Bali officials promise to flatten Trump six-star hotel

Business | 28 Apr 2017 5:01 pm

Thousands of people flock daily to the centuries-old, sacred Hindu temple at Tanah Lot, a rock formation that juts into the Indian Ocean. An island at high tide and flanked by sheer cliffs, it's among Bali's most photographed sites, particularly for the sunsets that transform the waters into a shimmering orange vista.  (Pictured, the Nirwana Bali Resort which will be redeveloped into a six-star resort managed by Trump Organization, in Beraban, Bali, Indonesia).

It's getting a new neighbor, described as "Trump International Hotel and Tower'' in the Trump Organization's promotions for what will be its first resort in Asia. They promise breathtaking views, a super-sized golf course overlooking the temple and an "enchanting and unrivaled getaway from the current luxury hotels'' in Bali. For those weary of mere five-star opulence, it offers six. 

Nothing that one might consider a tower is going to fly on Bali, where height restrictions prohibit structures higher than the island's plentiful coconut palms _ about 15 meters. 

Locals welcome new investment in the popular Indonesian resort island but are determined to preserve their traditions. Neighbors are resisting efforts to expand the Trump site. 

And if a tower ever starts rising, local authorities are ready to flatten it. 

"If suddenly they build an unapproved tower, of course we will stop them and demolish it,'' said Ida Bagus Wiratmaja, head of the district's development and planning agency. "There are special rules for the temple and the temple area.'' 

Tanah Lot and other temples dotting the cliffs are more than a lure for tourists. They're the heart of life in the surrounding Beraban village, where tradition and spirituality are woven into daily living. The Balinese are proud that their island's Hindu culture has flourished for centuries even as later arrivals _ Islam and Christianity _ supplanted it elsewhere in the Indonesian archipelago. 

The height restriction is the key regulation the Trump hotel must contend with, since the 100 hectares where it will rise is already occupied by a golf course and aging resort owned by President Donald Trump's Indonesian business partner Hary Tanoesoedibjo, who also harbors presidential ambitions.-AP


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