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The Caribbean island of Curaçao lies just above South America's Venezuela and is part of the ABC islands: Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. For us, the "C" island hits all the marks —everything from seriously beautiful beaches to incredible cuisine to colorful architecture is found here. Deciding where to stay is the hard part, but one of the finest properties on the scene is a chic family-owned hotel that has direct beach access and loads of history. If you’re looking for property that has it all, consider the Avila Beach Hotel.
Budget Level: Upscale ($150-$300/night)
Lodging Type: Medium-size independent resort
What You Need to Know
Situated along a private beach, Avila Beach Hotel sets its own relaxed vibe on the Caribbean Sea with modern rooms in a historic setting. Avila is the oldest operating hotel on the island, dating back to 1780. The suite classes range in price in accordance to their size and style, making affordable opportunities for all travelers.
The vibe is exactly what you'd expect for the ideal chilled-out Caribbean vacation. Here, luxury rooms are dotted along the beach and run the gamut from overwater-style bungalows to large family suites. Expect loads of options, like fine dining at Belle Terrace Restaurant (seriously, the food is top-notch) to Blue Cafe's BBQ overlooking the beach to casual umbrella drinks at the beachside pool bar; you can easily transition from your bikini to a romantic dinner. The island attracts a predominantly Dutch crowd, though non-stop flights from NYC have begun to bring more Americans.
Who Will Love It
Families will love the spacious suites with a full kitchen and living space; couples will never want to leave the Ocean Front Blue wing rooms, which are like an overwater bungalow; and there's even a (beachfront!) conference center for business travelers. For those seeking a gym, the property offers on-site personal training and high-end equipment.
Who Might Not
Guests longing for a buzzing Caribbean escape with night clubs and non-stop activities may want to seek a more party-focused property. Avila has a more relaxed, laid-back atmosphere that's all about enjoying the beach.
Hands down, it's the location. Situated within walking distance to downtown Willemstad, the hotel also has a private beach, which is rare in this location. You'll find loads of cool hotels in the area, but few have the step-out-of-your-room-and-you're-on-the-beach perk. There's even an on-site reef for snorkeling and diving. Bonus: On Thursday evenings, the property is host to live music in the Blues Cafe. Here, local musicians play in the loft-like space and it's a must-do for both locals and guests.
Wifi and a free shuttle service to downtown are both included during your stay. For $85 per day, guests have the option of choosing a "full board" addition. With this, breakfast (with coffee, tea, and juices), lunch, and a two-course dinner of choice in one of the restaurants, along with one glass of house wine and one soft drink per person, are included in the stay.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
All food and beverages cost extra, and you can expect typical hotel taxes to be added to your bill.
How to Get a Deal
For great value, we suggest traveling to the resort in the low season. But if you're too late to book last-minute summer rates, we found rooms in September for under $200 per night.
In the Neighborhood
The hotel is centrally located in Willemstad — just a hop and a skip to bars, restaurants, and shops. Be sure to visit the famous floating market, have a local lunch at Plasa Bieu, and dinner at Serafina — all within walking distance.
Something else that we love: The property is a zippy 20-minute ride from the Hato International Airport.
The Bottom Line
Avila Beach Hotel offers incredible value with serious luxury, providing amenities and service that could only be found under the guise of an independently owned property.