April 02, 2010 // Franchising.com // NEW YORK - W Hotels Worldwide, the hotel category buster and industry innovator, has unveiled W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island, the W brand's 37th hotel globally and its first retreat within North America. Owned by REIG CAPITAL, through its affiliate Vieques Hotel Partners, W Vieques is located only eight miles off the southeast coast of Puerto Rico and opens as the second W Retreat in the world, following the successful opening of W Retreat & Spa – Maldives in 2006. As W Hotels continues its transformation into a global powerhouse, on track to expand its portfolio to more than 50 hotels by the end of 2011, W is slated to open nine new hotels this year, including two retreat properties in Bali and Koh Samui, Thailand.
Set on the undiscovered island of Vieques with 30-acres of beachfront property, W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island offers a unique travel experience and an entrée into W's "new way to escape," blending the brand's sophisticated signature style and programming with the stunning nature and wildlife of Vieques Island. Guests can escape to this beautiful island paradise and enjoy an abundance of amenities and activities designed for adventure seekers and leisurely travelers alike. Created by Spanish-born Patricia Urquiola of Milan-based Studio Urquiola, W Vieques boasts 157 stylish guestrooms and suites with private patios and balconies offering unparalleled views of soft sandy beaches and crystal clear waters; an exciting epicurean experience at miX on beach inspired by Alain Ducasse, featuring organic, local ingredients handpicked from the island's growers; W Café for the on-the-move traveler; Spa Chakra, a serene sanctuary offering seaside yoga and authentic holistic treatments inspired by the island; Paradise Edge, a lush garden sanctuary; Lawn, an intimate locale; Fire Pit, an outdoor space that merges nature with luxury; SWEAT®, 24-hour fitness center with top-of-the-line Technogym® machines and personal training; W beach's two secluded shorelines; WET splash pool, bar, and private cabanas overlooking the ocean; tennis courts; Wired, business center with all the necessary tools for those who need to stay connected while away; and W Hotels The Store, the W brand's stylish take on the traditional hotel gift shop.
"W Hotels is thrilled to set a new standard in modern travel with the opening of W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island," said Eva Ziegler, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide and Le Méridien. "Our newest Retreat is a unique blend of the sophisticated yet fun W lifestyle and the undiscovered beauty and tranquility of Vieques Island. In addition, W Vieques marks an important move in the global expansion of the W brand, enabling us to deliver a unique experience to the W loyalist while also introducing our lifestyle to a new part of the world."
"We are excited to be opening W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island, our first hotel venture outside of Spain and W Hotels first Retreat in North America," said Maria Reig, President, REIG CAPITAL. "We are passionate about not only the property but the beautiful island of Vieques and feel confident that W Vieques will quickly become one of the most sought after destinations to visit in the world."
Immediately upon arrival to Vieques, Retreat guests will receive a warm welcome at the private W Welcome Lounge in Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport. A selection of cool refreshments and cocktails by Alain Ducasse are presented in true W style, offering the first sampling of W Vieques's exclusivity, escape and indulgence before being whisked away.
Once guests arrive atW Retreat & Spa, they will immediately experience the rustic elegance created by lead designer Urquiola, who has skillfully woven together natural and local elements to create a stylish, modern island oasis. Renowned Madrid-based architecture and design firm Rockwell Group Europe collaborated with Urquiola on SWEAT® and W Hotels The Store as well as Spa Chakra and the outdoor public spaces, while Fort Lauderdale-based firm EDSA collaborated on the landscape. Sierra Cardona Ferrer of San Juan was the architect of record.
The design of W Vieques is as much inspired by the unique natural phenomena of the island as it is by the contemporary style of W Hotels. Throughout the property there was a meticulous attention to detail and craft, with a combination of locally recycled materials, organic forms, and Urquiola's renowned and modern Italian furnishings that were created exclusively for W Vieques by B&B Italia, all of which celebrate Vieques' wild and natural surroundings. The W Retreat & Spa's reception area is wrapped in reclaimed wood, serving as the portal to the W Living Room that features Tiger Eye area rugs, oversized brass-plated steel lamps with fabric shades, black leather chairs, plush Field sofas by Moroso with colorful and inviting oversized pillows providing a comfortable place to sit and relax, and an oversized map of Vieques Island by Urquiola placed at the entrance. Guests will also be drawn to the vistas of the ocean just outside, which they can soak in from the outdoor lounge area that boasts a dramatic Fire Pit and is the ideal location to enjoy the breathtaking view.
The very spacious guestrooms at W Vieques, ranging in size from 560 square-feet to 1,440 square-feet, are inspired by the W Retreat & Spa's tropical island setting. Shades of tan and beige accented with vibrant colors and prints are juxtaposed against the dark wood stone designed exclusively by Urquiola and shiny dark grey tiled cement floors in the open-concept bathroom. One of Urquiola's most unique pieces, showcasing the theme of rustic nature interwoven with contemporary design, is the oversized Vieques bathtub of her own design, made from painted steel and crowned by a refreshing rain shower.
All room types offer a collection of amenities to help guests escape: the W signature bed complete with lavish W bedding; 42" LCD TVs; a munchie box (W Hotels' re-interpretation of the traditional hotel Mini Bar) satisfying any sweet or savory snack craving; high-speed internet access to keep in touch with the outside world; and an oversized desk that converts into a dining table. Round "Potato/Patata" seating by B&B Italia designed especially for the W Vieques by Patricia Urquiola, as well as a hanging chair found on every balcony, serve as places to sit back and relax.
For the ultimate W experience guests can check into one of six WOW Suites. As the largest room type at W Vieques, these suites will caterer to the traveler seeking maximum indulgence, presenting panoramic views of the ocean and a private balcony or patio area with direct beach access.
Inspired by Chef Alain Ducasse's passion for the coastal flavors of the Mediterranean, coupled with the bounty of fresh local and regional ingredients on Vieques Island, the Retreat's signature restaurant, miX on the beach, features a contemporary menu with Latino-Caribbean flavors and an artful French twist at breakfast and dinner. Guests of W Vieques will be able to enjoy four dining options from the highly acclaimed teams of ALAIN DUCASSE Entreprise, who bring their specialized touch to the Caribbean. Executive Chef Dagan Lynn, who opened miX in New York and went on to work at miX in Las Vegas, has collaborated with Chef Ducasse to develop a refreshing mix of the essentials from land to sea.
Signature cocktails and refreshing smoothies can be enjoyed poolside at WET®, along with Mediterranean-inspired specialties and traditional American fare. As the sun sets, guests can take in the magnificent ocean views while sipping champagnes, rums and cocktails and sampling a menu of small bites at W Vieques's Living Room Bar. And for the guest on-the-go, W Café features a selection of daily light offerings, which can be packed in sustainable gourmet picnic boxes, ideal for those guests who want to experience the island's wildlife, crystal clear waters and untouched sandy beaches.
Unwind and revive the body and mind at W Vieques's signature spa, Spa Chakra. With more than 6,000 square feet of space, an array of health and beauty therapies, as well as a selection of luxurious products, featuring Sue Devitt's Microquatic™ range, the separate spa pavilion offers a serene Oceanside getaway for the guest looking to fully embrace the unique vibe of the island. Rockwell Group Europe designed the spa, setting a welcoming tone that has been inspired by the holistic nature of its surroundings. Rivulets and canals flow throughout the space and scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean invite spa-goers to indulge in its relaxed luxury. In the main pavilion, manicures and pedicures will be offered in a social sunken room situated in the middle, and water therapy will take place in treatment rooms with views of private stone gardens. The pavilion is surrounded by captivating gardens with strategically placed seating areas and pools, and eight private, vine-covered indoor/outdoor treatment rooms are separated from the main pavilion by a reflecting pool, offering guests additional seclusion as stress and tensions melt away. A full selection of beauty and holistic treatments are also available at Spa Chakra.
W Vieques offers guests access to an array of island activities that showcase the exclusive experience of the destination and its unique setting in the Caribbean. Targeting both adventure seekers and those looking for a quieter, more laid back experience, organized excursions are available by land or sea, including mountain biking, scuba diving, snorkeling, fly fishing and deep-sea fishing. Other highlights include nighttime kayaking in the world's brightest Bioluminescent Bay and horseback riding off the ocean shore. History buffs should visit the world-renowned Conde de Mirasol Spanish Fort, restored into a museum of Viequense Art and History.
W Hotels brings its signature Whatever/Whenever service philosophy to this island sanctuary, providing guests with whatever they want – from beachside yoga lessons at sunrise to private jet service from Puerto Rico - whenever they want it, as long as it's legal!
W Hotels is an innovative, contemporary, design-led lifestyle brand and the hotel category buster with 37 hotels and retreats in the most vibrant cities and exotic destinations around the world. Inspiring, iconic, innovative and influential, W Hotels provides the ultimate in insider access to a world of "Wow." Each hotel offers a unique mix of innovative design and passions around fashion, music and entertainment. W Hotels offers a holistic lifestyle experience that is integrated into the brand's sensibility through contemporary restaurant concepts, glamorous nightlife experiences, stylish retail concepts and signature spas. With more than 10 years of proven success, W Hotels is on track to more than double its footprint by 2011. W Hotels and W Retreats have been announced for Downtown New York, London, Paris, St. Petersburg, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Bali, Koh Samui, and Verbier, among other international destinations.
REIG CAPITAL is the international investment, business and management holding company of the Reig Family. Making investments and managing different lifestyle sector businesses, a common thread of contemporary luxury is evident in their investments in luxury, fashion and hospitality. As owner of the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona and the W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, REIG has consistently embraced an evolutionary sensibility, seeking out new trends in luxury, and adapting them to a very different and changing business environment. This keen ability has been the hallmark of REIG CAPITAL's success. With the 2005 acquisition of the couture house of Azzaro, Paris, REIG added the perfect luxury vehicle to compliment their investments in, and ownership of Vasari fine jewelry. In addition to owning two luxury powerhouse brands, REIG established partnerships with international prime brands such as Diane von Fürstenberg, and assisted in the incubation of Monocle, a hip new lifestyle international magazine. In addition to their investments in luxury, fashion and hospitality, REIG CAPITAL's real estate holdings include signature buildings in Spain and is present in the French and Andorran markets. Currently, REIG is developing the future headquarters' building of one of Spain's leading law firms, Cuatrecasas Abogados in Madrid. This success in the hospitality and luxury sectors has not compromised the company's commitment to social and corporate responsibility.
ALAIN DUCASSE Entreprise devotes itself with passion to culinary pleasures and the art of hospitality in order to exceed the expectations of its international clientele. The group keeps on developing new ideas and ensuring they are successfully put into practice. This constant search for excellence relies on the particular talents of the men and women of the group, on the utmost quality of its products and on a complete knowledge of modern technologies. At the head and heart of his restaurant and hospitality group, Alain Ducasse is both a chef-creator and a strict entrepreneur. As a creator, he insists on offering a cuisine that is just right while as an entrepreneur, he is the driving inspiration behind his ventures, shares his in-depth knowledge and a unique vision of the food service and hospitality industry. ALAIN DUCASSE Entreprise operates in the field of hospitality with Alain Ducasse's traditional hotels in Provence and in Italy as well as with hotel consortium Châteaux & Hôtels Collection. The company's involvement in knowledge transmission focuses on three complementary activities: publishing, training for professionals as well as the general public, and consulting.
Life should be enjoyed in a state of balance, but all too often, stress tips us off course. Everything from lack of exercise to pressure at work can push you off-center and away from true wellness. That's why it's never been more important to make a point of carving out a few hours for repose, to refresh your spirit and revitalize your senses. Spa Chakra is an international network of luxury spas committed to providing every client with a Transformational Healing experience. With beauty and health treatments that nurture the face, body and spirit, Spa Chakra provides the ultimate in day and destination spas. Partnering with the world's most exclusive hotels, Spa Chakra provides comprehensive wellness therapies in an environment synonymous with quality and exceptional customer service. With locations such as Spa Chakra at the Palmer House, Chicago, Spa Chakra on Fifth Avenue in New York and Spa Chakra Gstaad Switzerland, there's bound to be a Spa Chakra experience and location perfect for you. While enjoying the facilities of the spa, clients undergo a systematic analysis to customize their therapies. Each treatment is individually tailored according to the results of a Self-Assessment Questionnaire. Spa Chakra created this fascinating tool to discover the client's primary stress be it nutritional, emotional or physical. The results reveal personal lifestyle issues impacting the client's health and long term vitality. Immerse in a detoxifying hydrotherapy treatment or smooth out some fine lines and protect your skin with an intensive anti-aging facial. Relax, cleanse, fortify and get back in touch with your true self.
Patricia Urquiola was born in Oviedo, Spain, and now lives and works in Milan. She attended the School of Architecture of Madrid Polytechnic and Milan Polytechnic where she graduated in 1989 with Achille Castiglioni. In 2001, she opened her own office in Milan, working on product design, architecture, installations and concept creation. Urquiola designs for some of the most renowned firms including Alessi, B&B, Kartell, Flos, Molteni, Moroso and Rosenthal. Some of Urquiola's products are permanently exposed at the MoMA in New York, as well as other museums around the world. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Barcelona, the boutiques of Gianvito Rossi, the showroom of Flos and Moroso in London and the interiors of the fashion fair Pitti Uomo 2010 in Florence, are amongst her last projects. Currently, Urquiola is working on the scenography of the opera "L'incoronazione di Poppea" by Monteverdi and on a project for BMW as well as various products for the forthcoming Salone del Mobile. Urquiola was awarded "Designer of the Year" for magazines such as Wallpaper and Elle Decor, and "Designer of the Decennium 2000-2010" for German magazines including Home and Häuser. Urquiola has also received the Red Dot Award and the Chicago Athenaeum Good Design Award.