NY Times Travel Q&A: Puerto Rico or Tortola for a 30th Anniversary

First published in The New York Times on January 11, 2011. Read the original with comments here.


My husband and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this February. Could you recommend a special resort setting in Puerto Rico or Tortola? Puerto Rico because it’s close and Tortola because that’s where we honeymooned. We are limited to the school break in February but do not want to stay at a resort overrun with children. Looking for a quiet beach/private pool, good food and wine. Any suggestions to help us mark this milestone?

M. Rossi, Merrick, N.Y.


What about celebrating your 30th anniversary in Vieques, the small island just off the east coast of mainland Puerto Rico? In his “36 Hours in Vieques” (Feb. 21, 2010), Hugh Ryan wrote that the island has evolved into an upscale resort and has seen a boom in restaurants, galleries and hotels, while also offering white-sand beaches, coral reefs and a bioluminescent bay. In an e-mail, he added that one of the best things about Vieques is that it is still relatively “quiet compared to most Caribbean islands” and is “a great locale for couples looking for some calm, beautiful beaches that aren’t overrun with tourists — but still have some great restaurant options.”

Mr. Ryan suggested short-term apartment rentals as an option and recommended the Bravos Boyz (bravosboyz.com), a real-estate company that has some particularly good properties. Another option is the Hix Island House (hixislandhouse.com), situated amid 13 acres of Vieques wilderness. The 13 apartments are spread out over four elegant buildings, with terrific views, outdoor showers, kitchens supplied with breakfast makings and a large shared pool. Though the resort does not have a restaurant, it is about six miles from the main town of Esperanza (above), where dining options are plentiful. Rates start at $175 in February — and children under 16 are not allowed.

If you are willing to splurge, stay at the brand-new W Retreat & Spa (wvieques.com). Rates start at a steep $589, but the resort features a gym, spa, two private beaches and Mix on the Beach restaurant, from Alain Ducasse. Flights to Vieques require a connection in San Juan (or St. Croix or St. Thomas), and a rental car is a must.