘A++’ attitude, high spirits, dedication but a down-to-earth person.
Last question: Anything you would like guests to know about Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta Resort & Spa?
I want everyone to know about its pure culture stay-experience and the heritage points of every single corner of Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta building. Also, the benefits of becoming a member of SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest), which may be enjoyed at all Starwood properties. I think that would be enough to make anybody come back a hundred times.