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“Does everything it can with what it has”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Avila Beach Hotel

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Avila Beach Hotel
Ranked #6 of 32 Hotels in Willemstad
Certificate of Excellence
Cheshire, CT
Level Contributor
33 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Does everything it can with what it has”
Reviewed June 10, 2013

I have stayed at the Avila three times, both for business and vacation. For my latest trip, I spent some extra time after some business meetings as a short vacation. The hotel has some flaws, but it really maximizes the property on which it is located. It's a midsize hotel, with several different classes of rooms. I have generally stayed in the Octagon wing. The rooms are very nice, with private decks and plenty of space. Internet can be a bit spotty, but in the rooms you can hook up with a hard wire. Given the room prices at some other resorts, I would say that the Avila rooms are an outstanding value.

The hotel grounds are scenic and charming and very well maintained.

The beach is nothing to write home about -- it's really an engineered lagoon with two small spits of sand on either side of the pier that supports the Blues restaurant. However it is well appointed with chairs and there is plenty of shade. The space is limited so if the hotel is busy the chairs fill up very early. They have an odd policy that requires you to use a card to acquire beach towels, presumably because some guests have been stealing towels. It's strange, but not too much trouble.

Breakfast is very good, though it is a bit expensive. They have a good variety of fruit, pastries, eggs, pancakes etc. The two bars are also nice, though I very much prefer the Schooner Bar which is a bit cleaner and more unique. The snacks/lunches available from the bars are very good.

Service can be a bit inconsistent. On one occasion, my room was not ready until after 5:00 p.m. on the day of my arrival, though during my stay the cleaning staff is prompt and thorough. Most of the staff at the front desk are polite and helpful.

Overall, I enjoy staying at the Avila and plan to keep returning.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank RtRoth33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (202)
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English first
Fairfield, Connecticut
Level Contributor
171 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 384 helpful votes
Reviewed June 2, 2013

Stayed for a week in May 2013 in the Octagon Wing. Plenty of taxis at the airport. $35 will get you to the Avila (not including tip). Check in / check out was a breeze, as the front desk team was very efficient. Overall staff attitude, pleasant but they aren't going to go out of their way. As other reviewers have mentioned, the staff's personal conversations take priority over any and all guest requests.

The Octagon room was nice. Very modern, as photos previously posted show, and well laid out. Because of the lack of TV stations, an addition of a DVD player / loaner library would be a nice addition. Housekeeping good, but definitely not spotless. The grounds were lovely and well maintained. Definitely make use of the mini-bar sized fridge for yogurts, juice, snacks, etc. There is a big supermarket near by; walked there, but took a taxi back to manage the bags more easily (a $12 fare).

Beach appears to be man made so not the soft sand as hoped for and not a big as pictures posted here and on the hotel website would represent. Also, very crowded - even at 80% occupancy - you were never more than a foot away from someone else's beach lounge. I would hate to be there when full.

The buffet breakfast is average for the $20/head cost. Bacon, sausage, waffles or pancakes; eggs any style (including omelets) made to order; cubed cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon; whole fruits (usually bananas, apples, oranges); peach and orange juice as well as coffee and tea service plain and strawberry yogurt accompanied by cereals and muesli; a couple of selections of pastries and breads; as well as the typical layout for the Dutch.

The Schooner Bar was closed for the majority of my stay, but when pressed, the Pool Bar team would allow you to order off that menu IF you asked for it, which was far superior to their own. While the chef prepares your meal right at the bar and always had a smile on her face, she seasoned every dish the same spices and sauces, so everything tastes pretty much the same (who puts soy glazed, stir fried chicken and broccoli on a quesadilla??). Drinks are good, not strong, but again, you need to be patient after you place the order. One time I was the only guest there and four staff were manning the bar. After ordering, all four of them were trying to figure out how to make change for a beach service tab. After 10 minutes of waiting, I gave up and walked away. The coffee shop (not affiliated with the hotel but on the grounds) was much better in terms of quality and value. Recommend the smoked salmon and ricotta baguette.

Do Not use Joy's Taxi service to tour the island. Although "highly recommended as a professional tour guide" by the hotel's tour desk, overall very displeased with the service. He was too busy biting his nails and spitting out the result inside the cab (eeeww), talking / texting on his THREE cell phones and turning UP the radio to actually divulge any information about the island. Terrible experience at $50/hour.

Overall, didn't get why others feel this hotel is wonderful. Just ok in my book. Sadly, I left with no pressing desire to return.

Room Tip: Definitely go for an ocean front / ocean view.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank JFsB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
24 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
Reviewed June 2, 2013

We stayed at the Avila Hotel from May 23rd – May 27th. I read many of the reviews and decided to go with this hotel. I must say, the reviews were accurate and the Avila did not disappoint.

Upon arrival, front desk greeted us very professionally and served lemonade which was refreshing after landing. The staff was also helpful.

The room was clean and adequate. Complimentary chocolates awaited us in our room. The island is Dutch so many of their outlets need a converter. However, we were happy to find one converter to charge our electronics near the television area of the living room.

The rooms are pretty much equipped. Beds are comfy. However, you do have to request an iron and board.

The beach was so tranquil. Here is what I loved about it. It is private! There were no locals walking up and down trying to sell items to you. No one’s trying to sell you or hassle you for anything. The beach is small and divided into two sections but adequate. The ocean color was a mix of blue and turquoise. Beautiful! Drinks are also served on the beach.

I particularly did not like the run downed atmosphere outside of the resort. We walked around and no one bothered us, but due to my expectations, I really did not want to see a run downed area full of abandonment with a few loafers here and there.

There’s a pharmacy within walk able distance from the resort as well as a grocery store.
We ate breakfast at the Avila Belle Terrace which was ok and a bit pricey. We did have a problem with the breakfast café charging us twice which we brought to their attention and they were happy to take care of it.

We took a cab and ventured out to a few restaurants outside the Avila. Cabs seem to be Fifteen dollars all around. La Bahia Restaurant and Fort Nassau Restaurant are worth mentioning and a must see. La Bahia is a steak and seafood restaurant with a spectacular view and Fort Nassau restaurant is simply outstanding with a breathtaking view.

I would definitely stay at this resort again particularly for the beaches. It is what I hoped for and it met my expectations.

Thank you, Avila for an enjoyable stay!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank MoneyD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed May 30, 2013

We stayed in October of 2012 and had a mixed experience -- most of the issues, however, were remedied.

The hotel itself is a hodgepodge of areas, which adds to its unique charm. The rooms are very modern and comfortable. The hotel itself has a pair of lagoons which offer calm and no as calm areas for swimming, snorkeling, etc. The pools are somewhat small, but offer a great place to sit and look out over the ocean.

It's a family resort, so you're at the mercy of your fellow guests (and their ability/desire to administer their offspring), but aside from a few instances we didn't have too many issues. The resort seems to cater to a vast array of nationalities, and during our time there we saw only three other American couples, which was a great experience. Lots of friendly faces from around the world.

Our only issues were checking in (it took over 2 hours); then getting the wrong class of room (we asked for a king bed...got two doubles/queens); and then the cleaning staff was so anxious to clean each morning that they walked into the room a few times unannounced. Additionally, the power in our wing went out a few times.

Also, we arrived when some of the dining options were unavailable for whatever reason. We were there to dive and had very little in the way of resort formal wear. We asked the front desk if we would be able to dine at the on-site restaurant in golf-attire (i.e. shorts). We were told they would not accommodate us without slacks for the gentleman. While we understand the policy, it was pretty obvious that nobody was breaking down the door to eat that night, and our intention had been to eat at the grill (which was closed contrary to the website's posted information). From that point on we never ate or participated in any of the resort's activities, dining options, etc.

Upon checkout we were able to speak with a manager who apologized profusely and really went out of her way to offer all manner of peace offerings, none of which were necessary. By a twist of fate, we had missed her during the previous few days, and I have no doubt she would have straightened out all the issues had we been able to mesh our schedules.

The little issues aside, the Avila Hotel was the best looking resort we saw on the entire island. It's convenient to town and to the various dive boats in and around the island. We will return and, even with the issues we had (which were dealt with), we won't hesitate to stay at the Avila.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JWatson15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
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...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Felicitas S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norman, Oklahoma, United States
Level Contributor
25 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
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 walki...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Stephen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kyle
Level Contributor
17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
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 cons...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank kkaay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Avila Beach Hotel

Property: Avila Beach Hotel
Address: Penstraat 130, Willemstad, Curacao
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Curacao > Willemstad
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Willemstad
#3 Spa Hotel in Willemstad
#4 Luxury Hotel in Willemstad
#4 Romantic Hotel in Willemstad
#5 Family Hotel in Willemstad
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Willemstad
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Avila Beach Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 150
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

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