Lions Dive & Beach Resort Curacao
Travel Blogs from Willemstad
Finally the time had come. Internship was successfully rounded off and an evaluation had been completed. Flew early morning to Curaçao, and landed around 10am. The flight was good, sitting next to a window I could clearly see the landscapes of Venezuela; mountains, coastlines, and even clear skies ensured to even be able to see the beginning of Caribbean waters.
Having arrived in Curaçao the hostess was sorry to announce that our studio was rented out to another couple, and ...
... discrimination. Guide says they Eat iguana soup, stew and BBQ. Tastes like chicken. Guide Wendell swims w/ a great white shark once a year at the Seaquarium. There is Plexiglass in between the person and the shark. Of course they video you and sell you the DVD video. Our trivia team tied for 1st! Questions were hard today. Island of Bonaire ...
... but we didn't end up buying any. Next stop was at a beach resort where we paid $3.50 to use their facilities for the day... lovely spot if a little touristy but it had all the mod cons.. pina coladas to sip whilst reclining in the sun.. a spot of snorkeling, shopping for those that wanted to pay resort prices and best of all free wifi where we could do a quick catch up. Heather and Tim later told us they went way up the other end under ...
After a rough night at sea, we landed in curaçao at two pm our time 7pm English time. Right now we are sat in a Dutch style bar about to eat! I am taking full advantage of the free wifi lol. It has rained at this stop today but it is still lovely and hot and the rain almost a relief. This place is truly gorgeous, the buildings are all colonial style, brightly coloured and interesting. The people are multilingual, speaking ...
... of people from Venezuela, who arrive early every morning with fish, produce, and other goods to sell at Willemstad's Floating Market.
Though Curacao bears similarities to other Caribbean islands, it doesn't quite have the same annoying cruise ship carnival atmosphere, because it's just outside the reach of most cruise itineraries. It's a shame, really, as the cruise ships have essentially reduced most ...
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Historical Traveler Reviews Lions Dive & Beach Resort Curacao Willemstad
Suited us - ejoyed the holiday
Despite the warnings, we found the front desk staff reasonably friendly and they answered all of our questions - including booking a trip for us.
The room was spacious and everything worked except the sink plug. Air con not only worked well, it was the quietest we have ever found.
Nemo restaurant for dinner impressed -excellent quality and service - menu did not change much from one day to the next. Hemmingway - typical bar food - a lot of it deep fried, with variable service.
Dive centre friendly, helpful and professional. Dives spectacular.
Snorkelling on local reef not for complete novice as steady wind blowing and sea a little rough. Current changes every couple of hours, changing the visibility. When good, visibility spectacular.
Not much to do apart from dive, snorkel and sunbathe. If you want sailing or anything, look elsewhere.
Found the country much friendlier than expected. Felt safe even when lost in Willemsted
Lion'sDive-not ready for prime time
Alas, I was lured in by the website and booked directly through that website. Had wonderful emails exchanged with Eduard, very friendly and answered all questions. We rented a car upon arrival only to discover that maps are useless without road signs. Curacao has very, very few road signs, numbers or otherwise. We arrived on a Sunday in middle of Carnivale. The streets were deserted. It took us nearly two hours to by hit or miss finally arrived at LionsDive. When I approached the desk, the gal on duty attempted to avoid dealing with me, including going to the back, and I guess trying to make someone else come out. She just said. "All our rooms are filled we have moved you to the Hilton." No apologies, no explanations, no promises, no nothing.
My family had to intercede, as I became unglued when they told me they had known for two days they had this "computer problem" The Hilton, while a very nice hotel (see separate review) is almost half way back to the airport from Lion's Dive--not nearby in other words. This effectively eliminated one day from our 6 day vacation, since we could not unpack, could not go diving, could not do much of anything until we knew for certain they were actually going to give us a room that we had paid for in advance.
I suspect that priority is given to Expedia etc customers since those website operators will extract punishment. Since I had gone through their website, they felt free to treat us poorly.
I must agree with other posters here that the staff are not trained hospitality workers. My husband and I have stayed in various hotels associated with dive operations all over the Caribbean--this was our worst experience in 10 years. The staff prefers not to speak to customers. There are no offers to help with luggage. There are never any apologies. I felt like I was dealing with the untrained teenagers at certain fast food franchises in US.
It is true about the fly problem--just awful. Some how the Hilton was able to avoid this.
The dive operation was fine and what we expect from this kind of set up. The diving was fantastic. Only criticism was excessive check in and out procedures for everything including WEIGHTs--you have to carry your own weights on and off the boat each day. That was a new one on us.
The rooms were not large, just big enough. the A/C worked thank goodness. The beach was wonderful and its location next to the Seaquarium is just fantastic.
Each person in my family tried repeatedly to engage in some friendly dialog with the staff, but it was clear that they had no interest in doing anything but the minimium.
My 29 year old son was repeatedly hassled on the beach by the security guards--perhaps because he did not shave while we were there or perhaps because he sat quietly reading under a palm tree. But after producing his room key three days in a row, one would have thought the same guard would recognize him. This same guard was only too willing to do whatever a Dutch couple asked, including telling my son to move. I overheard several times other guests checking in who had not had their promised rooms available, or who were being asked to move, since they had not paid for that class of room. Never an offer of help, never an apology.
Lots of stairs, not only to reach the rooms but down to the restaurant, down to the pool, down to the dive shop. Seemed like up and down all day, definitely not for seniors!
There are many wonderful aspects to this resort, but to stay here one must not expect any friendliness or service from any of the staff. With the major exception of the lovely maid who cleaned our rooms, no English, but always smiling, friendly, excellent cleanliness, and trying to be helpful. This could be a wonderful resort with the application of basic hospitality principles.
Not Geared To American Tourists
A big disappointment and not worth the money. (4 March 2006 thru 9 March 2006) The hotel is geared to the Dutch tourist. Checkout is 1:00 pm and check-in is 3:00 pm. This is because the KLM flights to Amsterdam leave in the late afternoon. We arrived at 7:00 am and didn't get our room until 2:00 pm and then only after complaining. Apparently they clean the rooms in order and couldn't care less that we have been waiting so long (we came from Bonaire). Furthermore we were not prepared with adapter plugs for their 220 volt/European connectors since all the guidebooks indicated North American plugs.
Just like lower-class places that I have stayed, and unlike better resorts, they required that their guests pay up front. This was a problem for us because we wanted to see how our money held out and pay at the end of our stay in some combination of cash and credit card. After some argument with them, they put the total on authoriized hold. The only reason that I can figure out is that they must have a lot of customers skipping out of their bill!
The room was clean, good-sized, but had lots of little problems that haven't been fixed. Maybe this money went into their new phone system, installed during our stay. I couldn't care less because their rates to the US were $1.36/min. (You can buy a 10 guilder card and talk for about 22 minutes.)
The refrig had to be replaced, the fan had only one speed, the shower didn't drain without the drain cover removed, no clock-radio, only one nightstand lamp, $1.50/day charge for the safe (in a room over $200/night), and no stopper in the sink. The gym--very nice--was free.
One restaurant was closed and breakfast just average, with a horrific fly problem. ($12.50/person but included in our rate.)
The dive shop was OK; friendly divemasters but cattle-car boats with 15-24 people and no input on where to go.
All-in-all a poor choice and we would't return.
Don't ever be tempted by the Lion Dive Resort website
All I can say is: You will be disappointed. Awful reception, the website isn't accurate, poor service. I didn't even bother to see the rooms. The restaurant was bad enough. I checked out within an hour of checking in!!!!!!
Lions Dive Offers Best Deal on the Island
Just came back from 4 day stay in Curacao (2/25 - 2/28). Mixed feelings about Lions Dive Resort. Here is my list of pro's and con's:
1. Carefully landscaped garden with beautiful native plants in courtyard.
2. Excellent but slightly pricey cuisine at the hotel's Nemo restaurant.
3. Tourists mostly Dutch but many other nationalities too.
4. Rooms have large french doors that open wide, giving the room airiness and sense of living outdoors. Upper floors get balmy breezes.
5. Air conditioner no longer shuts off when you leave the room.
6. Close proximity to Ocean Encounters dive school and free entrance to nearby Sea Aquarium.
7. Sea Aquarium offers fun, safe animal encounters with sharks, turtles, tropical fish, dolphins and sea lions.
8. Resort beach faces calm lagoon for swimming and snorkeling.
1. Serice is friendly but not very helpful. The phone in our room did not working during our entire 4 day stay in spite of promises by front desk that it would be fixed "by the next day". Front desk not very informed--I asked about a sailing cruise they claimed to have never heard of only to find the brochure sitting in front of them on the front desk counter!
2. Bathroom sink leaked.
3. Shower only, no tub.
4. Swimming pool not that nice.
5. In spite of pretty photos, the beach is hard and rocky and you should wear flippers or water shoes when swimming or corals and rocks can cut feet. But beach is the largest on the island.
All in all, I think Lions Dive offers good value for the price. I had considered staying at the Hotel Kura Hulanda in Williemstad (4.5 stars) and was happy to have chosen 2.5 star Lions Dive instead. Kura Hulanda is a luxury resort with beautiful architecture, but if you're looking for sun, a beach w/shallow lagoon, rooms w/low-key beach bungalow feel, and easy access to diving school and aquarium, Lions Dive Resort can't be beat. Heck, you can't have everything and for what it's worth I think Lions Dive is the best deal on the island.
The place to stay in Curacao
Just returned from an extended stay at Lions Dive, and overall I believe that if one has decided to go to Curacao, there is no better accomodation for the price available.
I am not a diver, so read other reviews regarding this activity.
The rooms are spacious, and I was treated to a balcony with a view of the pool and lagoon. Buildings 2 and 3 are closest to the hubs of activity-beach bar etc. Building 4 is quite separate and close to the Seaquarium. Building 1 has a veranda with beautiful sunset views. The floors are tile for better cleanability.
Front desk, house keeping staff, and food service are mostly very agreeable. The beach is uncrowded, with great palm trees and comfortable free beach chairs. Unobtrusive beach lights are on at night for romantic conversations.
The breakfast buffet is worth every penny. Other restaurants are in the area as well. Do try the mango smoothies from the van across from Breezes.
Great snorkeling can be had at the mouth of the lagoon.
Agree with the previous poster who noted that the guests are largely Dutch, whether or not you are bothered by this is up to you. Enjoy!
Good for the right people
I stayed here for a week to get some diving experience under my belt. The hotel itself is good, with good sized rooms, fully air conditioned all the time (unlike a previous review I read, they no longer turn off the ac when you leave the room). The staff are friendly, but can stop short of outright help ! It is very close to the dive school which is excellent. The staff there are great fun and knowledgeable. I was here for Hurricane Ivan, and the preparartions they made at the hotel were excellent, providing much information and reassurance. The hotel is right on the beach, and they ahve a good bar and restaurant. Nothing to coimplain about really, althougyh I'm sure there are gbetter places on the island, but probably more expensive too !
It was OK...but....
We enjoyed Lion's Dive overall. It was in a good location relative to alot of things. Not far from town. Also the dive shop is right out back. Just eat breakfast and load up.
Staff was pretty good, no surprises at checkout.
Now for the bad news. We didn't request an environmental room, but we got one anyway. (The website says that you can request them) I get this strange feeling that they are all environmental rooms, but I could be wrong. So what's wrong with an environmental room? When you leave the room, it turns OFF! Everyday, we came back from diving to a hot room. We'd try to stick around long enough for it to cool off, then we'd go do something else and the room would get hot again. We're early eaters and it's a good thing. Since we eat early we get back to the room early. Thus the room cooled down, oh around midnight. If you're late eaters, your room is gonna be hot far into the night.
If they would change this one thing, I would go back. If not, I'd go somewhere else.
Enjoyed Lion's Dive
We were recommended to Lion's Dive by a travel agent that we have beenvery happy with. We had a 6 day diving package with Ocean Encounters whichis next to Lion's Dive which included daily two tank boat dives and unlimitedshore diving. While some of the shore diving can be difficult, we looked atwww.shorediving.com and found dive sites that were highly rated plus OceanEncounters gave their recommendations also. Our favorite shore dives werePlaya Kalki and Porto Marie. Both of these areas had rinse tanks at the areaand very nice beaches.The hotel staff was very helpful and the rooms were very nice. Rumors, therestaurant at the resort, was a little spendy but the food was very good. Wehad a couple of dinners there and breakfast was included in the room rate.The rest of the time, we ate at many other cafes and restaurants throughoutCuracao and enjoyed them all. Lion's Dive is also located next to the Sea Aquarium and allows you free access with your Lion's Dive card. The Dolphin Swim was a great time in which you can interact with the dolphins for about an hour.
Lions Dive not for shore divers
Just got back from a week at Lions Dive. We go to Curacao because we love the freedom of shore diving. We call Lions dive and were told "yes" there is great shore diving. The house reef is nice but very difficult to get to. You either have to swim down the channel to the reef or carry all of your gear through the seaquarium and down around to shore entry. Very hot outside walking with all that gear, not fun. When the water is rough, this shore entry becomes a very rough and dangerous. We went there for shore diving and had to do the boat dives.
The resort itself is ok, nothing special but ok for a dive resort. The food was good but most of the employees were rude.
The dive staff at Ocean Encounters Dive shop were great. All the dive masters very very helpful and careful. They would give us guidelines, ask if we wanted to follow them or go off on our own, and allow us freedoms you usually don't have on dive boats.
the beach in front of the Lions Dive is very nice.
We will not return to this resort or recommend it to anyone else.