This is our second visit to the Marriott and we have the same opinion this year as we did last year.
The promo pictures of the resort truly represent the beauty you will find here; unfortunately, they can not show how little you are valued as a guest here. As you enjoy meeting and chatting with other guests while floating in the pool, there is a recurring topic of conversation. Namely, the quality of the food is sub-par and the service is abysmal.
It appears that the Food and Beverage manager is more concerned with managing food costs than providing even an average Marriott experience. I'm not complaining about paying $16 for a burger - this is the Marriott and I expect that. However, I do expect quality and consistency, which they do not deliver. We tried lobster night. The appetizer of four seafood shots was delicious, but was followed by a lobster tail that appeared to have been made from rubber. We tried the tuna sushi roll and spicy coconut shrimp one afternoon. We got a rice roll with a hint of tuna. The shrimp had been cooked in oil so dirty it made the dish almost inedible.
One evening we witnessed another couple having a heated conversation with a server, then a supervisor, and then a manager. When it was over they apologized to us for the disruption, and also explained what had happened. They asked for sour cream with their quesadilla but didn't receive it. The server told them they didn't have any more sour cream. The newly married husband wanted his bride to be happy so he walked across the property to the Portofino Restaurant and procured a dish of sour cream. The subsequent conversations we were overhearing were the hotel staff making excuses and being argumentative. This level of "service" is representative of what we have experienced as well.
The major exception to this complaint is the bar staff at the pool. Elvis, Martis, the others at the swim up bar make you feel like you are in Cheers...you know, where everyone knows your name. They are professional, friendly, and caring. You can see almost feel how painful it is for them to develop great relationships with their customers only to have the kitchen undo their goodwill by serving sub-par meals. Interestingly enough, every ticket comes with a 15% service charge already billed to you. I'm not complaining about a tip. I'm generally a 20-25% tipper when I have had a great experience. My point is that because the restaurant staff receives a tip the moment they take your order, there is no motivation for them to provide even a decent experience. They live up to that expectation with every interaction.
By the way, while you are enjoying the pool be aware of globs of hair and trash floating in the water and areas of the pool wall that appear to be covered with algae. Apparently, the pool receives very little attention during the day and evening. The rooms are comfortable and adequate, but outdated. Marriott has replaced the standard hotel security lock on the door with a small piece of aluminum on a hinge that I could probably break open with a hard push of my shoulder. It does not instill a great sense of security.
The Guest Relation Agent at the front desk has no clue about what it takes to provide service. At noon, I asked if he would make a six o'clock dinner reservation for us. He said the restaurant wasn't open until four to take the reservation, but he would make sure it was done. At four thirty, I checked on the reservation. He handed me a Guest Message time-stamped at 4:18 that said, "your restaurant reservation by El Gaucho has been confirmed but the restaurant told me the shuttle starts at 6:30 and they will be here at 6:45pm, thank you for your understanding if there is any changes please let me know." El Gaucho is TripAdvisor's 7th most popular restaurant in Curacao and one would think this isn't the first time he has called them. Maybe it was his first day on the job, which would explain why he didn't know about the shuttle at noon. Then I found out he hadn't even made the reservation. I stood there and waited another five minutes for him to make the call.
One thing to be aware of on the island is that a tourist will be overcharged for a taxi ride. This is actually a result of the two taxi cab unions developing a pricing scheme that charges twice what a local would pay when they pick you up at a hotel or taxi stand near tourist attractions. We understand the government is aware of, and has been a part of the discussions about this. For example, a five minute one-way ride to the walking bridge in Otrabanda is $15. A local would pay approximately $7. There is also a bus stop at the entrance to the hotel. The bus ride is one dollar. The tourist taxi prices are clearly posted in the lobby, providing false assurance that you will not be overcharged. Apparently the hotels on the island are comfortable with this arrangement. I question how this could possibly be good for tourism.
There is a lot to like about Curacao - namely the people. We have made many great friends here that we stay in touch with even when back in the States. We will likely continue coming back to Curacao but will be looking at other places to stay that can provide a better experience.
We will spend our last few days finding activities and meals elsewhere on the island so we can truly enjoy the Curacao experience. At least we have comfortable bed to come back to.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Bay Casino are located directly on a private beach in Willemstad, Curacao. Spend your days basking in the sun at our resort pool or beach, or experiencing all history and adventure Curacao has to offer through our on site Tour and Car Rental desk. Once the sunsets, you will experience amazing dining by sea at our beachfront restaurant Seabreeze. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com and Expedia so you can book your Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Curacao Marriott Beach Resort And Emerald Casino
- Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Hotel Willemstad
- Marriott Willemstad
- Curacao Marriott Beach Hotel Emerald
- Marriott Curacao
- Willemstad Marriott
- Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino Willemstad