We stayed at Casa Cascadas (CC) for the second of our two-week stay in Vieques. The first week was spent with family and friends, leading up to our wedding, so Casa Cascadas was our honeymoon retreat.
On a ridge, atop one of the tallest peaks in Los Chivos, CC offers the most dramatic panoramic views we saw on the island. Getting to CC is an adventure in itself, driving up steep peaks and taking some near blind corners. All in good fun.
After a day or two of exploring, we realized that there are many ways to/from CC, and it is perfectly central to the best features of Vieques. 5mins to IsabelII, 5mins to the beaches in the Wildlife Refuge, and maybe 10mins to Esperanza.
Our friends came with us to check in. When we came up the stairs from the main gate, we shared a collective WOW moment. The panoramic view, the John Hix-designed architecture, the landscaping, the "water-wall", the infinity pool, the garden and many other artisitc features worked together to create a perfect balance of beauty, sophistication and pure relaxation.
There are only a few other villas just below Casa Cascadas, and then it's unspoiled land all the way to the southern coastline, maybe 2-3 miles away. Crystal clear views of Sun Bay, Mosquito Bay and more greated us each morning. On the clearer days we could see St. Croix. Folks back home sound disappointed when we say we didn't stay on beach front property. However, the idea of staying on the beach is a shortsighted ideal when in Vieques. Why settle for a 1/2 mile or so of beach front property when you can view 5+ miles of shorline from the hills? You feel as though you are on top of the world, looking down on birds flying or watching wild horses grazing on a hilltop just below. Truly breathtaking.
Our suite was spacious and simply decorated, allowing the concrete architecture to shine. Two giant windows provided access to the spectacular views. As in other Hix designed house, the windows are open (no glass) but they were sceened in, which ensured no bugs. There is no air conditioning due to the open design of the house, but the temperatures and constant breeze from outside made for an ideal sleeping climate. There's a very powerful variable-speed ceiling fan above the bed for warmer nights. If you want to sleep in, there are metal security shades that can be lowered to block the morning sunlight.
The suite comes with a cooler, beach towels, 2 chairs and 2 umbrellas - everything necessary for a day out lounging or beach hopping. The concrete marvel continues in the bathroom, where two sinks and a spacious counter are all made from a seamless, sculpted piece of concrete. The ourdoor shower was surpsingly one of my favorite features. The wall around the shower offers privacy without obstructing the view. Shower at night and you can look up at thousands of stars, visible thanks to the lack of light pollution. Next to the bed is an iPod docking station so we could listen to our favorite tunes as we got ready in the mornings or before heading out in the evenings.
Use of the fridge in the upstairs kitchenette allowed us to keep our wine, beer and leftovers cold and within steps of our room. I have chronic backpain and only after staying at CC do I now realize I just need a new bed. The king size Tempurpedic mattress, topped with a mix of down and quality foam/cotton stuffed pillows, made for the perfect night's rest. We woke up each morning well rested and completely free of pain.
Towels and linens were of high quality. Daily maid service was available for an additional fee, but we found it completely unnecessary.
Peter, the owner, was a great host. He guided us to some off-the-beaten path sights like the old lighthouse, and made solid recommendations for dining. Speaking of dining, the best meal of our trip was when we joined 3 other couples for one of the dinner events that Peter hosts during the week at CC. We are foodies from Philadelphia and gourmet chef Alex Mazzocca's creations were nothing short of exquisite. The dinner is a BYO event, but 3 of the 7 or 8 courses of the meal came with wine pairings. With great food and wine flowing, it was hard not to make friends with the other dinner guests. There was really absolutely nothing to complain about! The best part was that when dinner was over, we could just go upstairs to our suite.
Talking to Peter gave us an insider perspective on what it is like to live on Vieques.
He was all around a really nice guy and we are very jealous of the life he lives : )
His garden was a nice feature as well, boasting lemongrass, banana trees and even coffee plants as well as some local flowers for additional color.
Each morning, we would come downstairs to find Peter putting the finishing touches on breakfast. Breakfast varied daily but to our delight always included some type of smoothie, made with fresh fruit and homemade yogurt. Healthy and delicious!
Other highlights were his fresh baked breads (cranberry walnut was our fav), cheese assortments, and homemade papaya & mango jams. The breakfasts were filling but GI friendly. We left the table each morning energized and ready to go without any sluggish consequences. We'd eat outside, steps above the pool, admiring the appearance of the southern coastline and hills in the early morning light.
Casa Cascadas is a perfect couples getaway. We spent our days out and about the island, but very well could have just stayed at CC, reading by the pool and taking it all in. Luxury & value makes this a no-brainer.
Vieques is an island that begs to be explored. We were so very glad that we did not take the bait of the W resort. If you want to stay in an overpriced resort that aims to keep guests within the confines of their "bubble", then you are likely missing most of what Vieques has to offer.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Featured in last year's Newsweek, this is the island’s most distinctive and compelling bed-and-breakfast and the newest on Vieques. The acknowledged best view. Centrally located minutes from Caribbean and Atlantic beaches. Designed by an architect of international stature. 52-foot parallelogram-shaped pool. One B&B suite, with king tempurpedic platform bed, bathroom with double sink, open-air shower. Guest kitchenette. Trellised loggia with custom-built lounges. Beach cooler, chairs, towels. Breakfast each morning. ... more less