As Europe's temperatures plummet, a new ray of sunshine comes courtesy of W Hotels. The group has just opened a Caribbean outpost on the small island of Vieques, designed by
http://www.patriciaurquiola.com/" target="_blank" >Patricia Urquiola
, in collaboration with
http://www.scf-pr.com/" target="_blank" >Sierra Cardona Ferrer Architects
. Together, they have given earthy rusticity an elegant, modern rethink, with wood cladding, dark cement floors, geometric screens and - of course - a smattering of
http://www.bebitalia.it/" target="_blank" >B&B Italia
furniture designed by Urquiola herself.
Eight miles off the coast of Puerto Rico, Vieques is an island with a colourful past - it was once a stronghold for pirates and also served time as a US naval base. Now free from military shackles, it's a verdant, peaceful island with minimal tourist development - save for the new W Retreat & Spa (the brand's second worldwide), set on a 30-acre stretch, fronting two beaches.
The abundance of wood used throughout the hotel helps it sit comfortably in its surrounds. Inside, Urquiola has adeptly mixed local recycled materials, organic forms and textures with modern brass lighting by the likes of Tom Dixon, her own bespoke furniture for B&B Italia and sofas from Moroso. Bathrooms include a specially designed, oversized Urquiola bathtub, made from painted steel.
There's also a big emphasis on geometry, seen in the fabrics in the living room and the hexagonal screens in the restaurants - of which there are four, under the helm of multi-Michelin-starred French chef, Alain Ducasse. Added to these is a separate spa pavilion, should guests tire themselves out on the beach.