We booked to stay at the W Bali over the Xmas period and having booked one of their Extreme Wow Three Bedroom villas, we were hopeful of a decent level of accommodation and service. Our points of reference are generally Asian Four Seasons and Aman resorts. We were 4 adults (in their early 40s and 60s) plus two children of 2 & 5.
On arrival from HK, the hotel had arranged express pass-through at Denpasar (at my request and $25 per head) and I highly recommend this as the weekend before Xmas it was very busy. With kids coming off a flight of any distance being rushed through the crowds was a Godsend. Car waiting it took about an hour through the heavy traffic to the resort.
After about a 10min wait to check in, we were on our way by buggy to the villa. We knew the layout before arriving and it all looked pretty much as expected except that the living area, an open plan tv, sofa, dining area with attached kitchen was much larger than we expected. There is also a kitchen behind the master bedroom.
I think first impressions are Wow but it was not long before the niggles became apparent.
First, when we were briefly shown around the villa we all asked if the aircon was normally that loud - which was clearly a question others had asked. Friends in another villa confirmed they had also asked. So prepare yourselves. The best I can describe it is that even at the lowest setting, it is a bit like being on an aeroplane. For those who prefer a quiet sleep, this is not the place for you or else bring your earplugs. The extensive use of glass ceilings in the master bedroom means that the aircon needs to be on full to make any impact.
By the following morning, I'd asked to see the resort director of residential services ("DORS " who had greeted us at our villa when we arrived) to go through a number of issues: the lighting outside was just too dark at night ("it's supposed to be romantic") but the fact that many of the light switches did not seem to do anything and that the lights in each of the bedrooms seemed impossible to work out with some switches not working or working intermittently, it's clear the problem is more widespread. The issue with the electrics was then most shockingly borne out when in one of the jacuzzi areas of the main resort pool I found something under my foot. You can imagine my horror to reach down to find an 18" length of electrical cable with two bare wires poking out the end! The other end disappeared into the floor if the pool in an area surrounded by small lights embedded in the floor between air outlets. I am no electrician but you don't need to be to know that live or not, that is just plain wrong. I reported it to one of the pool staff who promptly told me it was nothing to worry about as we then watched troops of pool staff subtly try to inspect the wire over the next hour or so. I am in the pool with my children and of course I am concerned for their safety. The following day, in the jacuzzi area next to the one with the bare wire I found a whole light fitting dislodged along with wiring trailing behind it but, I hate to say it, by now I was getting somewhat blasé about some of the finishing issues around the resort.
So anyway, following my meeting with the DORS, within moments she had arranged to have the various lighting issues fixed, the clearly dirty sink areas in one of the rooms cleaned, etc and had people in the villa for the next few hours. The result was pretty much that they did all they could but really not much of an improvement. The dark pool area was clearly not going to get better as we watched one of the workmen take one of the lights out if the pool deck area and on seeing the connecting wires bare but clearly not connected to anything, he taped up the bare ends and put the light back into the hole from which it came. Last time i checked, unless a light is connected to power, it will not work.
The pool itself while of a decent size had a very visible dusty sediment at the bottom. Which created clouds on the bottom as you walked across it. It had clearly not been vacuumed and together with the green fungus growing on the sides around the water line there is clearly a lack of quality maintenance here too.
Other gripes include room service always saying they will get the food to you within 30mins but only on the last day did they come close at nearer 40mins but it was consistently 45 mins or more. And when it did arrive, it was a bit if a comedy if there had been any thought about the number of plates glasses etc. so side plates and butter might come but no bread or water for four but only two glasses. And in the case of a couple if pizzas we ordered ( on separate occasions) neither would leave most professional kitchens as they were too burnt. Of course we wanted to return them but when it's for kids and they've already waited 45mins, a hasty trim around the edge seemed the most practical thing to do. Service is generally pretty slow at the outlets too with the one exception being (surprisingly) at the bar (woo bar ) where food was quite quick to come out.
We'd read a lot about the food before arriving and it was set up to be fantastic but I think we all agreed it was ok but nothing special. We were there over Xmas and there were a lot of flies and I mean a lot. Maybe it was wind direction but eating at Starfish Bloo always involved a good amount of a waiving just to try to keep them at bay with little success.
The resort did claim to have kids activities but these were a bit of a joke. Archery on the beach at 1pm in Bali? Waaaay to hot. And the bubble activity for our 2 yr old didn't happen on time (10am) because they were "preparing". At 10.15, one of the staff comes out with a bottle of bubble mix, 3 plastic bowls and 3 bubble wands like you would get if you bought it at a corner shop and hands it to us. That's it. No organisation required. Pathetic. Other drawing and colouring events were similarly disappointing. Thank goodness for the pool which, despite its electrical hazards, the children loved.
Anyway, after about Wednesday of our Saturday to Saturday stay, we were kind of resigned to the situation and managed to accept it for what it was: a different type of holiday for us and one which was falling short of our usual expectations and therefore an experience not to be repeated.
Then on Friday, I ran into the DORS from day two who asked if everything was all ironed out and I told her I appreciated she did her best but that clearly there were some more significant issues around the finishing and snagging at the property which two years on anyone would have expected to be well ironed out. The lighting situation had been partially addressed but not entirely and as time had passed we had become more aware of other shortcomings like the state of the pool, the lack of restocking of the minibar, the pace of room service and clean up thereafter ( one time they just didn't show up). At this point the resort manager appears to give his apologies for the situation and I tell him we are happy just to get on with the rest of our holiday - we really just didn't want to be disturbed. But that wasn't clear enough. About 30 mins later, my parents in law appear looking for us because another group of maintenance and cleaning staff had descended upon the villa again, disturbing their time at the villa. This really was not fair and a good example of management just not listening. By the time we returned a couple of hours later, there was a pool cleaner packing up but we still had to tell an electrician to leave so we could get the children ready for bed. The following morning, despite our DND sign being on so we could pack before leaving after lunch, as we left for breakfast, the maintenance staff were there trying to get in again! Very annoying and frankly a week too late.
One thing I forgot to mention was that for some reason, the resort chose this week to renovate a temple in a square around which the largest villas are located. Coming from HK where we are consistently surrounded by construction, we were really looking forward to the peace and tranquility of Bali. Alas, most of the days we were there, there was drilling and stone cutting happening just outside our villa. :-(.
So, in short, we won't be going back and although I got an apologetic email from the manager not long after we left with an offer of some compensation in the form of points on my account, I don't feel so obliged to accept them. We paid for a W experience and it just fell well short of what we expected on so many counts. I want to say it's a 2.5 but a 3 seems too generous so it gets a 2. All that said, the staff were all very friendly as the Balinese are and it remains a wonderful island to visit, I'd just choose somewhere else next time.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.