Ok, when you’re waking up to this view every morning it’s pretty hard for this answer to be anything aside from an affirmative YES, worth every cent!
But for what it’s worth, here are my recent experiences:
W Retreat & Spa Bali is not so great in the honeymoon stakes
I first came across W Hotels’ Bali instalment on a previous visit to my favourite tropical island holiday destination. At the time, I was sucked in off Seminyak Beach as if the hotel’s Woo Bar’s hypnotic dance music was some pied piper melody. So when choosing accommodation for my recent honeymoon, I bee-lined straight for W Hotels’ Seminyak resort.
Given it was my HONEYMOON you could say that I was expecting some special treatment. You know, rose petals on the bed, champagne on ice, Cupid himself playing a violin. I was definitely brought down to earth with only a sugary cocktail waiting for us on arrival (which for all I know could be waiting to greet every new guest!). It was also kindly accompanied by a mass-printed A5 flyer thanking us for choosing the W Retreat & Spa Bali for our honeymoon. Where’s Cupid? And his handwritten love note?
Pool lazing at its finest
Pool lazing is by far one of my all-time favourite activities in life, right up there with dancing around in my underwear when no-one is home – it’s also a topic that I’m highly, highly experienced on. Reading a good trashy book*, drinking cocktail-after-cocktail and sweating like a gorilla in the sun. Bliss!
* Zoe Foster Blake’s latest novel The Wrong Girl (pictured below) is anything but trashy. But truth be told, it was the only book I wasn’t completely embarrassed to publicly declare I’d been reading.
The W Retreat & Spa Bali is perfect for such indulgence with a bevy of poolside chairs to choose from; some in shade, some not. If you’re not into sweating like a gorilla and unfortunate enough to be left with a pro sun chair, you can heave over an umbrella, or ask a pool-tendant to do it for you if you’re adverse to heavy-lifting.
Speaking of which, the team of pool-tendants are fabulous with a capital F, always on hand to bring you the food or cocktail menu, delivering your chosen refreshment right to your poolside table or just delivering you a special random treat:
“Would you care for a piece of fruit, miss? A top up of lemon water? A cool mist spray down?” Or my favourite “Would you like me to clean your filthy-as-f*$k sunglasses for you?”
A couple of days in and all the pool-tendants knew me by name, what my favourite cocktail was, which chair I preferred and that I liked to sit in a confusing mix of shade and sun. Everyday they asked without fail if my new husband would be joining me and everyday were equally horrified when I told them he was off surfing. They were equally horrified when I told them that this suited me just fine. Who wants a bored, talkative husband perched next to you when you’re trying to relax?
The big, long, snaking elephant of a pool (that spans a whopping 1790 square metres) is also the perfect ‘not too hot, not too cold’ temperature. If you see a beanbag floating by snatch it with both hands – they make for great day beds.
When I first arrived at the W Hotels compound (because it totally is compound-like), I was jumping up and down in the golf caddy after realising that a big-name DJ would be performing during our stay. I love a bit of music and dancing, and music and dancing combined, so assumed that this would be a highlight of our stay.
Yet, when the night rolled around and I was lying contently on one of the Woo Bar’s day beds waiting patiently for the DJ to arrive, my eyes kept flickering shut. I was just so tired! All that cocktail drinking and pool lazing can be utterly exhausting. So I decided to go back to my room for a quick nap. When I woke up the next morning I realised I’d annoyingly slept through it all…
Other plusses, in no particular order
The all-you-can-eat FREE (well, included in our deal, so technically we’d prepaid for it) breakfast is dangerous but so, so good. From Asian to Australian, there are breakfast foods to suit absolutely every craving – even Adriano Zumbo pastries – with both a buffet and à la carte menu. Photos taken later in my week-long stay don’t do anything to hide the food baby that was rapidly developing from my breakfast gorges, which included lavish daily helpings from both the buffet and à la carte menu.
The buggy service to take you out to the main road, and vice-versa was great. It made the resort seem very exclusive.
The entire resort is definitely a piece of artwork. Immaculately presented with its brightly-coloured lights, soft house music playing in your rooms and carefully-swept manicured lawns. Even the gym, if possible, was an eye-feast, and not in the hunky, Chris Hemsworth kind of way.
The downsides, also in no particular order
Obviously the price is a downside. I paid a cool $500 per night to stay in an ocean-facing retreat, which was admittedly incredible with its balcony looking out across the resort and beach but exxy.
Originally I desperately wanted to stay in a one-bedroom pool villa but at $700 a night (at the time) I couldn’t justify it after having thrown ridiculous amounts of cash at some money pit called a wedding. I also realised afterwards that the villas are a big hike or golf buggy from the main resort (where the restaurants, main pool and bars are). But I guess the idea of a villa is that you’re away from the resort hustle and can have everything brought to your private cave. But then why stay at the W?
Needless to say, I definitely made the most of my W Hotels experience. So much so that I insisted on getting a photo on every pool chair, sun bed and floating beanbag on the hotel’s grounds – of which, there are a ridiculous amount of. I also wracked up a huge bill buying cocktails, lunch, dinner and more cocktails – all on western prices – by insisting on staying at the resort like the breakfast-eating and cocktail-slurping marooned whale that I was for the week.
W Retreat & Spa Bali is…
Staying at the W Retreat & Spa Bali by no means constitutes a ‘cheap Bali holiday’, nor does it really provide an authentic Bali experience.
What it does do very well is provide a gold-plated serve of international glamour, testament to the W Hotels worldwide experience, and a very different way of doing Bali. I’m not going to lie, when I got home, I spent the week moping about missing my daily afternoon cocktail, the smiling faces of my pool-tendants and having an excuse to indulge daily in an all-you-can-eat breakfast. Eventually I stopped behaving like Paris Hilton. So you could say that I had a pretty amazing time! And would happily spend the $500 a night all over again.
P.s. I’m equally as excited to be extending my blog (newly re-named Eat Play Love Travel) out of the 3000 post code. While I’ll still be sharing a heck of a lot of #melbournelyf, it will also cover all of my broader travel adventures from here on.
W Retreat & Spa Bali – Seminyak | Jl. Petitenget, Kerobokan, Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia
Phone: 1800 025 525 (for calls made in Australia)