Hotel Kura Hulanda Spa & Casino
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Historical Traveler Reviews Hotel Kura Hulanda Spa & Casino Willemstad
Kura Hulanda is the best hotel ever!
There are not words to describe how wonderful the Kura Hulanda Hotel is. First I should say that I abhor tourist destinations and my husband likes them, which is why we chose Curacao. It's largely off the beaten path, especially for American tourists (most tourists we saw were Dutch or South American), but just enough on it that we had no problems finding people to speak English, using US dollars, or the amenities that my husband was looking for. While Curacao is not the most scenic island on the planet (mostly cactus and desert scrub plants), it has a wonderful blend of diverse cultures and peoples. And the beaches and weather are lovely (it's below the hurricane belt so perfect for off season travelling deals). One of the best things about the Kura Hulanda is that it really showcases the best parts of Curacao and the Carribean, even though it's not even on the beach. The whole compound is a beautiful treasure trove of restored buildings and landscaping, complete with intimate green gardens, splashing fountains and sculpture gardens. The hotel rooms are spread throughout the complex so it feels like every single room is secluded in its own niche perfectly fit in the surroundings. And the rooms are amazing. Marble bathrooms, hand-carved furniture and artisan-painted walls, deliciously comfortable furniture and the best hotel bed I've ever slept on. There's also a large screen television with access to American stations like CNN and ESPN. We made a regular hotel room reservation and ended up with a three room suite. The staff at the Kura are also tremendously friendly (without being intrusive) and helpful. There are several top-quality restaurants in the complex, too. To satisfy my desire to get off the beaten track we started out with a pledge to eat in the complex as infrequently as possible, but the restaurants were so good and so varied that we ended up eating meals there at least once a day. The Jaipur restuarant serves incredible authentic Indian food in a beautiul setting next to a splashing waterfall. We loved it so much that we ate there three times. The Astrolabe Observatory is also fantastic, as is the Museum Restaurant. Portions are generous but not overwhelming and everything is scrumptious. Jacob's Bar serves breakfast and snacks (happy hour is a must-do with cheap drinks and complementary hor d'ouvres) The News Cafe also serves beverages and lighter fare (along with sundries) in an open plaza in the heart of the complex. We didn't anything in the whole complex that was less that perfect- including room service. There is also a museum on the premises documenting the history of the African presence in the Carribean that traces the slavery movement all the way back to it's tribal beginnings in certain indigenous African cultures. It has some great artifacts and is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. I have to say that the thing that really distinguishes the Kura Hulanda from all other high-quality boutique hotels is the seamless blending of culture and architecture with the best possible service. The entire complex conveys the beauty of the hodge-podge of cultures on the island. It embraces the guest, offering glimpses of life on the island at various points in history under various authorities. It shows the utmost respect for the people who have lived there under many different circumstances and invites visitors to come away with a better understanding of the history of the Carribean. Tucked between guest rooms are rooms that are mini-exhibitions of household and cultural artifacts. The paths and walls of the compound are dotted with art and sculpture and explanatory texts. It's as far away from a tourist mega-plex as you can possibly get in feel, and on par with the best in tems of ammenities, quality and service. It's relaxing and inviting and vibrant all at the same time. The rest of Curacao had it's ups and downs. I did not like the rest of Willemstadt, the main city. While it was scenic, I thought it was too touristy and it made me uncomfortable. My husband on the other hand felt right at home and like it alot. The outer parts of the island are great, though. Make sure to go to some of the public beaches. Zambezi's Ostrich Farm and restaurant is also a don't miss. The food is out of sight and the tour is great. It's off the beaten path though (as in you have to risk some poorly marked dirt roads to get there), but they offer a pick-up service in a jeep, too. Driving on the island was fine and I would recommend renting a car to explore with, but street signs are almost non-existent so it requires patience and an adventurous spirit to really find what you set out to find. We had the worst Chinese food of our lives at the Rose Garden, and generally speaking most of the non-hotel food that we ate ranged from unforgettable to pretty bad. Jaanchies is a fun place for lunch if you're on the west end of the island. It's also worth the trip if you have a car. The only other thing of note is that the casino's (which my husband was excited about visiting) were pretty poor. There are a ton of them, but the only ones that we found worthwhile (more than slots with desolute locals plunking down change) were at the resort hotels (the Kura's wasn't finished when we visited in September '03). And even then they weren't spectacular. The dealers weren't very well trained and tried to pull some wierd stuff at the tables. Again, they require a sense of adventure. There's no doubt though, that we're looking forward to our next trip the the Kura Hulanda Hotel.
18th Century Chrarm and Then Some
The Hotel is really a little village of restored merchants houses with rooms and suites. Our room was beautifully appointed with comfortable furniture and the best mattress I have experienced in a hotel. The room was spacious and had great details like hand painted borders on the walls. The aesthetics were great.The village has two pools. I favored the 'Eco pool with a waterfall as a great place to relax, read and swim. At night this becomes the background for the Jaipur Indian restaurant. Again, great aesthetics in the landscaping and even in the placement of night lighting.The 'village has beautiful cobblestone streets that are an upgrade from the original of several hundred years ago, combing granite squares and several different color bricks. It's a detail that just exceeds any expectation. I never saw anything like it anywhere else. There lots of unexpected architectural details that make this a place unique and exceptional. The is a very intimate unhurried feel about the placeThe staff was exceptionally warm and friendly and focused. The most telling thing is that my wife and I found that we stayed in the hotel and environs and ate at the various on site restaurants far more than we ever have in previous vacations anywhere. Forget your previous experiences with hotel restaurants, the restaurants here, like the hotel itself are really something else. Try to dine at the Astrolab Observatory restaurant at least once, the food was incredible and the outdoor dining was a very romantic setting.I was not alone in my enthusiasm a fellow guest who travels internationally for a video production group told me this was the best hotel he had ever seen.This is the only place I know I will vacation again; the other was in Bali Indonesia.
We visited the Kura Hulanda Museum and Sculpture Gardens during our August 2003 visit to Curacao, and had the pleasure of meeting the man whose vision resulted in what has to be one of the greatest gems in the Caribbean. We did not stay at the hotel (although it was on our list of possible places to say when we were planning our trip). However, the next time we visit Curacao, we will definitely stay at the Kura Hulanda.
The museum collection of artifacts from the African slave trade is the most extensive we have ever seen, and it is immediately obvious that an enormous amount of thought has gone into planning the museum and the entire complex of refurbished buildings that make up what can only be described as an oasis in the midst of the beautiful, though congested, city of Willemstad.
As we strolled through the "village" after our visit to the Museum, we met the man behind the vision. He immediately greeted us with a warm smile and firm handshake and asked if we were guests at the hotel. We said no, we were staying elsewhere. That did not phase him at all; he invited us to stay as long as we wished and offered to pose with us for a picture!
I won't tell you too much more about Kura Hulanda; just be sure it's on your list of places to see when you get to Curacao, even if you stay elsewhere.
Kura Hulanda - Amazing!
Hotel Kura Hulanda is best described as a diamond on an island that is a bit "rough" (with all the cactuses!). You can tell that the people who restored and built this place did it with a great amount of care and love. I would prefer to keep this place a secret so that it doesn't fall victim like other hotels to commercialism or overcrowding but I do want to support it after I had such a wonderful time there. If super high rise gambling type resorts are your thing then this is not the place for you. There is a museum on the premises that is better than many I have visited elsewhere and has ancient artifacts and historical displays relating to island history and slavery. There is classical music playing in courtyards and small gardens everywhere on the premises and the restaurants are superb. We rented a Toyota Rav4 Suv from Budget around the corner and it wasn't too expensive for 4 days. We didn't even go to the beach affiliated with the hotel since we knew there were more spectacular beaches to be visited with our rental car. Playa Porto Marie, Knip Bay, and Playa Lagun (amazing snorkeling here) were simply immaculate. We were sad to leave this hotel and the stay on Curacao would not have been nearly as nice without such enchanting accomodations. If you are going to Curacao and want something charming and romantic this is the only place to stay!
This resort lives up to expectations. Beautifully restored, large bathrooms, secluded, great food. Free internet in business center. Only negative is that the beds & pillows are hard, and front staff is nice but not very proactive.Curacao however is one ugly Island (no rain, thus nothing alive). If you are not a diver, or there on business, go to a different Island. People are very nice, though.
Beautiful and with the best service
We had a wonderful time on the island and at this hotel. The hotel owner has done a fabulous job restoring the site and the villa is designed so that guests have plenty of privacy. Hotel Hura Hulanda's restaurants offer the best food on the island.
Well restored historic builidings, charm and service
This is a collection of buildings in Otrabanda that have been nicely restored (almost too nicely). Each room seemed individually redone with old wood furniture, wood floors. The staff was perfect: friendly, helpful without asking, but not intrusive when you were wandering around and needed no help. The location is very good for everything but not on any water (however beaches are not that great in Curacao. None of the hotels have that great a beach). You can wander out late at night to have drinks by the water in downtown Punda or Otrabanda. The simple restaurant (they have three) was good and given its nice setting, priced attractively compared to the other restaurants in the area. The list price ($200) was too high for me, but at a special half price, it was an excellent deal. We spent half the time here and half at the Marriott, and in the end wished we had stayed here only. If price does not affect you, and you are willing to give up beach-side location for far more charm than any hotel I have seen in the Caribbean, this is the place for you.
Kura Hulanda - One of my favorite vacations
This past January we had the pleasure of staying at this absolutely lovely hotel. We have spent many a vacation in the Caribbean and I have to say this was one of my favorites. I was concerned before going as I couldn't find many comments on the internet. This is why I feel compelled to write this for others. Curacao is beautiful. You will not find beautiful long stretches of soft sand like you would in Jamaica or Anguilla - but they have incredible water and incredible snorkeling. Being a big snorkel fan I loved this. Was concerned about hotel not being on a beach, but this was perfect. We rented a jeep and went throughout the island to different beaches, etc. (The beach the hotel brings you to is just OK). I also liked Curacao because it isn't overrun by American tourists, there were alot of Europeans. I guess to compare, I liked Aruba, but I found that it was too Americanized, didn't retain enough of it's own culture. (I am an american - just like something different when I travel outside the country).The hotel itself...I just can't put into words. It is beautiful and the staff are incredibly nice and helpful. If you have a chance to go here...don't hesitate.
What was i thinking?
Definately overpriced! Boring, not much to do, bad service and food, and because of the age of the rooms they had an odd odor that was very offensive. Also there was no spa as indicated and there is no beach nearby, you have to drive to the beach! False advertising at its finest!! The rooms are very dark and dreary and the furniture which is described as antiques are actually cheap reproductions!
If your looking for history, culture and a picturesque environment this is the place. Incredible museum, great pools and fantastic restaurants. You actually live in historical buildings that have been revamped. Each room is unique.
TripAdvisor Reviews Hotel Kura Hulanda Spa & Casino Willemstad
Travel Blogs from Willemstad
... timing on that was perfect, as we came off the Queen Emma Swinging bridge on our way back, the bells started going off, and the bridge started to swing. It opens up to allow boat traffic to enter or exit into the bay. Had we been even 1 minute later, we'd have been held on the bridge, and had to ride the swing out.... instead of just observe it. ...
... wifi. It's a precious commodity. (I learned from our sommelier at dinner that even the crew and staff have to pay for wifi on board the ship.) I was intrigued by the shop (Cariloha) that only sells products made out of bamboo. Not your traditional sticks, but bed linen, towels and clothing. Apparently bamboo is the world's most ...
... We’ve been here before, so we didn’t do much but walk around and take a few photos of the beautiful St. Anna Bay and the famous town. We watched the Vision of the Seas sail out of the harbor – backwards. No kidding. Today’s cruise ships are amazing in how they can maneuver.
We had another dinner tonight that could not be beat. Roger and Marilyn have not tired of us yet. Tomorrow we make our final stop of this cruise, Aruba. Stay ...
... from the bar obviously. Today's people who stood out who we were talking to we're from Connecticut. A lovely couple who have now moved to Florida for the heat. Bob used to work in the UK in a tiny little hamlet called Epsom. Shows how big things are over here. Finally this evening we sat in the atrium listening to Mauritzio, a piano player who was brilliant. He had the whole crowd up and was truly entertaining. His brandies were lined up ...
... that's how quickly you manage to bond with your fellow Australians over here. There were 8 of us on Equinox that night, and there would have been no chance of getting 8 people on Matira. We're glad we had the opportunity to do this for Phil...he's a great guy, and Di is a great girl.
Finally all is complete and it's finally time to put the boat back into the water. Putting it back wasn't as nerve wracking as having taken it out. The crew at Curacao ...