I'm a Platinum member and we stayed at the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort from 27 June – 05 July. I used points to reserve two rooms at the property and expected to have a very positive experience given my loyalty and past experiences with other Marriott locations. While the Curacao Marriott did upgrade us to full ocean view / beachside rooms, I have to say that we were very surprised that Marriott continues to consider the property a Category 6 location. It is very run down and poorly managed. According to one manager at the property, they had to lay-off 50% of their employees and that the buildings are being sold.
We are not high maintenance travelers – the opposite is likely true, but had a number of problems while at the Curacao Marriott. We contacted the front desk managers (Kurt Jackson, Jaime) and received token apologies, but no resolutions. After the trip, I contacted the General Manager, John Toti, via email to let him know about the problems and received an insincere apology that took two weeks to receive. If they treat their best Platinum customers like this, just think about how they treat someone who stays with them once in a lifetime!!! Here’s what we found at the property:
1. Rooms – Perhaps the most out-dated rooms I’ve experienced with Marriott. Televisions were circa 1990, no wireless Internet and repainted yellow furniture – reminded my wife of the garage sale furniture we had in graduate school. Many areas of the room were also in disrepair including broken electrical outlets, towels/sheets that were worn and abrasive (they wash everything in salt water), and very often no hot water in the shower and bath.
2. Grounds – They do a fairly good job maintaining the grounds. Bring bug spray for the mosquitoes since they do not spray. The iguanas close to the lobby are cool to see in the mid-afternoon. There were a couple hot tubes that had been broken the entire time we were there and previous reports said they had been broken for months.
3. Service - On numerous occasions, personnel from the front desk said they would call us back for important matters such as scuba diving reservations (I almost did not get to go and this was a major fiasco when I asked about an outside dive operation) and a concierge who is very good, but employed only part-time. This was a constant problem at the hotel and we even noticed several frustrated guests checking out of the property early because of the unresolved problems.
4. Check-Out Billing – Reminds me of the movie where Tom Cruise says show me the money…nothing else matters to these people. Similar to the consistency of service, resolving the numerous erroneous entries from the bill required five phone calls and two face-to-face meetings. For example, one of the pool-side advertisements offers a $3.50 hot dog. The deceptive advertisement does NOT mention that the promotional item is only available at that price at the hotel’s lobby deli. So, if a person orders ”$3.50 hot dog” from a server at the Seabreeze Bar, he/she is charged twice that amount. This occurred when my son and daughter order their “$3.50 hot dogs.” They want every penny from your pocket and are hard-up to get it!!!
5. Fitness Center and Spa – This is a misnomer; it is a sauna with out-dated equipment that has not been maintained, much less cleaned. Treadmills had rust on them, several of the weight lifting machines were broken, and temperatures that hovered around 80-85 degrees. The spa was less than mediocre and we never booked services there because of what we saw..
6. Room Service – Island time is an understatement; it took 2.5 hours to receive the desserts we ordered and they ran out of ice cream. Come on, who runs out of ice cream at a hotel? Another time we ordered room service, it took 1.25 hours and the food arrived cold.
7. Sea Breeze Restaurant – The food that we ordered for dinner was fairly good, but again, it took forever to get served.
8. They miss on all the simple things like bathrobes, bathroom amenities, corkscrews, in-room coffee replacements, etc. They are a mile off on the big things like providing a positive experience that makes you want to come back.
As far as Curacao is concerned, it is an interesting island – much more so than Aruba. The island has cultures from Africa, South America, and a strong Dutch influence, so it’s an interesting place. If they got rid of all the roadside liter, the island would be really beautiful. Here are some great things to do:
We hiked / climbed St. Christoffelberg early one morning (bring water and start early). Great views and just challenging enough to make it a solid workout.
National Park Shete Boka (Seven Inlets; [--]. This turtle sanctuary contains a cave with pounding waves off the choppy north coast. It is almost across the street from Christoffel National Park.
Blue Bay Golf Course was fun, but like a lot of the island, is very dry. It was designed by Rocky Roquemore and has some shots are over water.
Kura Hulanda Museum was a must see, and we’re not huge museum people. Provides a fascinating history of the island with a great deal to do with slavery. Exhibits were extraordinary. We planned on spending an hour there and stayed for close to three.
Playa Abao was probably one of the best beaches we’ve been to on the island. It has great scuba diving off its sandy beach (there’s a dive shop there, too). Plenty to do with water sports and a bar, too. Very well worth the short drive. Playa Forti is also fun on the weekends to watch the cliff divers (aka drunk guys brave enough to jump from 60 feet up!!!).
Restaurants – Can’t missed in Westpunt at Sol Food – best on the island and the nicest people you will meet. In Williamstad, go to Rodeo House of Ribs. It is not fancy, but the owners are fantastic and the food is phenomenal.
Overall, we enjoyed Curacao and would possibly go back. We would stay at Kura Hulanda.
Nearly all of the food on Curacao is imported - a major factor underlying sticker shock. From that perspective, it is understandable how one can perceive the hotel as 'hard-up' when trying to recover costs to deliver the services and food offerings.
The room conditions you describe are disturbing to read about; it appears that Marriott fell short of the promise to deliver a memorable guest experience. Even though more than six months has elapsed, consider reporting your dissatisfaction to Customer.Care@Marriott.com
Going to Curacao for the first time - must find some sun to celebrate a birthday. Am I correct that you recommend the Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino over the Renaissance? It appears from the website that the Renaissance is a newer hotel. I would also appreciate recommendations for must see and do. Thanks
Thank you very much for your very detailed descriptions of this hotel so we know what to expect next week when we head down. Like you, my wife and I are not high maintenance, but we do have certain expectations of Marriott properties and as a Gold member sounds like we might be disappointed in the service we receive for our loyality.
The museum, beach and restaurant reviews are very helpful. After all, who wants to sit around the hotel during vacation & from the sound of it, we might be out and about a lot! Again, your review coming from a platinum member lets me know you stay enough to give a balanced opinion. Hope we can report back improvements!!!