Located right on the beach in Bali’s vibrant Seminyak, W Bali is a colourful, playful and spacious retreat where you can escape the everyday.
Arriving at night and driving through a long driveway framed by arching green bamboo foliage illuminated with LED lighting, I feel a sense of curiosity and escapism as I approach the entrance to W Bali down its pebbled pathway.
At the check-in, a resident DJ is spinning the decks and guests are sipping on drinks while perched on hot pink and chrome bar stools at W Lounge.
I’m here for business on a five-night stay for a travel conference, but it’s still easy to imagine myself slipping into full holiday mode as I’m presented with a cool drink on arrival and escorted to my room.
There are 229 rooms, suites and villas at W Bali. For the ultimate luxury, the hotel’s WOW villas, with one, two or three bedrooms, include private plunge pools and spacious outdoor lounging zones.
I’m staying in a Wonderful Garden Escape king room with a balcony—and it’s huge.
A signature W bed looks inviting after being in transit from Australia, with a plush pillow-top mattress and 350-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets. It does prove to be a comfortable sanctuary throughout my stay. There’s a generously sized wardrobe with internal shelving for my suitcase. At night, you can leave the LED neon pink wardrobe door handles on to guide you to the bathroom.
My bathroom features two vanities, each with a colourful, avocado-green wash basin. I particularly love the parlour area with a stool to sit on, a bench with power outlets and a magnifying mirror where I can relax and apply my make-up and style my hair.
In the large bathroom area, there’s the option of a rain shower, a hand-held shower with adjustable modes, or a freestanding tub. A retractable blind covers the glass ceiling above but if you should so choose, simply open the blind with an electric remote control and shower looking upwards to the sky. I soak in the tub on my final day, using the Bliss Spa bathroom amenities.
W’s signature cheeky style is evidenced in the labelling of its bathroom amenities: a comb pack reads, ‘whether you’re kinky or straight’; a razer pack is labelled with ‘bare all’, and the hairdryer pack has typed ‘blow out’. I have a giggle when visiting the lavatory for the first time—on a shelf above the cistern sits a series of headless ceramic sculptures with one bearing the sign, ‘take your time, I like to watch.’
There’s ample space for both work and play in my room, with the W mini bar, a large console desk and a separate lounge area with a table.
In daylight, I can better appreciate the hotel’s design elements. The sun filters through ornamental screens as I make my way to the lift, casting latticework shadows and patterns on the stone floor.
Balinese culture is reflected through a whimsical ‘W lens’, typical of this quirky, good-vibes hotel brand. The multi-layered WET pool is inspired by Balinese rice terraces and ‘Subak’, a traditional Balinese irrigation system; and large chandeliers in the lobby are designed to resemble traditional temple roofs.
At Starfish Bloo restaurant, large eating cocoons are inspired by traditional lobster cages; and Fire restaurant’s design is inspired by the Balinese traditional Kecak dance.
In my room, the mother-of-pearl checked design framing a large mirror over the console is inspired by the traditional Balinese checked sarong design used for ceremonies. The green rug and pillow accents represent Bali’s green rice fields.
A series of large artworks displayed through various areas of the hotel catch my colour-loving eye. My favourite is the large Andy Warhol-style artwork by top New York street artist, Alec Monopoly. In this unmissable piece, located near the main lift well and at the Whatever, Whenever concierge desk, the artist has included many iconic faces including Jack Nicholson, 1960s model Twiggy, and Rich ‘Uncle’ Pennybags (known as the Monopoly Man).
Down at the beachfront, a large W sculpture is decorated by Balinese visual artist and illustrator, Ijal Mariachi.
One thing is certain—you won’t be going hungry while staying here! There are five bars and restaurants to choose from, as well as in-room dining available 24 hours daily.
For breakfast, I try both the open-air Starfish Bloo and Fire restaurant, which includes both indoor and outdoor seating options. At both venues, the staff introduce themselves and ask my name too, which they remember throughout the service. At Fire, you are invited to choose a mug as you arrive from an eclectic collection, into which your tea or coffee will be served. As well as an extensive buffet option, guests can order from an a la carte menu. The cuisine options are endless and include both Indonesian traditional dishes and Western classics prepared fresh by chefs at numerous cooking stations. At a detox station, there are juices of all persuasions, with labels such as Hangover Killer, Everyday Sunrise, and You are the Apple of My Eyes. Adjacent is the ‘Retox’ station with Smirnoff Vodka, tomato juice and orange juice.
The ‘Brunch of all Brunches’ each Sunday at Starfish Bloo has become almost legendary. Every conceivable cuisine is here for the taking—from oysters, prawns, scallops and mussels at the seafood station, to fresh salads and a barbecue corner where pork ribs, roast beef, Thai chicken skewers and grilled whole baby local fish are served. There’s also a sushi and sashimi station, house-made steamed dumplings, an Indian corner and Balinese suckling pig, as well as local cheese and charcuterie. Save room for dessert with multiple cakes, pastries, sorbet, ice cream and a chocolate fountain. There’s even a giant W sculpture, from which you can pluck a coloured doughnut of your choosing from the wooden pegs.
I’m left wondering what on earth W Bali does with all the inevitable leftover food. Thankfully, the hotel has partnered with Scholars of Sustenance (SOS) providing regular food donations to help reduce the hotel’s food waste going to landfill. Guests can also join a guided experience to help to distribute surplus food to unprivileged children and people in need across Bali, seeing the process at the SOS office and witnessing where the food the hotel packs is sent each day.
Further, ingredients leftover from the hotel’s breakfast buffets are upcycled to create new dehydrated garnishes and contemporary ingredients for the signature cocktails used in the Zero Waste Cocktails menu at the ocean-side Woobar.
While you’re here
The pool area, with its hot pink towels and multiple pool zones, is the place to be. The resident DJ is regularly cranking tunes from Woobar. At sunset, guests step onto the beach to watch the sun as it descends into the sea.
Indulge in a wellness treatment or session at Away Spa. You can also book beachfront sessions at The Escape Cabana between 10am and 6pm daily.
The external restaurants, bars and boutiques of Seminyak are within walking distance or a short drive from the hotel. You can also wander along the beachfront to enjoy meals and drinks at neighbouring resorts along the beach strip, including Desa Potato Head and Alila Seminyak.
Rates at W Bali start from IDR5,643,000 (about AUD$533) per room, per night.