Putting the Wow in Welcome – 24 hours at W-Bali in Seminyak.
Pulling off the street and driving under the canopy of leafy bamboo that separates Seminyak’s W Bali from the bustle of Jalan Petitenget, is a little like Alice falling through the looking glass, things change almost immediately.
Although I’m a local and spend a lot of time at the W for sunset cocktails, long Sunday brunches, delicious dinners at Fire and afternoon teas overlooking the terraced pools, this is the first time I am staying overnight, and I’m more than a little excited. An ocean view room on the 4th floor sounds wickedly wow, and that’s what this resort promises.
The first stop is the Welcome desk. The colour pink hits you right away, it’s used throughout the resort as a pop colour along with flashes of yellow and green. Otherwise, it’s a chic study in charcoal and cream. My welcome comes with a jar of candy and a big smile. In moments I am led to the lifts by a charming and chatty porter who introduces himself and offers his services during my stay. It’s all above board yet there’s a perfect hint of cheekiness.
As soon as the door opens, I’m in love. My light-filled suite has an incredible view of the ocean overlooking the resort laid out below. There’s an edible 3D lunar greeting scattered with candy and chocolate and a personalised card complete with a photo of me. Someone knows me well. Glass doors lead to a generous verandah, a corner sofa is scattered with pillows, a fabulous munchie bar offers some branded conveniences for couples and after-party hangovers, it’s all perfectly put together.
The bathroom is gorgeous and posh amenities make a statement here too. I plan to take them all home, they are gorgeous. I have a huge bath and a rain shower and his and her sinks. Not far from here is the bar which is very tempting, but comes with a price tag. Best avoided for now.
The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
My plus-one arrives and we head down to sample the Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea. The W lounge has indoor seating and outdoor lounges that are washed with a beautiful sea breeze. The giant cakes are famous and I must have hundreds of pictures of these taken over the years. Our afternoon tea is brought out in a three-tiered hanging basket loaded with sweet and savoury bites and the whimsical teapots make me smile.
The terrace is well-populated with friends enjoying the tea and solo travellers enjoying a read in the breeze or catching up on some work or trawling social media, the breeze is gorgeous and the view is as well.
The motto of the resort is Detox, Retox, and Repeat, and our first afternoon is jammed packed with eating and drinking across different venues. From afternoon tea we wander through the resort to catch the sunset at Woo bar. The DJ spins a perfect sunset soundtrack, not too loud, not too heavy, just right. The sunsets ahead of us and the beach below is filled with a mix of holidaymakers and locals walking their dogs or getting some exercise. We sample a few cocktails but we’re saving ourselves for dinner at Fire which is one of my favourites.
Inspired by the stirring Kecak dance, this is a dramatic dining room that overlooks the open kitchen. This is where the Executive Chef gets hands-on in the kitchen were a fiery grill cooks steaks to perfection and a team of chefs works with precision to prepare all the meals.
This is without doubt one of Bali’s best steakhouses, although there are other options, I simply can’t go past the steaks. Our waiter presents us with ten beautiful steak varieties laid out on a wooden board. The giant tomahawk steak glistens at the centre of the display. We choose to share an awesome looking marbled sirloin because we’re sharing the Butcher’s Platter to start with.
Foie gras, Iberico ham, duck prosciutto, wagyu jerky, beef marmalade, pickles, and a selection of bread and crackers is an indulgence and delicious (Rp495,000). Before our steaks arrive, a waiter flourishing a selection of steak knives appears, it’s very decadent and a little confusing. I choose a Japanese samurai knife, my partner takes a French knife. I’m sure they all work well, it’s a matter of taste and a little fun.
The steak is perfect, I expect nothing less. Beautifully seasoned, served with red wine jus and salsa verde by choices, instead of the truffle mash potato that I usually love we choose French fries and creamed spinach, which is so rich I wonder why I didn’t get the mash!
Our waiter has been keen for us to try the Fire cocktail before dinner but we opt for it after. It’s a play on a whiskey sour, with bourbon mingled with local fruit and set on fire before being poured into a martini glass. It was so delicious and so good to watch the prep, we ordered another instead of dessert.
Retiring to our ocean view suite was a joy but we still took a moment for a goodnight drink as we watched the moon play on the ocean from the terrace.
Wake up to Wow
Waking up on my local beach seems a little surreal but I love how close I am to home. I spot some friends walking their dogs and the early morning fitness regiments being played out below make me feel slightly guilty. It passes. We have the most enormous twin beds in our suite, complete with feather pillows and fresh green accents in the room. Getting out of bed isn’t necessary as I can see the beach from my bed, but there is more eating and a spa treatment on the menu today, so the go-to coffee pot is put to use to clear away last night’s excesses, a fabulous shower and a chance to test the indulgent room amenities, and I’m ready.
Here we are again, and the dining room has been transformed with an incredible display of pastries, fruit and smoothie bowls, a panini station, Indian delicacies, a dim sum cart and chefs whipping up eggs your way. It’s hard to imagine grabbing a simple bowl of fruit salad here and hitting the pool but I imagine some people have that kind of discipline. Luckily my scheduled appointment at the spa curbs my appetite, or I may have spent the whole day here. A fresh juice and a panini will have to do, along with a sly almond croissant on my way out. Wouldn’t you?
Uplifting messages line the entrance to the W’s Away Spa and I am really looking forward to this, it’s my first time. I’m informed that I am having the 90-minute detox massage and I feel like that’s going to be perfect. Indulging here is easy, so balancing the amount of food and booze I’ve consumed sounds like a great idea. After meeting my therapist and changing into my waffle weave robe (the disposable panties here are a cut above!), I hit the oxygen room to start. Yes, you read that correctly, they have an oxygen room and they even have a breathing bar. This is taking the resort’s detox to re-tox motto to its limit. I love it.
The chilled out room offers all guests the chance to top up their oxygen levels with masks that pump out pure O2. I feel better already. I’m then led to my room which also has a terrace overlooking the garden where we begin with some stretching helped along with the use of bamboo poles. I’m intrigued and full of oxygen, this feels good.
The massage begins with a series of thumb pressure, long strokes, and stretches. It’s a little like having your own relaxation trainer. My masseuse has worked here for seven years, as long as the resort has been opened, and she clearly loves her job. The treatment is fantastic.
In the interests of re-toxing, I am led to the garden terrace chill-out bar where there is a real bar fully stocked but I’m served tea and snacks and the candies I adore while smoking a cigarette. I totally love this place and I can imagine long term guests popping in for a top-up anytime, as it’s open 24 hours. You have to love that.
I could live here I have decided, it’s got everything I need, even a gorgeous library where I can imagine getting a lot of work done between swimming, sunning, eating, drinking, topping up my oxygen, hitting the gym (well, maybe) and getting massaged into total submission.
Unfortunately, it’s just a fantasy but I console myself that home is close enough to make regular visits. My partner is sunning by the pool. The pool is inspired by Bali’s rice terraces. Levels of swimming pools are intersected by sun decks and ornamental pools. The charcoal and cream theme continues with the flash of bright colour in the form of floating bean bags, bright towels, and cushioned sun lounges. Nature provides the rest; blue and green from the sky, the sea and swaying palm trees. This feels like a holiday!
Our final meal – as if we need another one – is enjoyed overlooking the ocean at Starfish Bloo, the soaring restaurant where Sunday brunch is a sensational institution. We choose to eat light, which does not stop the chef from adding a few of his signature dishes to our order in the form of lobster tempura and battered prawns with a biting rujak salad.
Our main course is a signature sushi and sashimi platter, seafood all the way and it’s the perfect foil for a hot, sunny day by the sea. We’re packed and miraculously checked out without having to do a thing, and we’re already eyeing off the pool and plotting to avoid going back to reality.
Although W has now been a part of Seminyak life for eight or so years, it looks as fresh as if they just opened. The location is fantastic, with the beach in front of you and a host of great shopping, restaurants, bars, nightlife, and even spas, although this one is about as good as it gets, right on your doorstep. With an endless stream of entertainment and dining options, the resort is a regular stop for locals and holidaymakers who are staying elsewhere, it’s friendly and welcoming. You can even use the pool for the price of a drink!
As you expect from a W Hotel, it’s also crisp, chic and cool while still somehow managing to be casual. It’s perfect for a sneaky weekend or a longer stay, you have everything you could possibly want right here. The concierge is also famously good for arranging tours and their list of top places to visit, so you can still enjoy all Bali has to offer. For us, this is just a sample of what the stunning resort has to offer. Next on my wish list is the Wow Penthouse, there has to be a story in that!