We just came back from our 5 nights stay in W bali. It is our second trip to Bali this year, previously we stayed in Samaya Ubud and had a wonderful experience. We booked 3 nights stay in their retreat room and 2 nights stay in their newly opened 1 bedroom private villa. This turned out to be the most correct decision as it gave us the opportunity to experience both and make a comparison.
- This trip was to celebrate my wife’s birthday and we requested for a room with nice view in advance. We were upgraded to Ocean Facing Retreat upon check in, which had a beautiful view of the pool and the ocean. We never expected the retreat to be so close to the beach, it was quite stunning when we watched the strong waves from our balcony. When my wife ordered for room service after we settled down after the check in process, they sent my wife a birthday cake together with the food she ordered. And the chocolate cake was so yummy, it is one of the best we ever had. There was a birthday greeting card hand written by Irma. My wife still keeps the card although we never met Irma in person during our stay. We appreciate this arrangements made by W and its talents.
- The ocean facing retreat is well designed with good facilities as a lot of previous reviews had already mentioned. There are some fine details too, like the heart shape reflection on the skylight bathroom wall and if you take a close look of the toilet wall, you will find a cupid love arrows on it, cute!
- The pool side talents will bring small sized drinks from the Fire restaurant for you to sample while you laze by the pool, which is nice and generous.
- The DVD is free for hotel guests to rent.
- We went to the Woo bar one night. We are not party animals and we don’t drink alcohol. We went there just to experience it. We chose one of its sofa bed which is closed to the beach. The ambience was simply amazing. We lay down there, listening to the waves and watching the stars above, while our son busy tracing those airplanes taking off/landing from/to airport. It was an experience not to be forgotten.
- The villa facilities are top notch, full size Bliss products, Bose audio systems at the villa and the terrace, and the huge inviting bathtub.
The not so good:
On day 4, we transferred from our ocean facing retreat to our one bedroom villa. We were told the villa would only be ready for check in at 3pm, the standard check-in time, so no problem. At 2.30pm, we received a call to notify us they need another hour to clean the villa. So we went out for lunch, and told the Whatever/Whenever team our luggages were already packed in our room, once the villa was ready they could just send the luggages to our villa first. When we returned at 5pm, we were told our villa was just ready. And nobody was sure where our luggages were. It took us more than half an hour and a few calls to locate our luggages and get them delivered to our villa.
The villas generally provide less privacy due to their close proximity. They are literally next to, or back to back, to each other, separated by thin and short walls. For some villas, this privacy issue are worse than others. Our first villa (no. 39) is very close to the main building (about 20 meters) and facing the main building. So those people walking by the 4th or 5th floor of the main building can just take a clear look of our villa, right at the bed. We had to keep the blinds down all the time while we were inside the villa, to avoid becoming the leading roles in “The Truman Show”. This defeats the purposes of staying in a villa and defeats the design of their full length glass wall. After all, most people choose to stay in a villa because of privacy and exclusivity, right? So, if privacy is an issue for you, remember to request a villa further away from the main building and east facing. Actually, this issue can be addressed by building the surrounding walls taller or adding some plantations on top of the current walls, well, leave this to the management and their brilliant architects who had made the main building so chic and beautiful.
After we requested for a change of villa the next day, we were assigned villa no. 3 and when we inspected the villa, we found the bathtub was leaking. So Isa, the talent who helped us to transfer immediately called their technician to fix it. The two technicians took more than one hour to do it and just when they were about to finish, we found the Bose DVD player was not set to the correct region code and the DVDs we got from the hotel couldn’t be played. It took the technicians another 30 mins to solve the problem. All in all, it took us 3 hours to shift villa and finally settled down. However, not only the talent, but also the technicians were very apologetic.
- The daily newsletter
As previous reviewer mentioned, we too, missed the daily newsletter/activities list. It was only given on our arrival day. On day 3, my wife requested for a copy to be sent to us on daily basis so that we could know what are the happenings. We were told the request was put into their system, but the newsletter never came. Our 2.5 years old toddler didn’t participate in any activities during our stay as we didn’t know what are the available kids’ activities. He did enjoy playing in the main pool though.
- The dining experience
We had all of meals except one lunch in W Bali, a few room services, dinner in Starfish Bloo, Breakfast and lunch in Fire, Sunday Brunch in Starfish Bloo. We enjoyed the food in Fire more than Starfish Bloo. There is an egg station in their buffet breakfast; however, there was no list of what they make there. On our first day there, my wife asked what they had there and were told they make eggs (scrambled or fried), and Egg Bennies, full stop. On day 2, we tried to ask for waffles, and yes, they did make it too. One day 3, we figured out they actually make pancakes too. And FYI, their waffles and pancakes are very delicious and well presented. We just wish we had known it from day 1. Throughout our stay, we were never told that there is an à la carte menu for the included breakfast too and we were never given that menu. So we simply didn’t know there was such an option until we read one of the latest reviews just now.
We didn’t find the Sunday brunch at Starfish Bloo very attractive although it is highly recommend by some previous reviewers, maybe we are not sushi person and we don’t drink wine. This is very subjective. And as a vegetarian, I actually feel the selection was quite limited.
- The coordination between talents
We felt this needs to be improved. There were several occasions that we needed to repeat our requests a few times to different talents to get it done. It was like our requests were lost in transit, they were deleted or wrongly communicated somewhere in the process chain. However, this is a new hotel anyway, so we think it is normal and will improve as time goes by.
There are other minor hiccups, but since we bear in mind the hotel is only in operation for one month plus, it didn’t bother us much.
The determining factor
Now comes to the determining factor. After our perfect stay in ocean facing retreat and not so perfect stay in villa, how will we judge our stay in W Bali this time? This was ultimately decided upon the attitude of the staff. All of the talents we met during our stay were very friendly and helpful, I won’t say their service was excellent because there were hiccups, but their service attitudes are definitely great. Among all, there are some who provided exemplary services.
- Upon departure, Franklyn, the welcome relations manager, helped us to do check out. When he asked us how our stay in villa was, we took it as a casual question and as a way of saying hi or hello. But after we briefly told him our little disappointments, he immediately offered us some solutions to make up for our inconvenience. It is his fast reaction and his problem solving skill that impressed us and made us feel our feedbacks and opinions were truly listened and valued. When we mention we emailed the hotel for a child seat to be put in the car for airport pick up and called again to double confirm on the day of our arrival, but it was not there, he immediately asked someone to place a child seat on the car although we didn’t put prior request this time. This again shows he was really listening and he was able to address guests’ concerns quickly. This is very impressive! Thumbs up, Franklyn.
- Our son likes to play their bathroom toy, the little frogs. When I asked whether we can buy a new set home, Solikin, the welcome relations manager, told us he would prepare one set as a gift to our son. And upon checked out, we were given the little gift, nicely wrapped. No need to say how happy our son is. When we requested for late checkout as our flight is in the evening and our toddler needs an afternoon nap, our request was granted by him too, and this happened even before the delay in our check in to the villa. Very accommodating and understanding man.
- Isa, from welcome team, who helped us to transfer from villa 39 to villa 3, was very patient and friendly. When the DVD player was not working and the technicians had not figured out a solution, he volunteered to get the DVD player from our previous villa. We never saw him frowned once. When we asked for extra shaver, he gave us a follow up call to make sure we had receive it.
- Agung, who is from Starfish Bloo was very attentive. When it was about to rain, he helped us to move quickly inside and he always asked whether we needed anything else and always with a nice smile.
These are the people who made us feel we are so welcomed and made us ignore those hiccups and still enjoyed our stay there. There are the people who made us add the final star on our ratings without further hesitations. After all, hardware can be easily built and imitated; it is the software, the people, who can make the difference.
Will we return? Sure! We hope to stay in their ocean facing retreat again soon! And in their villas once they sort out the privacy issue.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Escape hectic philosophies, and why not plunge into vibrant glitz amidst natural splendors? We're a new found playground along the shores of Seminyak, where trendsetting chic restaurants, clubs, fashions and eclectic galleries await discovery. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- w Retreat And Spa Bali - Seminyak
- w Retreat & Spa Bali - Seminyak Hotel Seminyak