The W Retreat & Spa at Vieques Island is a luxury boutique waterfront hotel located on pristine Vieques Island, located eight miles off the southeast coast of mainland Puerto Rico. What’s interesting about the island is that despite being so close to the mainland, it still has a very raw, untouched feel, with tourism weaving itself into the landscape instead of taking it over.
Guests of the hotel can explore ecotourism on the island through kayaking tours of the bioluminescent bay, beach trips, scuba diving, mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding, outdoor yoga, farm-to-bar social hours at sunset, and visits to the the local farm to see where the restaurant’s ingredients are sourced and even to create a meal for themselves.
There's also a sumptuous spa. Inspired by the holistic nature of the surroundings, the spa seems to blend into the landscape, with rivulets and canals flowing throughout the space, front-row views of the Atlantic Ocean, vine-covered treatment rooms, a reflection pool, and a spa pavilion surrounded by lush gardens.
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Touring an Organic Farm
The W Retreat & Spa at Vieques Island is an eco-luxury boutique waterfront hotel. In terms of the food and beverage program, many of the ingredients are locally-sourced, mainly from their own organic farm. Beginning in fall 2013, guests will be able to tour the organic farm, pick their own produce, and make their own meal under the guidance of a chef. It's a delicious way to experience local culture.
The W Vieques should be a stop on any architect or design aficionado's Caribbean island tour. By Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola, the complex is a literal patchwork of organic elements woven together. The materials and textures are raw and natural, while hints of bright colors are cheerful with respect to a very bright blue sea.
This retreat would be at the opposite end of the "ramshackle paradise" spectrum and removed from the island's two towns. However, it definitely has its own character—which, as a designer, I truly admire. While staying in Esparanza, it was interesting to see a take on newer modern island design. I did find it amusing that while hundreds of wild horses roam Vieques, it seems the W has a few as pets within their gated walls.
Side note, as small as the island is, a W massage therapist was on our plane over, and one of the general managers on the return. The GM shared that 80 percent is usually occupied by New Yorkers...and their personalities.
Another side note, they have a very cool gift shop...but isn't that the case for most W's?