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(Currently Closed) W Retreat & Spa, Vieques, Puerto Rico [Master Thread]

(Currently Closed) W Retreat & Spa, Vieques, Puerto Rico [Master Thread]

Old Jun 16, 10, 9:06 am
  #1  
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Arrow (Currently Closed) W Retreat & Spa, Vieques, Puerto Rico [Master Thread]

Okay, got some tips and observations to share with y'all after my perfect weekend at the W Vieques...

W
  • Rooms. I applied 2 Free Weekend Nights there to book a Wonderful Room. My platinum got me an upgrade from Wonderful to Fabulous Room poolside, ground level. There are a bunch of buildings, you'll want to stay in one of two areas: a) poolside w/ easy access to private beach #1 (younger, louder): 5,6,7,8, or b) private beach #2: 2,3,4. Each building has 3 floors, the highest might have best ocean views, but lowest has easy in-n-out.
  • Included perks: snorkel (always tell them you're using it on property only and it's free...and good quality!), kayak (off W beach), resort water during daylight (citrus, cucumbers, etc), POPCORN (amazing), ice, Bliss products, concierge (no surcharge on .... they booked for me), W host (he's awesome, I swear he's the Dos Equis guy).

Saving $
  • W Water costs $9 for a liter. Pickup when you can: a) water, b) beer, c) snacks. You could go crazy with mixing your own drinks I suppose, but there's something to be said for their delicious $14 drinks poolside.
  • Bring a collapsable cooler (it'll come in handy often and there's ice on the backside of every building).
  • Bring sunscreen. Of note: there's a CVS in Old San Juan that's just like any in NYC.
  • Rent car for just a brief window, you don't need one the whole time. In 24-hours (10a-10a), I did all beaches, Esparanza, Bio Bay, loaded up my cooler with beer. You could certainly have it for longer if you want to explore but honestly, the resort is soooo fabulous that you won't want to spend much time away. Go thru Maritza's, have W book the cheapest SUV that has AC. I got a Jeep Patriot for $70, you can prolly spend $60 and be fine.

Getting There
  • Fly into San Juan
  • Taxi to SIG airport (Isla Grande) in 15-20 mins, $20
  • Fly a puddle jumper: SIG-VQS, $100 roundtrip per person; from my experience, these fly full and leave on time; make a reso in advanced. I read good things about Seaborne Airlines and it served us well.
  • NOTE: W has a dedicated waiting room at VQS. Fuel up before flights in and out with (free) amazing pain-au-chocolats in the AM and a (free) mix bar in the PM.

To Do
  • Bio Bay. Use Abe's tour, W can arrange for $30 per person. Have a layer of clothes cover until JUST before you get in the water -- it's called Mosquito Bay for a reason and you can't use mozzie spray cuz it damages the bay. I asked for the latest tour possible -- smaller crowds, darker night. Ideal conditions: sunny-... day, new moon (avoid full moon).
  • Visit all those beaches in nat'l forest. Blue was great and empty, Secret had best sand in the world (as good as my beloved Lanikai in Oahu), Red is supposed to be dope but it rained so I didn't check it. Green, across the island, will def give you a chance to have the beach to yourself and it has a super rugged beauty.
  • Esparanza. It's cool, it really is. But after 30 mins walking around, the girl and I just kinda wanted to go home. Stil, you owe it to yourself to check it out (if for no other reason than to pity the rest of the island visitors who don't have the W hookup).
  • Snorkeling. So I'm a serious snorkeler, I explored, I was disappointed. Maybe it was the season, but all they have are TINY fish and random sea life you're not interested in. I know that there are a couple nurse sharks that you might get lucky and see around the island off Blue Beach and rays live there. But if you've done good snorkeling, you'll be disappointed so gauge expectations.
  • Diving. It exists, but given the snorkeling, I didn't want to pony up $120 per person for a two-tank dive.

To Eat
  • Allain Ducasse's Resto @ W. You could get away with $16 sandwiches all weekend, but I recommend splurging one night. Wines are very reasonable (good reds for $50). Must try the Pork MiX (perhaps the best plate of pork I've ever consumed).
  • Poolside musts. Mezze plate (heaps o' humus, feta, olives, pita), $13; Macaron ice cream sandwiches, $10 (we discovered the last day and each got our own helping...yes, it was that good); POPCORN (my discerning popcorn palette was plenty pleased with it), $0!
  • El Quenepo. Pricy, but excellent food at the start of Esparanza.
  • Food truck, just before you turn into the National Park. Reasonable prices, nothing delicious though. Still, a decent place to pickup some grub before you head to the desolate beaches.

That's all I got. Lots of info, my way of saying thanks for all the great tips I've come across on the site. Hope it helps out those of you heading/considering the W Vieques. I'd definitely go back!
Mike Alt is offline  
Old Jun 16, 10, 9:18 am
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Thanks for the report. Did you feel the resort fee was reasonable?

Last edited by SanDiego1K; Jun 16, 10 at 10:18 am Reason: edited out quote for ease in reading
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Old Jun 16, 10, 10:20 am
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Mike Alt, thank you for that great stay report. Now that we have an actual report of the property, I've moved it into its own thread for it to become the basis for the hotel master thread.

/mod
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Old Jun 16, 10, 2:08 pm
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Great trip report. Wow.
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Old Jun 16, 10, 3:41 pm
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Originally Posted by chanp View Post
Thanks for the report. Did you feel the resort fee was reasonable?
Yes, $65/day (with tax) was reasonable. Staff was swarming, constantly replacing towels (too much so IMO, wasteful -- I had ~10 towels during one day). Airport lounge was great, extras were thoughtful and useful (kayaks, inner tubes, snorkels), concierge service exceptional. I'd prefer not to pay it, of course, but when I checked out, I had no beef with the charge whatsoever.

(I forgot to include my biggest beef in original post: the poolside service took FOREVER. They didn't seem understaffed, just slow. I typically waited 10-15 minutes for drinks (and once, maybe twice, I had to remind them to bring my drink). My work-around: I found a guy who was quick and didn't forget my orders and I ordered through him the rest of the trip.)
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Old Jun 16, 10, 3:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Mike Alt View Post
the poolside service took FOREVER. They didn't seem understaffed, just slow.
Puerto Rico service = manana. Period. Having been to PR 30-40 times in my life, everything is manana.
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Old Jun 16, 10, 7:22 pm
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Thanks for the great report. ^
Sounds like worth checking out if I am in the area again.
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Old Jun 22, 10, 1:56 pm
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Thanks for the great trip report! You may have convinced me to visit PR instead of Hawaii (flight is shorter too!).

Thanks
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Old Jun 22, 10, 7:26 pm
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Thanks for this. I look foward to my next return trip to PR.

Cheers,
Flews is offline  
Old Jun 26, 10, 3:25 pm
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Sounds great - for evenings what was acceptabel to wear - thirts, shorts, jeans, etc or more fancy clothes?


Originally Posted by Mike Alt View Post
Okay, got some tips and observations to share with y'all after my perfect weekend at the W Vieques...

Last edited by SanDiego1K; Jun 27, 10 at 4:13 am Reason: edited out lengthy quote for ease in reading
Kobi is offline  
Old Jun 26, 10, 11:06 pm
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$65/day resort fee on "Free" Weekend Night?
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Old Jun 26, 10, 11:49 pm
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Originally Posted by nfg05 View Post
$65/day resort fee on "Free" Weekend Night?
I have no problem with this.
When I go to a top resort on vacation...I want to be WoWed and are prepared to pay for the attention.
Perhaps the local Motel 6 is more in your budget zone?
onfillmore is offline  
Old Jun 27, 10, 5:46 am
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Originally Posted by onfillmore View Post
I have no problem with this.
When I go to a top resort on vacation...I want to be WoWed and are prepared to pay for the attention.
Perhaps the local Motel 6 is more in your budget zone?
Thats not the point. We are all prepared to pay for things. But when you are using Points etc then it is an irritation that you still have to pay a "resort fee" without getting much for it. Especially if you have Platinum status.
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Old Jun 27, 10, 10:47 am
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Originally Posted by onfillmore View Post
I have no problem with this.
When I go to a top resort on vacation...I want to be WoWed and are prepared to pay for the attention.
Perhaps the local Motel 6 is more in your budget zone?
Motel 6... ridiculous. Issue here is that SPG FWN is more like Free* Weekend Night. Classifying mandatory resort fees as not part of the cost of a hotel room and thus not covered by FWN is a tacky and cheap way to treat your most loyal customers.

*After paying $65/day resort fee.
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Old Jun 27, 10, 11:09 am
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I agree. A night is either free or it isn't.
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