Ronald Akili is the founder of Desa Potato Head — to sum it up, it’s a lifestyle brand, a sustainable movement, a vibey beach club, a foodie destination, and a five-star hotel all rolled into one. Now that’s a mix.
Located in Seminyak, Bali, Potato Head has carefully carved out a creative village; here, there’s an acute attention to design detail with Brutalist architecture that sits alongside peaceful green spaces.
As well as architecture, there are other forms of creativity, such as thought-provoking art installations highlighting marine pollution and ‘The Womb,’ a bamboo arch on entry that leads past recycled art forms and a DJ booth, perfectly setting the tone.
Talking of music, that’s a major draw of Potato Head with something for everyone — for good times and excellent views across the ocean, the beach club is the place to be. But there are other spaces to suit your mood, including eksotika, a gallery-meets-studio space with cool vinyl records, and a central amphitheater that hosts modern, experimental and cultural performances. There’s also hedonism, a monthly weekend of multi-sensory experiences from music sessions to sustainability workshops and meditations, as well as digital streaming via HEADSTREAM, that connects people with music and discussion.
Going hand-in-hand with creativity is the wellness element, and there’s plenty of that on offer, too, with a dedicated Sanctuary that hosts an array of sessions from an immersive light, sound, and vibration experience to breathwork and sound healing. There is also yoga, athletic training, workouts (for adults and kids) and a 24-hour gym for those who want to be active.
Last but not least, sustainability and social responsibility are at the very heart of Potato Head, with a care for people and the planet that is so tightly woven into everything it is and everything it offers — from the reused materials that form the hotel structure and furniture, through to recycling masterclasses. The cuisine is a merge of creativity, sustainability and social responsibility, too, making use of organic, locally sourced ingredients to support neighboring communities. Cue Ijen, “a nothing left over experience,” the plant-based Tanaman, designed for those who want a showstopping nine-course tasting menu in a stylized neon setting, Kaum, an authentic eatery that serves up Indonesian, generational recipes and the Beach Club with classic hits.
Ronald Akili, the founder of Potato Head, tells us more about the hotel, from its sustainable ethos to sunsets.
Hospitality: Our team comprises the sweetest, most welcoming staff who epitomizes warm Balinese hospitality. Without exception, guests can expect genuine smiles from the landscaper to the servers and directors.
Sustainability: We don’t just talk about sustainability; we put it front and center at our Sweet Potato Lab, an open-air R&D workshop where anyone is invited to wander, learn and explore how we turn plastic and Styrofoam waste into beautiful design objects and furniture. Instead of keeping our findings to ourselves, we share everything with neighbors and hotels in our community, so we might all reduce our environmental impact and create a circular future together. And it’s never too early to teach the next generation to care for our planet, so among a constant stream of activities, we offer Sweet Potato Kids workshops on Sundays that get little ones engaged with sustainability in a fun way, such as making bracelets with recycled plastic beads, boats out of coconut shells and drawing with seeds.
Art: As we present it, art is another vehicle for change. We are constantly working with artists worldwide—including Liina Klauss and Nano Uhero—who build installations for our campus that use waste and renewable materials in amazingly creative ways. We frequently host art activations and add new works to our collection. The multi-functional Studio Eksotika holds our beautifully curated art, design and culture-focused library and co-working space, too.
Architecture and design: We have the chance to work with incredibly talented architects to design our hotel, which offers a distinctive experience full of soul. Andra Matin created an ode to artisanal Indonesian craftsmanship and handmade texture in Potato Head Suites. At the same time, Rem Koolhaas’ OMA innovated the future of regenerative design as it meets tropical brutalism in Potato Head Studios.
Cuisine: Though each is wildly unique, one thing our dining venues have in common is that they feature organic, sustainable ingredients that are responsibly sourced from around the archipelago. What each chef does with those products is inspiring and bold. Kaum is our restaurant putting a modern spin on indigenous Indonesian recipes, while Ijen serves seafood and other fresh specialties with a nothing left-over approach.
Tanaman is our newest cosmic culinary experience: a plant-only prix fixe journey of bold plates and cocktails that make incorporate every part of each ingredient.
Beach Club: The original Potato Head venue and Good Times headquarters is our Beach Club, which opened in 2010 behind a facade made of repurposed window shutters. With its infinity pool, countless daybeds, multiple dining venues and menus, exciting cocktails, and a lineup of international DJs, it’s a classic stop in Seminyak with an always lively vibe.
Wellness: The Desa offers plenty of opportunities to detox after all the good times—with spa treatments, for one. We have sessions for yoga, guided meditation under the rising sun and as it sets, athletic training in the 24-hour gym, Desa workouts and a run club for those whose holiday intentions center more on wellbeing. Sanctuary is the onsite wellness experience from the Pyramids of Chi that incorporates breathwork, vibroacoustic audio-visual therapy, sound healing, ice baths and somatic release.
Music: From the start, Potato Head has been known for music, and as our creative village expanded, so did the ways we present it. Headstream is one of the most novel, a streaming studio built of repurposed materials where DJs, creatives, musicians and thinkers from across the Indonesian archipelago broadcast on a global digital stage.
Sunsets: Our expansive rooftop venue, Sunset Park, is an unforgettable place to watch the sun descend into the Indian Ocean while enjoying tropical aperitifs. The good times continue even after the glow has faded, with barbecue and DJs.
Community engagement: Thanks to our team, we are deeply entrenched in the Balinese community and, especially during COVID, worked hard to support it. We began a community farm project we call the Sweet Potato Project, where we grew produce to feed at-risk members of the community, and we delivered meals in a bus converted to use bio-fuel.
Bonus – Cocktails: Our bar programs are legendary, thanks to a talented team of mixologists who create cocktail magic with locally distilled spirits, native ingredients, and juices made in-house. And our award-winning bar Akademi is now offering cocktail workshops for guests who wish to go home with some knowledge.
Learn more about Potato Head at seminyak.potatohead.co.
Address: Potato Head, Jl. Petitenget No.51B, Seminyak, Kec. Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia.