Let me begin by saying ... I REALLY wanted to like this hotel. But there were too many things that happened that detract from the overall experience. Apart from a very few key staff, if you aren't prepared to follow the W 'script' and deviate in anyway, you will have problems.
I was also expecting a spot away from the 'bogan' type Aussie tourists in their Bintang singlets and cheap dreadlocks ... sadly, the W Bali is over-run with just this type of tourist that seems to have migrated up from Kuta (along with their screaming children).
The reception desk is too small for a hotel this size, and with this many requirements on check-in. From the time we sat down, check-in took approx 20 minutes, and apart from our room not being ready straight away, everything else was routine. I never saw the reception desk without a queue of people waiting for service.
What can I say ... but wow. The layout, decor and feel of the room are all what you expect from W. Unfortunately, it is all style, with little substance. The toilet has a glass door separating it from the rest of the room ... I'm no prude, no matter how close my partner and I are, I REALLY don't need to be watching that. All it needs is some frosting, or something.
On the first night (of a 5 night stay) I phoned Whatever Whenever and asked for the bed to be re-made with a blanket rather than a duvet. I was told this wouldn't be a problem. After returning from dinner, this hadn't been done, so I didn't worry about it. The next day, I asked the housekeeper when he made up the room to make the bed with a blanket, and he readily agreed. Again, after returning from dinner this wasn't done. On the third day I thought that the previous issues may have been due to a language barrier, so I decided to go and ask at the Welcome Desk where English is not a problem. When I returned that evening, I found a baby bassinet and bottle warmer set up in the room! So I called Whatever Whenever and they were very quick to remedy the problem, but STILL didn't bring a blanket! On the fourth day, I again approached the Welcome Desk, was apologised to, and advised that all would be fixed. Upon returning to my room, I was amazed to see a blanket had been delivered. Unfortunately, it was a single blanket for a king sized bed. But at least it was progress I guess! On the fifth day, I explained to the housekeeper that I wanted the bed made with a blanket that fit the bed ... a queen blanket was delivered, but the bed wasn't made with it (it was left at the end).
Food and Beverage:
This is where the hotel is REALLY let down. The queue for breakfast was SO long that we did not once eat in the hotel, we went out each day. I asked on 3 separate occasions where else in the hotel I could eat breakfast, and I was told that In Room Dining was the only option (depsite the compendium saying that a light breakfast option was available in the Living Room).
Every other day, we ate from the poolside menu ... and whilst the team was eager to help, the menu was very uninspiring. Pizzas, burgers, etc ... the same as on the menu in Fire, and at a higher price. Half of the items on the menu were not available - for example, rather than drink that horrid Bintang beer, I ordered a Stark (a boutique Indonesian beer). The staff first told me they had never heard of it, when I pointed it out on the menu, they advised that the hotel had never stocked it, and werent sure why it was listed on the menu.
Our stay coincided with Easter Sunday. On the Sunday, we had friends meeting us at the hotel for lunch, so we decided to got to Fire for lunch ... we were advised that as it was Easter Sunday it was a buffet only. We are not buffet people, and said we wanted to order a-la-carte, but were told 'no'. We should head to Starfish Bloo - so off we went. At Starfish Bloo we were again advised that it was a buffet only ... I started to get frustrated, and said that I wanted a-la-carte but was again advised 'no'. They tried to direct us back to Fire! So I said that we would take a table, and order from the In Room Dining menu ... I was again told 'no'. At this point, I asked the hostess "What happened to Whatever Whenever? Isn't that the point of W Hotels? That I can get whatever I want, whenever I want it?" She just shrugged at me and said that she couldn't help. So again, we had to leave the hotel to eat.
WET (the pool)
Again .. this area REALLY lets down the hotel.
Firstly, they make you sign out towels - you are limited to two towels per person, and if they aren't returned, you are charged for the towels. I have NEVER had this at ANY resort in the world - not in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Asia ... nowhere.
There are not enough chairs / loungers for the number of guests, nor enough umbrellas for the tropical sung. People come down before breakfast and leave a towel or a book on a chair, and that is that. At one point we had been sitting in the sun for over an hour, whilst two lounges sat unattended (except for a book) under the shade of an umbrella. Despite asking staff - 3 times - they refused to do anything about it. I saw this happen day in and day out.
The pool needs a chiller - it is too hot! And I am talking tepid water that you could take a bath in ... after lying in the tropical heat, a cool dip is what you want and you won't get it here. At best, the pool temperature is lovely until about 10am.
W Koh Samui has a great concept called a 'Sweet Spot' stocked with ice-creams and soft drinks (all self service). The compendium at W Bali says the pool has one, but it doesn't. When we asked, we were told they replaced it with the towel 'kiosk'.
There are staff that walk around offering ice-creams from an esky ... so we gladly accepted. After we had finished eating, a waiter appeared with a bill! I don't mind paying for something, but it would have been nice to be advised when I was 'offered' the treat.
It also REALLY needs an adult only pool ... the amount of kids around is ridiculous.
Again ... a real let down. I am used to W Hotels in New York, London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and there is always a DJ and great music. On one night (Easter Saturday I think) the bar had a piano in it! Playing elevator music! The other nights, the DJ was ok, not as good as at KU DE TA or Potato Head, but at least it was what I expect from a W.
So ... the positives. Well, the hotel is stunning to look at. The entrance, especially at nighttime, really feels like you are arriving somewhere special. The drink service around the Living Room (on the verandah outside) was lovely ... and a great spot to sit late into the evening. The bed was SO comfortable (despite the lack of blanket!) and I had no problem with waiting on the driveaway for a taxi (like so many other reviewers mention). Despite a lack of English, the staff are VERY friendly, always saying hello, stopping to give way, and the like. They really try to make you feel welcome, but as I said earlier, if you try and deviate from the W 'script' or standardised offering in any way, that is where they get confused and falter.
Would I return ... again, my experience at every other W I have stayed at has been SO positive, that I really want to give it another try. But I just don't know that I would ...
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.