Cool and spicy pleasure retreat
Bali’s W Retreat and Spa caters to the coolest echelons of East and West according to Lunch Magazine’s Jonathan Porter.
After I dump my bags in my room and scrub off the jet grime I stroll out on the deck to check out the crowd. It’s early evening and less than 200m away the Indian Ocean pounds on to the sand. I gaze at a retreat devoted to pure luxury for a diverse crowd of sybarites ranging from expats, to young local hipsters, to singles, to families, to … how can I put this; some very happy sculpted and manscaped chaps lying dangerously close to each other by the pool.
I’m here for the retreat’s official opening and I’m kicking back in the aptly named WooBar until the evening’s light show begins. When it does begin it explodes in colour. The W’s resident DJ and musical advisor Michaeangelo L’Acqua is spinning a Paris is Burning remix. The air is so thick and humid and spicy you could drink it.
Later over a quiet ale, I ask L’Acqua how important it is to get the music mix right.
“It’s exceptionally important because it’s the unconscious connection you have to the physical realm,” he says.
“So if the music is wrong it doesn’t create symmetry with your experience.
“When you hear music in its most perfect form you embrace it wholeheartedly within the first listen.”
With L’Acqua having convinced me there is a science behind the turntables I decide the time is right to struggle towards a place where I can lie horizontally for awhile.
Back in my top floor ocean view room, I peer across to a dark horizon and drink in the cooler early morning tropical air and follow it with a San Miguel chaser as a nightcap. Shadows formed from starlight bring back childhood memories of my own beach house holidays.
This beach house compares favorably with my grandmother’s beach house on the far south coast of New South Wales, with its bare timber floors, clawed bath and gruelling 30-second walk to the pristine Orion Beach of my youth.
W adds to its ambience with day beds and lounging areas and a skylight over the enormous shower and huge bath, the latter hewn out of solid stone.
The next morning I hit the buffet in Fire restaurant for breakfast and the resort’s director of cuisine Ian Lovie is personally urging people to try new and exotic flavors. Although my plate is already piled with dim sum, suckling pig, blinis, caviar and other sundry items, Lovie, the voluble and gentle Scottish giant bends almost double to pat me on the shoulder to assure me I’m barely eating enough to hold body and soul together.
Next stop: he facilities which include me spending quality research time at the landscaped tropical Wet pool.
Unsurprisingly, a place called Sweat is a gymnasium – oddly enough I have always called the gym the sweating place and should have copyrighted the concept. If you fancy a facial or body wrap at 2am (and who doesn’t) it’s no problem at the 24-hour Away Spa.
Dining options include Fire and Starfish Bloo as well as more intimate dining experiences such as 1 Below which features a private room where a personal chef and wine expert will design a customized menu pairing original dishes with the ideal wine. Guests can catch a dazzling sunset at Ice, a cool beachside spot where you can enjoy frozen cocktails or chilled champagne along with tapas and a delectable raw bar. At Cellar, you can slip behind the velvet rope and experience a personalized selection of wine tastings in the comfort of W Bali’s premium wine cellar.
Well fortified after my Ian Lovie approved breakfast, I opt to take a catamaran tour rather than leaping at the chance to meet the bloke from Eat Pray Love; oddly enough, that tour isn’t particularly popular with the fellows.
The 18m cat from X Sails Bali takes me and a few close friends out to Crystal Bay.
Onboard the cocktails were mixed by W Seminyak’s chief mixologist Joseph Boroski. The first mojito goes down at 11.30 in the am, and by the time we all arrived back at dusk we were all very tired and emotional indeed.
During the cruise I take time to have a private chat with George, our skipper and owner of our vessel.
George and I sit on the stern, I ask him how he came to be in Bali running a beautiful boat among the islands and over crystaline waters.
“God loves me,’’ is his declaration.
With the blue waters gently smoothing in our wake as we cruise the islands around Bali, it’s difficult to argue with him, nor am I disposed to do so.
W Retreat & Spa Bali – Seminyak
Phone: (62)(361) 4738106
X Catamaran trip to Crystal Bay: guests can book directly with Whatever/Whenever service at W Bali or go to http://www.xsails-bali.com/
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