Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Dino Magnatta fell deeply in love with the Balinese people, culture, religion and spiritual beliefs throughout his business ventures and travel here over the past 22 years. In 2019, he began searching for a remote location that can re-enact the divine tranquility of Ubud; river, jungle and rice fields to build his own ‘dream house’. What once planned to be a personal project turns into a prestigious business with noble cause, as Mr. Dino then decided to establish a gorgeous, sustainable resort, and Ulaman Resort was born. Hellobali get the chance to speak with the man himself about his amazing property; concept, future plan and whatnot. Check them out below!
1. What’s the main philosophy behind Ulaman’s gorgeous namesake? Like where the name comes from? What do you wish to convey through the resort in term of architectural concept?
Ulaman is the name of our river and waterfalls and in Balinese means ‘ plenty of fish’ Ulam = fish. I feel and always wanted the Architecture to flow fluidly with the natural hillside landscape which descends towards the jungle waterfalls and I feel that Charlie Hearn from Inspiral Architects achieved our vision together with the flowing rooflines that wave together in harmony like a waterfalls in itself. It was important to me that the architecture of the house and houses were made predominantly out of bamboo and only that natural sustainable building material can yield such spectacular free flowing curvaceous roof lines. Charlie also introduced me the idea to utilizes aggregates materials from our actual property like mud from our local soil and using rammed earth for all the walls.
2. Define ‘Eco Retreat’ according to you; and how would you imply that through Ulaman Bali?
I feel that Eco retreat is a ‘getaway’ and an ‘eco retreat’ is one that is an ecologically conscious escape away in a type of ‘lodge’ style accommodation, however I’d like to expand that term to “Luxury Eco retreat” which I feel represents Ulaman more precisely. There are a few eco lodges and retreats here in Bali and also those that have built their houses in nature using bamboo as their main materials used in construction and even all their furniture in bamboo. I feel it’s a much bigger challenge to be able to successfully ‘marry’ Eco with Luxury graciously where you can still support that ‘eco-conscious living’ without having to compromise the luxury service and comforts during your vacation stay away. I don’t feel many have successfully achieved this in Bali and the World for that matter!
3. Why did you choose Tabanan to establish Ulaman Bali?
What do you think about the region’s tourism potential in the future? I feel Tabanan is still a region that is yet to be discovered and has a lot of natural beauty such as beaches, rivers, rice paddies and hidden gems like my waterfall property here. I chose this specific location here in Tabanan mainly because of the waterfalls and it’s proximity to Canggu and nearby Ubud; I always preferred that jungle river waterfall feel which is what Bali always meant to me, and now I could bring that ‘uptown’ Ubud to ‘downtown’ Canggu. I feel that Tabanan as an area is too vast and needs to be broken down into smaller areas as Canggu does and eventually did
4. What’s the main goal of Ulaman in term of sustainability? In what way did the resort give back to local community?
Ulaman uses all local products on our menu including vegetables, meats and fish. We use local services like transportation, green laundry and recycling and garbage removal. We have met with our local laundry company and have worked with them to ‘go green’ . All our custom plate wear are from a small local pottery producer. We have hired all local staff including from the nearby villages and have collaborated and developed tour activities for our guests like cycling, trekking and local cultural tours with the local village of Nyambu.
5. Can you explain more about Ulaman’s ‘Eco Commitment’ initiative?
We reduce waste, composte our kitchen waste and have our own gardens with herbs and vegetables. We minimize disposable plastic usage throughout our resort. We use solar power for all our hot water usage and plan to be ‘off the grid’ and power our entire resort with our custom designed and built water turbine system. During our past and now current build for phase 2 we have managed to keep most of the original full grown trees in tact
6. In term of COVID-19, what are the measure or protocol commenced by Ulaman to ensure the safety of all the guest and staff?
We have always followed the standard government related protocols including the most recent which is to post Covid 19 house rules and regulations throughout our property; we test everybody’s temperature at check in, have hand sanitizer in all public areas and all staff wear masks at all times. We spray all hand rails and door nobs and common hand touched areas on a regular basis.
7. Will we see the resort expanded to another region in Bali (or beyond) in near future?
Well…we will start by expanding Ulaman into phase 2 across the river which will expand into a large restaurant and deck sitting area, a larger spa complex with sauna, steam rooms, hot and cold plunge pools and 4 ‘hobbit style’ spa rooms, 8 more floating lake side guest villas and a honeymoon suite villa for boutique weddings (and mostly my house) otherwise in other regions in Bali? One never knows! However no immediate plans at the moment.