Chef Matthew McCool gives us a smile, despite his busy day. The clock’s just turned 1pm and already he’s fed 200 people at breakfast and is currently dishing up meals for 250 more guests.
A spot to be seen
It’s busy at The W Retreat and Spa in Seminyak, Bali. As the sun passes its zenith above, women wearing long flowing dresses and men with gelled hair and polo shirts fill the tables.
Chef McCool tells us that most people dining on the brunch are from outside of the hotel – the weekly event is making a name for itself and drawing a crowd. For many luxury hotels, enticing the public is often the aim to increase profits, and The W has figured out how to do this very successfully.
Gorging on gourmet fare
You can upgrade your food package to A$110 to include unlimited booze, or A$175 for unlimited champagne. The Sunday Brunch runs for three and a half hours, so I’m sure there were a few people aiming to get their money’s worth.
Dave and I opted for the booze-free option, as we were both feeling a little shady from the night before. Thankfully, this included fresh juices. You simply have to pick the fruits you want and hand it to a staff member, who’ll blend it up for you on the spot.
A spike in popularity
The Sunday Brunch started a few years ago with just 100 or so covers each week, but has more than doubled since then. More and more food stations have been added – delicious fare guaranteed to feed even the fussiest of eaters.
I get the feeling it’s the place to be seen. In a $10 summer dress from Primark, I’m feeling decidedly out of place as women strut past me in high-wedged shoes. But with the view of the beach in the distance, a plate of sushi in front of me, and a freshly squeezed juice in my hand, I’m not one to care.
A new chef to give added flair
New Chef de Cuisine Matthew McCool, who’s only been in the job for six weeks, is originally from Sydney although it’s been awhile since he lived there.
He’s worked in some of the world’s best restaurants – including three restaurants in Europe that have received Michelin stars. Before moving to Bali, he was heading up the Shangri-La Hotel Kitchen in Shanghai, which we’re sure was quite a feat!
“I’m loving the pace and challenge amid the beautiful Bali life,” he tells us when he gets two minutes to chat among the busy rush of the day.
Chill out time by the pool
When we finish our meals, Dave and I throw ourselves on to the beanbags beside the pool and attempt to doze through our food comas.
The W Retreat and Spa in all its glory
Even if you don’t manage to make it to the Sunday Brunch at The W Retreat and Spa, it’s worth popping by to enjoy a cocktail or even smoke a shisha by the pool. You can’t lounge on the sun beds though – unfortunately they’re reserved for guests, who pay between US$300 – US$3,000 a night for the privilege.
But you’ll be able to make the most of The W’s ambience regardless.
What I love about these chain of hotels is that they’re so uniquely modern and give a bright twist to the normal, and somewhat drab, décor you find in other hotels around the world.
For starters, when you drive up to the hotel’s entrance, you’re greeted by Mr Monopoly!
What you need to know
When to go: Brunch at the W is every Sunday between 12pm and 3:30pm. Bookings are vital and can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org and +62 361 4738 106.
How to get there: We’d recommend Uber if you’re coming from afar. It’s recently been introduced to Bali and it’s significantly cheaper than a regular cab, especially if you’re coming from Ubud like we were, where there’s no metered taxis to be had.
The W Retreat and Spa is located at Jl. Petitenget, Seminyak.
Cost: The food and soft drink / juice package is A$49.50 per person.
The food and booze package is A$110 per person.
The food and champagne package is A$175 per person.
The food and drinks are unlimited for the three and a half duration of the brunch. On top of this charge is a 21% tax.
Thanks to The W Retreat & Spa for hosting us, as always, our opinions are our own.