My husband, 2 year old son, and I stayed at the Vieques Beach House (www.viequesbeachhouse.com) in October 2011. I wanted to submit a review as we had a hard time finding anything out about this property before we booked it. First, I want to say that I actually thought the property was fine for the price, and it really is priced well, but I found that it wasn’t ideal for us.
The property owner was very helpful when we planned our trip, and, in fact, it was the owner that tipped the scale in favor of this rental over another. He was eager to answer our questions, arranged to have a pack & play for us, and help assure us that the house was toddler-friendly. The house manager was also great. He greeted at the airport, responded quickly when the A/C broke and was generally very helpful.
Truly this house is right on a beautiful beach, which is quite rare on Vieques. You simply have to walk across the yard, through the gate and step around the trees to be right on the beach. The reef-formed wading pool was great for our 2 year old. The view from the beach is spectacular. However, the house is separated from the ocean by a mass of trees. They are quite lovely, but they do block most of your view of the ocean from the house.
The house was very clean, moderately well stocked, and came with a decent selection of beach gear. The house is also pretty big (3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms), but wouldn’t comfortably sit 4 adults in the living areas, and certainly not 6 adults. The only places to sit in the living areas are an uncomfortable futon couch, 4 stools around the kitchen table, and 4 chairs on the porch. There are no large tables for dining or games, just a small, square table in the kitchen and 2 small café tables on the porch.
Only one of the 3 bedrooms has an A/C unit. The other 2 bedrooms have ceiling fans, which probably wouldn’t be an issue but for the street noise – horses walking up the street, dogs barking like mad to scare horses away, horses snorting and trotting off quickly, dogs quieting down, 5-10 minutes later, repeat with the horses returning, plus some intermittent cars with thumping music and crowing roosters. I can normally sleep through anything, but this was horrible. After that first night, all three of us ended up hunkered down in the A/C bedroom, which was certainly not our plan when we rented a 3-bedroom house. I’ll note that there is a large A/C unit in the living room, but I have a hard time believing it would cool the bedrooms as they’re pretty far away from the living area. In any case, it broke on us the first night and couldn’t be repaired until after we left.
The kitchen is not a gourmet kitchen, but had sufficient supplies to make do. My biggest complaint here was there is almost no counter-space and the lighting over the stove area is just awful after dark. I seriously couldn’t see if the hamburger I was frying was cooked through without moving the frying pan into the light. I had planned on cooking at least a couple of dinners at the house, but after the first meal, we ended up eating dinner out the rest of the trip.
The screened-in porch is a nice place to hang out during the day, but there are gaps in the floor boards and some small holes in the screens that allowed a few mosquitoes in at night.
The yard and driveway are the one area where I actually cannot find a single good thing to say. The driveway is very steep, with two narrow runs of concrete that are just a tad bit wider than the average car tire and are positioned, at least in parts, about 4-6” higher than the ground around it, which made for some nerve-racking parking jobs. The yard did not seem maintained at all. There were what I think are animal traps under the house (I understand this is the Caribbean and likely necessary, but I would have appreciated some effort to hide them). The yard itself was very uneven with very long grass, and who knows what mixed in. I try not to be too overprotective with my son, but there was no way I was going to let him run around in the yard, which was very disappointing, as the large, fenced-in yard was one of the features that helped sell the house to us. On the plus side, the house itself is very large and sparsely furnished, which gave him lots of indoor room to run around. And, of course, we spent as many waking hours as possible at the beach.
I know this paragraph will seem petty to most, but we are avid DIY’ers and found ourselves frustrated with some of the houses little quirks. The refrigerator door opened the wrong way. Nearly every door was hung incorrectly and wouldn’t open all the way as it would hit the floor first. Hot and cold water were mixed up on at least one of the sinks, faucets incorrectly turned away from you to turn on. These things probably wouldn’t have bothered us if the house had otherwise been right for us, but they did bother us.
In sum, I think this house is a great option for people who value being on a beach more than being close to town, who don’t want to cook much, and who don’t want to spend a lot of time in the house. Before our son, that totally would have been us. This really is a fine house, but I think it’s important for potential renters to know what they’re getting - both good and bad.