Recently I had to take an unexpected but much welcome trip to Curaçao. It was quite quick. I had a few days notice. And the most challenging part? It was for one night only. I love to travel but I have never ever thought that a one night stop over was worthy of reporting on- until now. Like who would plan a vacation for 24 hours? What’s the point it seems to go on a plane, boat or some other means of transportation for such a short trip? Sometimes one night is all you have. Sometimes, one night is all you need.
The thing is that I had to leave the country. I had to go to Curaçao on a visa run, and one night was all we could afford. Do I wish I had more time? Absolutely. But I did not and so I quickly moved past that to actually celebrating the itsy bitsy holiday and I was so much better for it.
The Hilton Curaçao is definitely a quaint hotel. I arrived there and felt like I was walking into the scene of Smile Orange in a Jamaican hotel experience circa 1961. Like seriously. Art deco type architecture, lots of geometric lines of that era, open lobby overlooking the sea. I felt like I had arrived in an era long before I was born.
Truth be told, the hotel is in dire need off renovations- like more than any hotel I have ever seen, but that is probably what made this place such a treat for me. It made the staff and the location stand out even more! The place was so clean and spotless, it was obvious that the staff took immense pride in their jobs. Every single person I met went out of his or her way to ensure that I would have a stay that I would never forget. The fact that it was only one night at the Hilton Curaçao did not matter.
What stands out for me was just how AMAZING the team was!!!! I mean I got STELLAR, warm, friendly and GENUINE service from Miligene at Front Desk at check in, to lunch in their seaside restaurant, Celeste o dinner in their Italian resto, Cielo and then to final check out farewell from Duco at the front desk and the ever kind Randolph from Bell service.
I learnt a lot in the process:
- Receive unexpected experiences with grace even if they are not packaged how you would have preferred.
- Be quick to move on to finding all the silver linings when a travel challenge (or any life challenge) presents itself. I only had 24 hours. I had choice. I could enjoy myself or I could choose to pine over what I could not control. You know I chose the former.
- As a work from home mother of a toddler, I was in desperate need of a break. This was it!
- It was a solo trip. Since having our son, I hardly ever get to fly without him. Though he is the world’s best travel buddy, it still take lots of work on my end and my brain has to be switched on at all times when traveling with him because I have to ensure his safety and meet his needs.
- It is every bit as exciting to stay in a country for 24 hours as it is for a much longer trip, if you are willing to accept whatever the place has to offer you during those hours.
- I LOVE being in airports! I really do! Love to fly. Even if the flight is only 10-15 mins. Somehow being in an airport makes it a real vacation for me.
- Being nice to people throughout the trip sets the tone for how you are treated and how much enjoyment you will get. You get the energy you show up with.
- Ask staff for advice, what they like to eat, what’s good, tips of what you can do in your time. They always give great advice.
- BE open. Have no expectation. Just be an observer and walk with good vibes only.
- Be grateful. You can find so much wrong in a place but there is much more that is right about it. Focus on the great things about the trip.
- Bring a good book and your headphones so you can tune in and tune out as you wish.
- Go to the beach, sauna, steam room and have dinner. Buy a bottle of wine at the hotel and have it for lunch and dinner. It is much better than ordering by the glass.
- if the bed is comfortable- sleep as long as you can. If not, go wild on adventures. Whatever floats your boat. I needed the peace and traquility and this was exactly what I got at the Hilton Curacao.
- When you REALLY need a break and cannot get away for an extended period, NEVER underestimate the healing powers of 24 hours away from your life. A break is a break. Take it. You will thank me for it.
Would I return? Absolutely.
Recommendations: Get a beach view room. Have lunch in the Celeste by the sea and dinner at Cielo. For dinner, skip the starter and get a pasta main. Ask the chef to swap out the tomato sauce for a cream sauce. Ask for Parmesan cheese on the side. Order the panna cotta for dessert.
I really hope that a renovation be done swiftly that still maintains the charm of the era but with modern amenities, fixings and furniture. Expand the showers stalls (way too narrow for comfort). Install glass doors on the patio of the rooms. Gut and refit fitness area.