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Hix Island House Hotel in Vieques

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Hix Island House Hotel in Vieques
Photo © Zain Deane

Ecoriffic:

Hix Island House was the first hotel I ever stayed at in Vieques. And to this day, it's easily the most memorable. Before I continue, I have to warn you that Hix isn't for everyone. This hotel falls into the love-it-or-hate-it class of lodging, because it's unlike anything else in Puerto Rico.

Those who crave luxury amenities, flat-screen TVs, stocked minibars and windows should move on. Because Hix has none of these things. But those who look for something different that, in its own rustic and eco-hip way, is just as impressive and enjoyable as an elite resort will love it here. As you can guess, I'm in the latter group. I loved everything about Hix, one of my favorite boutique hotels in all of Puerto Rico.

The Basics:

Hix Island House is located in Vieques Island. The hotel is located along Route 995, which runs from the airport to the town of Eperanza. You can reach them at 787-741-2302 or via email at info@hixislandhouse.com. Oh, and here's another thing about Hix. True to its back-to-the-land philosophy, the hotel is tucked into the lush green hills of Vieques. As such, those who seek beachfront accommodations should move on. Hix isn't far from the beach (nowhere in Vieques is far from the beach), but it's not right on the water either.

The hotel is comprised of 13 loft-style apartments set in four unique and breathtaking buildings designed to pay homage both to nature and the purest geometric shapes. The architecture follows the Wabi-Sabi philosophy, derived from a 15th century Japanese tea ceremony, that takes the view that as things age, they become more beautiful. Wabi-Sabi regards any decoration that is not integral to structure as superfluous.

A Stay at Hix House:

Square. Circle. Triangle. These are the building blocks of geometry, and the buildings at Hix Island House. Rising almost as natural formations from the ground, the bare, ingenious structures are a dramatic sight. At first, you might even be a little wary of the simplistic design that greets you at Hix. Us urbanites are used to basic amenities like windows, after all.

But then you enter your spacious, eco-chic and comfy apartment, complete with a fully equipped kitchen (with a complimentary supply of the hotel's signature homemade bread (this was my breakfast for two days and it was absolutely delicious), Yaucono whole-bean Puerto Rican coffee (Puerto Rican coffee is one of its more underrated exports), local fruits and juices, eggs, teas, jams, and milk, butter, cereal and more. Tucked as they are into the wild vegetation that grows untamed on Vieques, many of these apartments still offer panoramic views that invite you to take up painting.

So about those non-windows. If you've ever been to Vieques, you'll know that this island does have mosquitos and other bugs. A room without windows sounds like a bad idea, right? Well, I slept like a baby, thanks to the mosquito net around my bed, and during the day the sea breeze through the room felt wonderful. In other words, bugs weren't a problem.

And about that green label. We all know hotels or businesses that are green in name rather than in practice. Hix is no such place. Solar panels and batteries provide your electricity and hot water (and the newest structure, Casa Solaris, is completely off the grid). Water is collected in cisterns, and your runoff water is fed back into the land. Even the pool uses no chlorine but minerals and natural substances to keep clean (and a swim here really is refreshing).

In short, Hix is everything you want in a green hotel, everything you want in rustic luxury, and an experience that you will hopefully love rather than hate. It's a place I have often recommended (as I did on an episode of The Travel Channel's "Park Secrets") to anyone who's looking for something beyond the typical hotel.

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