Six miles east of Puerto Rico rests the small coastal town of Vieques. Known for its pristine and untouched beaches of La Chiva and Playa Caracas, Vieques is also home to the world’s brightest bioluminescent bay.
It is this Vieques that Simon Baeyertz, a hospitality expert who has called both New Zealand and New York home, fell in love with on an accidental trip a few years back. He then opened his debut hotel, El Blok.
Developed by award-winning architectural firm, Fuster + Partners, El Blok espouses an organic and simplistic aesthetic. Once a three-bedroom single house, this 21-room hotel blends Moorish design with modern sensibilities.
LEED Gold Certified, El Blok also uses natural lighting and ventilation for its public spaces. With locally-crafted furniture made out of recycled materials and sustainably-grown Puerto Rican hardwood,the hotel boasts an organic structure complimentary to the coastal environment of the town.
El Blok’s restaurant is run and managed by Chef Jose Enriquez, one of Food & Wine’s Top 10 Best New Chefs of 2013. The menu is has a rustic feel to it – locally-sourced vegetables, heritage pigs, fresh seafood, and organic meat – cooked over an indigenous sour orange wood grill.
Located on an open terrace, the restaurant enables guests to enjoy small plates of ceviche or conch salad while enjoying the warm weather and views of the sea. El Blok is a perfect inn by the sea for visitors looking for some R&R, complimented by some laid back socializing in a beautiful, sun-drenched coastal paradise.
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Written by Isel Garcia