Cover Mark Soetantyo, managing director of Blue Waves, the parent company of Rumours Beach Club

The managing director shares how the Indonesian Rumours brand found a niche for itself in the local dining scene and its plans for the future

To the casual observer, Mark Soetantyo’s typical day at work may look like a dream. As the managing director of Blue Waves, the holding company for Rumours Beach Club, it is not unusual to see him by the poolside.

The reality of the job is of course, not so simple. The Rumours brand is, in Soetantyo’s own words, “mostly recognised as young, energetic and playful”, but keeping it this way is certainly no child’s play. “Weekday visits turn into work visits even if I am wearing my swimming trunks,” he jokes.

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The Singaporean public got acquainted with Rumours Beach Club only a little more than two years ago when it opened here in 2019. To Bali regulars, however, it may be a familiar name, having established itself almost 15 years ago on the Indonesian island.

“When the opportunity arose to operate a beach club in Sentosa, it was an easy decision for us,” recalls Soetantyo. “The original Rumours outlet was a standalone bar, but we believed that the brand could stand out from others by offering a beach club environment.” 

With the expansion of the concept from bar to beach club, came an expansion in the target market. “We wanted to cater to a broader audience, from families to young adults, so we ensured that the club design correlated with this."

What manifested was a sprawling establishment with separate sections each catering to a different type of customer. To name a few, there’s a family-friendly section suitable for families with young kids, a VIP section with a private pool and an infinity pool, which is considered the highlight of the club.

Given its roots, it’s no surprise that Balinese influence can be observed in every aspect of the club, from its interiors—“kept modern and not too traditional or rustic,” says Soetantyo—to the menu, which was created by an executive chef trained in Indonesian cuisine. “We want our customers to feel like they are having a holiday without the hassle of travelling,” he adds.

High on the team’s agenda recently is the group’s sustainability goals. To demonstrate its commitment, the organisation has joined United Nations’ Global Compact Network, which encourages businesses to adopt and report sustainable practices.

Soetantyo estimates that Rumours Beach Club has saved around 60,000 plastic straws by using a plant-based straw made from cassava. Biodegradable packaging is now the norm for takeaways while the introduction of eco alcohol to the menu has reduced bottle wastage and saved more than 2,000 kg of CO2 yearly.

The club has also partnered with Green Steps Group, a reforestation technology start-up, to replant 1,000 trees in Sumatra. To put the impact into perspective, each tree on average removes 22 kg of carbon emissions every year. The group’s efforts doesn’t end here—its next plans are to work with non-profit organisations that focus on ocean clean-ups, particularly in Indonesian waters.

As Rumours Beach Club moves into its third year in Singapore, Soetantyo has ambitious plans for it. “We intend to spend more time on menu development to create more balanced offerings for our customers. There are plans to upgrade the facilities and give the club a little refresh, too. Wellness programmes are another thing we have in mind—we think that our beachfront location offers great potential for them. We are also looking at other sites, both locally and overseas, to expand the brand’s presence.”

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Soetantyo recommends how to spend a day at Rumours Beach Club

“Come early to get your coffee fix, made from coffee beans provided by Blue Waves' other brand, Baristart Coffee Singapore. Enjoy the brunch menu and spend time in our large infinity pool daydreaming. When it’s time for lunch, order seafood from the grill stations and pair it with the Al Spritzer, one of our signature cocktails. It’s guaranteed to take you back instantly to Jimbaran beach in Bali. As the sun sets and the music playlist changes thanks to DJ Dispensary, order a bottle of champagne or two to share with friends and wrap up the day. The intimate service by the staff and managers will definitely complete your experience.”

“For something a little more special, come when we have one of the collaborations we are so fond of. We have done a number of them with renowned chefs and other local F&B operators, such as Bjorn Shen from Artichoke, Adam Penney from Three Buns, and Park Bench Deli. We plan to work with more names throughout this year.”

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