Just returned from 9 days stay at Villa Tortuga…it exceeded our expectations in so many ways!! And, we had VERY great expectations! This was our third visit to Curacao…and the best by far. We previously stayed at The Marriott Resort Curacao, nearer to Willemstad, and a condo development at Playa Lagun.
Originally we had planned to have family with us so rented Villa Tortuga, a 3-BR, 3 full, 2 half bath, single family house, but it turned out to be just the two of us. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by property manager, Sylvia, who is not only quite delightful, but who provided us quickly with all the advance information we requested, and who gave us a thorough tour of the house and its amenities when we arrived. In addition, she provided us her telephone number so that we could call her at any time with questions, requests or any other issues we might have had.
This new house (about a year old, I believe) is beautifully constructed to take best advantage of its on-the-cliff, oceanfront location. The climate in Curacao is such that one has little reason to be inside, assuming there is shade from the sun. The design of Villa Tortuga allowed us to be outside all of our waking hours! The dining area and separate kitchen "house" are both located right at the front of the property overlooking the ocean. I was doubtful at first about having the kitchen separated from the main house, but it turned out to be more convenient than ever because everything we needed, while remaining outdoors, is right next to the outdoor living area. Beverages, food, water, hookups for electronics, and sound system/cellphone deck are all readily at hand in the kitchen. Additionally, a separate half bath and laundry room with washing machine, are located just behind the kitchen building, so again, no need to venture indoors.
Though we did no actual cooking, other than using the microwave and dishwasher, the kitchen equipment is all top notch. Five-burner, gas stove top with latest exhaust fan; full size refrigerator with through the door opening for frequently wanted foods (such as water and beverages) and through the freezer-door, ice and water. Other special settings and compartments are also state-of-the-art in the fridge. A new microwave and wall oven also looked to be first rate. The dishwasher was a real treat because many rentals in Curacao do not have them.
Most all of the outdoor living area is covered so that as the sun moves from east to west, one can always choose to be in the shade, or in the sun. Furniture outside is plentiful and comfortable. We especially liked the washable, terry-cloth covers on the dining chair cushions because we used them most frequently. The outdoor sofas and loungers have thick, comfortable cushions, but because they are covered in off-white fabric, unfortunately, were somewhat soiled or stained. Owners may want to consider having these cushions recovered in Sunbrella, or other good outdoor fabric, that repel water and everyday outdoor soil.
Though there are houses in transition that are unoccupied, Villa Tortuga's living areas, both indoors and outdoors, are quite private because the villa has high walls on both sides of the property that reach from the road and go to the front at the cliff's edge.
The outdoor living area, directly over the water on the cliff, has very substantial, attractive concrete pillars and railings to prevent any falls, though young children would need to be further protected from the stairs, easily accomplished with a child-proof gate at the top of the steps. The steps down to the platform just over the water are well constructed and safe, again, with the same concrete pillars and railings and 2 or 3 landings on the way. On one of the stair landings is a convenient, tiled outdoor shower with shower head and separate spigot for feet or rinsing diving/snorkeling equipment. There is a removable, and substantially heavy, metal ladder at the bottom of the stairs that reaches down into the water. It must manually be moved a few feet and lowered into a fixed track to get into the water. It is about 10-feet (3.25 meters) long. It did require both of us to lift it onto and out of the track that holds it in place. The ladder must be taken out each night for safety of the ladder and for security.
Security at the house, though we felt no threat of any kind anywhere during our stay, was excellent. The driveway, large enough for at least 2 cars, is secured by a high moveable security fence on tracks with a key lock. It is easily navigated when leaving the house with the car. Each of the main house's exterior doors (there are three) has an upper and lower key lock, required by law. It didn't take but a minute to sort the keys, with Sylvia's help, and determine which of the doors we actually would be using. The kitchen house has a mechanized, metal hurricane door that lowers over the wall of sliding glass doors to the outdoor dining area. We didn't bother to use this device during our stay. The outside of the house has soft lighting that automatically switches on at night and off in the morning. Additional lighting for outdoor areas is available.
All three bedrooms are located on the second floor of the house and all are equipped with air conditioning and ceiling fans. We did use the A/C and fan at night and for occasional indoor napping. All three bedrooms have full, en suite bathrooms. They are basically identical and nicely equipped with a sink mounted on a cabinet with storage and drawers beneath, a walk-in shower, and eco-flush toilet. The master bedroom is equipped with a large flatscreen, wall-mounted television. However, the small wardrobe in the master was inadequate for our needs so we did use the walk-in closet of the middle bedroom. Both the master and back bedrooms have small balconies, but no walk-in closets.
The main floor basically has two rooms--one furnished with comfortable sectional seating, coffee table, desk, end tables, ceiling fan, and a big-screen, wall-mounted, cable TV. A wifi router with one USB outlet was located on the desk in the living room and wifi coverage was very good throughout the house and outdoor areas. The second room on the main level is sparsely furnished with a couple of upholstered chairs, a small end table, and a large credenza with good storage space. There is also a small, built-in heating unit in this room for chilly nights, though it is hard to imagine temperatures low enough in Curacao that would require heat.
There are plenty of basic, white, terry-cloth towels available, as well as adequate sheets and pillow cases. The linens, in our opinion, need to be upgraded to the level of the beautiful, upscale property. The new, king-size bed (we only used the one, but the other two appeared to be identical) was firm, but quite comfortable.
Expect to see many ants, even if you keep ALL of your food in the refrigerator. Also, to deter no-seeums and mosquitoes from biting, take some form of topical insect repellent along and use it, especially early evening and night time. Though the bedroom windows are sealed with glass, and we kept the doors closed the entire time, some of these critters did manage to get into the bedroom.
There are two restaurants within walking distance, and an additional three or more restaurants within a 5 mile drive. All offer fresh-caught seafood and have capable chefs/cooks! We enjoyed dining out, relieving us from cooking for ourselves, and enjoyed the food at every restaurant we tried. Our favorite restaurant was the Blue View Sunset Restaurant. Claudette was a pleasant and attentive manager/server and Ray in the kitchen made some fabulous dishes, including whole fried red snapper that was out of this world! For people interested in night life, a location nearer Willemstad would probably be a better choice as nearly all the restaurants at the west end of Curacao close by 9:00 pm, and few offer any form of entertainment or dancing.
We swam and snorkeled from the front of the house, as well as Playa Lagun, Playa Jeremi, and Knipp Beach--all public beaches with various facilities available--two are within walking distance. We spent one afternoon at Cas Abao Beach, a pay-for-entry beach with many amenities, such as a small restaurant, bar, beach massages, beach rentals such as lounge chairs, kayaks, boogie boards, and snorkeling equipment. Most of the beaches do have a lot of rocks and dead corals at the edge of the water, so beach shoes are recommended for people with tender feet.
The water is clear, clean and beautiful at the house and beaches, and all offer good snorkeling for viewing many varieties of better-known Caribbean tropical fishes. However, parking is limited at the public beaches, and the beach at Playa Lagun was very crowded most days.
We loved Villa Tortuga, its great equipment and amenities, and hope to stay again and for longer than the nine days we spent this time. We believe it is a perfect, relaxing getaway for couples and families.
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