This turned out to be a lovely short mini-vacation as a treat from my husband for my "biggie" birthday. I have been taking him to a different island for HIS birthday for over 25 years and he travels to Puerto Rico on business quite a lot, but we had never been to Vieques.
Everything was quite good at the hotel -- as you've read previously, the grounds are picturesque, horses roam on property, everything is well manicured. You have your choice of two beaches -- one touted as family, one as "european" (adults only). We went to the family beach as it was closer. (As a matter of note, there weren't many children at the hotel overall; and none on the beach the days we went). The pools are shallow -- only 4 feet deep -- but perfect for a quick rinse. There are plenty of chairs and umbrellas, etc etc.wherever you choose to sit. And servers come around frequently if you are looking to eat or drink something from your lounge chair.
The hotel room was spacious. Large king bed. I particular loved the huge tin bath tub. Separate stall shower. The only negative, at all, might have been that the amenities weren't replaced right away, but other than that very minor quibble, everything worked fine. In fact, the air conditioning and ceiling paddle fan were too cool at times.
The food was quite good; surprisingly so based on reviews -- ate at Sorce for one dinner and had 3 lunches -- 2 at the pool bar and one in the lobby when we arrived. Service at all meals was friendly and aiming to please. (I've done a review under restaurants).
Concierges were all very helpful. They can arrange dinner reservations, taxis, answer questions, etc etc.We had a couples massage one day -- delightful -- loved the relaxing sound of the ocean waves while having the massage.
The best asset of the resort? The people! We spoke with the servers, quite a bit of the staff -- everyone from front desk to people at the shops. Many ex-pats now on island were from places we'd lived or been to or knew. Kudos to Edison Fernandez in reservations who was so helpful pre-planning our trip. And to Yamil at the pool bar,who just beamed with personality plus while serving lunch. Front desk staff very good as well -- sorry didn't get names.
Also should mention the W lounge at the airport -- smooth coming and going. Loved the cool washcloths and fruit juices. Stock up on quick drink(sodas and one with rum, too!) prior to going to the hotel or hang out while waiting for your plane...
Some tips to make your stay the best:
--Before you go, sign up for Starwood Preferred guest status. It's free and may help with an upgrade. Plus you'll get points for a future trip.
-- Take a package trip that at least includes breakfast. (Our "romance" package also included a 3-course dinner, and a discounted couples massage.)
--Make sure you stop by the lobby bar between 6 and 6:30 pm every night. They have a special drink featured each evening (it changes each day) and it's free during those hours.
--Make reservations to the top restaurants in advance. Either call from home or have the concierge assist you. Restaurants change their opening/closing days at whim on island so make sure you verify (and confirm) your reservations.
--At the concierge desk, you can find sample menus of various restaurants. Different concierges have their favorite places so get a composite view if you're not sure.
--Lunch at the hotel can be at the beach, the pool bar, or by the side of your lounge. Some entrees are large enough to share. Perfect if you don't feel like going off property.
--Watching pennies? The local brew is Medalla. It's only $5. Look for happy hour drinks and 2 for one beer specials.
-- Expect taxes/service charges on everything -- even "free/package included" items and you won't be disappointed. (Suggested service charge is 18-20% btw).
--Remember, all food, etc., on island has to be imported/shipped in and there is a cost to that. Anyone who has stayed an ANY W hotel or upscale property in a MAJOR metropolitan area has paid similar prices. Please take that into account before you come and plan accordingly.
--Taxis are only $5 per person. Please tip (I was embarassed that some travellers didn't). So if you're planning on drinking at dinner or only on island for a short time, a car isn't absolutely necessary (or safe) the whole time or even at all.
Happy to answer anyone's questions.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on two private, secluded beaches, W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island is a resort in Puerto Rico that provides the perfect getaway for a relaxing and luxurious villa-style vacation with infinite indulgences. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- w Retreat And Spa Vieques
- w Retreat & Spa Vieques Hotel Isla De Vieques