Beautiful Courtyards of Plataran

Yozua Makes is building Plataran into a leading luxury brand.

Founder and chief executive of Plataran Indonesia Yozua Makes, 56, has built Plataran in under a decade into one of the country’s leading luxury brands. Starting in 2009, Yozua’s Plataran group now encompasses seven hotels and resorts, 13 restaurants and event venues, seven boats for hire, and a large eco-tourism park. He has another three resorts opening soon.

Yet surprisingly, Yozua has no special training in hospitality, and building Plataran is not even his only job. He is also running one of the country’s most successful law firms, Makes and Partners, which he founded in 1993. “My wife and I have a passion for Indonesia’s culture and heritage destinations, and we love to own properties. So we accidentally entered this hospitality business,” says Yozua.

The transition from lawyer to hospitality happened when Yozua and his wife, Dewi Julia Pramitarini, bought a small compound in Canggu, Bali. Yozua, who is from Bali, fell in love with the property, and wanted to expand it to make his first resort. Yet the previous owner had tried, and failed, to get the neighbor to lease his property to him. Putting his legal negotiating skills to work, Yozua in one half-hour conversation convinced to the neighbor to let him use his property to build what is now the Plataran Canggu Bali Resort and Spa.

Yozua has developed Plataran to have three distinct advantages over its rivals. First, Plataran is a multi-venue brand. Many firms focus just on hotels, or just on restaurants. Yozua is doing it all—developing Plataran into a mega-brand that includes hotels, resorts, restaurants, event venues, cruises and eco-tourism. Yozua says the diversification helps smooth out the cash flow.

Secondly, he is pioneering new areas for tourism, such as the Mount Bromo area. Long a favorite tourist destination for those wishing to climb Mount Bromo, the area lacks any upscale resort. Yozua is already providing restaurants there, with Teras Bromo, for fine dining, and Warung Bromo, for casual dining. He hopes the upcoming 100-room Plataran Bromo Resort and Spa will be allow him to create a larger tourism ecosystem, as high-end travelers are more willing to visit if there’s a luxury resort available.

Finally, Yozua is developing Plataran as a brand that seeks to preserve and promote local heritage—similar to what Tugu has done with its brand. This ethos for Plataran, which means “God’s most favorite courtyard,” can be easily seen in one of its newest establishments, the Plataran Menteng. Located in the area of the prime (and historical) Menteng district of Jakarta, Plataran Menteng is the restored colonial-style home once used as a boarding house for medical students, and formerly owned by the legendary physician Liem Khe Loen, who delivered the babies of many prominent families, including those of the late President Suharto and his family, and Yozua himself.

Published on Forbes Indonesia Luxury Business issue (07/17). Read full version of the article here.