Caribbean Island Getaway Opens Doors
Former music industry executive New Zealand-born Simon Baeyertz is co-owner of El Blok, a 22-room inn which has just opened on a small island off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, and according to the New York Times, “one of the most architecturally significant hotels in the Caribbean.”
Designed by the award-winning local firm Fuster + Architects, El Blok is located in the main seaside village Esperanza on the island of Vieques.
“We wanted to celebrate Puerto Rico’s postwar modernist architecture and simultaneously fit into the curved corner property,” Baeyertz said.
With a round-edged concrete exterior punctuated by sculptural lattice work, the Gold LEED-certified building offers a contemporary take on the Tropical Modernist style that became popular in San Juan in the 1950s.
But perhaps the hotel’s most anticipated feature has been its lobby restaurant and bar, called Placita. José Enrique, a young chef whose innovative take on traditional Puerto Rican cuisine earned him a James Beard Award nomination last year, will serve fresh, simple dishes with Creole influences in the 3000-square-foot dining space.
“I like to say we’re a restaurant with rooms above,” Baeyertz told AFAR magazine.
Original article by Paola Singer, The New York Times, June 13, 2014.