The sustainable Hix Island House is the #1 eco-friendly and chic accommodation on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico – more than just a stay, it is a full-on experience not to miss.
I have never heard of Vieques island until I stepped foot in Puerto Rico and was informed by my dear friend that this wonderful place exists. On Vieques, there are more wild horses than people. The power goes out often, leaving you with your thoughts and given resources to go about your life – a result of Hurricane Maria and Irma that has provoked a different kind of behavior and adaptability for the island’s inhabitant’s and it’s visitors. At first it feels like a total inconvenience, then you realize life is wonderful that way.
I discovered The Hix Island House in my search for eco-friendly, sustainable accommodations in Puerto Rico. They absolutely nailed every single aspect I look for in a venue. I often consider:
- is the venue designed to be sustainable by keeping raw materials to a minimum
- does it have a unique style and appeal
- are there activities like yoga or hiking I can partake in
- are the owners active contributors to the community
- is food locally sourced, etc.
If you’re reading this you probably will agree those are just some basic aspects that the sustainable traveler requires. I was also delighted to find out that the owner Bob was from a town in Long Island nearby to where I grew up. Birds of a feather…
The Hotel’s Environmental Objectives
The Hix Island House aims to protect the environment in so many ways – they even have their own list of environmental objectives, which include:
- 12 solar panels which sit on the roofs to capture the sun’s energy, and charge 12 batteries which provide the electricity you use as a guest. This offsets the use of commercial (grid) electricity.
- The sun and 2 hot-water solar panels provide heated water for showers.
- 2 solar panels run the pool pump. The pools fountains run high or low depending on the amount of sun energy hitting the panels.
- Lighting is with LED bulbs, and all appliances are energy efficient.
- The ‘gray water’ from the shower and sink nurture the fruit trees, flowers and grasses surrounding the lofts. All soaps and shampoos are environmentally sound.
Rooms & The Design
John Hix is the legendary architect behind the Hix Island House. His work has influenced a lot of homes on this island thanks to his minimalist, sustainable design and use of concrete materials to weather hurricanes. The Hix design is made to fit in nature – the design considers the forces of nature and how those natural elements will affect his buildings and designs. He uses rocks to harmonize with the countryside, and to be concealed by the landscape. His design leverages the advantages of how the sun, topography, rain, breeze, and climate all relate and reinforce one another to create a space that is beautiful and organic. And he NAILS it.
His Wabi-Sabi construction style using block and reinforced concrete surfaced with plaster is hurricane, earthquake and fireproof. Unglazed windows offer guests a direct connection with nature, one of the most special room attributes I very much enjoyed. The breeze is gorgeous and comes right in, and you can see the Northside of the island just from gazing out your ‘window’. Wabi-Sabi, derived from over time from the 15th century tea ceremony in Japan, says that as things become older they become more beautiful…
Another treat was being given our own shirts to lounge around in – designed by a friend of the hotel that uses Egyptian cotton. They were DELIGHTFUL – long sleeve and down to your ankles to protect you from any bugs.They are also just so rad they make you feel like you are just a person of the island, owning it. We bought two for $150 each. Best investment of the trip!
Food & Drink
There is no restaurant or bar here. The units are loft style with a huge open kitchen for you to work your magic in. It’s advised you bring a bottle of wine, or liquor and ice if you are in the mood for happy hour cocktails. The House does provide you with all you need to unleash your Masterchef; the kitchen has all appliances you could dream of. Breakfast is provided, including some fresh eggs, coffee, local bread from the bakery, butter, jams, tea, and even maple syrup so you can make French Toast (as seen below, kinda)!
The space is yours to create at this hotel. There is a gorgeous pool to enjoy, and a yoga pavilion. Classes fluctuate so it’s best to ask with the Hotel management what the program is. One night, my friend and I laid out a blanket on the terrance under the stars where we meditated, did a bit of self-massage for our backs, and listened to the sounds of the wild horses and other creatures as they also settled in for the night. It was a crazy magical experience that was very special, and definitely one of a kind. We were sad to leave this little haven, but will definitely return.
Vieques Island, East of mainland Puerto Rico
Sustainably designed eco-haven