My sister and I took a long weekend getaway to Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort, and it was one of the best decisions I've made all year. We had an amazing time, and I believe this would be a great vacation for a girls' getaway, for couples, or for a multi-generational family vacation. Below, I recap this vacation, why and when we took it, and what I think of Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort.
A Vacation Instead of a Holiday
Thanksgiving was a big holiday for my family. My mom hosted Thanksgiving every year, inviting family, friends, neighbors, and anyone we found didn't have anywhere to go that holiday. When she passed away this fall, I couldn't fathom hosting Thanksgiving without her. And associating the holiday with her, neither my sister nor I wanted to celebrate it at another's home. So we decided to do a hard reset on the holiday and go on a vacation where Thanksgiving isn't a thing, and we could get some R&R before heading back to taking care of her estate and the rest of the winter holidays.
Living in the suburbs outside Washington, D.C., we can access three international airports. We wanted a flight under six hours to spend the long weekend on vacation, not on airplanes. And we wanted to go somewhere warm where the focus is on relaxation, not excursions and sightseeing. With Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and South American countries relatively close by, it was hard to narrow down where to go and then where to stay.
Why We Chose to Visit Curaçao
My sister asked, if there is one place you've always wanted to go, plane fare not a factor, where would it be. And I said Curaçao. In the late '90s, I managed a clothing store in D.C. One of my employees was a student at American University from Curaçao. She often spoke of its beauty, the people, and the vibe, and I was intrigued. At the time, I didn't even know Curaçaco was anything other than a blue-colored liquor. But within a few weeks of working with her, Curaçao was on my travel bucket list.
Curaçao is one of the “ABC” islands along with Aruba and Bonaire, the three westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles, also known as the Dutch Caribbean. The Country of Curaçao is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. From Reagan National Airport (DCA), we could take a flight to Miami, have a short layover, and be in Curaçao just a couple of hours later. Now that we had our location, we needed to find where to stay.
Why We Chose Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort
As a Marriott Bonvoy member, I immediately looked at Marriott properties on Curaçao and found the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort. Only 15 minutes from the airport, this all-inclusive-optional resort received high reviews on Trip Advisor, Google, the Marriott website, and other travel sites.
After researching resorts in Curaçao, we felt that the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort was the sort of resort we were looking for. We didn't need a disco or a casino, we weren't traveling with children, and neither of us is a big drinker, so we were looking for a different vibe than several other resorts we checked out that are located in the Caribbean. The Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort wasn't ginormous, wasn't family-focused nor party-focused, and looked like a clean, well-designed smaller resort for true R&R.
We booked this Thanksgiving weekend getaway just a couple of weeks ahead of time and were happy to find the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort still had a double queen garden view room available. We weren't looking for a romantic room, didn't need an ocean view, and weren't planning on spending our entire savings on this getaway, so this lowest-tier room with two separate queen-sized beds sounded perfect. And spoiler alert, it was.
Long Weekend Getaway to Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort
My sister and I flew out of Reagan Airport (I personally still call it National) around 6 am on Thanksgiving day. We found parking at the airport was cheaper than roundtrip rideshare and more reliable. That early, and on the actual holiday, TSA was a breeze, and the airport was quiet, but shops and cafes were open. Our flight left on time as the sun rose, flying over the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument.
Our layover in Miami was the perfect length for a bio break and to get to our gate without freaking out. Before we knew it, we were in Curaçao. There was a QR code on a table at Curaçao customs; those of us who used it filled out a document, which sped up the process, and we were out of the airport in less than an hour. The Curaçao airport staff were friendly; a good percentage spoke English, so we found plenty of folks to guide us through the process.
Taxis are the preferred mode of transportation in Curaçao, and several were waiting outside the airport. Most were minivans or vans to hold a group of people and their luggage comfortably. We asked the taxi driver the rate to take us to our resort and if they took credit cards. It was $30, and credit cards were accepted with a small processing fee. USD/cash was also accepted.
We arrived at the resort just a bit before the 4 pm check-in time. The lobby is open-air with check-in to the right, a lounge in the center, and a bar and sushi restaurant to the left. There were stands for excursions and car rental, a gift shop, a coffee shop and market, and bellhops ready to take your luggage to your room and provide you with info on the resort and surrounding area. Check-in was painless, and after looking at the resort restaurants' menus, we upgraded to the all-inclusive option ($150/person/day for all food and most beverages).
The bellhop led us to our room on the ground floor. We had a garden room, and our room faced the adult pool, but between our patio and the pool was a few feet of tall lush greenery and a curtained cabana. I saw many other garden rooms with far less privacy, opening up to busy sidewalks or parts of courtyards that didn't have greenery or cabanas. We really lucked out.
The bellhop informed us that, unlike some tropical destinations, the water in Curaçao was safe to drink straight from the tap and not to spend money on bottled water. We found this to be true; we didn't buy water and refilled our reusable bottles from home from the bathroom sink and the water machine in the resort gym. We also drank still/tap water at meals and had all sorts of beverages with ice and no issues. Speaking of the bellhop, staff welcomed USD cash for tips, too.
Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort did not feel busy or at full capacity while we were there over Thanksgiving weekend. However, it may be because this isn't a huge resort. With 328 rooms and eight suites, it doesn't feel as full as when I have stayed at larger resorts in the Caribbean. The experience was relaxed, comfortable, and overall positive.
Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort Review
This is a kid-friendly resort with a camp/daycare and a family pool, but at least 80% of the folks at Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort were there without children. Many couples, a few friend groups, and many solo travelers. Guests ranged in age from young adults to seniors, representing several ethnicities and countries. Most guests seemed to speak English or Dutch; staff spoke English, Dutch, Papiamentu, and some also spoke Spanish or French.
Staff at Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort
Speaking of the staff… they were extremely friendly and helpful. Some spoke English very well, and some spoke simpler English, so I simplified my language, and they understood. There seemed to be respect and good communication amongst staff.
- Housekeeping usually did not speak English, but I found a few who knew Spanish. They were very friendly, and we were impressed by how clean the room was, how it was cleaned and updated daily, and how, while they didn't always supply the same number of towels we used, it was easy to get more.
- Waitstaff was on “Island Time,” and while sometimes food orders and checks would come quickly, other times they could take forever and require a follow-up request. I read many reviews that folks were frustrated by this, but it helped me relax even further. But keep this in mind if you are on a schedule for an excursion.
- Front desk staff was very professional. When we checked in, the individual working with us was so new they had a pad of notes they referred to. But when they had a question, a manager showed up almost instantly to assist, hovering to ensure we had a pleasant experience, but the new employee gained independence. When we checked out, there was a check discrepancy (the all-inclusive upgrade wasn't added, likely because the person was new); it was handled quickly and pleasantly.
- Bellhops were charming, friendly, and helpful. They would reach out if you looked lost, would secure taxis, and offer tips for venturing beyond the resort.
Dining at Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort
When you eat at the resort, you are asked your room number as soon as you sit down or place an order. While you can pay with your credit card, everything can also be charged to your room and that is what most folks do. The bills will show USD and local currency (local currency will look far more expensive if you don't notice the currency acronyms). There is a service fee, and a line for tips. Staff confirmed that tips are not expected and American level of tipping is seen as extravagant. However, this is up to you. Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort has three restaurants:
- ÇSpice: This is the restaurant on the ground floor of the resort that overlooks the family pool. In the morning, this restaurant offers breakfast (buffet and menu). At 6 pm it reopens as the “fancy” restaurant with a Mediterranean-inspired menu. There is indoor and outdoor dining available. We found the outdoor seating more elegant and quiet.
- Salty Iguana Ocean Grill: This is the only restaurant offering lunch. It is open until 9 pm. It has a nice mix of salads, sandwiches, and light entrees. This is also the beachside bar with a small lounge area angled perfectly to capture the sunset. You can sit on the beach or at the pools and order food and cocktails; the menu is the same as the Salty Iguana.
- Izakaya Sushi Bar/Zala Gastro Lounge: The resort website will make you think these are two separate entities. It's all one space with one single menu of sushi as well as small plates and some entrees. While the website says it's open at noon, I was up there around that time and it was a ghost town. But in the evening, this is the happening spot, with live music (bands, DJs) and almost all seating filled up.
Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort also has Papiamentu Market Place where you can order a coffee or smoothie, get a warm sandwich or pastry, and purchase bottled and canned beverages and prepackaged snacks. This opens at 6 am so it's a great option for early risers, but know around 8am until 10 am this place is PACKED with coffee conisseurs and groups stocking up for a day of excursions away from the resort.
Room service is available until 11pm and offers a range of food also available at the above restaurants. As mentioned above, staff will wander around the pools and the beach in front of the pools taking orders for drinks and food.
All four dining destinations (including room service and pool/beach service) are included in the all-inclusive option. We found the food good. This isn't Michelin star food, but it is innovative, delicious, and we didn't tire of the options over a four-day visit. I do think I would tire of the food if on a much longer visit. There are restaurants in the area to visit with other resorts right nearby; we did not investigate any of those as we were on a shorter getaway and our focus was on ease and relaxation, not food and adventure.
Cleanliness of Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort
The Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort is incredibly clean. The resort underwent a major renovation in 2019 and it still looked very fresh. But the sheets were clean, the bathrooms pristine (both our hotel room and the public restrooms), silverware was without spots, beaches free of trash and leftover cups and plates were quickly cleaned up. Even being a beachfront resort, there was little sand anywhere beyond the beach.
The resort did get a major renovation in 2019, but most of the furniture and decor still looks quite new and fresh, free of stains or nicks. The landscaping is stunning (there is a beautiful courtyard plus the grounds in general are gorgeous), and one day I took a walk alllll over the resort and ended up behind the scenes in places and even those were clean.
Ammenities at Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort
The Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort is located on the southwestern side of the island which means you can see the sunset from the beach, the pools, the Salty Iguana beachside cafe and bar, as well any ocean-facing rooms.
The resort has a private beach separated from its neighbors by fencing and greenery (it is next door to the Dreams resort). It felt private; I didn't see anyone on the beach whom I didn't end up seeing elsewhere at the resort during our stay. The beach is sort of split in two, with the larger portion to front and right side of the resort and a smaller beach to the left. Because the coastline is rocky, it's not easy to stroll along the beach in its entirety without coming up onto the stone patio of the resort. However, the day we left Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort was working on restoring the beach, which may add more sand and more walkability.
But by separating the beach, there was a quiet side and a more popular side. The small beach was popular with families because the waves were smaller. The smaller beach didn't have umbrellas and didn't appear to have food and drink service, but did have a couple of cabanas just beyond the beach on the resort property. The larger beach had lounge chairs, tables, umbrellas, and waitstaff. The larger beach still had small enough of waves to easily wander out and float or stand for long periods of time.
Two Swimming Pools
Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort has two pools; a family pool and an adult only pool. Both are open 24 hours a day. We never struggled to acquire beach chairs and if we got up early enough, was able to get our pick of cabanas.
- The family pool is in the center of the resort, surrounded by cabanas, chairs with umbrellas, and side tables, and is close to a public restroom, towel rental, and the Salty Iguana bar and restaurant. It is a beautifully landscaped area that makes parts of the pool feel private.
- The adults-only pool is in one of the courtyards. It has designated 25-meter lap lanes with ropes and starting blocks. But around the lap lanes is a pool shallow enough to stand in with two nooks with benches, an infinity edge facing the ocean, with benches built in to lounge in the pool, enjoy a drink, or read a book. The courtyard is circled by cabanas and lounge chairs were placed closer to the pool, shaded by palm trees.
Free Towels, Rafts, and Snorkel Gear Rentals
The resort provides beach towels, sunscreen, snorkeling gear, and pool noodles to all guests. When your towel gets damp, you can easily switch it out and they were happy to provide more than one towel per guest. This is all available at the stand near the family pool. Sunscreen is in large pump bottles with paper cups; I used it and while I have no idea the SPF it did keep me from getting burned or tanned. Pool noodles aren't advertised but also available.
The hotel gym is spacious and just as clean as the rest of the resort. Available 24 hours a day, the resort gym has treadmills, fitness bikes, and elliptical machines. Enough free weights and benches for multiple folks to work out, a Smith machine, workout mats, bands, kettlebells, fitness and weight balls, and more. The gym has a mirrored wall to check your form and a wall of windows overlooking the family pool.
Shopping at the Resort
There is a gift shop that carries sun hats, swimsuits, coverups, toiletries, and some souveniers as well as reading material and sand toys for the kids. The Papiamentu Market Place carries Dutch snacks as well as hot sauces and other treats made by local Curaçao folks.
Right in the lobby is an Avis car rental booth, as well as an individual who will help coordinate excursions like diving, golf, ATV tours, diving, boat rides, and much more.
The Reef Club
The Reef Club is a private space at the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort where for $40 a day, you can enter and have access to an air-conditioned lounge, workspace, a cocktail bar, and private patio overlooking the pool and beach. I did not visit the Reef Club on my stay but could see it beneficial to those who need to work while on travel and are sharing a room with others.
Review of Our Double Queen Garden Room at Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort
As previously mentioned, we chose a garden room, double queen. At the time, it was the lowest-priced room available that had two separate beds. We found it to be perfect for two friends or relatives.
With a range of lighting options, you could customize the room's ambiance. Lighting built into the walls, lamps, overhead lighting, and more. At the beds there were bedside sconces plus direct lights so you could read in bed without waking others. Even the bathroom had two different types of lights so you could have just the vanity lit or brighter light throughout the room.
There was a desk with chair, an armchair with lamp and side table, and a bench below the TV that had two deep drawers for storage. The wall between the room and bathroom was blonde wood and had storage for suitcases, a drawer-style refrigerator, a drawer for the safe, shelving for storage, and a counter for the Nespresso machine and ice bucket. Sheer privacy and well-designed blackout curtains let you sleep in as long as you wished.
The bathroom was very large with a barn door separating it from the room. Inside the bathroom is the closet (huge, with plenty of hangers, shelving, and a deep drawer), the sink with a large vanity with fantastic lighting, a large shower, and a toilet. I would have liked the toilet area to have a door so we could use the space better, but the bathroom was better laid out than many modern hotels I've visited in recent years.
Sliding glass doors (with two locks) led to a small concrete patio with two chairs and a small side table. Considering how well-designed this resort is for lounge and outdoor space, we hardly went on the patio beyond using it to dry towels and store our water shoes. Outdoor hallways connect the rooms with tiled floors that face courtyards of greenery.
Please note that Curaçao uses type A, B, and F sockets so you will need an adapter to plug in electronics. On top of that, the hotel is 110V while the U.S. is 220V so you would need a step-down adapter like this one. That being said, there were two USB ports between the beds and two on the side of the desk so if you didn't have an adapter, you could still charge your phone and other small devices.
If looking for negatives, the rooms at this resort are not well insulated for sound. We could hear our neighbor to the left as they moved furniture or rolled around suitcases and when they opened and closed their patio door. We heard each time our neighbor to the right opened and closed their front door. While the hotel is smoke-free except for two outdoor locations designated on the resort, guests smoked on their patios and balconies, and even in a beach cabana. It wasn't constant, but it did seem we ended up next to those who were smoking in non-smoking areas.
What to Wear to Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort
Dress code is pretty relaxed at Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort. During the day, folks were in swimsuits, with or without coverups, all over the resort. Come evening, most folks put on a collared shirt with their shorts or a sundress for dinner and visiting bars. This was not a resort to see and be seen; it was far more relaxed, and those who did dress up stood out in the crowd (IMO in a good way).
No need to buy a resort wardrobe; what you already own for summer will be perfect. Men wore shorts to dinner, and women wore dresses, two-piece sets, and white bottoms (Bermudas, capris, or pants) with breezy tops. Shoes were focused on function, not fashion. Bring more than one swimsuit so one can dry as you enjoy the pool or beach the following day or evening (the pools at the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort are open 24/7).
For additional inspiration on what to wear to Curaçao or a similar getaway, check out my Caribbean vacation capsule wardrobe for women over 40.
Who is the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort For?
Speaking to other guests, it was clear that many were there because they were Marriott Bonvoy members. They traveled a lot and accrued points for the stay or trusted Marriott for the quality and service they desired. As my sister said, the other guests at the resort felt comfortable with us even if they didn't speak English. We didn't feel like the resort was above or below us.
I'd say most of the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort guests were over 35. A lot of couples (and by looking at tagged photos on the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort Instagram, they were celebrating anniversaries), many groups of friends, some families with younger children (very few tweens and teens), and multigenerational families in groups up to around 20.
I saw guests with walkers, wheelchairs, and other mobility devices enjoy the pool, beach, and restaurants. The resort has an elevator and ramp/slope options to access different tiers of the outdoor areas. Many multigenerational groups and groups of friends were over 50.
For families with smaller children, the family pool is genius. Designed with little nooks, a family can have their own corner where kids can play in not-too-deep water, and with three walls, the adult can stand in the open area to keep kids contained but have enough room for fun. The whole pool is a kid-safe depth, though there is no lifeguard at either pool. The “Green Turtle” day camp for kids was near the gym, but I didn't investigate it.
People of every size, shape, age, and ability were at the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort, and the resort itself felt designed to make it enjoyable for a range of people. This isn't a resort for spring break or folks who want to party hearty, but if you want a lovely, quiet getaway at a resort that has all you need and a gorgeous private beach, this may be the resort for you.
I would recommend bringing water shoes as the beach is rocky. Coves control the waves, and you can easily lounge and float on a raft or swim in the water in front of the beach. You can also walk out a good distance before it gets deeper. It was lovely to float with a pool noodle, sipping a piña colada, with no plans, and my laptop hundreds of miles away. Fins and snorkel gear are available, and with coral reefs, fish, and cool rocks, there is plenty to admire right off the resort's beach.
A pair of flip-flops or slide shoes that can get wet will be the only shoes you need while at the resort. I took my Teva Hurricane Drift sandals and wore them with my swimsuit by day and my caftans by night. Since they offer cushioning and arch support, I also wore them when sightseeing in Willemstad, the capital of Curaçao. I only wore my sneakers when visiting the gym or exercising, and my dressy sandals collected dust.
Activities and Excursions While Staying at Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort
Speaking of Willemstad, that is the only activity we did off the resort during our Thanksgiving weekend getaway. We spoke to a bellhop in the lobby. Stating our plans, he called a taxi service for us. He shared it would be $20 and about a ten-minute drive. It was the same type of taxi we took from the airport. The driver offered their card to call to get a ride back. We went to the taxi stand in Willemstad and found a taxi driver who drove us back for the same exact rate. Again, these taxi drivers were happy to receive cash for payment and tips.
If you visit Willemstad, don't go on a Sunday as everything will be closed. Where a taxi drops you off is a major tourist location, not far from where the cruise ships dock. If we were staying longer, we would have considered a guided TukTuk ride, which many at the resort and in online reviews of visiting Curaçao said was a great way to see the capital.
I Recommend the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort
My sister and I had a great time relaxing, floating in the pool and the ocean, enjoying good food, creative cocktails, beautiful views, and comfortable beds. We appreciated the all-inclusive vibe, even if one doesn't choose that package. It wasn't too luxurious, but it didn't feel budget at all.
I don't feel it's a place I would return to as Curaçao is small, the resort is quiet, and I feel I had a good experience that doesn't need to be replicated. But if you are looking for a new place to visit that isn't a long flight from the East Coast, check out Curaçao. And if you want a clean, beautiful, well-managed, and quiet place to stay, consider the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort.