The hotels in Vieques encompass everything from a budget guesthouse to architectural wonder. To help narrow your choices, here's a list of five outstanding inns and hotels that offer you something beyond the norm.
Quite simply, it's like nothing else on the island. The W Retreat & Spa, the first W retreat in this part of the world, does its best to respect its natural environment while offering the chic signature of the W. The result is a breathtaking hotel on the beach that's oozing rustic luxury, from the airy, minimalist rooms to the expansive, inviting lobby, to the secluded spa. The W Vieques is more than a hotel; it's a state of mind, an escape in the true sense of the word. Add a gourmet restaurant under the auspices of world-famous master chef Alain Ducasse, two gorgeous infinity-edge pools, a "European" beach where clothing is optional, and you've got an idea of the details that make this retreat beautiful, whimsical, and stylish.
The Hix Island House wins my vote for the coolest hotel in Vieques for the sheer audacity, wonder, and concept behind its construction. The hotel is comprised of three buildings: Square, Circle, and Triangle. These simple geometric designs are carried out with a minimum of artifice, making it appear as if they are natural formations rising up out of the earth.
Harmony with nature is a consistent theme here. There are no windows in the rooms (mosquito netting keeps the bugs away at night), no air conditioner, and no elevators. The walls and floors are concrete. There are open-air showers. And the genius of its design is such that, while removing many so-called creature comforts, the Hix House doesn't sacrifice your comfort.
The Inn on the Blue Horizon exudes a romantic charm that lives up to its lovely name. Overlooking the sea, an inn is a group of cabanas surrounding the main house. Guestrooms are decorated in a tropical theme, with four-poster beds and dark wood furniture. Outside your cabana are immaculately groomed grounds, panoramic ocean views, a gorgeous open-air pool with magical night lighting. One of Vieques' best bar and lounge combos and an award-winning restaurant are also on the property.
Check rates at this hotel.
"Wayfarers Accommodated," says the sign out front, but you won't feel like a wayfarer when you enter this warm, pleasant inn. Owners Burr and Linda Vail are wonderful hosts who take the extra step in welcoming their guests to the hotel and to the island. Each room is unique, and the ones overlooking the sea earn top honors. The communal areas, and the library, in particular, are cozy places to relax after a day out on the beach. Hacienda Tamarindo (named for the lovely Tamarind tree growing in the property) also has a terrific complimentary breakfast and offers a packed a box lunch and beach chairs for your excursions around the island.
The only hotel on this list in the town of Esperanza, the Malecón House is a chic boutique spot in the heart of the bustling boardwalk. Steps from the water and Esperanza's restaurants, shops and bars, the inn has ten beautifully appointed rooms in a modern minimalist style that's perfectly suited to island life.
Don't come here if you want to watch TV, dine at a fancy hotel restaurant, or order room service. The Malecón House won't be for you. But if you want to embrace a Caribbean island experience in comfort and style, it will do nicely.