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Island Fantasy: W’s Stunning Beach Resort in Puerto Rico

Like a top-shelf daiquiri crowned with a paper umbrella, the new W Retreat & Spa Vieques Island brings just the right twist of sun-splashed escapism to an overall extremely classy beachfront property. The resort, which opened last spring, shows a mastery of texture and pattern, craft and materials by Italian-based–but Spanish-born–furniture goddess Patricia Urquiola.

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Vieques is a tiny strip of land eight miles off the coast of Puerto Rico which used as a bombing test site by the U.S. Navy until 2003, meaning most of the island remains blissfully undeveloped. The area is slowly gaining a reputation as a ecotourism destination–with attractions that include a near-pristine bioluminescent beach–but this is the fanciest hotel to hit its white-sand beaches.

Note that we said W “Retreat,” not resort or hotel–this is the W’s new brand focusing on remote locations and harmonious cocooning with nature (another W Retreat recently opened in the Maldives). Thus the W Vieques Island touts sustainability as top-priority for its interiors, noting reclaimed wood, natural materials and other recycled elements throughout the complex.

The 157-room hotel features many of Urquiola’s pieces, including the technicolor Tropicalia chairs, as well as pieces custom-built for the hotel by B&B Italia. She also created a painted-steel bathtub for the hotel’s rooms.

A 6,000-square-foot spa and a restaurant by Alain Ducasse round out the offerings. The Rockwell Group Europe assisted Urquiola with the spa, gym and other outdoor spaces.

And here’s some immersive branding: There’s even a private lounge in the island’s airport for guests to wade into their new-found exclusivity before they’re carted off to the hotel.

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