Two weeks of downtime by the most beautiful water I have ever seen.
- + 5
Europe14 days / March 2022
Highs & Lows
Private balcony and a wraparound view of the ocean at the Avila Beach Hotel
None to report
I was seeking maximum relaxation and safety on my first 2 week vacation away from work in seven years and I found it on this amazing solo trip to Curaçao. I‘ve never really done resort travel before, but being that I‘m a woman traveling on my own and I really wanted spa and beach in equal combination I went for it this time and I’m glad I did!
Traveling solo as a woman I really wanted a safe location and a bit of luxury. I'm also transgender and a search of queer friendly or trans friendly destinations and resorts helped me find Curaçao and the Avila Beach Hotel. Curaçao has a progressive and open culture and the resort was the first hotel in Curaçao to be a member of an international travel association for LGBTQ+ people. The island and the people were extremely welcoming and I felt safe on solo excursions during the day. No night clubs or solo trips at night this time around by design and I felt welcomed every moment at the resort.
Air travel was a cinch with a non stop on jetblue to Curaçao from JFK and the entire trip was booked at a single mid sized resort for maximum relaxation. The Avila Beach Hotel arranged a private pickup which went seamlessly and I checked in around 9pm with the super friendly front desk staff, a cold fruit juice welcome drink and helpful assistance to my room with my carry on bag.
Asking nicely on check in for the nicest room in the place sometimes works as the staff placed me in the single best room in the entire resort. Room 291 in the Blues Wing had a private balcony with a wraparound view looking down on coral filled blue ocean. Sea turtles underneath, sunrise from one angle and sunset from another. The room was on the end and on top of a row of rooms sticking out into the ocean by a small lagoon built out from the beach.
The spa at the resort was small with very friendly staff where I regret I only got five or six massages in the 14 day stay. I’ll try harder next time! They also did a nice eyebrow tint and facial for me on one of the days and they offer nail and other services. There’s also a small hair salon on the property that I didn‘t try out as I was rocking beach hair each day.
The beach at the resort was what you would expect at a resort plus some of the bluest water I have ever seen. Nicer water than Bali or Cuba or Puerto Rico or Zanzibar based on my personal experience in decades of travel. The water all around the island was so blue and warm that it felt like a virtual reality holodeck instead of a real place.
Food at the resort was better than I expected with some good local and seafood dishes at the Blues Restaurant overlooking the ocean. The menu at the primary resort restaurant got a little old after a while, but their kale shrimp salad was really top notch and well presented. Other food highlights were Rozendaels right by the resort with amazing service and one of the best shrimp creole dishes I have ever had. Sarafina also right by the resort had really excellent fish tacos and other great dishes to share with friends.
The second highlight for me was a day of rock climbing with Rock Climbing Curaçao. The resort arranged it for me as I had locked my phone away from myself in the hotel safe and the climbing crew picked me up one morning for a guided solo full day of climbing. They adjusted routes to give me a challenge, but not an impossible one and I completed five different one pitch climbs on some beautiful rocks overlooking the island with the ocean in the distance.
Beach exploring might be best done with a rental car of your own, but I really didn’t want to handle the logistics of having my own car so I hired a ride for one of my last days. A quick web search showed me that Kleine Knip was one of the nicest beaches on the entire island far on the west tip of Curaçao. On the drive out the driver convinced me that Grote Knip would be nicer and have some basic services like food and a restroom so I diverted to there for the day. It was a public beach with free access and otherworldly white sand and blue water.
I met two other women traveling together from Brazil at Grote Knip and halfway through the day of sunbathing I hitched a ride in their rental car to Playa Porto Mari on the south shore. The new beach was a bit more commercial with a small fee for entrance, but the warm water and little floating platform about 100 meters out into the blue water over smooth white sand was worth it for this girl - diving back into the blue water from the platform is a memory I hope to always have locked away.
Overall I would for sure come back and the Avila was a great choice for the kind of travel I wanted this time around. 15 minutes on foot to central Willemstad with picturesque buildings and a floating bridge and with nearby great restaurants. Is there a more adventurous way to visit Curaçao? heck yes. A more relaxing way? nah, I don’t think so!
Q & A
What would you have changed?
I would have tried to get closer to 14 massages at the spa in the 14 days I had!
How was the food?
Rozendaels was top notch!
Rental car works, but hiring a car and driver for a day ups the maximum relaxation.