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Hix Island House, A Vieques Hotel
HC-02 Box 14902
Vieques, Puerto Rico 00765

Blending In
Ecological Preservation Meets Aesthetic Vision
by Jeremy Jeffers

La Casona, The Grand House

Offering a unique experience on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, Hix Island House realizes the vision of architect John Hix from design and ecological perspectives. Inspired by naturally existing, massive gray boulders on the island, Hix built five open-air, concrete structures meant to blend in with the hotel's surroundings.

Three geometrically shaped buildings (Casa Redonda, Casa Triangular, Casa Rectangular) house twelve lofts, while La Casita is a small, freestanding house and La Casona is a "grand house" that can be used for weddings or conferences. With steel rolling doors and wood shutters complementing the concrete, these simple structures even boast protection from hurricanes. To maintain the tranquil atmosphere, phones and televisions are absent. The buildings are designed so that water is collected, heated with the help of solar panels, and then routed to fruit trees after use.

If you're looking for a resort experience complete with all of the requisite manmade creature comforts, this is not the place to stay. However, most travelers with even a mildly adventurous spirit will likely be satisfied, and they certainly won't be roughing it. In fact, there are some luxury amenities: Frette linens, sea-island cotton shirts, Marimekko fabrics and comfortable beach chairs. Other features include in-room or open-air massages and outdoor yoga classes, and breathtaking views of the Caribbean from the pool and most lofts. Kitchens in each loft are stocked with homemade breads, locally grown coffees, fruits and cereal upon arrival, and will be restocked upon request.

One of the lofts
Typical Hix style

The elevated location on a thirteen-acre natural refuge allows for pleasant trade winds and a serene natural setting. While Hix Island House is somewhat secluded, all noteworthy areas of the island are still easily accessible by jeep. The airport, Esperanza (the smaller of the island's two towns), and the beautiful beaches and bioluminescent bays of the southern coast are within a short drive. Also, Chez Shack, one of the best restaurants on Vieques for dinner or drinks, is just down the road and should not be missed.

(Updated: 06/24/08 HC)

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