When is the next available flight back to Curacao???
This was our first trip to Curacao and we stayed at the Marriott Resort for 8 nights of our 12 night trip (11/20-11/28/2003) and booked the "Total Escape Package" which is their form of an all-inclusive. We loved the Marriott, but I will give you both the good and the bad.
The rooms were very nice having been decorated with a very tropical decor and were also very clean. They were however infested with misquitos (as the previous poster mentioned). Our room was on the ground floor which made it worse so we requested a new room, but they were booked solid while we were there so they provided us with a can of heavy duty bug spray. This worked very well, but make sure you spray and leave the room for quite a while b/c it really leaves an odor and you cannot leave the doors open to air out the room or you are just inviting them right back in. We also requested the maid service close the door when our room was being cleaned and this also helped a lot.
After the second day there we were finding minimal amounts of misquitos per day (maybe two or three per day). We had brought OFF repellent w/ us b/c we were aware of the misquitos in the rainy season but we did not bring enough to exterminate the entire room.
Guest services called every other day to make sure everything was okay.
The pool was absolutely breath taking.
We ate at their on site restuarants everyday. Even though it was an all-inclusive, there were no restrictions on how many times you could eat at Portifino, their upscale Italian restaurant. We ate at Portifino four times and both the food and service was excellent. Between the two of us we had their beef tenderloin, lobster tails (there is a surcharge for this meal), rack of lamb, sauteed shrimp, and red snapper for our entrees. All were excellent.
We also had several dinners on the deck at the Sea Breeze Bar & Grill.
The service here was a bit slower, but the food was always prepared exactly as we ordered it (I tend to order things plain) and the food was very good quality. Here we tried the beef tenderloin, chicken skewers and seafood skewers.
We had breakfast every morning at their bkfst buffet. There is an egg/omlett station, plus several hot items and a continental section.
My only complaint on this restaurant was the EXTREMELY slow service (even for the caribbean). We only drink orange juice (no coffee or tea) and we had a very hard time getting refills. The food was always fresh and tasty.
We ate lunch everyday at the Sea Breeze Bar & Grill. Some days we ate lunch right in the pool at the swim up bar. The bartenders were fantastic and the food was great. We tried their burgers, hot dogs (my hubbys favorite), chicken nuggets, fruit salad and chicken sandwich.
All were very tasty and ready in a flash!
Another comment on the bartenders. If they did not know how to make a drink you wanted and you could tell them what was in it they were willing to mix it until they got the perfect amounts of everything.
They were very accomodating and willing to learn new drinks.
The beach is very nice, but a bit rocky compared to Aruba and Punta Cana. We are not divers or snorkelers so I cannot comment on these activites.
Overall we loved the Marriott and if we ever decide to return to Curacao we would definately stay here.
I would highly recommend the hotel (we stayed at the hotel the last week in December 2003). Most of the positive reviews were right on target - - friendly staff, clean rooms, small beach (which is private - - no locals on the beach) and an excessive amount of rocks (which isn't bad if you want to snorkel around the rocks). I chuckle about some of the reviews because some people are never happy - - go with an open mind and enjoy life. I have been to the Caymans, Nassau, St. Martin, St. Thomas, Dominican Republic and St. John (not to mention other places - - I travel all the time and look for the best deals). My number one priority (when visiting a beach area) is the water, beach, and facilities. I like to stay at a hotel (on an all-inclusive plan) and enjoy it all! I normally only leave the hotel for excursions. If you are like me, you will totally enjoy the hotel. Only one suggestion - - confirm your reservations before you leave the states. We purchased an all-inclusive plan (Total Escape Package) and there was a mix up with our reservation. I was informed (by the Marriott upon check-in) that the package wasn't sold during high season; however, they "honored" our reservation (there were about 5-7 guests with the same problem). We used expedia.com (so make sure that you call before you leave and confirm again). One more thing - - I really "freak out" about food (very picky). I didn't have a problem finding something on the menu each night. If you don't go all-inclusive, be prepared to pay the big $$$ (because I like to eat and drink). A beer will cost you at least $4 (and those little guys can add up). On an all-inclusive plan, you can drink and eat until you are happy and relaxed - - no worries about adding everything up. I went with my boyfriend and he loved it also (the casino was fine). Gosh... It was just beautiful! But, you need to relax and ejoy.
If you don't love it here, you don't love vacationing
I stayed here from 12/18/03 - 12/25/03. Let me agree with most of the posters here by saying this is a top notch facility. It is kept immaculate - the rooms, the grounds, the beach, the pool all are clean and well maintained. Also, believe everything everyone says here about the quality of service - it is heads and shoulders above the service I've ever received at any hotel/resort, and most certainly the best I've ever received at a Marriot and I spend 100+ nights a year at their full service properties.
The rooms are in the process of being remodeled - I was given an upgrade to an oceanfront suite upon arrival, and it was one of the newly completed rooms. It is not too extravagant - more of standard Marriott variety which is not bad so much as plain vanilla. Our room led directly out onto a private beach, which was pretty nice. They were working on some rooms in our wing of the hotel, and I never once heard so much as a bang or clatter over the course of the week.
The staff there is attentive, honest, friendly, and welcoming. They really are the backbone of this place. Everyone that works there really does care about the quality of your stay and whether or not you enjoy their island. They try very hard to mix things up here - during the course of my stay there were 2 beach parties, christmas carolers, dancing expos, a couple MLB ball players signing baseballs, and of course Santa. Any request you have they will work quickly to try and accomodate. The true test of this (in my opinion) was the way they could be so friendly and helpful and great to all the rude people there from the New York area.
The pool is great, but a bit small - if it's crowded be prepared to fight for a chair. I thought this was insane, but people were waking up at 6 am to put towels on on pool chairs. I found the beach to be nicer, anyway. Plenty of chairs there, food/beverage service, and some beautiful waters. Make sure you bring water shoes or if not, they have them for free at the towel stand. If you're from the US and you have a family, you should probably know that there's also lots of Europeans that stay here, and you'll see a good number of breasts over the course of your stay.
The concierge there is also great - they have directions pre-printed for just about every single destination on the island. If you need to go someplace, just ask and they'll pull a sheet out for you. I'd also recommend having them make your dinner reservations.
I disagree with other posters about some of the food comments. Sea Breezes is a great beach bar/restaurant for when you want quick lunch or a drink...they still have a happy hour each day from 4-6. Voila also makes some great sandwiches, which is a great alternative to the fried/grill food of Sea Breezes. But, Portofino's is mediocre at best, and very expensive. I found there were much better food options to be found downtown (~1 mile from the resort). You won't hate your food, but I don't think by any standards their food is as good as the price of an entree there ($16 - 30 + surcharges for some entrees). The breakfast buffet was also mediocre - not a bad value but I wish there were other options.
The only downsides to this resort are insignificant. They attached a 12% service charge to EVERYTHING. A bit annoying when it comes to things like internet access cards or phone calls. Also, there is a refinery or something downwind from the resort, which is a bit unsightly but thankfully doesn't muck up the water or air.
All in all, I would go back there in a heartbeat and recommend this place to anyone. The resort and the island have lots to offer for everyone and is a great alternative to someplace like Aruba.
Second time, still simply wonderful
We stayed for a few days in November 2003. Our previous visit was July 2002, when we stayed for a full week.
The hotel is simply wonderful and very well managed. The room was clean and efficient, and very nicely air conditioned. We had an oceanfront room which was ground level next to the pool. While we were at the hotel there were two receptions right next to our room, but the hotel handeled this so well we were never inconvenienced. The hotel landscaping and the wonderful drinks at the pool bar are reason enough to stay at the Marriott.
This is a somewhat pricey, but very well located facility to sightsee the very interesting island of Curacao.