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Avila Beach Hotel 4.0

Willemstad, Curacao

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Restored 18th-century mansion retains the history and culture of Curacao
  • Modern, rooms with streamlined, airy style, some with great ocean views
  • Sleek infinity pool and two small beaches
  • Three restaurants and two bars, all with ocean views
  • Excellent, large fitness center with a Kinesis Wall system
  • Nice meeting rooms and a business lounge available
  • Free shuttle service to the town center
  • Free Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Beach area is small and can be crowded
  • Located just out of walking distance to town; taxi or shuttle is needed

Bottom Line

This upscale oceanfront resort, opened in 1949, is the longest continuously open hotel on the island of Curacao -- and over its history it has maintained roots by preserving the refurbished original mansion and the quaint Dutch colonial architecture. Today the 150-room hotel blends history with modern luxury, offering updated rooms with flat-screen TVs, a sleek infinity pool, an excellent gym, business facilities, two small beaches, and three restaurants. Couples may also want to consider the similarly priced, adult-only Floris Suite Hotel, though it's a short walk from the beach.

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Scene

A modern, upscale hotel in a preserved Dutch colonial mansion mixes history with contemporary style.

The hotel's entrance, converted from a Dutch colonial mansion, is painted in a bright yellow, typical of Dutch colonial style

The Avila Hotel has been in business for over six decades, making it the oldest continually operated hotel on the island. The resort is built around the main building, an old Dutch colonial mansion from the late 18th century. Over its history, the mansion served as a residence for British and Dutch Governors, a boarding school, and a private hospital, before being converted to a small hotel in 1949. Today, though the modern, luxury-minded property has been expanded and updated, the owners have stayed dedicated to preserving the history and culture of the place.

The hotel’s boutique shop features work from a local artist that depicts historic scenes of the neighborhood -- one of several details showing the emphasis on sharing the local history and culture. The sleek, modern lobby features wall-sized historic photos of Curacao and Willemstad. The buildings are painted bright yellow, a color typical of the Dutch colonial style. A special octagon-shaped building, which was the home of a 19th-century Venezuelan leader in exile, can be used for weddings or events.

There are 150 rooms spread over three distinct parts of the hotel: the Blues Wing, with wooden plank architecture facing out over the ocean, the Belle Alliance Wing, with suites arranged around a colonial-style courtyard, and the Octagon Wing, the newest building, with sleek, modern rooms. While the resort is well-equipped for families and couples, the manager noted that the hotel’s occupants are usually about 30 percent business travelers and 40 percent repeat guests. The upscale meeting areas make it a great place for business.

Location

A 20-minute walk to the center of town -- a shuttle ride or taxi may be preferred

Map of Avila Beach Hotel

The Avila Hotel is located in the capital of Willemstad, just outside of the popular downtown area known as Punda. Punda is a colorful historic district with lots of contemporary shopping, many restaurants and bars, and the picturesque Queen Emma bridge crossing the river. It’s about a 20-minute walk from the Avila, though at night or in hot weather, travelers would probably be wise to take a car or taxi. The hotel offers a free shuttle to town, which runs back and forth twice a day.

The property is located on the south coast of the island in a man-made cove with two beaches. While the main beach gets some wind and chop, the second beach is more protected with calm waters. If you’re lucky, you may even notice dolphins swimming off the coast. The Blues Restaurant and Blues Wing rooms offer great views up the shoreline to Willemstad. It’s a 20-minute drive to the airport.

Rooms

Rooms are open and modern, with clean lines and European style; the Blues Wing has the best ocean views.

The Blues Deluxe Room is bright and modern, with a deck that opens out over the ocean

Room size and style are slightly different in the three areas of the hotel, but overall, rooms are light and airy, featuring contemporary decor with blue or red plaid accents. The European-style modern furniture has stark, clean lines and woods finishes in light colors. All rooms have a large flat-screen TV, coffee/tea facilities, and mini-fridges. Many also have small kitchenettes with sinks, tiny two-burner stovetops, and dishes provided. Bathrooms are up to date with nice sinks and fixtures, and walk-in showers, many with rainfall showerheads (but no tubs). 

The rooms in the Blues Wing have great ocean views and many have a small deck that perches out over the ocean. The Octagon Wing is the newest part of the hotel, and the rooms are sleek and have updated tile and finishes. The Belle Alliance Wing is set in a lush green garden and displays the classic Dutch colonial style. A local artist has created custom artwork depicting historical scenes from the area, and often the Octagon building can be spotted in a corner of the picture. This art can be seen decorating the rooms, throughout the hotel, and for sale in the gift shop.

Features

A sleek infinity pool, three restaurants including weekly live jazz, and great business and fitness facilities

Blues Restaurant serves dinner and drinks on a pier on the water, and live music is played

There is a lovely medium-size infinity pool, donning the Avila logo across its berth. It sits on a patio that overlooks the beach and the ocean, with just a handful of lounge chairs and shade. More seating can be found down on the beach.

The Avila Café is open for breakfast, buffet style, while the Belle Terrace restaurant is the spot for lunch, with tables and casual seats on the deck offering great ocean views. There are two bars: the Schooner bar on the main beach and the Poolside bar, serving up drinks all day. When night falls, dinner and drinks are found at the Blues Restaurant, which is built on a pier high above the water. Live jazz and blues music on Thursday nights is a popular event at the Blues Restaurant, where a small stage is suspended in a precarious manner above the bar, a very unique setup.

A coffee shop on the premises, Cafe Barista, serves up lattes and smoothies. Next door, the Avila boutique is a gift shop featuring souvenirs, gifts and fine art.  It has a unique showpiece in the center of the store: a 1926 Rolls Royce, another little piece of history. The owner enjoys the arts and often holds classical music concerts and other fine art events on the property.

The hotel has a business center with several nice meeting rooms with different layouts, including a swanky lounge with coffee and tea. The Santai Spa is a small spa with a range of treatments available. The large, excellent fitness center features a variety of modern, clean machines. It has a Kinesis Wall suspension system and personal trainers are available -- not to mention a great view out over the pool and ocean to accompany your workout.

Beach

Two small man-made beaches with many loungers available, though they can fill up fast

A protected cove provides calm waves at the small beach at the far end of the property

There are two small beaches on the property, and like many other hotels in Curacao, the beaches are man-made as the natural coastline here is rocky. The main beach sits in front of the Schooner Bar, beneath the Blues Restaurant. Many lounge chairs and a number umbrellas are available, though the overall beach area is small compared to the size of the hotel, and it can get crowded in high season. Guests of the suites have access to a private beach that is less crowded and peaceful, on the far end of the property. While the smaller beach is more protected and has calmer surf, good snorkeling can be found at both.

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Address

Penstraat 130, Willemstad, Caribbean

Also Known As

  • Avila Hotel - Curacao

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