Just returned from Curacao Wow!

Mar 13th, 2002, 11:54 AM
  #1  
Paula
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Just returned from Curacao Wow!

Let me first say Thank you to all of you who offered information about this island. The information was accurate and provided a very special trip.

Yes! the Marriott was wonderful. While the rooms cannot compete with a Ritz, they are very spacious, provide the amenities and were kept very, very clean. There are a number of restaurants within the complex which have nice menus and really good food. We were only there four nights and therefore never found it necessary to leave. Next time we will visit the great restaurants in town.

My husband and I had just been newly certified in scuba and were looking forward to diving. The Caribbean Sea Sports dive shop was perfect for us. There were always six or seven people diving, most of whom had experience in diving. Our Padi divemaster was extremely supportive both above and below the water. As a result, we had an incredible diving expeience and we are now addicted to diving.
We cannot say enough about the Marriott. There was an outdoor bar and grill that took care of all of our daytime needs. The food again, was great as were the drinks. Pina Coladas to die for, all fresh ingredients! The staff was friendly and more than courteous they actually anticipated your every need. The "red flags" on the chairs are alive and well and still inform the staff that you may need food or a drink. At the breakfast buffet, I ordered coffee and walked over to the buffet to get my meal. When I returned to the table, the coffee had been poured ever so slightly to let me know it had been served, with the hot pot awaiting me at the table. The service in all areas was incredible. The service workers were genuinely warm and welcoming, the atmosphere not at all contrived.

The physical premise was really beautiful. At check-in you are welcomed into a large open air lobby done in the dutch motif. The lobby leads downstairs to a large, beautiful pool. Beyond the pool is a small white sandy beach with chairs and thatched huts to keep you cool. The beach overlooks an incredible azure ocean where you can snorkel and dive right off the coast. There are plenty of chairs and beach towels, no need to get up at the crack of dawn to get your space. The dive shop is just to the left of the complex.

The Marriott provides 2 free shuttles into Willemstad each day. The pristine city is like an art pallet of pastels. Lovely and unique.

We plan to return soon and will definitely book at the Marriott. They made our trip incredibly special!
 
Mar 13th, 2002, 12:03 PM
  #2  
cathy
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paula,

We are planning to go there in April. Please tell me more about the Marriott.
Is the beach water clear and you can swim or dip in? How's the room at the Marriott. What about the wind, whether it get pretty windy in Curacao or not? Since we don't dive, would you choose curacao for a relaxing vacation. Would you considered room as deluxe or just an average room? Anything else you can tell me is greatly appreciated.
 
Mar 14th, 2002, 04:22 PM
  #3  
Trish
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Paula,
Thanks for such a great report! We went there last year and to date it is our favorite! It was fun to be able to walk down memory lane while reading about your trip.
 
Mar 14th, 2002, 05:46 PM
  #4  
Rich
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Hi Paula-

Glad you had a great time. We're visiting the Marriott April 5-13 and truly looking forward to it.

I have a couple of questions regarding the diving. I've been a certified diver for 10 years and have visited many islands over the past 10 years. This my first trip to Curacao and look forward to your insight.

First question is if shore diving from the hotel beach is worth the effort. My girlfriend doesn't dive and I don't want to burn up 2/3 of the day on a boat traveling to and from a dive site.
I've visited the Turks and Caicos a couple of times and the diving was absolutley awesome, however, it took 6 or so hours dock to dock. I would highly recommend T&C if your travel partner dives as well, but for this trip I'd rather not.

That leads to my next question. How long did it take, dock to dock, to boat dive in Curacao? Also, were they single or two tank dives?

I eagerly await your response.

Regards -

Richard

 
Mar 15th, 2002, 11:40 AM
  #5  
Paula
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Questions about the Marriot:

This resort is a wonderful spot, even if you are not a diver. The majority of visitors were not! The accomodations were really nice, to be more explicit, no featherbeds, etc like the Ritz, but large rooms with plenty of space for luggage and scuba gear without tripping over anything! We requested a Kingsized bed and got it. We also wanted oceanview and were on the bottom floor where you could walk ou to the beach from your patio. There is a relatively large sand area, relative because Curacao is not known for their beaches. The Marriotts seemed more than ample to suit their populations needs. The water directly off the beach was beautiful but it is rocky in places, so bring your water shoes. There is plenty of shade both on the beach and near their beautiful pool. The island does have a constant breeze, however, it was never uncomfortable and in fact kept us cool. Take plenty of sunscreen, I rarely have problems with burning but this sun is intense. The weather is pretty much a constant with a few showers which were short and sweet.

Regarding the diving questions, I'll answer as best I can. The dive shop is accomodating to all levels of experience. They have divesites posted for the week on a board outside the diving-hut. Depending upon the # of divers and their expectations, they can be flexible. On our last dive we did a drift dive that ended in front of the hotels beach area. You don't have to go real deep to see alot.(Spoken like a true newbie!) The numbers of different marine life we were able to see were amazing. At least thirty different species of fish, ten + different types of coral, an assortment of beautiful vegetation, sea anamones, eels and a barracuda. It might be nice to pick up a book or card on reef fish so you can identify what you're swimming with. It's fascinating!

The boat trips we took were very close (15 min.) from the hotel with the exception of superior producer. They do not to to other sites further away like mushroom forest. If you wish to do these dives, you can hook up with Habitat or another dive center who goes there.

We definitely plan to return asap. The whole experience was wonderful. Our criteria, however, doesn't match everyone's. We wanted more luxury that bare bones and definitely had that fulfilled. We wanted to dive as much as possible and low-key everything else. There's not much nightlife. Shopping is limited (my husband was thrilled!). Things in the complex quiet down after 7 or so with the exception of the casino. The complex is very elegant but not too fru fru, it's up to you. My husband and I went casual the whole time with the exception of one dinner.

Best Wishes to you. If you have any further questions feel free to E-mail me as that will provide a quicker response. Sorry so late! E-mail[email protected]).No parentheses.

Some add'l websites:
Rodalesscubadiving.com
www.divecenters.com

www.caribbeanopinion.com
lonelyplanet.com
www.curacao-tourism.com

But this message board is the very best re: the island, accommodations and so on.
Take care! Bon Voyage!



lonelyplanet.com
 
Mar 15th, 2002, 03:47 PM
  #6  
Just curious
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Just wondering, was this the first island you have ever been to?
 
Mar 16th, 2002, 12:26 PM
  #7  
Paula
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Hi Just Curious!

Let's see, where do I begin? Have been to St. Martin 2x, Nassau, Jamaica, Cayman isles, Cancun, Hawaii x1, Maui x2, Puerto Rico, Singapore, San Tropez, Sicily, going to Cozumel in May and to Thailand later this year or first of next. I'm really not naive as it may sound. There were certain unique things about Curacao that we really enjoyed as a couple. Its remoteness is one. The culture in far off places is something we always find fascinating.

We stayed at the Ritz in Singapore and at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong, & the Ritz on Maui. The feeling we had at the resort Marriott in Curacao was unmatched. None has been so sincerely welcoming welcoming as they were there. Although you're not really far off, you have the feeling that you are. I did mention that our perspective/priorities may be different. As well, we are newbie divers and therefore, perhaps not as discrimminating. I had researched pretty heavily before our excursion, and had originally wanted to go to Bonnaire for diving, however, logistics, planes and ferries wouldn't permit.
I am currently researching Cozumel and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and I hope that clears things up!
Paula
 
Feb 19th, 2003, 11:11 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 83
I returned from cozumel in Jan. We stayed at the Intercontent. It was nice for Coz standards. The beach was beautiful and the restaurant had a great breakfast! They also had a neat outdoor bar. The pool was nice, but the water was so beautiful with fish it is the place to swim! Cab's were about 7$ one way to town and are always available to and from. Restaurants were good, but our favorite was La Mission a little out 1/2 mile from town. Well worth the 1$ cab fare from town. The mexican sampler and melted cheese were the best I have ever had. I live in the southwest! The restaurant was beautiful and was a very romantic and fun spot! La Choza was good, but average in comparison with La Mission! The town is lively at night and fun too. The snorkling at presedente was great. We didn't go to Chankanuuab because of rough seas, but heard marvelous things. It is very safe and highly recommened.
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Mar 2nd, 2003, 09:03 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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How far is the Presidente Intercontinental from where the cruise ships dock? We would love to go for lunch and spend time at their beach.
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