Welcome to episode 10 where we are visiting the Avila Beach Hotel which is the oldest operating hotel in Curaçao that received its first guests in 1949 and has a history that dates to 1780.
Located on the eastern edge of Curaçao’s historic Pietermaai district, the Avila Beach Hotel is an award-winning luxury beachfront property that has been completely transformed over the last 240 years. In fact, the main lobby and entrance called the Belle Alliance was the first building constructed and it is named after “Auberge de la Belle Alliance”, the alliance against Napoleon. Interestingly, over the years, the Avila Beach Hotel has served as a private hospital, a boy’s boarding school and even a Governor’s home. But on February 1st, 1949 with only 18 beds, the “Hotel Avila” officially opened its doors.
In 1959, Dr. Pieter Hendrik “Gungu” Maal, the owner at that time, took the initiative of creating a beach and a massive pier to protect the beach from the destructive powers of the sea. In March 1959, the beach was opened and since then, “Hotel Avila” has been called the Avila Beach Hotel.
Further transformations followed when Mr. Finn Nicolaj (Nic) Møller, a Danish entrepreneur purchased the hotel in 1977. Starting in 1992, new wings were added, the Blues Bar & Restaurant was built on the original pier, the Octagon Museum was restored and extra facilities were constructed that included a tennis court, a sea terrace and a new sandy beach.
Travel Tip: For special occasions book the stunning La Belle Alliance Penthouse which has an open concept living room with French doors that open to a spacious balcony giving you a nice outdoor feeling. This luxury penthouse is equipped with a full kitchen and a breakfast bar, 2 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. The large balcony offers a stunning view to the sea and the luscious garden below.
In 2007, after the successful completion of the Octagon wing, the hotel opened the Avila Wellness Club, Conference and Banqueting Center, an infinity pool and renewed the Octagon plaza to offer a shopping area and a place to organize concerts, large events and weddings.
Since 2015, the Avila Beach Hotel is owned by the Vogels Family and today it remains to be one of the few family owned hotels on the island where is not only world renowned for its personal touch and the incredible accommodations (that now consists of 143-rooms, 2 private beaches, a full-service spa and gym, and 3 restaurants) but is also now an industry leader in the area of sustainability.
Travel Tip: Dine in style at The Pen which is a unique semi-open air restaurant with an exceptional menu that provides you with a taste of the Caribbean using local and regional ingredients complemented with a stunning view.
Under the guidance of Robbin Vogels, the General Manager, the Avila Beach Hotel is dedicated to lead the way through innovation and the practice of sustainable initiatives such as efficient energy use, recycling, and waste reduction.
Robbin says, “Innovation and sustainability is what we strive for. A higher efficiency is sought after in all business decisions at our hotel, restaurants, spa, and gym, so it is not limited to just saving energy and recycling“. Robbin went on to say, “Being the oldest hotel on Curacao we have a rich history and deep connection with the community. All opportunities for a better environment and both the well-being of our employees and the Curacao community are being fully exploited. Together we can create a better world, even on a small island such as Curacao”.
To further underline this commitment to the environment, the Avila Beach Hotel together with Coral Restoration Curaçao signed a partnership agreement in February of 2019 to repopulate the hotels house reef with staghorn and elkhorn corals. By doing so, this has improved the quality of the reef and it has added a natural layer of protection against storm surges and erosion.
The Avila Beach Hotel is absolutely steeped with history and tradition, and of course the award-winning quality is obvious from the moment that you step up into the main lobby. But what really sets the Avila Beach Hotel apart is their personal touch. Because it is not about the beautiful beach or that comfortable room that makes Avila Beach Hotel, it is their employees or what they call, their “Avila Family” that provides you with that personal touch that creates those lasting memories and an incredible Curaçao experience.
Tune in for Episode 11, that will release on June 3rd, 2020, where will be visiting the Blue Bay Golf and Beach Resort, a plantation that dates back to the 1800’s, that was occupied and plundered by French pirates. We will also be visiting with Blue Bay Dive and Watersports to not only dive their beautiful house reef but also to discover more about their sustainability initiatives with Project AWARE.
We hope you have enjoyed this Postcard from Curaçao and we also hope to see you soon. Don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list and to the Dive Curaçao YouTube Channel to be automatically notified.
Sincere Love from Curacao,
Bryan Horne, Dive Curacao
Tilo and Yvonne Kuhnast, Nature Pics Films