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Avila Hotel, Willemstad, Curaçao 

130 Penstraat
Tel: 599 9 461 4377
view web site ›'s insider take:

This is the perfect compromise if you want a beach hotel that's also near town. Set on a private beach a mile and a half east of Punda, the family-owned Avila—the oldest continually operating hotel on Curaçao—grew out of a restored 18th-century mansion that was once the governor's residence. The estate now serves as the Avila's lobby and reception area, while the 140 rooms are located in two separate wings. Rooms in the Blues Wing have the best water views and a neutral color palette with stone floors. The thoroughly modern Octagon Wing, which opened in 2007, has more design-forward rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, walk-in showers, and South Beach-style decor. Ask for a room overlooking the Octagon House, an unusual eight-sided building where Simón Bolivar and his two sisters stayed after fleeing Spanish forces in nearby Venezuela in 1812. The restored two-story structure is topped by a parasol-shaped roof and holds a small museum recounting the revolutionary's exile. In addition to a sheltered beach, Avila has a freshwater swimming pool, several airy outdoor bars and restaurants, and Blues, the island's leading venue for live music and jazz.

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