Room Key: Avila Hotel
Address: Avila Beach, Penstraat 130, Box 791, Willemstad, Curacao
Phone: (011) 599-9-461-4377
Reservations: (800) 747-8162
General Manager: Paul Kok
Rooms: 176 rooms and suites
Rates: In the new 68-room Octagon wing, rates through April 15 range from $260 to $410 per room, per night, double; summer rates through Sept. 15, from $210 to $340; from Sept. 16 to Dec. 15, $220 to $350. Packages available.
Review: There's a stark contrast between the original buildings, which date from 1780, and the new contemporary wing outfitted with sleek furnishings right down to the trough-like bathroom basin and immovable sun shade on the balcony. The hotel has two restaurants, three bars, the popular Blues jazz spot, Paradis Spa, in-room Internet access, a delightful beach, an infinity pool, the Octagon Museum and La Belle Alliance recital hall and is just minutes from town. All electrical outlets but one in guest rooms are European-style, which require an adaptor. The hotel offers complimentary shuttle transport to Punda.
Curacao -- New and renovated hotel properties, impressive increases
in visitor arrivals and the development of additional niche markets
attest to the recent efforts of Curacao tourism officials to raise
the destination's visibility and awareness, particularly in the
U.S. and Canadian markets.
In fact, U.S. and
Canadian visitors numbered more than 54,000 in 2006, out of a total
of 240,000, according to Aimee Kleinmoedig, director of the Curacao
a 7.9% jump over 2005, which shows we are making inroads in that
market," she said.
Market share from
the U.S. and Canada last year was 17.7%, vs. 16.6% in
said they are noticing is that Curacao no longer has a low season,
traditionally the summer period in the Caribbean when bookings fall
market hails from Europe, and these travelers book for two weeks in
the winter but we also have a steady travel stream from South
America all year long," Kleinmoedig said.
plus the upswing in the U.S. and Canadian markets, is helping
solidify Curacao's market appeal.
This year bodes
well in terms of arrivals and stayovers. "The rates held steady
this winter, our airlift was good and we had more rooms available
in our inventory," she said.
additions last year included the modern, 68-room Octagon wing at
the Avila Hotel, the debut of the 200-room Clarion Hotel &
Suites Curacao and the 38-room wing at Lions Dive & Beach
Resort next to the Curacao Sea Aquarium.
Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino added 40 tons of white
sand to its beach area, opened a beach bar and added themed
entertainment at its Emerald Lounge.
renovation of the Hilton Curacao also is completed, featuring a new
executive floor and lounge, meeting room redos, upgrades to the
ballroom and beach bar and fresh paint on the exterior.
The Best Western
villa project is open and taking reservations, although some
construction is still under way.
construction on Willemstad's waterfront is the 240-room Renaissance
Curacao Resort, to open in December.
On track is the
350-room Hyatt Regency Curacao overlooking Spanish Water Bay and
the Caribbean. The 27-acre site will include not only the hotel but
also a 30-slip marina, a beach club, 52 vacation club units, 128
condos, residential lots and terrace homes.
include a casino, multilevel pool, grill, lounge, tennis courts and
an 18-hole P. B. Dye championship golf course.
When the Hyatt
opens in summer 2008, it will be the largest hotel on the island
and the first to open since the Sonesta, now a Marriott, opened in
development is a Four Points Sheraton, near Blue Bay, and a Best
Western villa project.
markets for Curacao include the gay and lesbian segment.
Kleinmoedig said that Curacao as a whole "is a gay-friendly
destination, and we have at least 17 properties that market to that
On the family
front, the Sea Camp at the Curacao Aquarium is aimed at kids from 4
to 14 years old. "Dive hotels are promoting this, and it's been
quite successful in the past," Kleinmoedig said.
In other news,
Curacao's departure tax increased from $25 to $32 on Jan. 1. And
the new $44 million Curacao Airport opened last August, designed to
handle up to 1.6 million passengers a year.
annual Dive Festival runs May 26 to June 2. Activities include
guided dives, workshops, seminars, live entertainment and night
dives. Dive operators are offering packages for the festival. For
details, visit www.curacaodive.com.
To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].
For more details on this
article, see "Preconceived notions waft away after trip to