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Trip Report W Retreat and Spa--Vieques 14-17 April

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I have been debating whether to write a trip report on our stay at W as I really don’t like negative posts but feel it might help someone avoid the frustrations we encountered. Keep in mind that W has only been open for less than a month and has some kinks to work out and growing pains. Definitely a work in progress
The resort was built by Starwood about 10 years ago but they never opened it. Wyndham moved in furniture and opened it as Wyndham Martineau Bay. We stayed there two times. About a month ago I received an e-mail from Caribbean Travel and Life about W and their packages. Since we live in St Croix and the airfare was only $119R/T decided to go and check it out. Called the W 1-800 number to make reservations. I told the girl that I understood that the rooms were non smoking but can you smoke on the patios or balcony and she said yes. I also said we would be arriving early and she said she would arrange for early check in Yes I know smoking is a nasty habit
Landed at the Vieques airport and went to the W reception center where we had refreshments while awaiting the W shuttle. Reception center was a very nice and a nice way to start our stay. Arrived at W to check in about 11:30. I again asked about smoking outside the rooms and was told you couldn’t. I indicated that I was told the contrary when I made my reservations so we went round and round. They asked if I requested a smoking room and I said I didn’t know they had any. They said they did but none were available till Sat which was our departure day. Finally a front desk office manager came out. and gave us special dispensation to smoke on the patio/balcony. She said she was upgrading us to the Fabulous room category and they were working on the room at that time. Obviously my request for early check in fell thru the cracks somewhere so we went to the pool bar for drinks and lunch and to wait. At Wyndham the pool bar and grill was under cover. large and very nice That was torn down to enlarge the pool. The bar was very small with about 10 bar stools. More like service bar. You could smoke there as long as nobody was eating. The lunch menu was pretty pedestrian–Hamburger, Tuna, Croque Monsieur (Ham and cheese), turkey club and Beef tenderloin sandwich (for $45 !!!). They had some salads but didn’t try any The burger and Croque were good–Nothing to rave about but the french fries were grim. Pale and limp. You would think with Alain Ducases name behind the restaurant they would serve Pommes Frites. Anyway we finished lunch which with two drinks each lunch and tip came to almost $100. Now 1 PM so back to the front desk to check in. This time a male front desk manager came out and informed us that the room wasn’t ready and it would be another hour. I was totally frustrated and my blood pressure rapidly rising. 2 ½ hours to get a room ready !!!. Okay what do you have available ?? A room with two queen sized beds by the pool area. We were hot tired and just wanted to get settled so we took it.. I asked the young man who showed us to the room to send an ashtray. Finally got one 24 hours later after asking about a dozen people.
The Property.–The buildings are pretty much the same as when it was Wyndham the facade has been enhanced with wood and billowy curtains. The decor is funky, eclectic and we weren’t impressed. The pool has been enlarged and is now a two level infinity pool. Between the levels there is an area with shallow water that had lounges. They are solid contoured plastic and depending on your body shape can be uncomfortable which I found. There are pool cabanas which in season can be rented for $250-$350/day. The have over head TV’s which I guess entertains the kids but I can’t imagine spending time lying is a cabana watching TV when there is much more to do on Vieques. There were lounges but no umbrellas on the beach but you probably could have requested one. W’s two beaches are not among the best on Vieques. Sun, Red and Blue Beaches are much better.
Our room–Again funky and eclectic. The tub was a metal oval about 30" high and looked like a cattle watering trough. Wash basin was a rectangle, probably marble, that was about 24" x12"x9"took a lot of water to fill and was pretty impractical. Couldn’t find the switches for several lights so just pulled the plugs. On the patio there was sort of bean bag chair–Hard to get in and out of and very uncomfortable as were the two metal chairs. If you wanted to dine in the room there wasn’t a table and chairs so you would have to eat on the bed or desk. The mini bar prices are outrageous. After we got to the room we wanted to lie down for a nap. All around the pool area there are speakers that play music. Not sure what it was hip hop, heavy metal but lots of percussion, drums and Boom ba boom from 10 Am till 10:30 PM. Stressful and not relaxing and it got to be very annoying. That evening we ate at Mix restaurant–Nuff said.
Next day had the breakfast buffet ($30/person) picked up a rental car. We drove around and had lunch at Bili in Esperanza. Good lunch. Got back to W and wanted to take a nap. The maid didn’t show till 4 PM to make up the room. That evening went to Next Course for dinner which was very good. Fri breakfast buffet again, Lunch at Duffy’s which was very good . Late that afternoon I checked out guest services on the TV and discovered that I was being charged for breakfast which was supposed to be part of my WOW package so off to the front desk again. They did not show that on their computer. The Finance guy came down and he didn’t have a clue I was supposed to get two welcome drinks that became departure drinks along with some other stuff. One front desk manager said that breakfast was not included in any of their packages but if this was an issue he’d be happy to buy me breakfast tomorrow. Totally missed the point. Went to dinner at El Quenepo which was excellent and upon return another front desk manager had called W headquarters and did confirm breakfast was part of the WOW package. Last day, had breakfast went to the room and a little while later checked my bill on Guest Services. Breakfasts were still on there including that mornings. Back to front desk and the manager said she would take them off. Still don’t know if that happened as when we checked out the printers were down so they were going to send my bill to my e-mail address which I still don’t have three days later.
Needless to say This was not a lovely relaxing WOW experience. We were totally underWhelmed and disappointed. Couldn’t wait to get home. W didn’t live up to the W hype, especially Mix Hype in their brochures and on the net.
Suggestions–If you go bring your own booze, Try the various restaurants on Vieques, Rent a car ahead of time as they are scarce on Vieques, If you smoke bring cigarettes as W does not sell them. Try the on site Café next to the fitness center for breakfast and lunch. Get a room as far away from the in ground speaker as possible. Keep your sense of humor.
`Afterthought–Cudos to the Concierge Ricardo–Very professional, helpful with a great personality and sense of humor. Find it odd that W is pet friendly but not very friendly to smokers. You can bring your pet up to 50# and get a dog bed for $50 and they have a doggie menu. Nothing nicer than having a room next to a yappy dog. Yes I have a dog

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