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“Good Vacation Spot But Geared Toward Europeans”

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Lions Dive & Beach Resort Curacao
Ranked #5 of 32 Hotels in Willemstad
Certificate of Excellence
Baltimore, Maryland
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Good Vacation Spot But Geared Toward Europeans”
Reviewed December 24, 2011

Us: American Family of 4, kids age 7 and 10. 6th Caribbean vacation.

The pros: Great location with large beach areas protected by man-made breakwall. Plenty of seating seaside. Good off-beach snorkeling around breakwall. Resort offers three restaurants (Hemingways, Nemo, and Piazza). Nemo's is more upscale and more expensive, but offers very good meals. Piazza is more lite fare, but we found it to be rarely open. We could occasionally find someone to serve lunch there. Hemingways is in-between and offers buffet breakfast as well, right on the beach. Food quality is average and prices in USD are good. All staff were friendly and courteous and tried to be helpful. Room cleaning was acceptable.

The cons:
- Mosquito's and lots of them. They are everywhere and eat at you through the night. Bring mosquito repellent.
- Language is a bit of a barrier, as well as payment in USD (cash or credit) at some locations. The island is a Dutch island, and most locals and visitors speak dutch with some being bi-lingual English. English speakers will need to look past it, try to work through it, and have fun with it.
- Room was small and cramped for a family of 4. The oceanfront room, while oceanfront, did not allow access directly from the room. We didn't spend much time there so it wasn't a big deal for us. Beds were a bit uncomfortable.
- While the staff was great, the other guests were not. I found the other dutch guests to be generally rude (cutting in front of us in lines, not yielding walking room on sidewalks) and dirty (Leaving their garbage on the beach, throwing plastic cups into the water). Maybe it is a cultural thing I don't understand.
- Smoking is very prevalent and is permitted everywhere generally.
- Being a Dutch island, topless sunbathing is permitted and some guests do it, so be prepared.
- There were no resort activities geared toward children.

Other:
The adjacent Aquarium is fun, and the Dolphin encounters are great. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: Families should go with suites or apartments. "Oceanfront" rooms are not worth the extra c...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
14 Thank Paul_J18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
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English first
Birmingham, Michigan, United States
Level Contributor
86 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed December 2, 2011

We enjoyed our first visit to Curaçao quite a bit, but were somewhat satisfied with Lions Dive -- which has strong points and at least a few challenges.

--> BEST ASPECTS: Ideal setting on a clean, ample-size beach with walk-in snorkeling (superb, thanks to breakwall with submerged plant growth that's a fish magnet). Plenty of adjustable loungers with cushions, thatched-roof palapas, wooden huts. Kid-safe wading areas, food/drink service, seaside massages/manicures, a few nearby shops, short walk (beach or roadside sidewalk) to popular seafood restaurant/club (Mambo Beach).

--> OTHER AMENITIES: Twice-daily free shuttles to supermarket and downtown. Public bushalte (stop) right outside driveway for convenient access ($1 USD) to downtown and popular Jaan Thiel Beach (highly recommended). On-site car rental (National/Alamo). Free terminal to print boarding passes. Three Internet terminals ($5 for 30 minutes).

--> DOWNSIDES: No tour desk/concierge.Inconsistent staff at desk, where check-in was handled w/out warmth or responsiveness to questions.Bus question later stumped 1st clerk. Housekeeping poor (floor stayed sandy, shower soap dispenser unfilled 2 days, past guest water bottle under bed). No hair dryer until requested. Snorkels/fins provided for fee, though site promotes snorkeling.

--> OFF-SITE: Next-door Sea Aquarium is free to Lions Dive guests and well worth at least two visits to see dolphin, sea lion and small shark-feeding shows. (Swim with dolphins for a fee.) Walk along curbed road (5 mins) past nearly adjacent Breezes Hotel to Sea Side Terrace + adjacent Surfe & Turf small bayside restaurants for value and friendly proprietors/staff. This is beach food as it should be served! Ask for homemade pica (hot) sauce if you dare.

--> DAY TRIP: Book a 90-minute ferry to Kleine Curacao, an uninhabited island with pristine, broad beach, sea turtles visible to snorkelers, an abandoned lighthouse and a photogenic, rusting shipwreck on shore. Go with The Mermaid ($95 USD), which serves tasty continental breakfast and barbecued buffet lunch in its own beach structure (indoor bathroom). It also has beach chairs, small shelters, free snorkel masks, ultra-friendly crew.

A rival operation (Pelican) sails there with a catamaran that stays anchored offshore for snorkeling, with lunch served on board. It promotes open bar, but our crew provided complimentary beer and rum/cola.

Room Tip: Avoid first floor, as patios flood from rain. New wing wraps around 50-meter infinity pool, but is f...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank Alan_Stamm_0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 7, 2011

We liked the Lions Dive a lot! The apartment we stayed in was wonderful, great for families with children like us, two bedrooms with two bathrooms and a kitchen! And let's not forget the lovely balcony and living area overlooking the pool and ocean! The staff at the resort was friendly, sometimes a bit slow (in the restaurants) but very nice. The food in the restaurants is not exceptional but for the price you pay its pretty good, especially at Hemingway beach bar. You'll love the dining on the beach overlooking the ocean...also great for kids who can just run around and play on the beach while we had a nice dinner! The dolphin encounter we did with the kids was amazing, and just minutes away from the resort at the dolphin academy. Downtown Willemstad is like 10 minutes away with the free shuttle service, loved the floating bridge and all the amsterdam-style houses! We also went on a great tour to the western part of the island, they pick you up right at the hotel. We couldn't have wished for a better trip! thank you Lions Dive!

Room Tip: When with a family try to book an apartment, it gives you a lot more (kitichen, living area and ama...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Joel J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brookline, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed November 6, 2011

Lions Dive is pretty much as-advertised and quite an impressive facility. There are a *lot* of rooms, several on-site restaurants/bars, clean and sheltered beach with lots of chairs and palm trees. You can have a pretty self-contained vacation here. I did feel like they nickel-and-dime you for things like safe keys, etc., which I would expect to be included for the prices they charge, and I found the people who worked there a little bit surly- it is a big operation! Rooms were clean and the beds were comfortable with gleaming white sheets.

Room Tip: We were all the way at the end where they seem still to be doing some construction. Resort is very...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Douglas S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed November 5, 2011

My vaction at the Lions Dive & Beach Resort was simply amazing. This resort is all about location! Within 10 minutes you're in downtown Willemstad with the free bus for hotel guests and you're within walking distance from nice restaurants and bars at the beach next to the resort. Don't miss the happy hours on Sunday, they were great! We swam with the dolphins at the Sea Aquarium next door, a truly unique experience, not cheap though especially when you want to buy some of the pictures and the dvd...

The house reef of the hotel is really nice, you're able to dive right from the shore! But the boat dives were also amazing. The dive operation on site (ocean encounters) was really good, the boats were in good condtion and the staff really knew what they were doing.

Our room at the resort wasn't big, but it was clean and had a nice balcony. The airconditioning wasn't working properly when we arrived in the room, but the staff repaired it fairly quick. I really liked the european style duvets they used, nice and clean. The fridge in the room was ideal for some cold beers!

The restaurants on site were ok, nothing special at Hemingway beach bar, but the location right on the beach made up for the standard food. The food at the Nemo restaurant was excellent though, they have wonderfull fish dishes on the menu. The service was good as well, at Hemingway you usually had to wait for a little bit, but not really long.

The thing I didn't like was that you had to pay for the wi-fi ($12 a day) and the signal was bad sometimes, but I guess you shouldn't be on your computer that much on a tropical island. Overall our stay was excellent and we would really love to come back when we have the time!

Room Tip: Use the supermarket shuttle bus to buy some snacks and drinks and enjoy them on your private balcony...
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank travellingleo12345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
53 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed November 5, 2011

This was our second stop during our ABC-honeymoon trip. After being spoiled by the Bucuti on Aruba, we were interested to see what this hotel will be like. We had been to Curacao before, but stayed at the Habitat (very disappointing), which is quite off from everything else on Curacao. So we decided to stay closer to Willemstad and after reading reviews here we chose the Lion's Dive Resort.

On request they offered us a honeymoon package including a incredible ocean front suite, the most perfect romantic dinner one can experience and a massage directly on the beach. And of course all the other small things like a bottle of ice cooled champaign upon arrival, free internet and a personally signed photo book of Curacao on departure.

After being shown into our suite in one of the newer buildings between the 50m pool and the beach, we were speechless! The front and part of the side of the main room was completely made of glass and could be opened completely! The balcony was huge and equipped with nice nice table, chairs and private beach chairs. It made a perfect place for private sunset dining!

The kitchen was fully equipped, even with dishwasher and provided a great environment for cooking after shopping in one of the many supermarkets.
The second room was the bedroom with a huge king size bed and separate air condition. The suite had a larger bathroom room and additionally a separate toilet. Everything was really clean and cleaned daily.

The beach was a 2 minute walk away and sheltered by a breaker which made a perfect area for the morning swim ... much nicer than the 50m pool!

We visited the restaurant (Nemo's) twice, once upon arrival and second for the romantic dinner. The first experience was kind of mixed, the first waitress was quite rude and not pleased to have new "business" at 9pm. We were shown to a table close to the kitchen, which was quite nosy and after being reseated to a quitter table we also got different waitress who was friendly. The quality of the food was excellent and we finally enjoyed a nice dinner. The second visit was for our romantic dinner, for which they prepared a beach hut close to the water. We were the only ones out there and the place was beautifully decorated with white linen and fresh flowers. One waitress was taking exclusively care of us and it a really great job of providing the perfect dinner at a perfect spot! We enjoyed a great 5 course surprise menu with plenty of wine. This was the highlight of our honeymoon trip, thanks a lot Lions Dive!

Breakfast was ok, but the selection rather limited and not to our taste (too much eggs and less fresh cuts and fruits).

The staff at the front desk was also helpful and provided us with good dining recommendations (e.g. the Blues).

We booked a dive package with Ocean Encounters including unlimited shore diving and one boat trip to Mushroom forest. We really liked diving at the house reef, although you were required to have a surface buoy due to the boat traffic. The swim through the channel out to the reef was a bit long (approx. 5-10min), but easily manageable. And it provided us with an encounter with flying gurnards, really impressive! The reef left and right to channel was nice and easy to dive. The boat trip to mushroom forest was long, since the hotel is located in the south of the island and this site is fairly far in the north. For us it was not really worth the time and the money, since the Mushroom forest was not that special compared to other places you can reach from the shore, but depends on your expectations and personal preferences. We are not big fans of "group diving" and prefer diving on our own schedule.

The facilities at Ocean Encounters were ok, but the locker quite run down and a bit dirty. The staff was always friendly and very helpful.

In general: the suite was just perfect and the beach the place to be for a really romantic dinner. We'll come back!

Room Tip: Go for the ocean front suites if you are willing to spend the money. They are really worth it!
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank TheBoxsterman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
90 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed November 3, 2011

If you like a beautiful, sandy, palm tree beach with great snorkeling and a very laid back atmosphere - you like Lion's Dive Hotel. You get to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner on the sandy beach under a roof, under a palapa or under the stars. But be prepared to spend a LOT on food and drinks. We were quite surprised actually. Breakfast buffet - your only option was $15 each even if you only want a cup of coffee - but if you wanted to eat - it was all there and very good. Dinner was always good with entres from $15 (pasta) up. Salads were awesome but also about $10. We never at lunch - our normal choice.

Rooms were exactly what we would have wanted - we had an ocean front studio that had a sofa, desk and fridge. Staff friendly and helpful and a Sundry shop for essentials and munchies. The free shuttle to Williamstad was really worth it. DO use it as well as the frequently running Shoppers Shuttle to the supermarket nearby. You have to visit Williamstad - you see history before your eyes.

Went 3 times to the Sea Aquarium and it was a joy to watch kids loving the sea life - shows with dolphins, sharks and seals were a hit. This place is more than an entertainment complex - it researches ways to save our oceans and sealife - a very dedicated group.

Be prepared that almost all of the guests are Dutch. If you have a problem with that, then this is not the place for you. We enjoyed it immensely.

A taxi to the airport was $45 CASH, so make sure you have that stashed away for departure.

Ocean Encounters Dive Operation was top notch - hubby will have to review that as I'm more of a beach bunny than diver. This is a really nice place to go - you'll like it.

Room Tip: Have cash on hand for traveling to Williamstad and for making sure you have it for your final taxi r...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Patty_in_Cleveland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lions Dive & Beach Resort Curacao

Property: Lions Dive & Beach Resort Curacao
Address: Bapor Kibra, Willemstad, Curacao
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Curacao > Willemstad
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Willemstad
#3 Luxury Hotel in Willemstad
#4 Family Hotel in Willemstad
#5 Romantic Hotel in Willemstad
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Willemstad
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Lions Dive & Beach Resort Curacao 4*
Number of rooms: 137
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located at the longest white sandy beach of Curacao, just minutes away from the picturesque Dutch colonial city of Willemstad, is sportive 4* Lions Dive & Beach Resort. The resort offers every desired accommodation; a stay in a comfortable hotel room, with your family in a large apartment or a romantic stay in a suite or penthouse. For the sportive guest, the resort has a lot of opportunities: train in the 50 meter sports pool, discover the underwater world with diving school Ocean Encounters or a workout at Body Beach Wellness Club. Of course Lions Dive is also the place for a sun, sea and beachy holiday. Have a massage on our private beach or relax in the Santai Spa. Enjoy our culinary features at the 4 bars and restaurants in the resort. Or just walk to the next-door boulevard with various shops and restaurants. With the personal touch of management and staff, we will give you a real Caribbean Experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lions Dive And Beach Resort Curacao
Lions Dive & Beach Resort Curacao Hotel Willemstad
Lions Dive Beach Hotel Curacao
Lions Dive & Beach Resort Curacao Willemstad

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