Wednesday, December 18, 2013

W Vieques Retreat & Spa - Part II

The W Vieques property is rather expansive so I've taken the executive decision (if a 2 year old can call it that) to talk about our 1 bedroom suite in one post and the rest of the resort in a separate post.

Today, I'll give you a photo tour of the following:
1. The overall property
2. The lobby
3. Their restaurant Sorce
4. The pool
5. The beach
6. The gym

The W Vieques is set on 30 acres of beachfront property, facing the north towards the Atlantic Ocean. While they do have a beach you can access, it's less impressive than the beaches in the southern side of Vieques Island that face the Caribbean. Nevertheless, the surrounding area and gardens are beautiful and stylish in typical W fashion.

Our room was in Villa 11 which was quite a distance away from the main lobby/pool area. We could always call for a jeep to pick us up whenever we wanted, but I personally enjoyed making my lazy father walk all week. You could either walk 5 minutes along the main road that took you to the front lobby....

...or walk through the back pathways that had a more scenic garden view of the other villas as well as the random wild horses that frequented the island.


And passed the waterfront area on our way to the back of the lobby / W living room area.

Upon entering the lobby through the back, you saw a stylish bar lounge area to your right and a series of comfortable couches to the left with a pool table. Wifi was complimentary (well, not really since everyone had to pay a $60 daily resort fee) and was decent strength during our stay.

For the holidays, the W also had their own interpretation of a Christmas tree.

Every morning, we had a sit down breakfast at their on-site restaurant Sorce. Being SPG Platinum members, we had the option of selecting a Platinum Welcome Amenity of a complimentary continental breakfast each morning from the W Cafe (where they had pre-made sandwiches and pastries you could grab and go). But to offer guests another option, we could also receive a $15/room breakfast credit each morning at Sorce. We opted for the latter which was a nice way to save $60 during our 4 night stay and worth more than the other Welcome Amenity Option of 500 SPG points (worth about $10-15).


On the Saturday and Sunday mornings, Sorce offered guests a $28/person breakfast buffet, which had your usual omelette station, selection of pastries, sliced fruit, cold cut meats and cheeses.


To be honest, their breakfast buffet wasn't really that impressive for $28, so we opted for the a la carte menu options which ran $12-16 per item, including a delicious Huevos Rancheros and a quality Eggs Benedict. Several of the items came with your choice of side including fruit, salad or potatoes. My parents eat a lot so if each dish got them full, that's really saying something. When the bill came, the server manually wrote in the $15 discount (for being SPG Platinum guests) so that we'd only be paying the reduced price. Of course, you should still tip on the full pre-discounted amount. No excuse for being cheap at someone's expense.


Later in the day, we'd often find ourselves relaxing at the beautiful pool area near the lobby. There were actually two different pools though they weren't segmented into adult and children's pools. Probably because the W Vieques isn't really a "kid oriented" hotel. Like all the other W Hotels, their target demographic is a younger jet setter/couples crowd, not a family of 4 with a 2 year old and a grandmother. Nevertheless, we saw tons of children ranging from infants to teenagers, so I never felt out of place.

The pool area service levels were quite high. While they may not have been staffed at full levels, the servers they did have were constantly working to make sure all the guests had a fresh drink or lunch whenever they wanted. The pool bar was the only food option between breakfast and dinner, so we'd often eat there. My grandmother loved their fish tacos while my father had a tasty Cuban sandwich or a gigantic Vieques Burger (which came with fried jalepeno peppers). We also had their Chorizo Pizza and Queso Fundido, but they weren't that memorable to be honest. All the menu items were around $14-16 and alcoholic mixed drinks ran about $11-12.

The resort itself was perched atop a hill above the shore, so to access the beach area, you had to walk down a short set of stairs. We didn't actually spend much time on the W beach because (a) we're more pool people, (b) they had much more scenic beaches around the island and (c) the waves crash pretty hard on the rocky shore, so not ideal for a 2 year old toddler aspiring to turn 3. Nevertheless, the view was stunning.

They also had "free" use of the non-motorized water sport activities like kayaks and snorkel gear. It was complimentary though really it was a part of that $60 daily resort fee.

Important note: As mentioned earlier, the W really caters to their target demographic of jet setting young couples, so while they have a traditional beach (the eastern one), they also offer a clothing optional beach (the western one) on the other side of the resort. While we did pass by that nude beach, we didn't actually see anyone use that nude option. But just something to keep in mind if you toddlers ever decide to take your parents here.

If you've met my father, you'd probably know he's not a avid gym rat. That being said, he has been going 2x a week with his friend Jacob (my friend Abigail's father). So on this trip, he decided he'd continue to get some exercise.


But instead of doing the usual weights and cardio, my parents took advantage of the "complimentary" daily 8AM yoga classes (included as benefit of the $60 daily resort fee). While it wasn't the typical yoga that my mother was accustomed to, they tried it out and got a pretty intense calisthenic workout.

After their yoga class, my father would pop next door to the W Cafe where they sold everything from snacks to clothes to souvenirs. The W Cafe was the regular breakfast option for Platinum SPG members to take their complimentary continental breakfast. We were happy with our choice to take the $15 credit at Sorce.


On the other side of the gym, there was a Blackbeard Sports and Island Car Rental where you could arrange excursions and rent jeeps. Nearby that part of the resort, the W Vieques Retreat also had an Away Spa and tennis courts. We didn't use either of those facilities so I cannot comment on them, but they looked nice as we walked by.

Overall, we found the luxury property to be very beautiful and unique among the hotel options on Vieques. Unlike other reviews that the service levels were subpar (being a Caribbean island culture), we actually found the level of guest services to be exceptionally high and on par with some of the best U.S. hotels we've stayed at (since Asian customer service is on a completely different tier). Whenever we had any issues, the front desk immediately accommodated us without question, such as adjusting our final bill because we were "mistakenly" told we had a $15/person breakfast credit when we checked in and then only received $15 credit per room.

The trendy W accommodations are definitely not for everyone, but for the great SPG Hot Escapes price we were able to lock in ($239 + taxes and charge), we were very happy with our hotel choice.

1 comment:

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