Review: Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort, Willemstad, Curaçao
Our visit the the Carribean Island of Dutch Curaçao had us staying on the island for seven nights. We needed a place to stay that was a combination of resort, but was also of value on loyalty points. We found this in the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort located just outside of Willemstad, Curaçao in the Carribiean. We would discover a wonderful resort that delivered a lot of value for Marriott Bonvoy elites.
This post is one chapter on our trip during the pandemic to Curaçao in the Southern Caribbean. This trip was enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read more from this trip:
- Introduction: The Caribbean Coves of Curaçao via American Airlines First Class
- American Airlines Business Class: Vancouver – Dallas Fort Worth
- Dallas Fort Worth Airport Marriott, Texas, USA
- American Airlines Admirals Club Lounge – Dallas Fort Worth C Gates
- American Airlines First Class: Dallas Fort Worth – Miami
- American Express Centurion Lounge Miami
- American Airlines Admirals Club Lounge Airlines – Miami Gate D30
- American Airlines Business Class: Miami – Curaçao
- Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort, Curaçao
- Cas Abo Beach
- Grote Knip Beach
- Klein Curaçao Island
- Crossing the Queen Emma Bridge into Willemstad, Curaçao
- VIP Lounge Curaçao – Hato International Airport, Curaçao
- American Airlines Business Class: Curaçao – Miami
- JW Marriott Miami, Florida, USA
- Turkish Airlines Business Lounge, Miami, USA
- American Airlines First Class: Miami – Los Angeles
- American Airlines Business Class: Los Angeles – Vancouver
Review: Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort, Piscadera Beach, Willemstad, Curaçao.
“An Undiscovered Gem of an Old School Marriott Resort Property that Delivered Excellent Value for Marriott Bonvoy Elites, just Like Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program used to”
We picked the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort for a week long stay in Curaçao as it was one of the two hotels in the Caribbean that were a Marriott Bonvoy Category “5” property. The American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit cards come with an annual free night certificate that are redeemable at a Marriott Bonvoy Category 5 properties and lower. With the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort being a full beach resort, it seemed like a great opportunity to apply these certificates to offset the cost of a longer stay.
The hotel has recently undergone a complete renovation and light rebranding. The hotel was previously known as the Marriott Emerald Bay Resort and Casino. The hotel property has since dropped the Casino feature, and is now known as the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort. With this renovation, the rooms and public spaces have been completely and fully refreshed. This has included new bathrooms, fixtures, bedding and furniture throughout the property. This includes it’s food and beverage outlets and the property lounge.
Booking the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort:
The Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort offers 336 rooms and 8 suites. We stayed at the property for seven nights.
We applied three American Express Marriott Bonvoy free night certificates against the stay, with four nights remaining on a paid cash rate. Splitting up these reservations, we ended up on three back to back reservations. At times, a great hotel is sophisticated enough to keep you in the same room for the entirety of the back to back reservations. Unfortunately, this was not the case for our stay at the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort. We would get to experience three different rooms to correspond with three different stays.
Marriott Suite Night Awards:
We applied Marriott Bonvoy Suite Night Awards to our stay. There are only eight suites at the property, so there are not many suites available for upgrade. Accordingly, the Suite Night Award upgrade pool offers many soft upgraded room configurations in the Suite Night Award pool.
Having stayed at the property, I personally wouldn’t recommend using your Suite Night Awards on anything other than the “Ocean Front Suite” at this property.
While our Suite Night Awards didn’t clear, we stayed in three different rooms over the course of our stay. This included an Ocean Front Guest room, 1 King Oceanfront listed in the Suite Night Award pool inventory as listed above. In each of the rooms, the configuration was exactly the same and the only difference was the view from the room.
Getting to the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort:
John F Kennedy Boulevard, 3 Piscadera Bay, Willemstad, Curacao
After doing a little research, I decided to book a week long car rental for our time on Curaçao. This would allow us the freedom to dine off resort, and the ability to explore freestyle on our own schedule. I was happy that we had a car available during our stay. After it was all said and done, I was confident we had made the correct decision.
We travelled from the Curaçao Hato International Airport, southward into town. The Marriott was only 10 minutes away by car and it was a relatively easy drive from airport to property.
The property is located in the Pisacdera Bay neighbourhood which is a residential slope of condominiums and resorts along the beach. While it was much quieter than being in Willemstad, there wasn’t a ton of food and dining around the resort that was walkable without a having a car or taxi.
Checking Into the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort:
We arrived to the front porte cochère of the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort and unloaded the vehicle. The staff were proactive in assisting with the bags and it was kindly offered that they would park the car in the nearby hotel lot. Hotel Parking was on a complimentary basis, which was appreciated.
The lobby was a nice open air space with views towards the southern Caribbean ocean. It’s always nice to arrive to an open air resort, and this resort was particularly pandemic friendly.
During our check in, it was friendly and prompt. We were offered access to The Reef Club, which was their equivalent of a Marriott resort lounge. While it wasn’t explained at check in, there was also a $25 USD resort fee. Unlike most other properties that have a resort fee, there wasn’t a sheet that went with what this fee entailed, but it did turn up on our bill at the end of the stay.
As indicated earlier, we were on three different reservations. While we explained all of the sequencing at check in, we would end up in three different rooms throughout the course of our seven day stay.
The hotel appears to be the primary property for the KLM and TUI flight crews. It also appears to be a hotel for many of the oil and gas employees transiting to and from the off shore drilling rigs in the area. As a result, accessing the front desk for staff seemed to take some time at certain times of the day.
The property is configured in a triple “U” shaped format with four fingers of wings that run perpendicular to the ocean. Dependent on where your room is located within the “U”‘s will dictate the view type that you have. The great news is that all rooms have had a renovation right down to the studs, so all the rooms are in terrific shape.
During our stay, we were exclusively located within the central two wings closest to the Harmony Pool.
The Room: Partial Ocean View, 1 King, Balcony
For our first room, we were escorted up to Room #431. On arrival to the room, our host explained the features of the room. This included mostly pointing out the obvious; the location of the coffee maker, where the refrigerator and in room safe were.
The room decor was set up in beachy tones, with light colours and oceanic blues along the accent wall.
The room featured a small occasional chair with an ottoman. It was of the smaller variety and certainly compact in the footprint.
The room offered a flat screen television, that was a large 55 inch version. The television content consisted mostly of international news broadcasts, with the occasional South American Spanish content.
The bathroom had a full renovation and offered a single vanity sink. There were also some purpose built wall units which were well designed to set up as storage.
Although a small thing, having a room set up with all this shelving really made stays more convenient and organized. The ability to switch between beach wear to casual evening wear was a lot easier with all this shelving.
The toiletries were a combination of the usual Marriott “thisworks” and “The Spa Collection”
The room also featured a Nepresso coffee maker.
There was also a well designed chest refrigerator, along with an in room safe in the cabinets.
The partial ocean view offered a small balcony off the bedroom area. The partial ocean view offered a peek – a – boo view up the finger of the “U” towards the ocean. The views wasn’t all so bad, and overlooked the adult pool.
The floor plan of our “U” finger consisted of 5 rooms on each side of the hallway, leaving towards the angled oceanfront rooms on the far right of the picture.
The Room: Ocean Front, Guest room, 1 King, Oceanfront, Balcony
For our second room, we switched over to free certificates from MrsWT73’s American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card. The room occupancy must have been softer as we received a nice Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite upgrade to an Ocean Front Room.
The Oceanfront Guest Room – 1 King was a room that was originally in the hotels’ Marriott Bonvoy Suite Night Award program, although it was not a suite.
The room was exactly the same configuration as the Partial Ocean View. However, in this case, the room offered a full ocean view.
While an ocean view is always appreciated, the room was pretty much the same as or original room. The room design also had a smaller deck area, and as a result, we didn’t spend as much time out on the deck as we could have (assuming it was larger).
The view offered a peek a boo view to the sunset.
The Room: An Ocean View
Our last room and our longest stay room was in the same bank of rooms as the Partial Ocean View.
I didn’t actually consider this to be much of an upgrade, since the room was only 2 rooms closer to the water than our “Partial Ocean View” from the first night’s stay.
All of the rooms were quiet, and we had a really good sleep in each room location. There was no immediate advantage for one room over another, and assuming you book a water view, you’ll likely be satisfied with your room as you’ll end up with some form of an ocean view.
Around the Property:
The “Harmony” Resort Pool:
The property’ focal point was the outdoor pool. This was called the Harmony Pool, which can be interpreted as a family pool. It was located just a few steps down from the lobby, the outdoor pool spread across the hotel resort in an “X” pattern as the resort fell towards the ocean.
The hotel offers two large swimming pools. The family pool is the primary water feature for the resort.
The Serenity Adult Pool:
The resort also featured an adult swimming pool which was branded as a Serenity Pool. During our visit, the adult swimming pool was set up with length lanes. It was pretty full of European’s swimming lengths during the day and was not a lounging area by any means.
The second pool is branded as an adult pool. During our visit, it was set up for length swimming with dividers. We never actually used this pool since length swimming isn’t an activity that I go out of my way to seek when I’m on holiday.
The Resort Beach:
The Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort offers a small beach on the property that runs the frontage of the property along the south coast of Curaçao. I would rate the hotel beach as good to very good – with it being closer to very good as far as hotel beach properties go. The sand on the beach itself is very fine and granular. It is also maintained by maintained by the hotel and swept of any debris.
The resort beach offered lounge chairs spread about the property. They were typically available without having to save them at all times during the day. There wasn’t a need to run down at 10 AM to block seats, which made for a relaxing holiday.
I would note that the hotel beach itself is nothing in comparison to the spectacular beaches that you can see around Curaçao at Klien Curaçao, Grote Klip or Cas Abao. I would probably say that if you’re staying at the property, you would be re-miss not to visit these locations if you’re looking for a world class beach experience.
The beach has a stone break along the water way which breaks the surf a little bit. The beach itself is not a long beach and is property specific. There won’t be any seven mile walks along the shoreline here. In terms of a hotel resort with a dedicated beach, this property will likely meet your needs.
Sunset at Piscadera Bay:
The resort offers a pretty good sunset from within the resort grounds. While the sunset doesn’t have a feature to it, other than the beauty of the water, it’s a pretty nice sunset from the resort grounds.
You won’t ever mistake this resort for the Maldives, or the wonders and fame of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu Hawaii, but it’s not a bad place to be for a week.
Marriott Piscadera Beach House Reef:
The Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort offers a house reef for snorkeling at Marriott Piscadera Beach. During our stay, the waters were much calmer in the morning before 10 AM. The waters tended to get more wavy in the mid day to afternoon periods, before getting to be more calm in the late evening.
The house reef at the Marriott Piscadera Beach offered a reef inside the protected walls and outside of the wave break. While there wasn’t a whole lot of fish, I was able to see some Angel Tangs. There were also a surprising amount of well developed Brain Corals along with good visibility.
It was nothing like the Maldives or Hawaii, but it was nice to at least have a “walk to” option.
The Curacao Marriott Beach Resort also offered a spacious resort gym. The gym itself had bright windows and it was nice not have the gym set up in a dungeon type space. It was mostly empty throughout our stay here.
Food and Beverage:
Zala Gastro Lounge
The first night of our stay, we had dinner at the hotel lobby bar restaurant known as the Zala Gastro Lounge. We would end up eating here at least four nights out of a seven night stay; mostly as a matter of convenience.
We were both starved from two days of travel and light “charcuterie plate” plane food. We both ended up ordering a giant Marriott Burger and fries. Surprisingly, it was an excellent burger. It was well seasoned and spiced and cooked just at medium. It was very tasty.
Izakaya Sushi Bar:
The resort also offered sushi from their Japanese Restaurant; the Izakaya Sushi Bar. The restaurant was not a separate location but rather a single page menu in the Zala Gastro Lounge book located within the lounge. We did enjoy the sushi one night for a lighter dinner with Maki Rolls pricing at $16 USD.
There were a few stray cats around the resort and dining areas that MrsWT73 had the pleasure of feeding.
The resort also ran a beachside restaurant called Salty Iguana. The Salty Iguana restaurant serviced the beach side and pool guests for the day.
Although it was scheduled to be open for dinner, it was actually closed most nights during our stay. While it was open for happy hour, we typically ended up in the Reef Club Marriott Executive Lounge for drinks instead. As a result, we never got the opportunity to dine at this particular place.
Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Breakfast
The C-Spice restaurant is the all day dining restaurant at the resort. In the morning, it is the restaurant that offers breakfast. In the evening, it is the restaurant that offered their upscale dining experience.
During part of our stay, we used the Marriott Bonvoy Platinum / Titanium breakfast benefit. We weren’t given breakfast coupons like many other Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and we were just told to see the front desk to have the items fully deducted after the fact (on check out).
At the restaurant, we were given a menu and indicated we could order any a – la – carte items off the menu, including the buffet. The breakfast menu was interesting an had a number of items on the menu, although not so many that you could have something different every day of a week long stay.
In addition to a – la – carte ordering, the hotel offered a full buffet available for guests. The buffet was not part of the Marriott Platinum breakfast benefit, but I took a look around. The buffet was of the standard variety, featuring many stations.
Our a – la – carte orders typically took about 30 minutes to arrive. The service was polite and professional by all and we enjoyed chatting with the staff whom were all pleasant.
I had the smoked salmon eggs Benedict with hollandaise and capers. It didn’t arrive with any sides, which later discovered that I should have ordered separately. Unfortunately, the eggs Benedict arrived at room temperature. I didn’t bother to send it back, given we had already waited 30 minutes.
MrsWT73 had the egg white frittata with assorted veggies and goat cheese. She reported high marks for this dish.
On other days, I ordered the avocado toast with drizzled honey.
On another day, I ordered the American Breakfast. This also arrived a little cool and not exactly cooked to order. Eggs that were ordered soft would arrive fully cooked and rock hard. After waiting for breakfast for 30 minutes, I typically wouldn’t send anything back.
The best part about the breakfasts at C-Spice was the fact that it was included a part of a Marriott Bonvoy Elite benefit. We were also able to sit outside and enjoy good weather dining al fresco while listening to the bird chirping in the morning. I can’t emphasize enough how much the option to have a full breakfast is appreciated for Marriott Bonvoy elites; it was really appreciated.
The primary disadvantage to the food and beverage at the Marriott resort is that there is not a lot of food and beverage that is nearby the resort. We had access to a rental car during our stay. Having said that, we only ventured off the resort three times as a matter of convenience and as a result of timings. Many off site restaurants involve a 5 minute trip into town along with a substantial walk from Willemstad car park to restaurant. This is something that you might not feel up to after a full day’s worth of activities off the resort.
The Reef Club:
Marriott Executive Lounge
The hotel operates a Reef Club which is very similar to a Marriott Executive lounge that accompanies club level rooms. The lounge is not marketed as a Marriott Executive Lounge, but it fulfils almost the exact same role. The usual “up charge” for The Reef Club was $75 USD a night, assuming you did not purchase it as a part of your room rate.
The Reef Club offered the following amenities:
- Daily Access from 7 AM to 7 PM
- Breakfast Buffet from 7 AM to 11 AM
- Assortment of Snacks from 12 PM – 3 PM
- Wine and Beer with small snacks Daily from 12 PM – 3 PM
- Hard Liquor from 5 PM – 7 PM with small snacks
- Along with a fully stocked cooler with water, assortment of juices, soft drinks and beer
- Coffee and tea.
We were provided access to The Reef Club on a complimentary basis as a result of Marriott Bonvoy Titanium status. We were also advised that we could have breakfast in the club and also take the 1,000 points as a welcome amenity.
Reef Club Breakfast:
We did enjoy breakfast in the Reef Club Lounge on our first day. The breakfast in the lounge offered both a continental option and a hot option. The continental option included individually packed cereals, yoghurts, fresh fruit, pastries and European croissants. The hot option included mini pancakes, the usual scrambled eggs and consisting of the usual light accompaniments.
Reef Club Evening Snacks:
The Reef Club offered some light evening snacks and an open bar. The open bar was between 5 – 7 PM. I was really surprised to see some higher end spirits including Grey Goose Vodka, Hendricks Gin and Bombay Sapphire East available at the Open Bar. There was also the opportunity to try the Blue Curaçao Liquor and Curaçao Orange Triple Sec.
The lounge offered indoor seating, in addition to a nice outdoor deck. While the deck had some poolside views, it did not have a view of the sunset. There were also to – go cups available in the lounge. We often took a drink down to the beach pool chairs for sunset on days we were at the resort.
I was really happy with the inclusions offered at this particular resort. The ability to access the lounge and a complimentary breakfast added a ton of value for Marriott Bonvoy Elite members that we haven’t seen through many places in the program within recent years.
In closing comments on our stay overall, I did have to follow up with Marriott Bonvoy customer service to get both elite night credits and Marriott Bonvoy point postings for all three of the stays covering the seven day period. While we received a bill for the second and third reservation and stays, the hotel wouldn’t provide a receipt for our first free certificate stay.
The Bottom Line: The Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort
Overall, I was really happy with our stay at this particular property. While we didn’t get a fabulous elite upgrade, or have outstanding food and beverage at the hotels’ restaurants, we really enjoyed the inclusion of the Reef Club’s food and beverage program. We also really found a lot of value in redeeming our Marriott Bonvoy Free Night Certificates at this property as it represented an excellent value. The beach was pleasant and the staff were generally pleasant to deal with.