Exterior View - El Blok, Vieques, Caribbean

El Blok

With rounded latticework cinderblock exteriors, it is easy to spot the bold new hotel in Vieques’ seaside village, Esperanza. Inside, the 3,000-square-foot lobby restaurant and bar, also named El Blok, is meant to be the focus and aims to draw locals and visitors to mingle in the casual dining space. Jose Enrique, the young chef from San Juan who was a James Beard Award semifinalist in 2013 and 2014, takes an innovative approach to Puerto Rican cuisine and serves a fresh, minimalist tapas menu.

The building’s design comes courtesy of native architect Nataniel Fuster and is Gold LEED­­–certified for its sustainability. Though the exterior appears impenetrable, the interior features open spaces and a skylight in the hallway that allows ample light to enter. As the tallest building on the island, the structure has a big rooftop that boasts stunning ocean views, the perfect place for sundowner cocktails.

Twenty-two guest rooms are vibrant in color and design with bright-blue or green-tiled floors and private balconies that flaunt the dappled light from sculptural latticework panels. Magniflex organic hybrid foam mattresses for the king-sized beds were hand-picked by the owner, Simon Baeyertz, and come complete with memory foam pillows.

On an island where setting is key, this hotel’s location cannot be beat for those who wish to stay in the main town. Guests can easily explore the local restaurants and bars by foot, and drive 10 minutes to picturesque beaches.

Outdoor Lounge at  Hix Island House, Vieques, Caribbean

Hix Island House

Wabi-Sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profoundly in nature, and is the philosophy behind owner John Hix’s eco-luxury jungle retreat.

The Hix House is located in the interior of the island, providing cooler temperatures and sweeping jungle views with the ocean in the distance. There are 13 loft-like minimalist apartments spread out over four buildings, all offering picturesque views, outdoor showers and kitchens. Mosquito nets are available over the beds but are seldom used as the cool breezes typically keep bugs away at night. The hotel lacks an on-site restaurant, but each room has a fully equipped kitchen and a complimentary supply of the hotel’s signature homemade bread, Yaucono whole-bean Puerto Rican coffee, local fruits and juices, eggs, teas, jams, milk, cereal and more.

A concierge is available to book restaurant reservations, sailing trips, horseback riding and other activities. Beach chairs, snorkeling gear and coolers are also available to take on excursions to the beach.

Note: Children under 16 are not allowed

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