Me and my gf chose this hotel based on the reviews here on Tripadvisor. We were looking for an affordable room in Curacao as we couldn't afford to pay over $200 per night for a fancy beach resort. Also we wanted to be located within a walking distance to restaurants, because neither one of us wanted to be the designated driver during the evening dinners. The Ritz Studios looked perfect for our needs, so we booked 11 nights in a Caribbean Loft.
After checking in, we found our two-floor studio to be fairly big in size, with a spacious room downstairs equipped with a sofa, a flat screen TV, a dining table with chairs, two lounge chairs, a closet for clothing, small kitchenette with a fridge/electric stove/microwave and a safe. The wc and the shower were also on the ground floor, while the bed was located on the upper floor.
The kitchenette turned out to be perfect for our needs, as we could prepare breakfast in the room: microwave oatmeal with local fruits and cold juice from the fridge. The cupboard included cups, glasses and all the other utensils for enjoying the breakfast. Please note that while there is a floating market for fruits in Punda within a walking distance, the nearest supermarket is 5km away, so you will be needing a car or a taxi to do some grocery shopping.
From the reviews here, we were aware that there is no hot water in this hotel. This was ok after a day at the beach as it felt quite refreshing, but in the morning you really didn't want to take a shower. Also the cleanliness of the shower room was not acceptable. In our first room we had a rusty shower basket, while in the second room there was no basket at all, so we had to place the shampoo bottles on the floor. Furthermore, the tiles on the floor did look quite dirty, but this was still ok as you get what you pay for and this is a cheap place to stay considering the location.
Which brings me to the location of Ritz. Even if the hotel looks to be very near to Punda when looked on the map, you cannot use the shortest route to downtown in the evenings as the hotel is located in a somewhat shady area and all the roads are not safe. During the check-in the very friendly and helpful staff told us that you shouldn't walk the Scharlooweg westbound after sunset, because it is not safe. The recommended route was to walk first to the Pampus restaurant and from there to cross the parking lot (which had lighting) and cross the Queen Wilhelmina bridge to Punda. We used this route on many nights without any problems, even if it was quite dark and silent with very few people around you.
However, on one night we decided to walk around Waaigat bay to visit Kome (a very good restaurant in Pietermaai!) and while walking around the bay, one local black guy ran from a dark alley and closed on us to ask for money. He grabbed me and tried to stop us, but we just kept on going. This was quite scary as it was dark (at 7:30pm), there was no other traffic or people nearby, it was just us and this guy. Anyway, we managed to reach De Ruyterkade, where some cars were passing by and it wasn't until this point when the guy ran away back to the darkness. So be aware that the Ritz Studios is located in a somewhat shady area, since you can basically only use one specific route to Punda downtown in the evening. During the day there is however no problem walking around the area.
Also we did have some extra visitors in our room: the cockroaches. On one night after returning from the dinner, we had the cucarachas running around both in the kitchen and in the toilet. Naturally my gf was freaked out by this and we approached the staff for advice. For first aid we were given an insect repellent spray, but this only seemed to make the problem worse, since after spraying the floors, the cockroaches started to come out from their hiding spots. Eventually we killed ten cockroaches this night. Luckily there were no evidences of cockroaches in the 2nd floor where our bed was, but my gf didn't sleep well this night.
The next day we were told that we are the only ones who have complained about this problem and were given a second room (from 806 to 803). Unfortunately there were cockroaches also in this room, but not so many. I don't know whether it is just normal to have these extra guests in the Caribbean, but be aware. I didn't mind them so much, but my gf was freaking out. :)
As a positive note I must add, that the bed was fine, no bedbugs nor cockroaches there.
You should also bring earplugs if you are a light sleeper, because the AC is very noisy.
For the price, it is still a good deal and the friendly staff cannot be praised enough. I also recommend renting a car while in Curacao, because the best beaches are almost 50km away from Willemstad. Driving around is easy and fuel is cheap. Enjoy you vacation in Curacao!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- You have arrived at a very special place! What nicer place to be than a wonderful mix of history, great accommodation, affordable prices and... a personal touch. Have you ever stayed in a former Ice Cream Factory? Chocolate or Vanilla? Walk through our village and experience the special ambiance and our friendly staff. The Ritz Village is the best location for your stay while on Curacao. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Ritz Village Hotel Curacao/Willemstad