The Holiday Beach has the benefit of a terrific location. It is within a very short (three blocks) and very nice (along the marsh - lots of birds to see) walking distance of Otrabanda, the western downtown shopping area. It features a beautiful lagoon that has a safe swimming area for children as well as wonderful beginner and advanced snorkelling. We enjoyed the beach, the pool and the outdoor bar enormously.
On the down side, there are multiple easily corrected problems that create an unfriendly and rundown atmosphere and made us very ambivalent about our choice of hotel.
Our first assigned room had the distinct odor of mildew. It was strong enough that we asked to change rooms. The next room we were assigned had no shower. Still, it smelled all right, so we decided to keep it until another option was available. We told the staff about the shower, but they seemed to think we were joking about wanting a room with a real shower, perhaps because of the language and cultural barrier. The supervisor, who was excellent, hard-working and very capable, told us she would move us to a "nice room". The hotel was full so it wasn't until two days later we were able to move to an acceptable room.
The level of cleanliness is at a different standard than we are used to in American hotels. This seemed to be a general thing throughout the island at local restaurants and shops, so I'm not sure it's just at the Holiday Beach, but I've never stayed at a hotel with plants growing out of the sink. We noticed it one morning before the maid came, and decided not to mention it if it were removed when she cleaned. It was still there that afternoon, so we took the picture you see here.
The curtains on the sliding door are overlong, for some reason, and, since there is about two feet of cloth tucked up in the bottom of the door, they were dingy and needed a good washing. (Perhaps the source of the smell in the first room?) You can see this in the second picture.
Finally, our primary complaint is the general attitude of the staff. At most hotels, if you walk up to a door at the same time as a member of the staff, they will pause and wait for you to go through or even open the door and hold it. Here, they almost race to beat you through it. Walking through the lobby one afternoon a security guard was talking to another staff member and gestured, turning and nearly hitting me in the face. I understand accidents - the gesture wasn't the problem. His reaction, however, was to laugh loudly and point at me, rather than apologizing. The pool towels were never available at the pool. I went to the laundry to get a pool towel, and the woman who got it for me continued to eat her donut while she walked to the dryer, opened it, and retrieved and folded a towel for me.
On the positive side - every room had a clean, working refrigerator and a secure safe with a numeric lock for keeping our personal items. They each had a little patio with chairs and table, and secure patio doors. The floors were tiled, and mopped daily, which I liked - they were very clean. We had the option to have the sheets changed every day or not, which I also like. While clean sheets daily are lovely and crisp, I always feel a bit guilty about the wasted water and energy. The maids were responsive to requests for glasses, towels, or whatever we needed. The drawers were in good condition and very clean.
All of the hotels businesses - the bar, the restaurant, the casino, and the gift shops automatically converted our bill to US dollars, presenting it in both NF (florins) and US so that we could use whichever we had available. There is an ATM in the lobby and a postal box. The gift shop had stamps so that we could write and mail our postcards right away.
There are no clocks in the rooms - if you decide to stay here, bring one! Wake-up calls were prompt, though.
Denny's is nearby; connected to the hotel by an outdoor walkway. The staff there is very friendly and the food was what you'd expect at Denny's - good and filling - although the coffee was sometimes left on the burner too long.
The casino was fine; we played blackjack and slots. Don't go to Curacao for Texas Hold 'Em despite the advertised poker rooms. It's simply not popular there, and our Texas Hold Em player never got to play a single hand. Fortunately he likes SCUBA and Anton and Tilalia saved his vacation.
Although we had issues with the rooms and some of the staff, we award FIVE STARS to the PADI dive shop. Anton, Tilalia, Richard, and the rest were absolutely terrific! They scheduled two unplanned dive trips for us at extremely reasonable rates, even refusing to take a well-earned tip for their efforts. They fitted and prepared our snorkel gear and the SCUBA rental equipment was well-stocked and well-maintained. I would stay here again for the Dive Shop alone.
- Also Known As:
- Holiday Beach Hotel Willemstad
- Holiday Beach Hotel And Casino
- Holiday Beach Hotel
- Veneto Holiday Beach Hotel Curacao/Willemstad
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Only beachfront property in Willemstad. 2-4 story buildings. Rooms equipped with Refrigerator, Hairdryers, In-room safe, Iron and Ironing Board. Double and King bedded rooms. Pool Views, Lagoon/Garden views. Balconies or Terraces. High speed internet service in the rooms at a minimum charge. ... more less
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