i n s i d e r
From Times Square to Leicester Square, W’s
vacation spots in the most desirable corners of this
hip, stylish properties have illuminated many
fast-evolving continent. From buzzing Xinyi in Taipei,
a skyline, and delivered a brilliant beach
where guests can sample innovative Cantonese cuisine
backdrop to some of the most lusted-after
at the first Chinese-inspired W restaurant, to the
destinations in the world, from blissed-out
chilled-out W Retreat Koh Samui, where you’ll never
overwater retreats in the Maldives to
want to leave the postcard-perfect private beach,
secluded beach villas in Bali.
W has it all.
With numerous properties set to open in Asia over
This W Insider newsletter will steer you through
the next few years starting with Bangkok and Singapore
these top destinations and give you the inside
next summer, W is firmly focused on spreading its
scoop on what’s new and next, as interviews
inimitable wow to the iconic business capitals and
with W Insiders reveal the hidden secrets of
exotic leisure escapes of the east, positioning unique
our locations for your next trip…
why w which w
w wonders worldwide From laid-back retreats in Bali, the Maldives and Koh Samui to slick city bolt-holes further north in Hong Kong, as well as Seoul and Taipei, W’s constellation of Asia-Pacific hotels offers a distinctive, designled proposition. And with seven new properties poised to open in key Asian locations over the next five years, there is plenty more to look forward to. Situated in the midst of upscale Seminyak, Bali’s foremost shopping and eating spot, W Retreat & Spa BaliSeminyak’s DNA is rooted in the mystical and visual Balinese world of Skala Niskala (‘what is seen and unseen’), which is interpreted as a conceal/reveal narrative. Guests can mingle over a frozen cocktail amid the cool surrounds of the Ice Bar, then disappear into their private retreats for some downtime, or enjoy the lush landscape before zoning out to ocean vistas. The property also houses the only 24-hour spa in Bali. This underpins W’s Whatever/ Whenever promise.
01 W Hong Kong 02 w Retreat & Spa Maldives 03 w Retreat & Spa Maldives 04 W Koh Samui 05 W Seoul – Walkerhill 06 W Hong Kong
Frequented by socialites and global jetsetters alike, W Retreat Koh Samui is located on the island’s laid-back north shore. With a hill separating its own peninsula of land from the rest of the Samui, the Retreat offers an exclusive ‘island within an island’ feel. Post-dinner pastry cocktails at WooBar — the sweet-toothed menu includes Pina Colada Mousse and Brandy Alexander Parfait — provide a honeyed finale to any meal, and live DJ mixes play out against a backdrop of sea views. A favorite with A-listers craving anonymity and solace from harried schedules (Kevin Spacey recently laid his head here) W Retreat & Spa – Maldives is located on the island of Fesdu, an 11-acre private island in the North Ari atoll, with 78 lush retreats perched atop a transparent lagoon. Slide into a cozy alcove after hitting the dance floor at Fifteen Below — the only underground nightclub in the Maldives — then once the sun comes up, explore the turquoise waters and befriend baby reef-tip sharks, turtles and mantas. Perched cloud-like on the slopes of Mount Acha and overlooking the Han River is W Seoul-Walkerhill, the Korean capital’s urban resort community, where guests recline in egg chairs or prop up the 18-meter-long bar while perusing the drinks menu’s 40-strong vodka selection at WooBar. The property recently invited five designers to showcase media arts inspired by W, with Korean/UK art collective Kimchi and Chips and Shanghai-based Super Nature among the exhibitors. Another sensational getaway is W Taipei, moments away from the mighty Taipei 101 and the hottest thing to hit Taipei in years. Home to the first-ever W-inspired Chinese restaurant, Yen, this Sino sensation serves up Cantonese food (think hot and sour lobster soup plus imaginative takes such as maltoseglazed goose liver mousse with sour plum jelly and rice cakes) with a sideorder of neon-clad vistas from its lofty location on the hotel’s 31st floor. Brimming with urban energy is W Hong Kong, in the heart of the city’s cultural district. Supplying skyline views from all 393 rooms, it is also home to the first Bliss Spa in Asia, where the trademark ‘movie while you manicure’ stations and revitalizing oxygen treatment offer the perfect prelude to a night at the chic Living Room.
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A byword for cool since the first property opened in 1998 in downtown Manhattan, W Hotels have unleashed mind-blowing entertainment, design and fashion experiences via its sleek hotels round the globe since that redhot debut. Some of the biggest names in pop have chosen to perform at W’s, including blistering creative talents like the Neon Trees and Cee Lo Green, who also chose to shoot stills for his single ‘Bright Lights Bigger City’ at W New York last year. W is also the place for the after-show, with pop royalty like Beyonce, Katy Perry and Christina Aguilera all choosing to party at W once the curtain comes down. In Asia, W is revolutionizing social scenes with don’t-miss events: W Hong Kong, for example, is taking the sting out of the steamy sub-tropical heat with the W Summer Series 2011, six themed events that kicked off this June at the loftily located Wet Bar on the 76th floor, a rooftop pool with a two-storey mosaic wall that stimulates your imaginations. Among the 400 guests mingling at this sexy Kowloon rooftop spot at the opening party were supermodel Eunis Chan, singer Hinson Chou, actress Angela Au, the current Miss China, Uny Chiu and scenesters including Thierry Mandonnaud and Ivan than US$110,000 for a non-profit organization helping children and Hsin. The series will bow out with a dramatic, splashy teenagers suffering from HIV. After a heady champagne welcome, farewell this October. guests savored a five-course degustation dinner with wine pairings W Hong Kong also hosted Australian singer/ prepared by Executive Chef Ian Lovie and Chef de Cuisine Jack songwriter sensation Lenka, and 300 music lovers Yoss, and took part in a silent auction that included jewelry, a case packed out the Living Room as part of the W of Champagne and accommodations at W Bali and W Koh Samui. Happenings Calendar this February. The hotel A hub for all things cool in South Korea, W Seoul-Walkerhill housed a also acted as the after-party and awards design Happening this July, collaborating with local and international dinner for the Hong Kong International Film artists to showcase media arts inspired by the W brand, including Festival for the third year in a row, where pieces from local designers like the Korean Interdisciplinary Arts guests rubbed shoulders with some of the Network (KoIAN), Seoul art collective Everyware and Haeyul Noh, biggest names in Hong Kong cinema, whose playful kinetic art works rely on visitor participation. including Roger Garcia, Soo Wei W Retreat – Bali Seminyak has proved its sartorial worth this summer Shaw, Raffi Kamalian, Race by hosting two exclusive fashion shows this summer, one for Farah Khan Wong and Celine Jade. this July, which was book-ended by a Tex Saverio showcase — who Over at W Retreat Bali – dresses Lady Gaga — the following month. W also hooked up with Elle Seminyak, the resort hosted Fashion Week Bangkok last year, debuting the W VIP lounge at the its first annual Bali Bali Gala event for some full-voltage glamour and giving an exclusive peek at Dinner this July, raising more its limited-edition fashion collection for W Hotels the Store.
01 Michaelangelo L’Acqua at the W Bali Premiere Weekend 02 W Summer Series 2011 03 W VIP Lounge, ELLE Fashion Week 04 Model at ELLE Fashion Week 05 dimitri from Paris at W Bali 06 Lenka live In Hong Kong 07 cocktails at Bali Premiere weekend
Whether it’s pounding the treadmill to a high-octane rock track or winding down to some chill-out vibes after a big night out, the right tunes can really set the scene. Take the sweat out of selecting the soundtrack by downloading the W Hotel app, which enables you to stream custom music mixes by talented global DJ’s curated by W Hotels’ Global Music Director Michaelangelo L’Acqua. The selection includes five sonic moods to suit any occasion: Living Room, Retreat, Wet Deck, After Dark and Sweat. W’s first iPhone app also gives the inside scoop on the hottest design, fashion and music events and exclusive W Happenings in each destination via the ‘Insider’ tab on each hotel page, and divulges special offers available to redeem during your stay. Once ensconced in your room, use the app to order up from inroom dining menus 24/7, submit special requests, ask for items like extra towels and toiletries, and check out local weather and directions. Already planning your next W stay? Find a sweet deal on the ‘Special Offers’ page first. Download the app now for free at whotels.com/ music or through the apple store at whotels. com/mobileapp.
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Birth of a new w
w hits bali with style Ăźber-chic beaches, buzzing nightspots, hip boutiques and enigmatic temples: the easygoing island of Bali, Indonesiaâ€™s undisputed capital of cool, has it all. The epicenter of this fun-loving isle is the trendy coastal town of Seminyak, where design-led restaurant/bars such as Sarong and Sardine line up against hip spaces like Simple Konsep Store, a fashion/boutique style house that zooms in on modern Indonesian traditions, and sumptuous late-night hangouts like Ku de Ta and The Living Room.
01 FIRE 02 Fabulous One Bedroom Villa 03 WET 04 View from Spectacular Ocean Facing Retreat 05 Starfish Bloo 06 W Lounge
With gorgeous spaces evoking the layout of Bali’s temples, the W Retreat Bali – Seminyak introduces a unique creative concept, ‘A New Scene Unseen,’ where design elements are both concealed — as in the villas hidden away in lush gardens — then revealed in playful public spaces like the W Lounge, where a neon-lit wall wraps guests up in a vivacious welcome. Elsewhere, this chic retreat draws inspiration from Indonesia’s natural surrounds, with a swimming pool taking on the exaggerated look and curve of Indonesia’s rice terraces, and the cozy booth seating in Starfish Bloo, which smartly emulates the elongated form of the local fishermen’s lobster traps. W’s newest retreat in Asia (it opened this March) is not only locally relevant from a design standpoint but also at its cutting edge, with dramatic lighting transforming this super-sleek space
from laid-back beach resort by day to cutting-edge nightspot once the sun sets over the Indian Ocean. Designed by Hong Kong’s AB Concepts, one of Asia’s leading design studios, the chic new W Bali, recently scooped the Best Design trophy in the ‘Hotels Over 200 Rooms’ category at the International Hotel and Property Awards 2011, beating off red-hot competition from the world’s leading design houses, including Canada’s Yabu Pushelberg. W Bali is not only a stylish retreat to its guests but has also invigorated the local entertainment scene by debuting a string of hot bars, clubs and restaurants, including W’s signature WooBar, a three-storey indoor-outdoor space that’s a chilled beach club by day, and hip hangout — with tunes spun by Bali’s hottest DJs as the sleek sonic backdrop — by night.
Looking to spend some downtime with your honey or clink glasses at your very own exclusive event? Then pull up a chair at 1 Below, a private restaurant where a personal chef and wine expert will create a customized menu in tune with your tastebuds. Another exclusive opp awaits at Cellar, where guests slip behind the velvet rope to sip their way through hand-picked vintages to wow their palate at a secret dining room. With to-die-for views of the Indian Ocean, Starfish Bloo serves up elegant beachfront fun with big PanAsian flavors on the menu, while Fire’s chefs cook up wood-fired barbecue at its dramatic open kitchen. Finish your night with a frozen cocktail or two at Ice, then maybe a massage at AWAY Spa, Bali’s only 24hour spa, or a fat stogie at the W Lounge.
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01 “Symmetry Illusion” W Taipei, Absolut, Diesel catwalk on WET 02 W Taipei Wet Deck 03 The busy Bar at WET on level 10 04 Design Installation
With an ever-changing arts scene, ambitious architecture and Come nightfall, the action is centered around profusion of fine dining restaurants, Taipei has countless calling Xinyi District to the east of Da-an, where the cards, yet is often overshadowed in favor of mainland China or imposing, illuminated form of Taipei 101 acts as both neighboring Hong Kong by travelers seeking Sino stimulation. landmark and meeting point to all who head here Attitudes towards Taiwan are changing, however, and in to party. In this popular nightspot, you’ll find one of 2010, visitors to Isla Formosa soared to 5.5 million — the Taipei’s most famous exports, Din Tai Fung, where hungry highest annual figure on record — as tourists descended crowds line up to order steaming bamboo baskets of its on the Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, in particular to acquaint feted xiao long bao. Don’t miss, too, nearby bars and clubs themselves with Taiwan’s National Museum, the largest such as Barcode and Room 18, the latter of which recently collection of Chinese art anywhere in the world, and hosted techno gods the Chemical Brothers. hip thoroughfares such as Da-an Road, where fashionHip and happening Xinyi District is also the location of W’s forward crowds snap up local designer labels like first hotel in Taiwan. With view’s of the surrounding mountains Jamei Chen and Isabelle Wen, browse for handand taking its energy from the city the hotel has inspired its painted ceramics from Europe and America in design and programming around its Design Narrative — “Nature Gallery Su, and check out designer furniture Electrified” the only accommodation in the city to offer a and embroidered pillows at Gray Area. panoramic view of both Taipei 101 and the city’s most vibrant district.
Zoom up to the 10th floor and submerge yourself in one of the surrounds of W’s AWAY Spa, which opened city’s hippest new hangouts, WET Deck, which made its debut this June. Decorated in calming waves of white this May with a Diesel fashion show featuring a sexy poolside with three-dimensional bubble motifs adding runway. While it’s difficult to divert your gaze from the club’s visual wow, savvy spa goers ready to detox levitating metal bubble structure, it’s the sleek, inviting pool after a night out or refuel in preparation will that acts as its club’s epicenter; position yourself on one appreciate the spa’s exclusive treatments, such of the surrounding chaises early evening, Mojito in hand, as the Ultimate Extreme Makeover, a slimming for a Technicolor Taipei sunset. W Taipei is also shaking wrap, facial and signature Rodial massage, and up Saturdays in the city with the introduction of its exclusive spa products from top skincare brands ‘Electrified Sunset’ poolside barbecues, with a Rodial and Vitaman. Gym bunnies disinclined to large open fireplace at WET Deck cooking up take a break from daily work-out routines can grilled beef and prawns and the hotel’s signature set pulses racing at the 580-square-meter fitness WOOBurgers, with shrimp avocado subs and centre, SWEAT. Feeling the burn? Forget about it salads on the side. by taking in the sweeping views over Taipei City Those looking for a break from the buzzing and Taiwan’s most important and much-loved Xinyi District should step into the soothing landmark, Taipei 101.
W insider has hot taipei tips Few things in life are more adrenaline-charged than stepping out impressive stock of art and design books, has also into a city for the first time and letting the sights, sounds and proved popular. As for sightseeing, Longshan Temple smells of an unknown urban landscape wash over you. That and the National Palace Museum have come out on initial excitement, however, can quickly fade to frustration as top. But it’s also good to just do what locals do — stroll you find yourself taking a wrong turn down a dark, unfriendly or shop behind the alleys of Zhongxiao East Road, enter alley, sitting down to a bad dinner and ending the night in a lively Taiwanese or Japanese izakaya, or visit the hot a lackluster bar, the city’s most sought-after addresses springs on the outskirts of the city in Beitou,” says Lin. maddeningly out of reach. To make certain you don’t Pressed for her own favorite hangouts, Lin elaborates, miss those coveted gems known only to residents, W “I love to unwind in fashion boutiques/restaurants like has appointed an erudite team of Insiders at its city Undercover and Taipei UC Noodle Bar, or chill out at Hua Shan hotels: savvy locals who can’t wait to hook you up 1914, an art space set in an abandoned factory that has hosted with a destination’s most alluring hot spots. everything from MTV shows to action figure collections. For drinks, I At W Taipei, the clued-in concierge is Charlie Lin, head to laid-back lounge bars like Trio, or L’arriere-Cour, for whiskey who turns guests on to the Taiwanese capital’s and cigars.” Lin also recommends would-be Taipei visitors check hottest events, happenings and entertainment, out new hotspots like Le Salon, a French candy store which recently from slurping down beef noodles in boutique opened on bustling Yong Kang Street, and Dazzling Café for truffle fashion store Undercover to partying until the French fries and delectable honey toast with ice cream and cream. sun comes up in the Xinyi district. Must-do’s This former Taiwan Goodwill ambassador to the Shanghai World are listed in the W Taipei Insider Guide, Expo once ran VIP tours for corporate sponsors, government officials and a chic compendium that delivers an celebrities around Taipei and is on familiar terms with every cool corner of eclectic low-down of all that is cool the city. Lin feels that her previous position has readied her to expect the and interesting in the city. unexpected. “I need to always think one step ahead of guest’s needs and be So which W Insider endorsements intuitive to their emotions, needs and desires.” have hit the spot with W Taipei When not pounding the Taipei sidewalks to discover chic new hangouts, Lin guests so far? “Traditional cuisine loves connecting with guests and delivering the impossible whenever she can. at Shin Yeh and Din Tai Fung have “We’ve done things like help guests get tickets for a Faye Wong concert after it had definitely won the hearts and long sold out; it was a big ask but we managed it somehow. These guests referred to mouths of many, and the Eslite us as ‘magic’ and have kept coming back ever since,” says the well-connected Lin, the bookstore, which has an only person you need on your speed dial for top Taipei tips.
guests give back to W
What do Korean actor Kang Jihwan, Hong Kong supermodel Jocelyn Luko and Japanese footballer Hidetoshi Nakata have in common? These stars are all crazy for W. Destinations in their own right, W Hotels entice a fun-loving, funky crowd to locations from San Francisco to Seoul, bringing the world’s tastemakers together to eat, drink and party amid some of the planet’s most hip surrounds. Guest feedback on W’s newest Asian property, the W Retreat & Spa Bali – Seminyak has ran super-hot since the property opened its doors this March. “The staff were friendly and helpful, and Ian, the Chef, was more than willing to share his recipes!” says one. “The place is a paradise,” says a guest on Tripadvisor. Another poster enthuses, “Each employee tried their hardest to make our stay the best it could be, and we even participated in a Hindu ceremony held at the W temple to greet the summer season and to bless the hotel opening. The staff walked us through the meaning of each event in the ceremony. It was very memorable.” Reviews of W Taipei reflect the hotel’s trendsetter design and super-friendly service. “The W Hotel in Taipei has it all: style, fun, superb, exuberant service, fabulous food and even an unbeatable location with views to Taipei 101,” says Rodney from Melbourne. Of Koh Samui, cigster says, “I can’t stop talking about the hotel, it was just amazing. The rooms are just heavenly and anything you require is sent to you without a delay.” In W’s other Asian retreat in the Maldives, guests rave about the location, with a New Yorker describing it as “absolute paradise … I followed a giant turtle for 20 minutes. I’ve done about 40 dives all over the world and have never seen anything like this, it was truly spectacular!” Meanwhile, W Seoul – Walkerhill is like staying in an art installation, according to JacquimNZ from Auckland, New Zealand. “Stroll into the darkened lift lit by glowing rings floating in space, play jenga in the bar while perched on egg-shaped chairs, and breakfast with the Han river ... all lit to perfection.” As for W Hong Kong, a guest says she could have moved in for good. “The location was great — so quick to the airport by train and an excellent shopping mall on the doorstep.”
01 KANG JIHWAN at WooBar W Seoul 02 Nakata Hidetoshi at W Taipei 03 Joyceln Luko at W hong Kong
MALDIVES MAGIC Witness the Maldives’ exotic seascapes and mind-blowing marine life in rock star style with a trip on W’s Escape, a traditional and luxurious two-cabin boat with fabulous facilities including sexy sundeck, king-size beds, massage showers and a Bose sound system. The W Maldives Escape Route is a four-day sailing trip around the arresting Ari atolls in a pristine corner of the Indian Ocean. Departing whenever you’re ready, the fun begins with snorkeling on the Kuda Faru reef followed by a trip to the island of Dhangethi for some local flavor and barbecue dinner on the remote island of Lonu Bui. Escape also stops off at Maamigili Faru for whale shark spotting and snorkeling hot spots Huruelhi, Mandhoo and Moofushi Kandu before sailing to W Retreat & Spa Maldives. For more information on this package, visit whotels.com/maldives
w wow +leisure On the hunt for a hot autumn/winter break that offers airport transfer, buffet breakfast for two, free internet and late checkout? W Hotels and Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia have teamed up to offer some seriously attractive deals on all six of its hotels in Asia, each of which delivers a chic and unique proposition. Craving some quiet time? Then check into one of W’s gorgeously glam, laid-back retreats, like W Bali Resort – Seminyak, W Retreat & Spa Maldives or W Retreat Koh Samui. Ready to switch it up? Immerse yourself in the intoxicating city buzz surrounding W Taipei, W Seoul – Walkerhill and W Hong Kong. With reduced room rates at W Taipei starting from US$344 per night, all six hotel deals include one-way airport transfer, special cocktail on arrival, breakfast for two, free high-speed WiFi and late check out ‘til 4pm (subject to availability) for a minimum two nights’ stay. All six of these packages are valid from September 1, 2011, until February 29, 2012, and cannot be combined with any other promotional rates or special offers, with additional nights based on the prevailing best available rate. These chic city and retreat getaways are bookable via whotelsasia.com/T+L or directly with your chosen hotel.
W Happenings Summertime is party time and W Hong Kong guests have been living it up at the W Summer Series 2011, where singer Hinson Chou and Juju Chen were among those poolside at the Wet BAr for one of the themed get-togethers. There are three more Summer Series dates left on the calendar: September 10, September 24 and October 8, where poolside barbecues and Jacuzzis at Wet both await. Down at W Seoul — Walkerhill the hotel is letting its hair down On 26 November at its annual W WOW Party, with DJ D Cup from Australia behind the decks ‘til 4am. w Maldives is livening up the North Ari atoll with its Havana nights every Sunday and Retreat + Surrender every Wednesday, with DJ Kid Diesel mixing it up.