Surely this must be the most blissful job in the world?!?!?! ☺
Waking up in the beautiful warmth, generally we are at the villa around 9am if you’re not an early bird (like me). The day starts with the guests having breakfast and the hostess wandering outside to have a casual chat about the days plans. Most of this would have been confirmed over a communal and very yummy Balinese banquet for dinner last night.
Generally in the morning everybody is VERY casual with no makeup and mainly wearing the sarongs we provide each guest. Even the guests who are early birds go for a walk to the beach, relax by the pool, stay in bed and read and just enjoy the blissfulness of having their own time to enjoy the surroundings. If they’re hungry early they help themselves to the freshly cut tropical fruits in the fridge and wait for our wonderful cook to come in at 9am for a cooked breakfast of banana pancakes, poached eggs with the works, omelettes, scrambled eggs… you get the idea. Personally I stick to our yummy fresh juices first thing and then have brunch at around 11am. Your agenda is your own.
Some of the yoga enthusiast guests are off to yoga at 7:30 or 8:30am but many only do this once or twice and choose different classes throughout the day for the rest of their stay. For the ones wanting their day started early they often hop on the back of Komangs scooter for the 3 minute ride around to Desa Seni or we arrange for our driver to come in earlier as facilitated from our conversations the night before.
Generally Ketut our driver arrives at the villa around 10am unless he is there earlier for yoga drop off and pickups. Not really much point coming before this as Bali shop owners seem to sleep in… or lets be honest, they have a lot of hindu or muslim practices to adhere to everyday, so I’d say this is probably the reason that shops open late … not to mention they also close late, from 8pm – 10pm.
More to the point, our guests enjoy choosing their own pace for the mornings which is often very restful. Relaxing or yogaing and then having a late breakfast it’s like the Sunday morning day off traditions of the West … and you get this everyday at Bliss. Except you’re working. For the guests it’s no specific agendas, just deep rest and whatever pace is your whim from moment to moment. Even for the hostess as a general rule. Late morning is also a great time for a swim in the beautiful sparkling pool, once all of the guests have been looked after.
Once the guests activities are sorted… and this gets harder and harder to ascertain in terms of what they would like to ‘do’ as their week goes on, the minutes morph into hours and deep rest starts to prevail… it is somehow already lunchtime. This you can leave to our amazing cooks who see to each guest. This is a great time for the hostess to tend to any emails, paperwork, do a quick room check after the cleaning has been done and of course keep me their manager up to date on the guests activities with a what’s happening email prior to 11am. As who knows, I often have just the right suggestion for the experience they would like for this part of their trip.
On the days when we have new guests arriving the hostess needs to oversee the room setup, check everything is in order and read through the guests booking form ready for their half an hour sit down chat. I love these initial chats with guests. It’s where we get to know them and find out more about the experience they would like to have. Guests often have lots of questions and we have a quick checklist to go through to ensure we’ve explained as much about the Bali and Bliss environment as we can to ensure they feel comfortable and have an idea how things run, so that we can facilitate the experience they would each individually like. This is also the time we let guests know about our personal boundaries (ie for me personally that means I’m not usually available until 9am or 10am depending on the amount of emails I have to tend to) and of course pointing out the areas that are a bit like a sound tunnel in the quiet of the morning so as not to wake anybody who may be sleeping in.
It’s all about having everybody in sync with the environment and each other as much as possible as only we can do in a boutique villa environment with only a handful of women at any one time.
The hostess presentation is so important when welcoming new guests and going out with guests on daytrips and for cocktails at Potato Head. Camilla Kaftans are the perfect adornment of the Bliss Hostess representing the Bliss brand and philosophies. Feminine, soft, colourful, vibrant, comfortable, sparkling and a little bit of poolside glamour … especially when worn with bare feet around the sanctuary like I do ☺ These are all attributes we also look for in our hostess so no matter what shape or size we are we show our true beauty.
I felt like I was writing that sentence for a 1950’s manual on how to be the perfectly relaxed woman, except that would have been for the sole purpose of your husband, not for a role of hostess for a sanctuary for women! How things have changed ☺
After we’ve met our new guest and shown them around, time permitting we get them on the massage table to help them transform from weary traveller to blissful guest. We then go and map out any parts of their agenda that need forward planning like booking Sami the healer, the eco bike tour and maybe a cooking class. And of course we’ve gone through any package requirements during the general sit down.
Meanwhile the other guests should be breezing their way through treatments, yoga, relaxing by the pool, reading, or maybe they’ll be out at specific activities. Although we try to work everybody around the one driver and their activities we are more than happy to organize extra transport where required. And although most guests would prefer our beautiful masseuses Wayan or Vera, if their schedule gets them in late we can always organize an extra masseuse to come in also.
Newsflash… and one of my favourite parts of being a hostess, where the masseuses have some spare time you can grab them for an hour and have a treatment in your room … Bali Massage, Thai Massage, Facial, body scrub, manicure or pedicure, reflexology. Take your pick. And we encourage you to see Sami the healer from time to time. All of these things are part of the Bliss Hostess experience and are very important in maintaining your own balance in the role. No woman can tend to the needs of others if she doesn’t look after her own. And it’s all about training and quality control
And any woman who doesn’t like massage need not apply! Lol.
For the couple of hours before dinner, or really from 3 – 7pm most guests are doing their thing and are happy to have some hostess free time prior to dinner. This allows the hostess time to Skype, catch up on paper work, speak with people from home, facebook, go out for a few hours with friends etc. Personally I usually have some quiet time and meditation … which often turns into a nana nap! Again it’s about balance. Very important!
In terms of managing the staff, this is not a difficult process. The staff know their duties and are great at what they do. It is the hostess role to help them connect with guests as this is what Bliss is all about. Micro management is an aspect of dealing with the staff, checking on dinner checking the rooms, double checking what a guest has requested was interpreted correctly, asking for this to be done and that to be done. All quietly and calmly as you go about your day. As hostess you will forge a personal relationship with all of the staff and I am sure you will have nothing but love for them as you find out all their quirky traits and hidden secrets. Your main role is to ensure they do their work with love and from their hearts.
Dinner is an awesome occasion of amazing Balinese food banquet style (the menu of which you would have written earlier based around every individuals food requirements) and fantastic company amongst like minded women. Everyone at Bliss is there to find their bliss and give back to themselves … including the hostess. So it is never difficult to find things in common. And this is also where we re visit the plans for the next day and make any changes or additions where necessary.
Mostly after dinner the guests go back to their rooms … it’s amazing how exhausting it is to laze by the pool in the sun, get massaged, do a bit of yoga … or not, and generally relax and be restful! For some women it is a novelty to watch a movie by themselves without kids or a husband who wont watch chick flicks ☺ Others are reading a good book (Fifty Shades of Grey is getting a good look in), or it’s a great time to think, meditate, write… or whatever guests need to do to find their bliss in this instance.
On the rare occasion some guests like to go out and have a drink, though most drinks are sundowners at the amazing potato head bar whilst watching the sunset before coming back for dinner. Depending on your energy levels as hostess you are not required to escort guests out at night, or during the day … though sometimes it is great fun and adds to your own experience. And on the odd occasion you need to go out on your own after dinner to meet friends which is fine too.
Sound blissful to you?
My aim as owner and founder of Bliss Sanctuary For Women is to find a community of like minded Bliss Hostesses who can be available from time to time to come and hostess at one of our sanctuaries (yes there is a big expansion plan on the horizon). As such we are looking at 3 – 12 month contracts for hostesses. Mainly we are looking for 12 month applications with a 3 month trial period as it literally takes that long to train you.
After a time where personal circumstances align with suitability for the role, a hostess may be offered a franchise opportunity. This is only valid whilst the person is hostessing in the role and taking ownership of their sanctuary.
Each Sanctuary is set up like its own mini business aligned and run according to the bliss philosophies and eventually these will be located all over the world.
I envisage that a lot of our hostesses will come from past guests who know and understand what we are all about. Our biggest challenge is finding women who have the freedom in their lives and no dependants, to be able to take on such a role. Not to mention the life experience and business acumen to handle it.
What we are offering in the immediate for each hostess is a change of lifestyle … to follow your bliss.
The remuneration package is based around creating an easy transition without any of the normal expat worries and considerations.
All of your local costs are taken care of whilst at the Sanctuary so every dollar you earn can essentially be saved. This won’t appeal to the women who are wanting to fast track their arrival into the millionaires club, but for those who need to follow their bliss for a while,… to give back by facilitating the experience of and helping to nurture other women, and get some space away from the fast pace of Western Society… it is a unique opportunity to find your bliss while helping others find theirs.
So what are the down sides I hear you ask?
Well that depends on each individual…
Some see a 24/7 role surrounded by women, a prison, while others see it as a blessing and opportunity. Not to mention living in a beautiful sanctuary in the warmth and peacefulness of Bali.
Some see moving overseas on your own as madness while others look at it as empowering and brave and something they would be blessed to try.
Some see a relatively small monetary remuneration whilst others see a fantastic opportunity within a safe and supportive environment with no expenditures or outlay.
Some see an end goal whilst others are able to live in the moment.
Some find being open and honest in a healing environment with other women a huge personal challenge, whilst others look to grow and become better people and seek such an opportunity.
Some keep getting sick because they may not be living life authentically and are pushing to the side something they need to face up to and change in their life.
Some get caught up with socialising with guests and start to resent needing to do reports, followup emails, be responsible for the budget, while others realise this is a job and if you open your heart and mind to being mentored by me it will be an amazing opportunity to grow in the role… as I kind of know what I’m talking about
Some really struggle opening themselves up to a boss who lives elsewhere and is mainly contactable via Email, Viber and Skype while others easily navigate the written word and find support when picking up a phone.
Some know that our only true purpose and blessings come from giving back somehow, whilst others still seek only what they can gain from every situation.
This is not just a job.
This is an interim lifestyle offering you an opportunity to step away from the world you know and seek a new perspective. You will grow, you will be challenged, you will always look back at this as a time that changed your life.
Your self esteem will sky rocket by putting your own needs first whilst at the same time somehow putting others first. This role is magical like that. You will get the experience you need at this time in your life as will those around you.
So it is up to you.
How do you see life and each opportunity?
Is this a door you want to knock on and ultimately walk through?
What is your bliss and how will you find it?
This role isn’t for everyone, but for the right women who take on the challenge with an open heart, empathy, humility and willingness, it will be amazing!
Much Love, Zoe xx