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W Hotel Retreat and Spa - Maldives | Resort Review

Wondeful, but Poor Service Kept it from Fantastic Bombastic


W Hotel Retreat and Spa - Maldives: Known for the motto "Whatever, Whenever" and their upscale, chic and trendy, luxury hotels, the W Retreat and Spa in the Maldives was a place we just had to check out. Click here to see over 60 pictures of the W Retreat and Spa - Maldives.

First Impression/Lobby: We arrived via sea plane, a 45 minute flight from the Maldivian capital, Male (with one stop to drop passengers at a different island resort) and we were greeted by about 15 employees all dressed in white, standing shoulder to shoulder, waving a welcome to us as the plane landed – it was as sight to see! Wow –Bombastic – what a way to start!

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Reception: We were warmly greeted, offered cool wet towels and cooler drinks to refresh ourselves and then quickly shown to the waiting buggies for a quick tour of the island resort and then to our villa, an over the water villa with a lagoon view. The only arrival amenity were some berries and warm melted chocolate dipping the berries in, a far cry from the Champagne we received from the Soneva Gili upon our arrival at their property.

Registration was completed in the villa and when our bags arrived, we asked about unpacking service. They said this is not something they normally offer but maybe they could find someone to do it; again, very much unlike the Soneva Gili. We headed to lunch and when we returned the unpacking was done but the way our initial request was handled made us feel we felt like it was a huge accommodation they made for us. So much for Whatever, Whenever!

The Villa: We booked an over the water, lagoon view water villas which offers the best swimming; the other side (the ocean view villas) has a lot of coral making it not so good swimming.

Our villa number #214 was exactly what we expected from the W Hotel, chic, trendy and gorgeous in its own understated way.

The front door opens directly into the bedroom and sitting area. The wall across from the door is rounded and has a large wall of windows that look out onto the private deck and off to the tranquil, crystal blue water; amazing, fresh and relaxing – bombastic!

The small sitting area has a small love seat/day bed, side chair, work desk, stocked wine cooler (for a fee) and flat screen TV, but really the only thing that mattered was the view.

Around the corner from the bedroom/sitting area a large built in closet and the over-sized bathroom with private toilet, large stand alone shower, deep soaking tub (with a view out over the deck) and twin vanity sinks.

The whole interior of the villa has cool tiled floors, fresh white painted walls and an air of relaxed and comfortable yet upscale and trendy.

The private deck, where we (as most people probably do) spent most of our time was as chic and trendy as the inside. The deck was furnished with a small dining table and two chairs, a BBQ grill (in case we felt like cooking, we didn’t though), a half-crescent couch partially covered from the sun, two lounge chairs, a large circular day bed and our very own plunge pool (with Jacuzzi). With that set up, there wasn’t much reason to leave the deck let alone the villa.

Just a one tip and one complaint about the villa: For the most privacy, try to book a room furthest away from the beach we had #214, try for #213 or higher. The villa did not have a cordless telephone; anytime we needed to make a call or waiting for a return call we had to go inside; so much for enjoying the beautiful Maldivian weather on our private deck.

Room Service: Since we had our gorgeous villa and private deck we hated the thought of leaving so we placed an order with room service. Our experience with the W Hotel room service started our fair and just got worse.

We ordered lunch a simple lunch and it arrived late and only then did we find out they did not have the wine we ordered. Our choice was to wait another 20-30 minutes for him to go back and find something else (while our food got cold) or eat without the wine.

The room service guy’s response when we asked him why they didn’t call when they realized they did not have the wine or at least before they brought the food was “what do you want me to do?” No sorry, no remorse, nothing. Basically it was “so what, too bad, deal with it”. I thought to myself, is this really a five-star resort? I really expected more from the W hotel. A call to the in-room dining/room service manager and after that they took very good care of us, but it should never have gotten to that; this is a five-star, luxury resort.

One positive thing about in room dining is they were more than happy to make any special dishes you requested, but for a price – fish soup $50, spaghetti lobster – even more! And, they don’t tell you the price before hand, so it was quite a surprise when we got our bill.

Housekeeping: Housekeeping did a stellar job each day. There is nothing better than coming back to a villa that has been perfectly cleaned and just as important, they were consistent how they did things each day (shoes I the same place, toiletries lined up the same way, etc.). It was obvious the house keeping staff took pride in their work.

Concierge: Concierge services and special requests was handled by the W Hotel’s Whatever, Whenever line. I can honestly say this was one of their weakest areas. Our calls to Whatever, Whenever (basically the front desk/customer service) line were normally met with half answers, a “no” or a promise that never materialized. Also, every buggy (to take us somewhere on the island) we had scheduled was late. Until the W Resort and Spa Maldives can get their Whatever, Whenever staff properly trained or replaced with staff that cares, they should change the name to Maybe, Sometimes.

Restaurants: Across the board, throughout the W Resort and Spa Maldives the food was excellent but pricey; however the wine was not as expensive as it was at Soneva Gili. The W Resort offered an array of dining options making it possible to eat dinner somewhere different each night; a great little bonus!

Kitchen: Kitchen restaurant is where buffet breakfast is served. It has something for everyone; eggs, omelets, pancakes, waffles, French toast (the best) all made to order. It also serves lunch with a wide variety of dishes including soup, salad, pizza, curries, sandwiches, fish, and steaks.

Service was consistently fair. Tue waiters were going through the motions, it appeared most would rather be elsewhere.

Wet serves up light dished poolside, but because we had our private deck, we didn’t take advantage of the main pool or Wet.

Fire: The BBQ restaurant, with dining on the beach with tiki torches and candles for light. A great set up but the food was so-so. They offer a huge selection of different kinds of meat, fish and seafood but for me nothing was very good other than the tenderloin. The way it works is you pick the meat of fish you want and they will prepare it however you want – BBQ, Mongolian stir fry, curry, etc. They also had roasted lamb the evening they were there, but it was dry and tasteless. The Tandoori chicken and fish curry were dull as well. Overall our dining experience at Fire was second-rate. The W opens Fire three nights a week. While it wasn’t amazing food, it was a nice alternative.

15 Below is the W Resort’s underground disco. This was one of the highlights of the W. Open just a few nights a week, and located 15 steps below ground it is a hip and trendy disco bar complete with a DJ, dance floor and great drinks. With the right crowd of travelers, which we had the night we were there, it rivals your big city discos. Ok, maybe it was not that good, but it was still a ton of fun!

Fish: Fish Restaurant was easily our favorite restaurant on the island. As you could guess from its name, they serve seafood and a wide array of seafood at that. The atmosphere, the service and the food are easily the best the W Resort Maldives has to offer; it easily gets a rating of Fantastic Bombastic!

Pool/Spa/Activities: In addition to the beautiful beach, the W Hotel Maldives has almost an endless supply of other things to do: swimming/sunning at the main pool, spa treatments, water sports, diving, snorkeling, sailing, yoga, oil painting, and the list goes on. I can honestly say the only way to be bored at the W Resort Maldives it to actually want to be bored.
We rented their yacht for a day, spending the day cruising the sea and stopping to snorkel, swim and sip Champagne on a private island. Lunch was service on board; a full day enjoying all the beauty of the Maldives is fantastic bombastic.

One extra bonus the W Resort Maldives offers is what they call “Sweet Spots” located throughout the property (three on the island and three around the over the water villas). They are self service centers were you can get beach towels, ice cream, juice, soda and treats – available free of charge, 24 hours a day, help yourself whenever you want.

Check-Out: Check-out was handled down at the front desk, by the same group that handles the Whatever Whenever calls. Again, like most any time we contacted this group it was less than an impressive experience. Checking out and settling our bill proved to be no different. Something that should have been as quick as a swipe of our credit card and a signature turned out to be a twenty minute ordeal; sadly this was one of the last memories we’ll have of the W Resort and Spa in the Maldvies.

Overall Impression The property is gorgeous as are the villa. The variety of restaurants and the bars are just as impressive but the service was far from stellar.

Many of the staff had either an arrogant or an “I’d rather be somewhere else” attitude which is strange because the different managers we met during our stay were nothing but outgoing, welcoming and service oriented. There just seemed to be a disconnect between managers and front line employees.

While the property itself has all the potential of being fantastic bombastic, I am only able to give it a rating of bombastic, because of the below average service.

Would I go back? Yes; however, I would go back to the One and Only at Reethi Rah Maldives and the Conrad Hilton Maldives and even Soneva Gili by Six Senses Maldives before returning to the W Retreat and Spa Maldives. Service levels at those three properties easily surpassed the W.

If you enjoyed this hotel/resort review of the W Resort and Spa Maldives, I recommend you read the following Maldives luxury resort/hotel reviews:
Conrad Hilton Maldives
One and Only at Reethi Rah Maldives
Soneva Gili by Six Senses Maldives
Huvafen Fushi Resort Maldives

Read our hotel reviews for the other W Hotels we have visited:
W Hotel – Doha, Qatar
W Hotel City Center - Chicago

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