A Bali hotel owner has acknowledged that beaches are public property and that his staff shouldn't have kicked out a local who was sitting on the sand in front of the hotel.
Ida Bagus Gede Sidartha Putra, who owns Puri Santrian in Sanur, Denpasar, said he has notified his staff that all beaches, including the one that runs parallel to the hotel, are open for everybody.
"All beaches belong to the public, and so if there are any public activities [at the beach] such as simply visiting, fishing, traditional ceremonies, the hotel has no right to restrict them," he said.
In the hotel's 50-year history, Gede claimed that this is the first time a non-hotel guest has been ejected from the beach, taking it as a lesson on how to better train hotel staff to avoid such "miscommunication" from happening again.
"I think this has been a miscommunication and we would never prohibit the public, especially those who are from Sanur," he said.
In videos first uploaded to Instagram on Tuesday, user @mirahsugandhi said a security staff from Puri Santrian approached her and asked whether or not she's a guest at the hotel, before telling her to leave the beach area right in front of the hotel and move to the one next to it.
"I'm just now learning that a hotel can own a beach. Oh my goodness I'm still in shock, why was I kicked out? Who owns this beach anyway?" Mirah said in the video.
The clips quickly went viral and were reposted by Balinese community accounts, with many users commenting that such incidents occur quite often, and not only in that particular area.
Earlier today, Mirah uploaded another video to Instagram saying that she has met with the hotel management and that the matter has been resolved. She also shared an apology video sent by the security staff in question, who identified himself as Alit.
"Today the management team from Puri Santrian has clarified that the beach in front of Puri Santrian belongs to the public and not privately owned [...] and this applies in all of Bali. The beach belongs to the public," Mirah said.
"Hopefully with this incident there will be no more discrimination against local residents from visiting the beach," Bayu Cuaca, a local musician and Mirah's spouse, said in the video.