Sunday, November 6, 2011

The W in Seminyak, Bali

Like most W hotels, the Seminyak property is modern and unique. It didn't fit my idea of what Bali should look like, which explains my initial discomfort regarding the interiors of the hotel. I've been to Bali twice before with family and we were enchanted by the peacefulness of the place and the rituals of the people. My image of Bali design is mostly of the tropical nature as I mentioned in this post--villas designed organically using natural materials, alfresco bales and outdoor showers.

The open-air lobby of the W is similar to a resort hotel in Honolulu, except for a bar right in the middle of the lobby. Reception desks, which are clearly not the focal point here, are discreetly to one side.

I even noticed a live DJ styling the music that is played everywhere at the W; in the lobby, by the poolside, in the bars, and even in the restrooms.

There are so many different design elements at work here, and only a few of them harmonize with each other. Elements that harmonize evoke peace and restfulness, while features that clash, serve to stimulate the senses.

And that's how I felt all weekend--stimulated. In that sense, the choice of this hotel for the purpose of a business meeting was perfect. I don't think this would be my first choice though for an "Eat, Pray, Love"-type of trip to Bali.

 This is the business center and library. I love those sofas.

Even if I'm not a fan of modern design, I was intrigued by each corner of the hotel. The public restrooms are one-of-a-kind. In some, the lights are so dim and the music pulsating, it felt like I walked into a disco (does that term date me? Discotheque--haha).

 One of the unusual hotel restrooms. They're all different.

The first thing you see when you enter the restroom is a statement-making sink. The vanity area is deeper inside, in front of the toilet stalls. I purposely went around the hotel looking for restrooms to see what surprise awaited me inside.

The danger of being too trendy is when functionality is sacrificed for design. Look at that imposing porcupine sink above--the faucet hardly reaches the inside of the basin. When I washed my hands, I made a big mess splashing water all over the floor.

If I were in a Balinese-inspired place, I would probably be sneaking off to the spa instead of staying focused on the meetings.  But here, with luminous surroundings and music playing, the last thing on my mind was zoning out inside a spa. After the meetings, it was party-time!

Potato Head Beach Club

We walked along the beach to get to the famous Potato Head Beach Club next door, where we had dinner one evening. In our dinner group of international guests was the lady who owns the Komaneka Resorts in Ubud. She was telling us that she hardly comes to this part of town, because she prefers the quietness of Ubud.  I checked out the Komaneka Resorts online and it does remind me of the Bali I know. 

We also went to the popular Ku De Ta which is a couple of kilometers down the road

So it seems that Seminyak is the more commercial, palpitating part of Bali, while Ubud is the quiet artistic side. It was comforting to know that Bali hasn't really changed that much then. Bali is just multi-faceted.

Unfortunately this trip was too short to discover all that Seminyak had to offer. At least the W was a destination in itself, if only for the design part.

W Retreat and Spa Bali
Jl. Petitenget
Seminyak, Bali 80361
Phone: (62)(361) 4738106
Fax: (62)(361) 4738104

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