Collectively, we’ve been to 10 different places in the Caribbean. We’ve stayed in luxury resorts and nice, small hotels. Having spent 3 nights at Hacienda Tamarindo, we can honestly say this is the best small hotel experience right now in the Caribbean. So here’s the review. I’ll try and provide as much information as possible so you can make your own decision.
We had quite a journey to get there from first being able to find the ferry in Fajado to the rough ride over on the ferry to the trip on the public (shared van/taxi) to the rental car place. They made the reservations for us....suggest you do the same. We drove up to the Tamarindo and hoped it would live up to our hopes for a relaxing vacation. We weren’t sure when we drove up….they were doing roof work.
Melissa got us checked in and showed us around. The first thing that struck me was how beautiful the interior was in spite of the roof work. I walked towards an open doorway and then out on a porch and saw a beautiful pool and view of the Caribbean with islands in the distance. I noticed that there was a patio to the right of that (with a privacy wall) with that wonderful view. And then Melissa said “by the way, that’s your patio….” We went into the room and it was the perfect traditional room in a hacienda (more on that later). She proceeded to show us around the entire hotel and explain the library, honor bar, computer, breakfast room, the place to rent the beach chairs, umbrellas, etc. It was obvious that she cared about the hotel and its guests.
We came to know Ivan, the hotel manager, and Linda and Burr, the owners (and Zack, their wonderful sheep dog). We also came to understand that everyone there deeply cares about your experience. Burr was trained at the Cornell University Hotel School and it shows. They’ve basically anticipated what their guest would need in a small Caribbean hotel on Vieques and provide it: Beach chairs, umbrellas (both beach and rain), beach towels, etc.
Now to the details: If you need large marble baths and health clubs and spas and room service and TVs and exotic cocktails at the bar and post modern furniture, please check out the W and upgrade to a junior suite so you can pay $650 (not including the resort fee) or more an enjoy their man made beach. Hacienda Tamarindo is for people looking for an honest Caribbean experience.
Ever dream of staying at a wonderful Caribbean villa? Some place without the crowd? Your own private estate with fountains where wild horses come and visit? This is it. We had a Caribbean Deluxe room and would recommend you do the same. The bathroom was immaculate, but small. It had a toilet and shower. The sink was in the main bedroom with ample counter space. The room (#5) had the beautiful patio overlooking the pool and sea. Keep in mind that the rooms on the second floor are near the breakfast room. If you sleep late, it’s probably best to reserve on a different floor. They serve 8-10 am. If you’re looking for luxury, there’s a 2 bedroom guest house just below the pool. The compressors on the air conditioners can be a little noisy, but still fine.
For breakfast, they will indeed make you just about anything you want provided they have the ingredients. They will also make you lunch to bring to the beach. Keep in mind these are home style sandwiches….not gourmet lunches. We enjoyed ours on Sun Cove during a brief down pour under a covered picknik table.
Melissa and Ivan will go out of their way to make sure you are comfortable. The rooms don’t have safes, but they have “banker bags” (again, Linda and Burr thinking of everything) where you can put your valuables and lock them and they in turn lock them in the hotel safe. We felt completely safe and cared for during our entire time there.
And finally, Linda and Burr felt badly that we and another family were staying there while there was work being done on the property. They invited us all up to their home on the third floor for drinks and conversation. They are wonderful people and we hope to return soon.
Don’t miss Vieques or this hotel. And make sure you spend at least 3 nights there. There’s a reason this is rated #1 on Trip Advisor.