Our architect friend Elizabeth Roberts clued us in a while back to her (and many fellow designers') favorite winter escape: Hix Island House, a wabi-sabi, eco-friendly hotel in Vieques. Here's her account.
"Designed by Toronto-based architect John Hix, Hix Island House is a perfect blank slate for viewing the surrounding nature; the contrast of the rugged, natural landscape with the geometric forms of the hotel is simply lovely. Until recently, Vieques (a small island off the east coast of mainland Puerto Rico) was a US Navy testing site for bombs and missiles; now, the beaches are wildlife refuges. I suggest renting a jeep to explore; the Bioluminescent Bay and the beaches are a must."
Above: The hotel is set on a verdant 13-acre parcel.
Above: "The buildings are made of block and reinforced concrete and surfaced with plaster; the exteriors are clad in chain-link fencing, which allows vines to climb up the sides," says Roberts.
Above: "The bedrooms feature Marimekko bed linens and custom furniture."
Above: "There is no need for air-conditioning or heat—the concrete radiates the sun's warmth during the night and the winds keep the rooms feeling cool and practically bug free. I especially love sitting on my private terrace at dusk and listening to the transition from bird calls to insects and frogs after the sun sets."
Above: "Each room has its own kitchen; it's a nice change to cook simple meals while on vacation. I might stop for a few provisions at one of the bodegas on my way to or from the beach, but aside from that, there's no need to shop."
Above: "The windows are free of glass and are situated to align with the prevailing winds and the sun's path."
Above: "The hotel's cotton robes are available for purchase. When it's snowing and miserably cold in New York, we're reminded of tropical evenings spent on the hammock at Hix."
Above: "Among the many design details I admire: The custom wood furniture. I love the contrast of the rough-hewn, natural wood against the smooth, polished concrete."
Above: "Early morning yoga in the open studio is a good way to start the day, followed by an outdoor shower."
Above: "The simple modernist pool is defined by a slab concrete wall." For more information, go to Hix Island House.
This post is an update; the original ran on January 13, 2012, as part of our Salle de Bain issue.