W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island
11/4 - 11/7
This was solely a surprise vacation I had planned for me and the wife. Doing my online research of the island as well as speaking with quite a number of people during my travels that were originally from Puerto Rico, it seems like a great place to explore and relax. I wanted this to be a great trip for us, so I did opt to utilize the W’s Whenever/Wherever services ahead of time to setup spa services for my wonderful wife and surprise her with a private dinner on the property. The effort it took to get anyone to respond should have been an indicator of what was to come…(email addresses on the website were getting bounced as undeliverable, some never responded, and others ignored my requests altogether until the last hail mary attempt)
For anyone who is timid of flying, be prepared to take a small commuter plane (10 people including the pilot) from San Juan to Vieques. It is nice to get off the plane and walk into a W waiting area before the van service arrives to take you to the resort. The staff and drivers at the airport lobby were very kind and seemed happy to be apart of the Starwood team.
Arriving at the hotel we waited behind a couple checking in for 15 minutes while other Starwood staff were continuing to walk behind the counter, click on the keyboard, glance at us and give the universal “be with you uno momento” look then whisk-fully disappear. Once we finally progressed to the counter and checked in, we had to wait another 15 minutes before the gentleman checking us in had become frustrated with someone on the handheld radio and came to assist us to the room.
The property is really nice and is laid out very well. I don’t think any room has a bad view especially villas 1-4 which overlook their own beach apart from the main resort beach which also has WET, W’s Pool Area.
The private dining was amazing and the waiter, Jay, was clearly selected to make sure things wen’t swimmingly. It was extremely disappointing that this very expensive meal was by far the best meal of the trip. Why you may ask? Because we made attempts to order a special picnic basket that was being promoted at the W Cafe, eat at various times at the main lobby restaurant, and tried in-room dining a number of times with each resulting in horrible customer service and food that may have been questionable at a school cafeteria. If each meal, regardless of where you order from in the resort, costs 75-100 dollars then shouldn’t the service and food quality be par to what Alain Ducasse would want it to be?
Sadly, on nearly every piece of printed material for the food & beverage at the resort mentions Alain and how each menu item was carefully selected by Alain Ducasse. Apparently, he has been away too long and needs to reconsider the statement.
Outside of the F&B and staff, the resort was a great place to relax. My wife was very happy with the spa treatment and mentioned how she like the private outdoor showers that added an interesting piece to her experience. It was very nice to only walk 12 paces to steps leading to a secluded beach and the weather could not have been any better for the entire length of the trip. Maybe it was an off week for the staff or some other issue such as Occupy Vieques but it did put a damper on what I know Starwood wants the expensive island W experience to be.
W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island