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“Royal Treatment at the Royal Sea Aquarium”

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The Royal Sea Aquarium Resort
Ranked #9 of 32 Hotels in Willemstad
Certificate of Excellence
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
40 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Royal Treatment at the Royal Sea Aquarium”
Reviewed 4 November 2011

The Royal Sea Aquarium was wonderful during the last week of October 2011. The resort is attached to the Dolphin Academy, and you get a free pass to the aquarium and the dolphin shows. The aquarium is really a lot of fun for kids, and the dolphin shows are just FUN.

The one bedroom unit is spacious, clean, and modern. There are two large flat screen TVs, one in the living room, one in the bedroom. There were two separate Murphy Beds in the living room. The balcony was HUGE and overlooked the ocean. There is FREE wifi all over the resort, and it was very strong anywhere in the room.

The kitchen was well stocked, although there was no paper towels, something I wish was standard. There are three grocery stores quite close to the resort, and there is a shuttle that runs to one of them. (I find the store that the shuttle goes to is a little more expensive than the one I go to...)

There is AMAZING snorkeling a short swim from the RSA private beach. Caracasbaii (free) and Jan Thiel Bay (small charge) are very close by as well.

The staff at the resort are amazing. The front office staff were warm and friendly and helpful. They offer a shuttle to a couple of local restaurants. Do check out Il forno's for brick oven pizza. The Wine Cellar (another free shuttle) is absolutely wonderful. I was disappointed with El Gaucho's this time, and would not go again. The onsite restaurant, Augusto's is ok. Mostly Italian dishes, with daily specials.

The housekeeping was very efficient, and cleaned our room, changed the towels and made the bed every day.

The Royal Sea Aquarium is a wonderful place. Love the staff, love the location, love the rooms. If I had one quibble, it's that I'd like a place to sit and have a drink while watching the sunset after a long day of swimming in the ocean!

Room Tip: I do not like the "lock off" rooms. The balconies are VERY tiny. You simply can't go w...
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
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    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Maurice O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Chicago,Il
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 October 2011

I went on this vacation with my boyfriend of 3 years and we had an amazing time.

We are both 30 years old and even though there were families with young kids all over the island, this is an island for all ages. A lot of people were there to scuba dive and they offer scuba diving on every beach and at every hotel.
The island itself is your typical Caribbean island - poverty is everywhere. But the people here are very friendly. I stopped on the side of the road to give a stray dog some food and a man walked from his driveway to ask me if I was on vacation and he wanted to know if I was enjoying myself.
We rented a car for the week and if you want to explore the island it is a great way to do so. They have a bus that goes from one end of the island to the other, but it did not look like something I would have tried to do myself and I don't think I'd recommend it from the looks of the buses.
The only tricky part about this island is the lack of street signs. You have a few perfectly good maps from the car rental agency, from the hotel, and from the Curacao travel bureau, but they are sometimes useless when you don't have a street sign to tell you where you are at. On the bright side, once you drive the same roads day after day (there are only a few main roads with many, many side streets) you figure out what you are doing after a day or two and your memory will guide you where the lack of street signs failed you.

There are many lovely beaches on Curacao, there's the Hato Caves with stalagmites, there's the Shete Boka National Park, there's Mt. Christoffel to hike or mountain bike if you so desire, and of course the FABULOUS Sea Aquarium right next door to the resort.

Not to mention, you get free weekly passes to the Sea Aquarium for staying at the resort. I read it is the only open water aquarium in the entire Caribbean and I read it is the best sea aquarium in the Caribbean. After visiting it, I would totally agree. They have morning, mid day, and afternoon show schedules for the dolphin show, sea lion show, flamingo/sea turtle feeding, nurse sharks, etc. AMAZING! We went twice to see the dolphin show it was that amazing. The sea lions live outside right by the bridge so you can stand & watch them swim & play any time of the day. In this aquarium you can see sting rays, nurse sharks, hold live starfish, hold sea cucumbers & living conch shells.

OK now to the resort. This resort is part of the "Royal Resorts" and I stayed at the Royal Sands in Cancun and loved it. I also loved the Royal Sea Aquarium.
Starting with the staff....everyone is friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, and willing to help you with any problems/questions/concerns regarding not only the resort but getting around the island, eating out, making reservations, etc.etc. Great staff!

The resort itself has many great features like free wi-fi, free shuttle into town, free shuttle to the grocery store, free snorkel gear, free weekly passes to the sea aquarium, and daily events going on like wine tasting, volleyball, self defense lessons, etc. They have kayaks there you can rent for $10/hour.

The rooms are also nice, clean, beds were comfortable, all kitchen appliances worked well.
The kitchen was fully stocked.
The resort itself is located on a small island that connects to the mainland via a short bridge. The Sea Aquarium is also on this island with the resort.
The Sea Aquarium is on the west side of the island, which means you get amazing sunsets.
The beach at this resort is somewhat small, but since the resort only has 30 rooms there aren't enough people there to make the beach crowded. The only ever had 5 people on it at any given time. Across the little lagoon is a fabulous beach that is only a 3 minute walk across the bridge to access it. The beach is connected to the Lions Dive resort & if you want to lay on the chairs there you have to pay the Lions Resort lady who walks around checking to see if you are staying at the Lions club or not. We went out exploring all day and came back to the Lions club beach every night around 4:30-5PM to watch the sunset and we never had to pay once. The only time she approached us & asked for money is when we got there at 2PM. She must get off of work around 4 and stops asking for money then.
The only restaurant on site at the Royal Sea Aquarium is called Augusto's. It is named after the chef and you will see him there 7 days a week behind the counter cooking the food. The food is very reasonably priced and AMAZING! We went to the grocery store to buy food for dinner and we liked his food so much that we ended up eating there most nights - that's how good the restaurant is. Augusto's is also located next to the lagoon with great sea side seating.

We ate at El Goucho one night, an Argentinian steakhouse...since the restaurant had a free shuttle to & from the resort. Good food, horrendously slow service. We were there for 3 hours. Ordered food, didn't get the food for an hour and 45 minutes. We did get an appetizer that came out after 20 minutes, then waited another 1 hour 20 min for the meal. Then we asked for the check and had to wait another 45 min for that.

Sorry for the length of this. All in all I would most definitely recommend this resort! We had a great time!

Room Tip: Seeing as this is a timeshare resort, I'm not sure if you can pick a room. The good news is, al...
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank sunseeker0509
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
61 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 September 2011

This was our first exchange outside of Marriott. It was excellent! Rooms were fabulous with balconies facing the ocean. Kitchens were in great shape. Office staff was very good except on directions. However, it is difficult to find your way around Curacao even with good directions because roads are not well marked. Beach was OK, but location next to aquarium was an extra because you could go into aquarium free. Grounds were well maintained. You could snorkel through the inlet to a fantastic coral garden. Location was great next to acquarium and easy trip to Willemstead.

Room Tip: Face the ocean!
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Edwin B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fayetteville, north carolina
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 September 2011

We just returned from seven wonderful days at the Royal Sea Aquarium. Check-in was quick and efficient, no waiting. The room was clean and comfortable. The unit had a full kitchen with microwave, dishwasher, stove and a wide range of dishes and utensils. Prefect for those days when you want to save a few bucks and prepare your own meals. There was a dining room, living room combo with nice furnishings, unit that housed a flat screen tv, dvd, and two single Murphy beds. We had a ground floor suite that over looked the pool and the ocean. The balcony had two lounge chairs to enjoy the view and a large table to enjoy a meal outside. The bedroom and bath were both adequate and comfortable.

The pools and hot tub were always clean and the grounds were beautifully kept. We only tried the restaurant once and it was so-so. The resort is quite and peaceful. If you want a little more action, just a short walk away has live music, bars, shops and a larger beach.

The Aquarium admission is free for guests and worth going to visit. The owners welcome meeting on Sunday will also give you some good tips on things to do and places to visit.

The beaches on the west end were gorgeous. I would highly recommend renting a car at the airport. Cabs service is hit or miss and quite pricey. The Punda area was where all of shopping and activity was. The other sights were a bite more remote.

If you are a golfer, I would highly recommend the course at the Hyatt. The whole Hyatt complex is gorgeous and you will not be disappointed. The other course was ok but needs some TLC on the maintenance.

If you are a gambler and like Casino’s, the island has quite a few. Our favorites were the one at the Renaissance Hotel and the one near the Denny’s (can’t remember the name).

We would definitely stay at the Royal if we ever decided to return to this island.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank colemanv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
20 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 September 2011

The Royal Sea Aquarium Resort is a solid, quiet 3-star timeshare with limited amenities - a couple small pools, a small beach, and one laundry washer and dryer (it's not in your suite). The furnishings are a very dated, rattan style and there are tacky clear vinyl covers on the dining chairs fabric cushions but, still, it is comfortable as a base of operations. The snorkeling off shore and the aquarium next door are not first rate but enjoyable if you don't take either too seriously. (Word of warning to animal lovers, almost all of the animals in the aquarium are subjected to tricks and interactions with visitors in a way that likely is not condoned by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. If this will bother you, don't go.) We ended up spending very little time at the resort using it instead as a base of operations to enjoy Curacao. Here's what we most enjoyed:

- On a clear night, make a drink, stroll out to the pool and catch a beautiful sunset.

- Go to Fishalicious Restaurant (it's next to the Avila Hotel, about a ten minute drive from the resort) for a truly delicious and elegant seafood dinner.

- Go to El Gaucho restaurant for a romantic dinner. It is a short drive from the resort. The view, food and service are all incredible. If you're lucky, you'll also hear amazing, live music if Igort Rivas is playing trumpet that night. (Igort Rivas owns Mr. Congas - if you don't hear him at El Gaucho, find out if he's playing at Mr. Congas and go. He is an amazing musician,)

- Spend a day downtown. Park on the Punda side, walk across the amazing poontoon bride to the Otrobanda side for lunch at La Bahia. La Bahia offers tasty seafood and the best view of the Bay and the poontoon bridge's openings for boat traffic. After lunch, go to the Kura Hulanda museum and then take time to walk around the hotel's grounds. Cross back over the poontoon bridge to Punda and head to Mr Congas in the Waterfront Arches for hot Cuban music and delicious food (mojitos, mango chicken, and pork appetizer were our faves).

- If you love to snorkel, skip the underwhelming Ocean Encounters trips and drive to the Alice in Wonderland reef at Westpunt. The way to Westpunt and the reef are well marked and about 45 minutes from the resort. The large reef is right off the shore - loads of coral heads - and filled with a healthy variety of juvenile and adult fish. It's off a small sandy beach that front's the Hotel Kura Hulanda Lodge and Beach Club. After snorkeling, you can grab some incredible jerked chicken at the Hotel Kura Hulanda's beach restaurant or some tasty creole grouper and conch from Janaachie's a short drive from the reef.

- Use the free weekly K-Pasa (available at the resort's desk) to find live music and go enjoy it. The best thing about Curacao is its musicians. This is an island rich with musical talent. We were fortunate to time our vacation with the North Sea Jazz Festival but, even so, we heard a lot of great music that had nothing to do with the festival.

- Before you go to Curacao, take time to use Trip Advisor to make your plans. The published information on Curacao from Frommers and AAA is outdated and inaccurate.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank GalleyCookNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 19 August 2011

Furnishing are dated, but overall good location and a good time. Nice to be next to the dolphin academy and liked that the resort had a small beach available. The restaurant on site, Augustos, was a suprise. It was our best eating out experience while on the island. Staff is friendly and will go out of their way for you.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank sunbunny9132
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oyster Bay, NY
Level Contributor
24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 July 2011

I don't think my husband and I will ever travel anywhere else! The view is spectacular, the service amazing, the rooms are very clean. We trade with interval, and our home resort doesn't compare to royal sea aquarium,
You will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Karenadt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Royal Sea Aquarium Resort

Property: The Royal Sea Aquarium Resort
Address: Bapor Kibra z/n, Willemstad, Curacao
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Curacao > Willemstad
Amenities:
Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Willemstad
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Willemstad
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Royal Sea Aquarium Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Royal Sea Aquarium Resort is the perfect spot for a relaxing getaway or for a family vacation. The friendly staff will make you feel right at home and take care of your every need. Whether you decide to relax on the beach or by the pool, join in the fun activity program, try your hand at water sports, visit the world-famous Sea Aquarium right next door to the resort or explore the island, you are sure to enjoy yourselves.The resort has 30 fully furnished Caribbean Ocean View Two Bedroom Master Suites (sleeping six) which can be divided into 30 Ocean View One Bedroom Suites (sleeping four) and 30 Ocean View Junior Suites (sleeping two). We will do everything we can to help you and your family get the most out of your stay on Curacao and we hope that you find the resort information and sightseeing ideas featured here useful. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Royal Sea Aquarium Hotel
Royal Sea Aquarium Curaçao
Sea Aquarium Resort Curacao
The Royal Sea Aquarium Resort Curacao/Willemstad

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