We stayed for leisure purposes at the Avila hotel in early October. Clearly this was the low season, and I think the hotel was probably 30% occupied, so things could change dramatically in the high season. Here are some of the highlights:
Staff - generally smiling, good-natured, and willing to help. Most spoke enough English to get by, and there were enough Dutch employees that spoke fluently that language shouldn't be barrier. (not that we expected everyone to speak English in curacao)
Rooms - We toured a number of rooms, here are my takes. Definitely stay in the modern (Octagon) wing, the other rooms are pretty dated and not very nice. The Octagon rooms are a little sterile, but are clean new and modern (ours grew on us after the first 2 days). The standard rooms are nice, for roughly $50 you can get the premium which have little stoves (worth it if you want to save money cooking), and the luxe are about $130 more. These appeared to just be the premium rooms but in locations with a better view or near the pool, not worth it at all in my opinion. I believe they all have little balconies with chairs.
Beach - The beach is very nice. Its small and beautiful and has a nice sandy area. I believe it is man-made, but ultimately it is convenient and perfect for what we wanted. Plenty of decent chairs and shaded areas (although they could be taxed in the high season). Drinks are not the best (mostly from pre-made mixes) and are expensive as you might expect.
Exercise room - This might be the highlight, if you are into working our they have very cutting edge and new treadmills, weights, stationary bicycles, etc.. This rivaled our fairly expensive gym back home (they all have TVs, and iPod docs). The entire gym has a view of the beach and ocean and is very nice - they also have a small hot an wet sauna, and a hot tub (hot tub heater was not working when we visited, but it wasn't a big deal).
Spa - We each had massages at the spa, my wife loved hers and I thought mine was average. I would say the spa overall is merely average and your results will vary depending on what masseuse you get. I also didn't find the spa all together pleasant on the inside, each room was packed with various medical machinery for performing skin treatments, hydro-therapy, etc.. Again my wife went back for a 2nd massage and loved it so clearly it didn't bother her (you can also get outdoor massages - which we did not opt for). Prices were slightly high at $95/55 minute massage.
Restaurants - I would not recommend strongly any of the restaurants on-site. The breakfast buffet was awful (and about $20US) - Stay away! Dinner at Belle Terrace was decent, although probably not worth the price ($100US, dinner, 4 drinks, dessert, appetizer). It did have a nice outdoor atmosphere and the service was decent, not a bad overall experience. We were even tempted to go back for "Antillean Night" on Wednesday, at which point the restaurant went downhill. For some reason (rain?) they moved the restaurant entirely to the breakfast venue. For one its hard to get into the "Antillean" feel when you are sitting in what looks like an outdoor Denny's. The traditional clothing was pretty contrived, and the name tags they are forced to wear made it worse. (Not that we ever expected an authentic experience in the comforts of our beach hotel). In either case the service took a turn for the worse (took 40 minutes between appetizers and entree). The live music was pleasant and the trio that played it were very outgoing and fun which made things better. Overall another expensive but mediocre dinner experience (although this is true of most hotels).
The Rest - the hotel and staff overall did a great job. A couple of minor complaints: Towels, 3 of the 4 days there was no one staffing the towel checkout, and on the 4th day he was chatting away with the bartender and I had to ask for him, most days it was a 10-15 minute wait for towels.
Manager's reception - According to the flier put in our room there was a manger's reception on Wednesday's from 6pm - 7pm with free drinks at the pool bar. The staff at the pool bar spent from 6:00 to 6:20 cleaning the bar, doing dishes, and generally ignoring anyone who sat down. There was one manager present during this time period. I did see a number of guests (who received the flyer) come to bar, look around in a confused manner and then leave. When we came back down at 6:50 things appeared to be busier. (by they way free drinks = wine and beer only)..
Cleaning - the crew starts early and should be told to keep the banging and noise to a minimum, a few days we were awoken to various tasks (garbage lids being slammed, doors being slammed, rugs being beaten, etc...) I am not sure what they were doing exactly but it was loud and right outside our window (near octagon).
- 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