W Retreat and Spa on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico – A Destination In Itself

Beach in front of W Retreat and Spa, Vieques Island (Photo credit: Melissa Curtin)

W Retreat & Spa- Vieques Island opened its doors on March 25, 2010 as the first W Retreat & Spa in North America with 30 acres of beachfront property. It is the second W Retreat & Spa after the successful opening of another one in the Maldives in 2006. Other recent new W Retreats include Bali and Koh Sumui, Thailand.

Located eight miles off the southeast coast of Puerto Rico on the peaceful and untouched island of Vieques, the Retreat & Spa features 157 stylish guest rooms and suites, all with private patios and balconies, providing unparalleled views of the Atlantic Ocean. The luxurious and rustic hotel offers a mix of serenity and natural beauty, inviting guests to escape to an untainted paradise that blends soft adventure with soothing relaxation.

The W Retreat is a Caribbean wonderland blessed with two private palm-lined beaches while the property flaunts waterfront leisure spots such as Living Room, Fire Pit, Lawn and Paradise Edge; five scrumptious dining options from highly acclaimed chef, Alain Ducasse; an AWAY Spa for ultimate revitalization and relaxation; and a contemporary seaside sanctuary full of natural wonders and pure indulgence.

The Living Room or major foyer in the W Retreat (Photo credit: Melissa Curtin)

The rustic design at the W Vieques pays meticulous attention to detail and craft, with a combination of locally recycled materials, organic forms, and Urquiola’s renowned and modern Italian furnishings that were created exclusively for W Vieques by B&B Italia, all of which celebrate Vieques’ wild and natural surroundings.

The W Retreat & Spa’s reception area is wrapped in reclaimed wood, serving as the portal to the W Living Room that features Tiger Eye area rugs, oversized brass-plated steel lamps with fabric shades, black leather chairs, plush Field sofas by Moroso with colorful and inviting oversized pillows providing a comfortable place to sit and relax, and an oversized map of Vieques Island by Urquiola placed at the entrance. Guests are drawn to the vistas of the ocean just outside, which they can soak in from the outdoor lounge area that boasts a dramatic Fire Pit and is the ideal location to enjoy the breathtaking view.

How can you go wrong with the W Hotels philosophy?  Their signature Whatever/Whenever service philosophy provides guests with whatever they want – from beachside yoga lessons at sunrise to private jet service from Puerto Rico – whenever they want it, as long as it’s legal! For more information, please visit www.whotels.com/vieques.  My welcome arrival included champagne and some tasty island treats in my room. After learning my luggage hadn’t made it to Vieques, the hotel staff sent me a bag full of items to make my afternoon and shower more comfortable, like flip flops, a toothbrush, a razor, and more.

One of the many beaches on the Caribbean side that are peaceful. (Photo credit: Melissa Curtin)

The Island

Vieques has been off the radar for awhile due to the military occupying most of its 52 square miles as a bombing range base until about 2003.  This has enabled the island to remain untouched in a way that most of the Caribbean has not seen. Many beaches you can call your own and there is little evidence of pollution like I have seen in Fiji and other Caribbean islands.

This lush land with its natural white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters makes it an escapists’ dream. Vieques maintains its cultural appeal and level of seclusion with tucked away beaches, wild horses and many unpaved roads and continues to draw national attention. The W Hotel makes getting around the island quite easy however with their jeep rentals right there at the resort.

Location

The Firepit (Photo credit: Melissa Curtin)

Situated on a low cliff right on the beach with views of the Atlantic Ocean and Culebra Island, the hotel is isolated, but everything is a short drive away. The Caribbean beach side (Blue Beach, Red beach, Playa Pata Prieta, Sombre Beach) is only 20 minutes away as well as Ezperenza, the little village town where you can fish, kayak, jet ski, snorkel, rent a horse, or charter a boat.  Now Cape Air is offering flights from St. Croix making Vieques more accessible as a day-trip destination from surrounding Caribbean islands.

Welcome

Guests arriving at Vieques’ Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport are invited into a private W Welcome Lounge where you can begin your escape before the 10-minute drive to W Vieques with food and drinks.

Bedroom (Photo credit: Melissa Curtin)

The Rooms

There are Suites with a garden view, Marvelous Havens with an ocean view, as well as Wow Ocean Front Havens and the signature Extreme Retreat Haven (W’s twist on the Presidential Suite). Sleep in style with W Hotel’s signature beds with lush pillow-top mattresses, feather-bed overlays, goose-down duvets and pillows and 350-threadcount Egyptian cotton sheets, creating the ultimate urban escape. Of course like all W Hotels, you can expect to find ultra-plush W robes, select Bliss products sink side, state of the art entertainment systems, flat screen LCD TV’s and the signature W Munchie Box.

I felt tiny being alone in my 638 square foot ground floor room with a giant bed and sliding doors looking out onto the palm studded pool area and ocean, but I’m not going to lie, it felt so good! The white bed infused with the modern splash of brightly colored pillows, artwork, and giant chaise lounge chair in the corner made me never want to leave this pad. Other nice features included the iPod dock, a cordless phone, and a TV that was hidden, but swung out so you could watch TV in bed.

Bathroom (Photo credit: Melissa Curtin)

The open air bathroom offers little privacy, so thank goodness there is a door on the bathroom toilet area, if you happen to be staying with someone.  The large white free standing-style tub is behind the bed, although separated by a curtain and sits across from the boxy modern grey sink area.  The massive shower with its rainfall shower head behind the sink area could easily fit ten people in the giant space.

Amenities 

The seaside spa includes a store with many products.  The best part of the spa is the privacy.  Each room is separate and and offers a private outdoor shower when done. Afterwards, you can sip tea in your bathrobe by the Atlantic ocean feeling like you’re miles away from reality.  The serene spa also offers yoga and holistic treatments as well as manicures and pedicures in a social sunken room.  Although my massage was not necessarily memorable, the rivulets and canals that flow throughout the space and the sound of the crashing waves of the Atlantic felt like an oasis.

Back of the spa to the ocean (Photo credit: Melissa Curtin)

If you feel like working up a SWEAT®,  a 24-hour fitness center with top-of-the-line Technogym® machines and personal training is a step away.  Tennis courts are available and rackets are provided.  The Blackbeard Shop next to the W Cafe offers guided kayaking and snorkeling excursions (a must!), scuba diving, fishing, mountain biking, hikes to beaches, and pretty much whatever adventure you are up for on and off the resort.  Other amenities include a wired, business center with all the necessary tools for those who need to stay connected while away and W Hotels The Store, the W brand’s stylish take on the traditional hotel gift shop.

Food Options

Please read HERE to learn more about the numerous food options, such as miX on beach inspired by Alain Ducasse, featuring organic, local ingredients handpicked from the island’s growers and W Café for the on-the-move traveler. I enjoyed fresh fruit drinks and Mediterranean cuisine munchies one afternoon at Wet, the poolside bar area with dramatic views of the ocean.  If you don’t want to leave the room, room service offers an endless array of fine choices.

Truly the W Retreat and Spa Vieques is a destination in itself. I look forward to their plans for more incredible Retreat locations around the world.  Their name is synonymous with “Expect the best.”

W Retreat and Spa – Vieques Island, State Road 200, www.wvieques.com, (787) 741-4100

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