Staying at Malecón House in Vieques, Puerto Rico
If you’re planning a trip to Puerto Rico, you really owe it to yourself to explore the smaller islands. Vieques, with its laid back feel, abundance of beaches, and openness, is a great retreat from the narrow, stuffy streets of Old San Juan. The island is small with two main communities: Isabel II in the north, where the ferry from Fajardo docks, and Esperanza in the south, which is closer to the beaches. To get a feel for the whole island I spent two nights in each town.
One of the distinguishing features of Esperanza is the Malecón, a boardwalk that runs the length of town at the water’s edge. Named for it and located on it, Malecón House is a chic boutique hotel in Vieques run by two very accessible and friendly owners and Coquí, the gorgeous and playful house dog.
Malecón House is a chic spot amid a street full of plastic deck chairs. The stone terrace and woven patio chairs elevate the design game on the Malecon. The property is covered in flowering plants and fruit trees and really feels like an oasis. It proves you don’t have to be a beach bum hippie to enjoy all that Vieques has to offer.
My favourite thing at Malecon House may have been the pool. It’s not large or deep but it’s beautiful and somewhat secluded. The perfect place to float about and cool off after a trip to the beach. It’s open from 8am until sunset but I wish it opened earlier because a swim before breakfast is a great way to start the day. A nighttime swim is also lovely but I can understand the need for closing hours. I love the use of stone throughout, especially in the pool. Instead of the kind of glossy tile you’d see at your community centre, the back wall of the pool uses slate tiles and has two gentle artificial waterfalls. This combined with the wood decking and lush greenery make a perfect hideaway.
To keep with the retreat feel there was no TV, phone or internet in my room. It’s nice to disconnect once in awhile. If the pull of Twitter got too strong it was only a 20’ stroll to the terrace where a complimentary Continental breakfast is served each morning and wifi signals abound. Since the connection was a satellite signal rather than regular high speed they ask that you not stream (no Netflix) or download large files. No need for data hungry digital entertainment anyway. Malecon House keeps a large bookcase filled with books and board and card games you can borrow anytime.
The inn uses solar powered hot water, which is great for the environment. The owner mentioned that it can take a little bit to warm up but I never noticed any lag. Plus, you’re in the Caribbean and a cooler shower feels so much nicer anyway. The water pressure was fantastic and felt like a mini back massage. I also appreciated the rooftop drying racks for the inevitable wet swimsuits and beach towels. The roof made a nice place to watch the sunset as well it turns out.
The location in Esperanza is great. You’re only steps from the restaurants and bars that line the Malecon. If you don’t have a vehicle, don’t fret. Bio bays tours, kayaking, and snorkelling tours all leave nearby. You can walk to Sun Bay Beach in about 15min (cut through at the end of the beach off the Malecon rather than taking the road). If you really like to walk, you can also get to Playa Media Luna and Playa Novio on foot. Esperanza Riding Company is 3/4 mile away so also walkable. I highly recommend their afternoon trail ride.
As for north side versus south side… it’s a tough call. I think I’ll need to visit Vieques again before I make a decision…you know, just to be sure. But when I book a room in Esperanza, Malecon House will be top of the list.
Note: I was a guest of Malecon House while in Esperanza. They didn’t ask that I write a favourable review or make friends with the very vocal cat who came by every night.
- Where: On the Malecon in Esperanza, Vieques, Puerto Rico
- Cost: Rooms and suites can range from $160-$265
- Number of Rooms: 13
- Amenities: free Continental breakfast, pool, free wifi
- Rating: TripAdvisor 5*