Willemstad Curacao Restaurants and Hotel

Willemstad Restaurants

With only 2 days on Curacao, we only had time to visit a few restaurants–two for dinner and the third on our list, for lunch–and then, one waterfront bar.

BijBlauw. The restaurant at our hotel was nice and casual, with a handful of tables just barely above wave level (where we were seated). As the waves rolled into the sea wall, we got a couple of small splashes which actually felt good again the warm night, and the pleasant atmosphere made it worthwhile. We shared two dishes and a bottle of Pinot Grigio. Our first dish, a beef Carpaccio with Parmesan, peanuts, arugula, tomato and balsamic, was nice, although the accoutrements had much more taste that the beef itself. Our entree consisted of a rather plain local butter baked snapper with a nice mango relish, on a bed of tagliatelle. The service was on the slower side of what we experienced in other places, but remember, you are on island time. Nice, but far from memorable.

Saint Tropez, the hot (both in terms of temperature and popularity) resort that anchored the renovation of the Pietermaai neighborhood, was packed for lunch. We snagged an outdoor table in an area between the suitably fashionable pool and the coast where we had a couple drinks and a small lunch of chicken satay in a bowl with lightly sautéed greens and soy sauce, along with a peanut dipping sauce for the satay. While the one dish we shared was nothing to write home about, the atmosphere was well worth a stop. And the ice-cream/rum-based mud slide was to die for and well worth the calories.

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While we had planned on another place for dinner, unfortunately few restaurants were open on Sunday night. Saint Tropez was open so we headed back there for our second night dinner. We began with Tuna Three Ways (sashimi style, ceviche and tartare, followed by two entrees: smoked rib eye with truffle sauce, mashed potatoes and vegetables; and seared tuna (yes, another tuna dish), with noodles, wakame and and bok choi. While both were pretty good, the steak had too much fat and grizzle. While we shared a bottle of French Pinot for our appetizer, Tom had glass of Cabernet/shiraz with his steak.

 

Scuba Ocean Resort and Bar, next door to Saint Tropez, this place is an entirely different animal. It, as the name suggests, is a diver hotel, restaurant and bar. Although we didn’t come for the food, the Tiki Bar atmosphere and oceanside tables sitting on sand and covered by palm trees, seemed like a perfect place to while the hot afternoon away. The atmosphere, good service and a chance to sample two local brews, a Brion and the incongruously named Polar (both relatively nondescript lagers), made for a pleasant way to spend an hour; or was it two? Who knows? Who cares? After all, we’re now officially on Island Time.

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BijBlauw Hotel in Pietermaai ($35 cab ride from the airport).

This is a small boutique hotel that has very friendly service, comfortable beds and pillows. It is in an area of town that is still transitional, but we felt safe and we were able to easily walk to most places..including some nice nearby restaurants. “Downtown” is a short 10 minute walk. While the price was reasonable and the room clean, the rooms (they call them cozy) are very small and you risk running into the TV mounted on the wall on your way to the bathroom if you are not careful. We had a problem finding a place to put our 2 pieces of 22” luggage (one piece ended up in the bathroom). Don’t expect Kleenex or a hair dryer as this is a very basic place in terms of room amenities. They are ecologically friendly and put shampoo and conditioner in little open (and unlabeled) jars. I guess you are to use the shampoo as body soap as that was all there was. The nice rain shower (no tub) did not have any shelving to put any unlabeled jars for use in the shower. They do have an in-room espresso machine, a safe and refrigerator. While the wifi is free, we had issues trying to access any secured (https) site. Normal http sites were fine.  The rooms could use more soundproofing but the hum from the air conditioner drowns out the noise from your neighbors.  The air conditioner takes time to cool down the room and doesn’t feel like it cooled it to the temperature you set it at. Still, once it does cool down, it keeps the humidity down and you can shut your windows to keep out the mosquitos. Between that and the overhead fan, you can sleep comfortably. While this is a good price/value place. You just need to know what you will be getting. And, you may want to upgrade to a larger room.

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