Extreme Un-Wow @ W Bali

by Adam

Coming off a great stay at the St. Regis, I was hoping for more of the same at the W. Located in Seminyak, it’s about a 30 minute trip from the St. Regis with no traffic and up to 2+ hours in traffic. I arrived around 9pm and there was no wait to check in with the Welcome Desk. I booked a Wonderful Garden View Retreat (the lowest available room) and was upgraded to the Spectacular Ocean Facing Retreat (the same room with an ocean-view). I had checked SPG prior to leaving and saw that suites and villas were available, but it was late and I didn’t feel like doing the upgrade song and dance routine.

The room was nice and looked like many other standard W rooms I’ve stayed in, besides the bathroom which had a remote controlled retractable ceiling shade and skylight…pretty cool. It also had a pretty nice terrace overlooking the pool and beach. The waves are so strong that you can actually hear AND feel them in your room (the windows shake). After checking out the room and the local area, I got to bed a few hours later and woke up to start blogging. I was sitting in one the sleeper sofas and saw something out of the corner of my eye. I let it go and then noticed it again and upon closer look there were two ants crawling on the sofa. The sofa is located in the corner of the room and I hadn’t been in that area the night before. As I peered down to the floor it became apparent that there was an ant infestation. Ants were crawling in a circular pattern on the floor and up on the sofa.

I called the Whatever/Whenever desk who said they were sending someone up. I said I would rather just move and was told to wait for a phone call. Instead, they sent up two maintenance men with ant spray who proceeded to cover the whole room in the mist. Luckily, I was still packed and had moved my items out to the hall. At that time I just walked with my luggage downstairs to the welcome desk and requested a new room. The guest service manager was brought out and apologized profusely. He informed me that they had the same room available one floor below but that it would take 90 minutes before it was ready. I was OK with this as I was writing a blog post anyway and the internet was much faster in the lobby. He walked me over to one of the tables in the W lounge overlooking the pool and ocean and asked if he could get me his favorite cocktail, a passion fruit mojito. It wasn’t quite 1130 yet, but why not.

He returned about 15 minutes later to see how I was doing and that’s when I whipped out spg.com and showed him that there were several suites and villas available. I asked if the hotel restricted upgrades and he said absolutely not for the suites, if it’s available and they have a platinum member staying, they are move than happy to upgrade. On the other hand, he said the villas are managed separately and SPG members are not normally upgraded, even if they are empty. He mentioned that he didn’t think there were any suites available, but if there were he would definitely put me in one. Well, that was it, he said he needed 15 minutes and then I’d be in my new marvelous suite. Another cocktail and some pizza…

The suite was really nice with one room almost identical to my last room and then a second room of wall-to-wall couches and another TV. The best part about the suite was the enormous terrace, almost triple the size of my previous one and also overlooking the pool and beach.

Fast forward to later that night when I was in bed and felt something on my back. I told myself that I was just imagining the ants, but to my surprise when I went to scratch away the imaginary ant, I found a tiny black bug crawling on my lower back. I immediately turned on all the lights and examined the bed, unfortunately finding three more of these tiny black nothings in the sheets. Another call to Whatever/Whenever, this time telling them to bring an entire new bedding package upstairs. A nice kid arrived and re-made the entire bed, I asked him to change the duvet and pillows as well. As he was unfolding one of the new sheets we saw something green…a grasshopper!

Yep, I am totally aware that this was Bali and I’m fine with insects in most places, but it just seemed crazy to find these in a W room that charges significantly more than any other local hotel and refers to itself as the luxurious star of Seminyak. I had to be up real early the next morning for another day of touring, this time a 12 hour tour, so I did a full search through the new bedding and then went back to sleep. I checked out the next morning (as scheduled) and after the tour I was dropped off at the brand new Sheraton in Kuta.  The Sheraton was amazing and I’ll have details on that stay in the next few days.

There were definitely good things about the W as well and I’ll cover those in the full trip report (including a stellar breakfast with vegetable tacos).  The beach however was not one of them. It’s narrow, rough, and the sand was thin black silt during my stay.It was a nice change though to actually be in a city and not a secluded beach resort.

Believe it or not, I actually much prefer getting out and exploring, rather than sitting at a hotel. I had an amazing few days of exploring in Bali and you can check out some of those pictures in a related post tomorrow. If you are heading to Bali, make sure you get out and see everything the incredible island has to offer!

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Mitty January 18, 2013 - 3:32 pm

Definitely an Un-Wow experience! I wonder if this is a common problem with hotels in Bali, where previous guests might track in unwanted crawlers. …Or if the W Bali simply has a lackluster cleaning crew or a major infestation issue with their air ducts. I’m surprised they didn’t offer you any sort of points compensation after your bad experience.

adam January 18, 2013 - 7:30 pm

@Mitty – I’m going to guess this isn’t common and maybe it’s even due to the rainy season?? I would definitely still check out the hotel though.

FrequentBird.com January 18, 2013 - 3:42 pm

I spent 19 days in Bali in 2011 and thought it one of the most magical places I had ever visited. I was surprised to read the headline of this post because I had lunch and a drink at the outdoor pool area at the W there and thought that to be spectacular too. I love how many events revolve around the sunset.

I am sorry to hear about your experience. I did not stay in the room, but I still encourage everyone who visits Bali to see the hotel, which is situated right on Seminyak Beach.

adam January 18, 2013 - 7:25 pm

@FrequentBird – Totally agree, it’s a great location, in a great town and should be checked out. More on the good in the full trip report!

BFrankley January 20, 2013 - 12:10 am

Anxiously awaiting your opinion of the Sheraton and your full report. Heading to Bali in a few days and I haven’t finalized bookings.

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