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$1M Lejos Eco Retreat hotel breaks ground in Vieques

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The Puerto Rico Tourism Co. announced that a sustainable hotel, Lejos Eco Retreat, will be opening in Vieques this fall. The hotel entails a $1 million investment and will create a total of 25 jobs, 20 in construction and five in operations, officials said. 

The eco-friendly resort will feature 13 modern units, a campsite, and an infinity pool. There will be a gift shop and pub on site, and the venue will be available for private events such as weddings and yoga retreats. 

“It fills us with satisfaction that with the vision and commitment from Puerto Rican entrepreneurs, they develop new eco-sustainable hotels like Lejos Eco Retreat,” said Tourism Co. Executive Director Carlos Mercado. “It will result in new jobs and a boost to the economy of Vieques.” 

Hotel founder Patricia Diez-Gradin’s love of travel was one of the things that inspired her to open Lejos Eco Retreat. She was also motivated by Hurricane Maria’s devastating impact in 2017. 

“At that time, everything that was happening on the island reinforced my belief that no nation is more resilient than ours,” said Diez-Gradin. “In that moment, we were facing once again the reality that without responsibility there can’t be sustainability.” 

During those times of doubt and uncertainty, Diez-Gradin and her business partner, Phil Sandbo, decided that they wanted to have “a meaningful impact” on the island municipality, while focusing on their love of travel and tourism. 

“More than anything we wanted to be on the island and do something positive, something good that we could both be proud of and that the community could also be proud of.” explained Diez. 

Vieques prepares for visitors
As part of the municipality’s efforts to prepare for tourists, six hotels in Vieques were granted the Tourism Co.’s official seal of Safety and Security, certifying that they comply with all of their established protocols and sanitation requirements.

These hotels were Hix Island House, Hacienda Tamarindo, Villa Corral Guesthouse, The Vieques Guest House, Malecon Guest House, and Sea Gate House. A total of 18 Vieques hotels have received this certification along with 1,500 hotels throughout Puerto Rico. 

“Having the endorsement and certification of health and safety from the Tourism Co. on our island is extremely important and necessary to be able to safely and responsibly enjoy everything that distinguishes Vieques,” said the municipality’s Mayor José “Junito” Corcino, adding that the town “supports all efforts to prevent and stop the spread of COVID-19 on our island.”

Author Details
Author Details
Daniela Valdés is a bilingual journalist and senior at Sacred Heart University in Santurce. She will graduate in June 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in general communications. Her bylines include ROOSTERGNN Global News Network and Merodea. She also has collaborated with STV Noticias, the only digital newscast in Puerto Rico that is completely produced by university students.
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