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A family that is building a strong business community in Bali

Profile:  Robert, Marina and daughters Alexa Rose (7 years) Almira Sava (5 years)
Originally from: London
Arrived in Bali: Over 5 years ago


What made you decide to MOVE TO Bali?

After 22 years in Sydney we (my beloved Marina and our 2 young kids) felt like we needed a change. Sydney is an amazing city I had been an
integral part of some groundbreaking developments at the highest levels of the hospitality industry such as, HOME Sydney (1998), House Solution Events at Wharf 8 – now Barangaroo (2000), TANK Nightclub (2001-2005)- voted top 3 in the world during our five year tenure when we were retained by Merivale to manage the look, feel and entertainment. Pen ultimately seven years working with Hilton Sydney (2005-2012) on a weekend takeover disco bar concept for Zeta Bar that proved very successful. Finally five years in Redfern with a community café concept called Social-Laneway Espresso (2012- 2017) in the Deicorp building which we sold before moving to Bali. It is still there now same menu, same look.

Kids drinking coconuts in Bali

Where is home in Bali and why did you decide to live there?

We live close to Pererenan (not far from the Canggu Berawa hotspot). We have moved 6 times whilst being here – to get a feel for different areas). Marina was born in Jakarta and had been to Bali before. I had an extended holiday in Bali years prior. When Marina suggested Bali – I immediately agreed. We went for an extended holiday to feel the place out. After which we came back to Sydney (at that time) and decided we should move. We sold our café in Redfern and within months had moved.

How long do you plan to stay in Bali?

Bali feels like home. Ultimately I see it as a great home base. Once flying and travel etc is easier it would be great to spend time in another home, Australia and Europe each year.

Lyfe in Bali Community Cafe

What schooling have you found for your children?

So far they are at the age where we don’t need to send them to “a school” in the conventional sense. There really are so many options here – almost overwhelming. Different price points strengths and weaknesses. Currently they both attend Kumon several days a week whilst we decide.


Bonnick family in Bali

You are a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, author, coach and most importantly a Bali community collaborator. Please share all about your current projects under your business Tourism Architect?

Growing up in two multicultural children’s homes in London for eighteen years I learnt the importance of Unity. I believe that Tourism is a masterkey for facilitating Unity and Empowerment for Indonesians and Foreigners alike. Co-incidentally, the motto of Indonesia is “Unity In Diversity”. Thus I build bridges (opportunities for unity and empowerment) to tourism across a number of projects. Some examples include. 

  • several projects which involve the Tourism Minister’s office on the lead up to G20. 
  • several projects involving the Creative Economy, Technology and sustainability tourism 
  • The Tamora Group – the most innovative property group in Bali I have been working with over several years. I have been building and mentoring the team to execute on the look, feel and direction. For instance Tamora Gallery is the first family focused lifestyle center where education and recreation reigns supreme. It is supported by with boutique retail therapy, food, beverage and holistic health experiences. Tamora Square is a higher end F&B and Lifestyle hub. 
  • Some of my dearest friends are The Royal Family of Kerambitan (Tabanan area) and I am a bridge of communication to foreigners eg. through hosting sacred events. 


The Royal Palace Of @purianyarkerambitan_bali

What tips and advice can you give people who are interested in setting up a business in Bali?

Firstly, find clarity on the type of business that you are interested in setting up.

Secondly, find the right help. For example, whether individuals or companies, make sure they are on the ground in Bali who know what’s happening in Indonesia with the track record of success.

Thirdly, after you find a company that meets your needs and you are happy to work with, make sure you follow their advice and structure.


King of Kerambitan event with Robert Bonnick

What advice do you have for other families making the move to Bali?

The same as above but add in the need to be flexible and patient.  Make yourself aware of the customs and culture of Bali before you arrive.

Robert Boonick and his children in Bali

Is there anything else you would like to share that I haven’t asked?

My brand The Tourism Architect is a business bridge essentially – which leverages the multitude of important relationships which form the fabric of Bali. If you would like another insight into the types of people which live in Bali please refer to SpeakuP Monday an award winning for motivation video podcast I founded 4 years ago, over 250 episodes. This library lists the last 100+ episodes.


Speak Up Series - The Tourism Architect


Indonesia was recently voted as the #1 most beautiful country on earth (Forbes article) and Bali is like a Jewel in its crown. It’s customs and culture are like no other in the world – though no one location is perfect in every way, each has its challenges. Bali is well worth visiting if not moving to…


Click here to follow Robert Bonnick, AKA The Tourism Architect.

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