He used to waltz through his boutique hotel – and sometimes at other venues on the island too. But now he gracefully bows out so younger dancers can take center stage at Puri Mas Boutique Resort.
Puri Mas is found on the Indonesian island of Lombok. (Lombok is a 2½-hour high-speed ferry ride from Bali – and we found Lombok’s beaches and boutique hotels to be very alluring!). It’s the creation of Marcel De Rijk, a former world-champion ballroom dancer. A Dutchman, Marcel built Puri Mas in 1987 as a tribute to his mother and grandfather, who were descendents of Indonesian royalty.
Free dance classes at Puri Mas Boutique Resort
To give back to the community, Marcel runs a social program called “Friends of Puri Mas,” where he teaches free weekly dance lessons to staff and young people from the villages around the hotel. Funds for dance shoes and costumes come from Puri Mas and guest donations.
Weekly dance and cultural performances
The young students get experience performing in front of a crowd by entertaining Puri Mas hotel guests at weekly dance and cultural performances.
Over dinner one evening in the hotel’s aptly-named Ballroom Restaurant, we watched child dancers in dance costumes (some as young as five years old) expertly perform salsa, cha-cha, rumba and other dances in a delightful “Dancing With the Stars” adaptations – the guests were the judges.
Other young adults demonstrated traditional Sasak stick fighting and performed Balinese-style dances (recalling the beautiful Balinese dancing we saw in Ubud, Bali’s cultural center).
Lombok International Dance Festival
Marcel is also the founder and organizer of the Lombok International Dance Festival – an annual event for nine years now.
The ballroom and Latin dance competition is the single largest sporting event in Lombok.
It’s provided a new outlet for the young people on the island to show off their dance skills (which they’d never be able to otherwise do) in a very fun way.
The 2014 competition in June hosted hundreds of competitors from all around the world. Several of the winners were, of course, dancers from Lombok under Marcel’s tutelage. Some young adult couples he’s taught are sponsored by him to compete outside of Lombok too.
Here’s a video of a dance couple competing at the Lombok International Dance Festival…
Staying at Puri Mas Boutique Resort
So what’s Puri Mas Boutique Resort like?
The original rooms of the boutique beachfront hotel are Indonesian-style garden bungalows, with thatched roofs, ornately carved windows, dark wood Indonesian furniture and dainty terraces with day beds. They’re very popular with guests, who love staying in these atmospheric accommodations.
The hotel now has newer suites and private pool villas too (we stayed in one of these).
The dancers we watched at Puri Mas waltzed right into our hearts – as did Puri Mas…
Puri Mas was one of the hotels we stayed at as media guests while researching our travel feature on Lombok for The Vancouver Sun newspaper. But no arm-twisting was needed for us to be charmed by the dancers or the hotel. And our words and views are entirely our own.
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We’re Janice and George Mucalov, professional award-winning travel writers, sharing tales of luxury travel with a twist of adventure.