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Avila Beach Hotel
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Reviewed May 28, 2013

Our travel agent booked the Avila Beach Hotel for our week long tropical getaway. Our criteria was that our hotel be a small to moderate size full service hotel on the beach and within walking distance to restaurants, shops and the Punda district. Avila more than matched our expectations. We stayed in the Blues Wing in a room that faced the bay. This was the quieter side of the building, as the rooms across the hallway from us faced the pool, beach and bar/restaurant area which seemed to be the noisier side. The main building of the hotel was a historic home that was once the Governor's Mansion during the time of Dutch colonial rule in the mid 1800's. The original building was beautifully restored and additional buildings with hotel rooms, meeting rooms, a concert hall and restaurants were built around it in a tasteful way that did not detract from the historic nature of the original building. There were several small beaches in the compound and enough lounge chairs for all beach goers. But to claim a spot in the shade either under a canvas umbrella, a grove of trees, or a thatched roof umbrella, beachgoers had to get there early. We saw folks on the beach before 7 AM! The hotel's outdoor bar, The Schooner Bar had wait staff that came out onto the beach to take your drink orders every afternoon so that you didn't lose out on any beach time! The Bar was also a great place to take in your morning coffee or hang out late at night and chat with fellow hotel guests. The servers at the bar were all fluent in English, Dutch, Spanish and the local language Papiamentu. It was a marvel to hear them easily glide in and out of the various languages. And the servers were all friendly and helpful. Several of these guys became our sort of "concierge staff" during our stay there as they recommended to us restaurants and places to visit. They also shared a lot of the island's culture and character with us. Restaurants were within a 3 minute walk from the hotel, and the main area (Punda) for shops and tourist activities was about a 1/2 - 3/4 mile walk from the hotel. In extreme heat, however, this became a bit of a challenge. The hotel also provides a shuttle service to the Punda district twice a day. Whenever we walked along Penstraat to get to Punda we always felt safe and spotted local police and private security guards patrolling the area. My only complaint about our stay at the Avila, was that a couple of times some large groups or families seemed to creep closer to where we were lying on the beach, leaving us feeling a little cramped. At times, these folks also became a bit loud and boisterous. There was also one instance where some pre-teen girls were unsupervised in the evening and knocked on everyone's doors in the Blues' wing and loudly tried to practice their English on surprised guests. This was not enjoyable. Overall, however, our stay at the Avila was exceptional and we definitely plan to stay there again next time we visit Curacao.

Room Tip: In the Blues Wing, the rooms ending in odd numbers are quieter than the ones ending in even numbers. The odd numbered rooms face the bay side, whereas the even numbered rooms face the pool, beach and bar/restaurant area.
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Felicitas S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2013

We stayed at the Avila for six nights and enjoyed it very much. The man made beach is soft sand, while the natural beaches of Curacao are derived from pulverized coral and are still rough to bare feet--although beautiful and deserve a day's visit. Lying on the beach or by the pool and having waitstaff serve you is much more convenient, but also expensive.

The room was an Octagon Wing, Preferred category on the 4th floor. We looked over the Octagon Museum and had a generous ocean view. There was a mini fridge and hotplate, along with a coffee maker and some service ware. Oddly, with the hotplate, there were no pots or pans. We did take advantage of the mini fridge by stocking up on some picnic supplies at Albert Heijn, a supermarket experience that can't be missed for an American with a week or more to spend on the island.

The hotel staff for the most part was friendly and helpful. We especially liked Khalid, who worked the Schooner Bar and the beach area while we were there. There was one incident where my roomkey was demagnitized and it took three desk clerks to try and get me a new key card, with no success. I had to come back about an hour later and talk to someone else, finally with success.

The hotel is a little hike, about 15 minutes, to the Punda waterfront. It is interesting to see the neighborhoods in transition, from ruins to Dutch Colonial "Monuments" lovingly restored. The walk is perfectly safe by day and in the early evening, but at night can be a little sketchy. One night I stayed out a little too late on my own, and a security guard from one of the businesses in the Punda gave me a ride back to the hotel, refusing any pay in return.

If you want the convenience of being in town to explore, yet want to retreat to the cocoon of a self contained, comfortable resort, Avila might be for you.

Room Tip: Higher floors have better sea views. Many rooms on the first floor get frequent guest traffic walking by, and views are obscured.
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Stephen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2013

First off, let me say that we had an amazing time in Curacao. We arrived on Monday and left the following Monday. We stayed in the Blues Wing, room 291, which I highly recommend if you can get this particular room. It overlooks the ocean and when looking out the balcony windows you see nothing but the beautiful blue ocean. At night you can fall asleep to the sound of the waves hitting the rocks and when you wake up you can hear the same sound which was so very nice. People say that this wing is a little outdated but I thought it was just fine. The bed was comfortable and the shower worked. It had a small refrigerator, sink, small coffee pot, dishes and two burner stovetop. This worked out great for us because we visited the local supermarket and bought some bagels and lunchmeat etc to eat when we just didnt want to get out too early. The prices at the restaurants were a bit pricey but it was that way everywhere just about. Snorkelling in the lagoons was amazing, once you get out to the opening its a whole different world and a beautiful one at that. We brought our own snorkeling gear so that we could visit the many beaches in Curacao to snorkel. They do not rent them there so if you are planning on doing any snorkeling I recommend that you bring your own. John and Gonzalo at the Schooner Bar took care of us the whole trip. All I had to do was walk up and get his attention and he would make me my favorite drink...the Bon Bini...it is yummy. We rented a car during our stay and that was a great choice. We got to see the sights and visit so many beaches, park and ostrich farm. One piece of advice, the Budget rental agency in the hotel will not take a debit card or cash for the deposit, only a credit card. We had to be referred to Hertz but it all worked out. I so highly recommend this location, we had an amazing time. Feel free to message me if you would like more information

Room Tip: Choose the Blues Wing, room 291 if you would like the most amazing view and sounds of the ocean constantly
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank kkaay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 10, 2013

Great location -close to city, close to Ring, close/in the sea. We stayed in the last room in the Blues Wing, so that's as far in the sea as possible. Wonderful wavesound in the morning. Great breakfast, lunch and dinner and a nice private dinner in the sand on my wife's birthday!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Eric S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2013

Avila could be such a great hotel. The location at the sea front, and closeness to a small group of great restaurants (try Rozendaels, 1 minute away by foot) and the city center (15 minutes) is great. The grounds are nice, and the pool area and all public areas are clean and nice, with nice views of the sea. We stayed in the Blues wing with a nice view of the hotel and beach. We were greeted by the nicest doorman who helped us with our luggage and gave us the most important early info. But after that the flaws started showing. First, the room (second level, Blues Wing) is in need of a freshen-up. There is a strange smell in the room, and it is starting to show its years. With these things fixed it would be a very nice room. Wifi sometimes worked, sometimes not - almost never inside the room, but it worked almost always on the balcony. The service was so-so. The pool bar was nice with nice staff and also actually very good lunch food, but the beach bar never seemed to know what they were doing, and you sometimes almost had to beg for attention to make an order. The reception staff often seemed bothered by us asking questions, but always answered and gave good information. It always seemed that staff were engaged in internal conversations, sometimes serious, sometimes casual banter, and that you had to wait for them to notice you.

Now, one of the biggest problems with the hotel is that it seems that many ofthe guests there look at it as a standard charter tourist hotel, meaning iI is ok to block beach chairs for the full day while only sitting there for a few hours. This starts early in the morning. It actually said on an information note that this was not allowed and that towels would be removed after 30 minutes, but we never saw that happen. The pool area chairs were completely "booked" by large families with children, and the children owned the pool all day. It seemed to be a popular hotel for multi-generational travel (many big families of 3 generations, 8-10 people), especially from the Netherlands (which is of course natural, as this is a Dutch island).

The hotel itself emphasizes the "charter" feeling by small things like handing out towel cards that you can exchange for towels, and on the card it is written in three languages that if you do not hand back your towel you have to pay 25 USD. There were several other rules and regulations shown here and there, indirectly telling us as guests that we are not trustworthy and should behave, otherwise we would be fined...

The best thing with the hotel is the snorkeling possibilities - just outside the beaches, around the piers, there are actually a lot of interesting fish and some corals to see.

All in all, we were somewhat disappointed, but of course that also has to do with too high expectations. We had quite high expectations, but should have realized it was a more standard place at its "soul", even though the grounds as such promised more.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank stefanerics
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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