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“Elegant comfort on the ocean”
Review of Avila Beach Hotel

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Avila Beach Hotel
Ranked #7 of 32 Hotels in Willemstad
Certificate of Excellence
New Market, Maryland
Level Contributor
135 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Elegant comfort on the ocean”
Reviewed 17 March 2012

We were a party of two adults who stayed at the Avila Beach for several during February, 2012 for a short winter vacation. The Avila is a beautiful facility whose hotel staff treat visitors with the courtesy of a bygone era.

Location

The Avila Beach is located on the ocean a short distance from down town Willemstad. The front desk told us that the Punda (the Point), which is in the center city business district, was about a 15 minute walk. We did not walk to the Punda, preferring to take cabs. I am a fast walker and doubt that I could have covered the distance in 15 minutes unless I were power walking. I would guess that 20 to 25 minutes would be more practical for me. I wouldn't consider walking, at any rate, because the streets are somewhat difficult to navigate (there is a tricky street merger and signs are not always apparent) and because the neighborhood is in some disrepair and sidewalks are not existent or in poor condition in some areas. In addition to the downtown area, the Avila is located within moderate taxi rides of beaches along the coast; however, many of the better public beaches are a greater distance away, beyond Willemstad. The Avila is approximately a $30 taxi ride from Hato (Curacao International) Airport.

Room

The Avila Beach consists of three sleeping room wings: the Bolivar, the Blues, and the Octagon wings. We had a room in the Octagon wing that was truly superb. Our room had a king size bed (some rooms have two twins), a kitchen nook (two burner hot plate, bar sink, and refridgerator along with a tea kettle, plates, and cutlery), and a patio that over looked the ocean. We were on the top (fourth) floor and although we were above a plaza we were never disturbed by loud noises.

This room had a triple closet in a separate dressing area that contained more hangers (and hanger space), shelves, and drawers than I believe I have ever seen in a hotel. The closet doors were mirrored, which was helpful in dressing. There is a separate bathroom and shower area. The shower was a walk in more than large enough for two. In addition there was a soaking tub in the dressing area. The dressing area, like the bedroom, had a sliding glass door providing access to the patio so that it would be possible to use the soaking tub with the door open if one desired and if sufficient privacy was available.

In addition to the king sized bed, our room was furnished with a love seat and chair set along with a very utilitarian work desk. The furniture was a sort of beach modern style. The room makes extensive use of natural materials. the floors were wood and the bathroom was done in tile. All in all the room, its furnishings, and its decorations were very comfortable and very up to date.

Although there were extensive outlets, the Octagon wing is not wired for American electronics. There were a limited number of adapters available, but if you have older electrical items it would be wise to take one or more converters along as well. The room is equipped with a hair dryer, but the circuitry couldn't support it at high speed (the circuits popped). My partner was unable to use her hair curler at all.

The light switches were also somewhat non intuitive. As an example, the closets (which are in a room without other lighting) have small lights inside them. The switch for these lights is in another room, beside the door to the hall. Bell service does an overview of the room upon check in; it's worth paying close attention because there is a lot of detail.

Our room had a nice-sized flat screen television with about a dozen channels. Several (CNN, ESPN, and what appeared to be a Miami network station) were in English. Others were in Dutch, the official language of Curacao, or in Spanish.

Public Facilities

The Avila is a resort-style facility that consists of several buildings. The central portion of the hotel served as a governor's country residence in the early 1800s and has been used as a hotel since 1949. In addition to the sleeping room wings mentioned above there is meeting space, three restaurants, and some on-site vendor facilities. The front desk is located in the historic, center portion of the hotel. The the business center is just off the front desk area while the rear door leads to the rest of the facility including sleeping rooms, restaurants, bars, and the beach. The hotel's spa and exercise facility are above the front desk. The exercise facility is built to allow treadmill and other exercise machine users to look out over the ocean during their work outs and appears to be well equipped.

The complex has a wide range of attractive gardens and lawns as well as two beach areas and a pool. The beaches are a bit small. I saw very few people using the pool, which was a very nice one. There are both snorkling and swimming in the lagoons off the Avila beaches. The Avila provides a fairly large number of chaises as well as towels for beach use. These are not anywhere nearly equal to the need, however, and it is best to obtain both (in addition to beach space) either early or late in the afternoon. Our experiences were that both towels and chaises were largely used up by about 9 AM on a weekend morning. Avila rules preclude saving chaises by placing towels and personal items on them to "hold" them for later use. Sundays are likely to be heavier use days because just about everything else in Curacao is closed on Sunday.

Food and Restaurants

As noted above, the Avila has several food service facilities. Blues is the primary restaurant and is built on stilts right on the ocean. This is a small venue with seating in booths around the bar and on a sort of patio. We found the Blues menu to be very limited and the food to be of very poor quality given it's price. On one evening I had the snapper, which was a small, very thin fillet that was over done. Another evening I had blackened pork, which was not blackened at all and which was served with brown gravy (which may or may not have been pork gravy). My partner ordered the rib eye steak (there is only one), but it was out of stock. She had a shrimp dinner that was disappointing as well. We also both tried the soups. I had a tomato based soup that was quite spicey to the point of causing indigestion. Each night dinner was accompanied by a local version of taco chips, which were thick, greasy, and tasteless. There is a very limited wine list as well. I tried only the Malbec, which was a very nice wine. There is also a good selection of beer and cocktails.

Blues is host to a jazz night (Thursday nights) that is reportedly very well attended. Reservations are recommended on Thursdays.

We ate at the Belle Terrace the evening we checked in. Again the menu was very limited and some foods listed were not available. We had roast veal, which was quite good. The Belle Terrace is designed to be the Avila's upscale venue. All seating is outside and a few tables are water view. During the day the Belle Terrace doubles as the Avila Cafe, where breakfast and lunch are served. Breakfast is a buffet ($17 US per person) which is fairly extensive. The fresh fruits are particularly good as are the traditional English breakfast items. Omlettes can be made to order. Coffee is European style, All in all the Avila Cafe breakfast is the best of the hotel's food offerings.

The Beach Bar and Schooner Bar, which appears to use the Beach Bar kitchen facility, are two outdoor informal venues. A bar menu is available from 11 to 7 and then lighter items are available later into the evening. We ate at the Schooner Bar a couple of times and found the food very poor. Hot dishes were cold, substitutions were made with no notice, and some items just never showed up at all. .

In addition to the hotel's food venues a coffee shop, the Coffee Factory, operates onsite, but does not appear to be affiliated with the hotel. This is -- hands down -- the best food available at the Avila and is usually pretty crowded for breakfast and for lunch. The Coffee Factory offers a line of sandwiches that are delicious, good coffee and other hot drinks, and desert type items (most of which are prepackaged and apparently not locally made). Coffee Factory orders cannot be charged to the visitor's hotel account and the staff much prefer Antillean money (rather than US dollars or Euros).

There are a couple of restaurants within walking distance of the hotel (one a sushi restaurant and the other two European dining restaurants). We did not eat at any of them. To find these restaurants, exit the Avila's front entrance and face right (walking against traffic on the one way street that passes the Avila). The restaurants are clustered about a block from the Avila. The Wine Cellar is located further up the street, but is in walking Del Mar. Both were excellent. Cru is approximately a $20 US cab ride from Avila and Perla Del Mar is about a $15 US cab ride from the hotel.

Shopping
There are two small shops at the Avila. One sells botique type gifts and has a vintage Rolls Royce surrounded by tee shirts. The other sells more traditional hotel shop items such as sun screen and sodas. The major shopping area on the island is in Punda; however, there are shops across the inlet (accessible from Punda via the Queens Bridge, a footbridge) in and around the Riff fort, a 19th century fortification that guarded the harbor. Because Curacao is a cruise ship destination many of the shops are designer label. Wolf and Wolf is a very nice men's shop in Punda. Penha is a very good spot for perfumes. There is a shopping mall on the island (Zuikertuin), but it was a $20 US taxi ride from the hotel or downtown and we decided not to visit it because we weren't sure we would be able to cab back.

There are several larger food stores on the island and we saw several people carrying bags of groceries to their rooms. Centrum seemed to be the market visited most often according to the bags people were carrying. There is also a very small local store within walking distance of the hotel. To visit it walk left on the street in front of the hotel, go down one block and then walk up the side street to your left. The store is brightly painted and hard to miss. Neighborhood stores in Willemstad are often very limited and consist of a shopping area behind iron bars. Customers tell the clerks what they wish, the clerks go and get it, and then the customer pays and receives the goods. We bought only some sodas at the store near the hotel. The hotel staff emphasized that the store served the needs of the neighborhood (which is very poor) and this caution should not be taken lightly.

Getting around the Island
As noted above we used taxicabs exclusively in getting around the island. None of the cabs have meters in them and it is very wise to negotiate cost before taking the cab. In general we found the cab drivers to be pleasant, professional, and honest; however there were a couple of instances where this was not the case.

There are many car rental agencies around the island, both at the airport and in Willemstad. There is a Budget office at Avila. Rentals at Avila are for a 3 day minimum. Some sort of private transportation seems to be the best solution for any travel outside of the Willemstad area (either a car rental or a tour).

Room Tip: Ask for an ocean view room; it's well worth it
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank BizDev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
23 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 March 2012

Avila Hotel in Willemstad is a perfect hotel for people who like a quiet atmosphere with good food, two wonderful private beaches, one with no waves and the other with waves and more wind, and even a pool. The rooms are perfect. We prefer the italian looking belle terrace. We enjoyed a room with balcony with a view over the caribbean!

Service is good. On walking distance there are some restaurants outside the hotel. The food is good, e.g. lamb with pitabread or eggnoodles with beef or chicken at the poolbar, or pasta with crab and coquilles in the restaurant. Blues we did not like.

You can also order snacks at the bar, even dutch food! We stayed here twice now.
You can even rent an appartment with private beach!!
This was not our last stay there.

Ilona and nino from Amsterdam

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank maxentom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
washington dc
Level Contributor
37 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 March 2012

Recently stayed at the Avila Resort. The resort is located fairly close to Willemstad making it a short walk into the city. The resort is also very clean and appears to well maintained. I stayed in an Octagon Preferred room. The room was a good size with minimal furnishings. The room was clean with cable hook up for internet, a kitchenette, cable/satellite tv, and balcony facing the ocean. Unfortunately, one night we were treated to a late evening concert in the square below our balcony. The singer was very loud and there were hundreds of people from the island there for the concert. Made it very difficult to enjoy room that night while concert was going on. Management did leave a letter in the room indicating they could purchase our ticket for us. As mentioned in previous reviews the service leaves a lot to be desired. Breakfast in the hotel was excellent and overpriced. Also enjoyed the "Coffee Factory" which is a bistro located within the resort. The two small strips of beach were nice but you still have to put up with the tourists who come and claim beds early in the mornings and use them much later in the afternoons. Overall, I found the hotel nice but not worth the price I paid.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank pedidoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 February 2012

We spent a week at Avila and could not have had a more relaxing time.

Although the hotel was busy it did not feel crowded and we enjoyed spending time on the beach.

Swiming every morning followed by the delicious breakfast. Loved the smoothies and salads at the pool bar!

The hotel has a car rental in the lobby which we made use of to explore the island and see more of the beautiful beaches in the north.

There is a Blues Bar with live music on a Thursday, which was fantastic! Such a great spot. We tried several of the restaurants in the area at night and did not feel unsafe at any stage.

We will go back again and would like to stay for two weeks and see more of the island.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank BSL08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bern, Switzerland
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 23 February 2012

The hotel is located quite close to Willemstad, we often walked into the city (20 min walk). The neighbourhood does not look very appealing, but we never had any problems even at night.

The room we stayed in was small but ok - normally you don't stay in the room during the day, so this was no problem. The hotel has two small beaches with free sunchairs and enough places in the shade.
We only had breakfast in the hotel once because we think it is overpriced. Save some $ and have your breakfast in the Barrista coffee on the grounds of the hotel. For dinner we always went to one of the close restaurants or to Willemstad. The restaurants close to the hotel are very nice and the prices are ok.

The Avila hotel lacks good personel. There are some exceptions (Lady at the pool bar preparing snacks for lunch) but normally they just don't seem to be happy in their jobs. We've never seen a waiter smile...

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Marc S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2012

The Avila Hotel was well known for its personal touch and friendly staff. At our stay we were very disappointed, beginning at the check in counter were the staff was uninterested and didn't notice the guests and their needs. The room smelled strange like mold.We were happy to leave the hotel.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Edward G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
White Bear Lake, Minnesota
Level Contributor
42 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 February 2012

Extremely disappointed! Very clean facilities a definite plus. And the food was also delicious. However the staff seemed to ignore us. To the point of a dinner that took 3.5 hours with poor service by our wait staff, needing to wave our hand to get the servers attention to just refill waters. 45 min. to get appetizers and another 1 and 15 minutels before our entree. This happened twice during our stay at dinner.
During the day, Bar tenders failed to acknowledge us unless we interupted them to get their attention. We are very patient people it was just rediculous what it took to get service (not even service with a smile).
If planning on new years vacation, fireworks blow off literally around the clock for at least 3 days prior and continue for two days after new years eve. It is loud!
Sleep was tough with fireworks, rooster crowing at about 4:30 am, and kids running across tile and yelling at 6:30am.
Locals outside of the resort had said that Avila is in a rough area of Curacoa, nothing happened to us in that respect. When Im used to going to places where the staff helps make the vacation the best that it can be, its disappointing.
To sum it up, poor service, loud, good food, clean.

Room Tip: Try and get on the ends of each wing of the octagon it seems to be quieter
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Petchman5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Avila Beach Hotel

Property: Avila Beach Hotel
Address: Penstraat 130, Willemstad, Curacao
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Curacao > Willemstad
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Willemstad
#4 Spa Hotel in Willemstad
#4 Romantic Hotel in Willemstad
#5 Luxury Hotel in Willemstad
#5 Family Hotel in Willemstad
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Willemstad
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Avila Beach Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 150
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Family run boutique hotel comprises the islands original governor's mansion dating from 1780. Located on two romantic private beaches, the hotel is just minutes away from downtown Willemstad. The new Octagon Wing features 68 spacious rooms decorated in sophisticated neutrals with splashes of vivid Caribbean colors and has transformed the hotel into a contemporary luxury resort & spa. Avila Hotel nevertheless continues to be a reflection of the island of Curacao. Friendly. Intimate. Understated. Welcoming. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Avila Beach Resort
Hotel Avila Beach
Avila Beach Hotel Curacao/Willemstad

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