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“Jonathan Heath hits a home run with the W Vieques”

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W Retreat & Spa Vieques
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Isla de Vieques
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 8 December 2010

I would personally like to thank Jonathan Heath, the incredibly helpful General Manager, who made my vacation at the W Vieques a truly memorable and relaxing experience.

When I first arrived at the W Retreat & Spa, I was impressed at how beautiful and stylishly chic this resort is - from the Bliss bath products to the sumptuous duvet covers. The W Retreat gets all the details right..

The Concierge, especially Lauren, made sure that every morning my plans were mapped out in detail from what beach to visit, to what the top restaurants in town were, and to what the best sightseeing venues were.

My favorite part of the hotel was the pool. The staff that supported the pool were exceptional, from Carlos, Robert and Monica serving the most creative frozen drinks to Lala making sure that I had fresh towels and that I did not burn. They treated me like I was part of their family.

Mark, from the Sports Club, made sure that my hike in the rainforest was vigorous but memorable.

My only negative experience was with ISLAND ADVENTURES. The Concierge had arranged for a bio sightseeing tour. The taxi dropped me off at Island Adventures a few minutes late and I missed the boat. The manager at Island Adventures decided to scream and talk down to me, and finally asked me to wait outside of his store like I was a dog until my hotel picked me up. Their lack of professionalism and customer service shocked me because everyone on the Island of Vieques went our of their way to make me one of the best trips of my life.

All in all, the W Retreat & Spa hit a home run on this trip. Well done, Jonathan.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled solo
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Thank exp_traveler27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,665 - 1,671 of 1,840 reviews

Reviewed 5 December 2010

Clearly a marginal resort. No beach/pool service for the $60 per day PER room charge, 90% of the time there were no towels at the pool, concierge comes on duty at 1PM. Taxi was quoted at $10 and turned out to be $10 PER PERSON for a 5 minute ride (another guest had 4 adults and 6 children and was charge $100). The menus are extremely limiting and the food OK at best. We had bugs in one of our rooms which I reported 3 times. There are 2 pools on the property, one of which we never heard about except for a guest the day we left. The beach is TERRIBLE and was posted with swimming warnings. If you want a beach DO NOT GO HERE. The pool is also very undersized considering you risk your life swimming in the water off the resort. Also do not believe the BS about great snorkleing...it is poor at best.

The printer at the business center was out of toner and 5 days after reporting it, it was still not replaced. Also, no locks on the bathroom stalls in the ladies' room by the pool.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank 1AAFlyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2010

We just returned from a five night stay at the W Vieques that we booked using Starwood points. We arrived at the Vieques airport and had a quick 10 minute wait in the W lounge. The lounge was very impressive - it takes up half the space of the tiny rustic airport and has a very helpful staff, snacks and drinks in a very comfortable setting - if only they could run the entire resort the way they run the lounge!

Upon arrival we checked in and were told to wait in the lobby for an "ambassador" to show us to our room. I'm not the most patient person and waiting almost half an hour to be shown to our room was unacceptable in my book, but our ambassador did turn out to be helpful and gave us a tour of the entire resort on the way to our room.

The grounds of the resort are beautiful and there are seating areas all around the property where you can relax and enjoy the view. The pool area is quite large but always very crowded with loud music playing. I actually liked the music, but can see how some guests would complain that it was too loud. I personally preferred to sit on the beach rather than the pool, which was virtually empty and much more relaxing. They seemed to have a problem keeping the pool towels stocked and there were quite a few times that I had to go to the hotel lobby to get a towel. They also need more people to work at the pool area and clean up towels, etc. once guests have left. If you arrive at the pool in the afternoon, every single chair has a used towel on it and half are unoccupied, so you have no idea whether or not you can lay down or if you'll be stealing someone's seat.

As far as food at the hotel, we had breakfast at the restaurant the first morning, but then opted for the W Cafe for the rest of the week. They have breakfast sandwiches, cereal, smoothies, etc. This seemed slightly more cost effective (although a smoothie is $8) and just all around easier. We only ate lunch by the pool one day - it took around 40 minutes to get two drinks and two sandwiches (which are also quite pricey). The rest of the trip we tried all of the other restaurants throughout the island.

We rented the beach package from the hotel for a day which included 2 beach chairs, an umbrella, a cooler, snorkel gear and straw mats. This costs $45 but we felt worth it to do once since the beach is much more enjoyable with chairs and an umbrella. It would be nice if this was included in the daily resort fee. As everyone else has mentioned, the $65 a day resort fee is absurd. Yes, you get free wifi and parking, but the snorkel and kayak gear is not even usable at the resort and the beach chairs that are included are for their beach only - not to take off property.

The concierge helped us book Abe's mangrove, snorkeling, biobay tour (amazing, you should definitely do this). The cost is $100 per person, which the concierge failed to mention is cash only. Luckily when we went to pay Abe at the end of the tour, we had just over the $200 that we owed him in cash. This is a very important point that I can't believe the hotel fails to mention.

Another issue was restaurant recommendations. It was Thanksgiving and I had called the front desk for a recommendation. The girl at the desk called Next Course to get us a reservation and called me back to say that they didn't have an opening until 9:30, which was too late for us. She then recommended Coconuts and said she would call them for a reservation. She called me back 10 minutes later saying that they weren't answering their phone but they were open so we should just go without a reservation. We drove over there to find that they were not open. We then decided to drive towards Esperanza and drove past Next Course. I ran in just to see if they could squeeze us in - half of the restaurant was empty and they seated us right away! A resort of this caliber should be able to tell their guests which restaurants are open and get them a reservation without a problem.

All in all, the W is a beautiful resort, but has to train their staff better and step up their service to be in line with the five star resort they claim to be. They are getting away with this lack of service because there are no other luxury resorts on the island but I don't think that will last long. I would recommend this hotel because I would recommend traveling to Vieques and thought it was a nice place to stay, but it definitely needs some work.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank jms831
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2010

Four days before our wedding, Hurricane Tomas hit our resort in St Lucia where we were supposed to honeymoon. Based on recommendations from friends we decided to change our honeymoon to stay at the W in Vieques. I was a little confused about the transportation from the airport to the hotel - the website mentions it but at no point did I get any communication that it was part of the package - I assumed we would have to pay extra for it and take a cab to the resort. Just to be sure, I called the W from San Juan and found out that it was in fact included. It would be nice if the W could make this more clear.

I had booked a spectacular room online - it was really important to us to have an ocean front view. However, when we went to check in, we were told we were in a mega room. Luckily I had the internet confirmation print out with me and showed that we were supposed to have a spectacular room and she moved us to the correct room.

The W website implies that it has a rental car desk at the hotel - but in fact there is not a rental car desk. As we had to re-plan our honeymoon on such short notice we were worried about getting a jeep - but the W was able to help us get a rental jeep for two days. We didn't spend much time at the W beach or pool - we explored the island and we went to blue beach for our beach time.

The music that's commented on in other reviews was definitely noticeable - but we could only hear it from our room on Friday night - that night it was loud enough to be heard over the waves - but the rest of the trip the music did not bother us. However, we did request a room that was further away from the pool so it might be nosier if you stay closer to the pool.

The room was beautiful and clean and we didn't notice any issues with service. The food and drink are extremely pricey. We expected that to some point - we are from Chicago and the drinks were comparable to the W here. It does seem a little extreme though to pay $60 for breakfast consisting of toast, granola with fruit, juice and coffee. Just eat at other restaurants as much as you can - there are plenty on the island. We also stocked up on lunch food from the local supermarket to take the beach. And the resort tax is very unfair.

Overall, we really enjoyed our room at the W the most out of the experience. The W living room and fire pit are also a nice touch to hang out in. We were disappointed that there's not a hot tub at the resort - but the bathtub in the room is a nice second place. I would recommend this hotel- just be ready to pay top dollar for food and drink.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank anujin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 November 2010

I just got back from The W retreat and Spa at Vieques this afternoon. The service was very good, the servers were darlings but the person in charge of rooms at the front desk was horrible to say the least, he managed to tarnish my experience forever to the point were I would NOT return or recommend the hotel to anyone.
While many of the amenities are quite nice the person who should be in charge of helping make everything possible is truly one of the nastiest, rudest persons ever. Not only did he make our departure more difficult (due to the weather we had to make new arrangements and he was NOT willing to help) but the day before my cousin went to ask for some help in understanding some things and he refused because "the system was down" (even though she had the papers that she wanted help understanding on hand). I have to say that personally last impressions are sometimes more important than anything else and ours was horrible, starting with the fact that he was rude and raised his voice, to the point where I had to leave because I was in the verge of tears.
They made me feel as a second-class guest, I don't know if it was due to the fact that I was a local (I'm from San Juan, and a little time later I saw him helping some people from the states in the same transportation situation and to them he was very nice) or what.
I would NOT recomend this hotel and you can be sure that I will NOT be going back, I don't think it's fair that after all the relaxation and all the stress-reducing activities I had to pay for all they did in the end was give me more stress.

  • Stayed: November 2010
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4  Thank bellefort
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 November 2010

We flew to Vieques on Cape Air which uses 10 passenger planes (including the pilot). One passenger was assigned to the co-pilot seat. It's a short ride at 140mph & 2000 feet max altitude. Upon arrival at the Vieques airport we were directed to the W Resort lounge where we waited for about 20 minutes for the short ride to the resort. It took about 30 minutes for someone to deliver us and our luggage to our room and by that time it was getting dark. Upon arrival at the room there were dirty drink glasses outside our door - and they stayed there for 2 more days. When we entered the stairway to go down we discovered it was completely dark - the overhead light had burned out and my wife almost fell down the stairs. I reported it but they made no attempt to fix it that night. The next thing we noticed is the pathways are also dark because they are illuminated by very weak solar lights. We had to use our feet to feel for steps in some places. If you go, take a small flashlight because you'll need it. Dinner was OK but nothing great and the quality did not match the $107 price. The next morning the light in our stairway was replaced - about the time we lost hot water. It seems the resort has a problem with hot water pipes and after that first morning we had no hot water for the rest of the stay. The even worse part was when they cut off the hot water the shower stopped working. We had to use a hand sprayer in the tub to take a cold "shower". I complained several times about the lack of hot water and all I got was "I'm so sorry" but we were never offered anything to make up for the inconvenience, not even so much as a free drink.

I had called several days before arriving and asked guest services to line up a jeep rental for us and I was told it would be taken care of. After our arrival I called guest services and told them I was ready for the jeep I discovered they hadn't made any arrangements at all. It turned out to be difficult to get a jeep because the gas stations on the island were out of gas. I finally got a jeep but we lost a half a day in the process.

We went to buy a sandwich in the cafe before it closed at 5pm and discovered they had a single sandwich in the cooler. They did have ice cream but the next afternoon there was no ice cream. Seems the machine broke. If the days we spent at the W Resort had a common theme, I think it would be just that - something was broken every day we were there.

The resort is beautiful and in a great setting. Food and drinks are over priced but that is probably typical for a remote resort. However, in my opinion there is a huge gap in promised customer service vs what is actually delivered. We probably will never return again because there are too many great tropical resorts that will take steps to make up for shortcomings such as no hot water. Had they tried to make up for the lack of showers / hot water by providing a free dinner, we might have considered returning.

An irritant to many guests is the whopping $60 resort fee per day. The rational they supply is the fee covers the wi-fi, beach chairs, parking, towels, water sport items, etc. Therefore you are required to pay for those items whether you use them or not.

Upon check-out we were taken back to the little airport where we were able to check our luggage back to our home airport - but not really. Vieques has no TSA or agriculture inspection so you and your luggage MUST be delivered outside the secure area of the San Juan airport. You must then present the luggage for an agriculture scan and get the luggage to the airline. Then, after a very long wait in the security line, you'll be at your departure gate. If we had arrived in San Juan to change planes with less than 45 minutes before boarding our USAIRWAYS flight home we would not have made it. The only reason we could have made it in 45 minutes is we discovered that there are 2 security lines at the San Juan airport. There must have been over 200 people in the line leading to the USAIRWAYS gate but we accidently found the second line when we were on our way to Vieques. We avoided the really long line and found the second line which had no wait at all. Then we used the connector hall to get back to our terminal. I was amazed that no airport personel were directing any of the passengers to the second security line.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank NC_Hiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 November 2010

We just got back from a wonderful time in Vieques. If you love the Caribbean, but not the commercialism, then Vieques is for you. The W was awesome -- great rooms and they really display the W brand. The people at the hotel were awesome to work with. We also loved the horseback riding at Seagate Horseback. Penny the owner will take care of you. We loved it so much we went back the second day. For a 2 hour ride, we went through the town, the country-side and rode on the beaches. There are wild horses in Vieque roaming the streets like stray dogs. We did the bio-bay luminsicent kayak trip. It was a full moon but we still glowed and sparkled in the water. Overall it was awesome! There is a resort fee but covered everything from the arrivals/departure lounge, lift to hotel, coffee service in the morning, snorkel gear, free Internet and pool side service. We bulked at it in the beginning but figured out very quickly it was of value.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank WendyGFrisco_TX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about W Retreat & Spa Vieques

Address: State Road 200, KM 3.2 - HC-1 | Box 9368, 0000765, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Isla de Vieques
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Isla de Vieques
Price Range: £314 - £766 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — W Retreat & Spa Vieques 4.5*
Number of rooms: 157
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

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