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“An autumn break in the Caribbean”

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Livingstone Jan Thiel Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 January 2010

I. my husband, his older brother and wife shared a self-catering bungalow at the Livingstone Jan Thiel Resort in a beautifully landscaped and pristinely maintained compound on the southwest coast of the island. Focal point was a large outdoor swimming pool next to a covered bar and al fresco restaurant. There was also a small grocery store and laundromat on the property and the ocean was a two-minute walk from our door. Our tastefully furnished two-bedroom, two bathroom bungalow had a wrap around patio where we ate breakfast (the store had fresh croissants and breads) every morning. It was cleaned daily & the supply of towels for beach, pool & household was endless. On the beach itself was another bar and several restaurants serving excellent fare. (We lived on creamy iced coffees and pina coladas as well as freshly caught seafood.) There were specific activities, particularly on the weekends, at both resort and beachfront. But, since we were with extended family -- another brother proposed to his female companion at sunset at the beach on her birthday (which was the reason we had all come to Curacao) -- we created our own entertainment.
It is essential to have a car on the island. Jan Thiel is a 25-minute drive from downtown Willemstad; the nearest large supermarket (and a European bakery run by a Dutch baker) is 15 minutes away. There are buses but we rarely saw one. Willemstad is a pretty city with a historic core, a special "floating" market and a large harbor catering to Caribbean cruise ships. The rest of the island is a string of resort hotels and beautiful beaches. Make sure you bring a face mask and snorkel; the sea life is incredible! (Playa Porte Marie is recommended.) There are scuba courses and boat (catamaran and clipper) cruises. My husband, an experienced sailor, and I went out briefly in a rented Hobie Cat but the ocean was far too rough for such a small craft to sail safely. The Shete Boka National Park with its distinctive porous lava arches and caves carved out by years of being battered by the northern sea is also worth a visit (our timing was off to see the sea turtle nesting areas).
Curacao has long been connected to The Netherlands and the official language is Dutch. (There are Dutch newspapers and a daily newscast in Dutch). Papiamento, a mixture of Dutch, Portuguese, French and Spanish reflecting much of the island's history, is the other official language. A lot of locals also speak English and/ or Spanish. The currency is the Netherlands Antilles guilder (called Nafs). Both U.S. dollars and euros are welcome here; you can change money at the airport for a fair rate.
Curacao boasts sun 365 days a year and a constant temperature of 27 degrees Celsius, the ocean is a comfortable 25 degrees Celsius. The island enjoys natural "air conditioning" from sea breezes.
Ours was a wonderfully relaxed vacation. I would recommend Curacao for young families where the focus would be on beach activities and visits to nature preserves and historic forts, for couples whose children have grown or for anyone of any age who is really into outdoor sports like mountain biking, wind surfing, hiking, diving, deep sea fishing and the like. (There are also two golf courses where one may encounter a family of iguanas at a particular hole!) There are casinos, bars and discos but I think diehard party "animals" might be a bit frustrated with the laid back tropical pace.
Finally, while we were cautioned about rising crime (mostly theft), we never had any problems. People here are incredibly friendly, easy going, helpful and very cheerful.
We now have our eyes on St Maarten for our next Caribbean adventure, only because we feel we have pretty much "seen" Curacao (and life is short, yes!?!). Our overall experience of Curacao was extremely positive and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as a holiday destination.

Stayed: October 2009, travelled with family
2  Thank Pat_in_Belgium
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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53 - 57 of 397 reviews

Reviewed 24 June 2009

Stayed here for 6 days June 3-9th, 2009. Great kiddie pool. Too hot midday - swim in the am and late afternoon and leave your kids in longsleeve shirts with SPF 50.

Good & Great
- Fresh bread (white and whole wheat baguettes) at the little store at the hotel every morning at 730am.
- Babysitter Anna (spoke English, very nice & funny)
- Zanzibar beach - free access across the road with excellent Mohitos & Caparhinias, funky lounge music, free lounge chairs and cabanas. Crowded on Sundays. Dive shop only $35 a day for all your gear! :-)
- Bay Bays are big enough for a family - pull out sofa in livingroom and king bed (really 2 pushed together) and had a nice crib set up for her in the bedroom.
- local bus is $1.50 to town right in front of the hotel but only goes every hour. Visit Williamstad first thing in the am as it gets very hot!!!
- Nice staff at restaurant but they close at 330pm and don't open until dinner so there is a gap if you need to feed your kids. We didn't end up eating here more than once. We got groceries and made food in our room.
- Nice front desk staff who took care of our needs for a crib & found my friends camera for her.

- Babysitter (S-- name) on my last night there when going out for dinner with friends, went to their villa nextdoor & came back to check only 5 minutes later and her boyfriend was there too nice harmless guy doing crossword puzzles but she was genuine and very sweet with my daughter but this was not acceptable. She did not speak any English (only the local dialect papiamente)! :-( I tried to talk to her and it was like charades - then just said "bye bye" and waved & gave the puzzled girl $40 and sent her home. So much for my night out.
- It was 31C or 40C with humidity so little ones are best inside mid-day and can only use the playground area early 7-830am or at dusk as the slide is way too hot.
- floors in Villa are ceramic tile which was incredibly slippery for a busy toddler, especially by the shower! We put towels down but you need a bath mat. I had infant swim socks with grips that my daughter wore which helped a lot!
- $5.75 for a coke at the bar (the only restaurant) do a local trip to a grocery store to get more food for your kitchen. They had canned weiners and ravioli in the store for $4 US. No thanks.
- Internet is only one computer by the front desk and is extremely slow.
- Phones in all the rooms but none work so my husband called from canada and I had to go and wait by the front desk 15 min waiting for him to call back. Cell phone signal was intermittent and basically useless unless you had a European phone. I have a quad band Sony Ericsson phone as I am a flight attendant and could only text out s
successfully once in a while.
- watch out for taxi drivers ripping off tourists. My friends from the UK paid 60 pounds - yes $120 US EACH WAY to Williamstad for dinner one night. Should only be around $30US each way. Count on about $60 to the airport (share a van with people so it's only 10-12 each with yellow taxis).
- No bank machines!!! Bring cash and keep it in the safe in your room along with other valuables and passports.

All in all, my fridge was full of food & snacks from the local store so we were fine.
Grab a bottle of rum or two at duty free when you arrive (next to the baggage carousel in the airport) and we really liked the hotel. The 2nd babysitter was a big disappointment after a wonderful girl Anna the first night but I would stay there again - I would use Anna the babysitter again but otherwise probably would bring my own babysitter or not use one at all!!

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled with family
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3  Thank Sammy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 April 2009

We spent our honeymoon at Livingstone in a two-bedroom villa. These are clearly the most spacious units in the resort and you feel like you have your own house within the community. The extra bedroom and bathroom were probably not necessary, but it was nice to have the extra space. One word of caution: only the bedrooms are air conditioned. This is different than a lof of other resorts where we have stayed. As others have posted, the doors are a little complicated to lock and unlock, but we didn't experience any problems with crime. The resort does have a guard house and gate, but security seemed to be pretty lax. This part of Curacao is mostly Dutch tourists, but everyone that we encountered spoke English. The Jan Thiel beach is within walking distance and you are given free entry and beach towels during your stay. There is a bar/restaurant on the beach, which is very convenient. The resort has its own restaurant, as well as a small market and on-site car rental. There is also a pool adjacent to the restaurant.

We wanted to stay in a place that was different than a regular hotel, so this definitely suited our needs. We liked having the small kitchen to make snacks and drinks, but one could easily prepare meals in the villas. TV is limited (3 stations?), but that was OK since we were busy doing other activities.

The staff was very courteous and helpful. Housekeeping comes 2-3 times per week to replace towels and change the bed linens. The "king" bed is actually two twins, which took a little getting used to, but I've seen this in other European hotels, so I wasn't all that surprised.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank ahaddaway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2009

We spent our family vacation on the hotel and had a very bad experience. The second night we were stolen while we were sleeping. It was terrible, there was not some body to protect us, as the houses did not have any phone, my husband had to go running trying to get some of the two watching men at 3 am. The manager of the hotel, Mr. Leon Huijsmans, did not want to speak with us, He did not show any interest in our situation and feelings. We lost 2.500 dollars and he only gave us 100 florines (local currency) for the food that was also stolen, eventhough we told Sayveha Philipa, who was in charge of the desk, we had spent 200 dollars at the supermarket the prevous morning! I still have the receipt! The hotel only change us for another house, a bigger one, without charging the additional fee. After that, people from the hotel were very hostil with us, for example, Nathaly Kiridongo trait with drive out us from the hotel, as we had not paid our total fee, waiting that the hotel recognized to us anything for that had happenned. Afther that, we decided to stay for the rest of our planned vacacion, a hole week. It was very bad... we feel unsecurity everywhere, we had to put glasses near to each windows in case we did not hear any rare movement, we sleep with the TV or music aload and ligths on. We also put fornitures against doors. We could not sleep well thinking that it will happen again!
In summary it was a very bad experience not for Curazao, it was for the hotel which does have the propper watching system and do not care about the host comfort and feelings.
I have a cousing living in Curazao and she and her family could not believe our story. I left her the police report and everything to show to the Tourist local Officce.
I am writting this because I do not like that another family suffers what we did.
Concepcion Puerta Bula, PhD
Titular Professor at Javeriana University
Bogota, Colombia
Familia Barraza Puerta

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with family
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9  Thank BogotaSadtraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 January 2009

Jan Thiel Livingstone Resort is a great alternative to a traditional hotel property. If your vacation includes family or a small group renting a car I highly recommend this property or one similar.

I stayed at Livingstone from 22 Dec until 31 Dec of 2008. I am very familiar with Curacao since family lived on the island for most of the 90s during which time I visited each year for no less than 3-4 continuous weeks. For this trip however it had been 10 years since my last visit to Curacao. The island though not perfect is still a favorite place to visit.

About Livingstone: The property is a gated resort in one of the wealthiest residential areas on the island located 15-20 minutes driving distance from Punda/Otrobanda add a few minutes if you are coming from the airport. When I arrived well after check-in hours I was pleased to find a welcome packet with keys to my apartment waiting for me at the gated entrance of the resort with security. I rented a one bedroom apartment that was easy to find within the resort. When you drive up to your numbered apartment (cottage like at ground level) there is a driveway for parking of one vehicle comfortably beside your door.

My apartment's layout consisted of a bedroom with an air conditioner (that only works if the door is closed-- important fact I will discuss), a living room open to a full kitchen and a toilet room off to the side with a sink. The bedroom had one large king/queen size beds made up of two beds pushed together. The bed was firm and adequate filling most of the room. There is one large hanging closet with a small hotel safe inside. At at the foot of the bed open to the room was a nice two sink vanity with mirror off to the side a stand up heated shower. The room got a little damp during shower time without an actual door separating vanity/shower area but not enough to damper our stay.

The living room/kitchen area is very spacious including dining room table and a couch with coffee table and two chairs. The couch was barely bigger than a love seat and not very comfortable but lounging inside was not my goal. There was also a small 19 inch color TV set that seemed to have cable but the reception was spotty at best.

Lastly was the spacious balcony off the living room accessible by two full glass double doors facing the pool area. A nice place to have an afternoon lunch or evening dinner if you were going to make use of your kitchen (sink, microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher and dishes).

Take note: security awareness is extremely important on Curacao. During my trip many locals described an increase in crime on the island. I experienced this while staying at Livingstone when my room was robbed over night only a few days into my trip. We believe the thieves gained entry through those balcony doors that at the time I was certain were locked but the doors are admittedly tricky.

A security improvement would be to add an inside deadbolt on all doors so you can see the doors are visibly inaccessible not relying solely on the tricky door lock. I swear the door was locked. The air conditioner requires the bedroom door to be fully closed before the air will turn on therefore any property outside the bedroom is easily at risk since you can not hear someone breaking in or stirring about in the rest of your apartment.

The staff reacted to the incident by giving us some free internet time and use of the hotel phone for collect calls to cancel our credit cards. They said that this incident was an unusual occurrence but noted one neighborhood over was much less safe than the Jan Thiel and might have been the source of our thief. From that day forward, since the bedroom door also locks with a separate key, I kept everything in the bedroom when I left the apartment and what valuables I could fit I put inside the little closet safe. We also filed a police report in Punda after a full day of buying replacements of the essential items that were stolen. The inconvenience would have ruined my trip if it were not for the healthy length of stay.

Management did not comp me for any part of my stay for the lapse in security but I would still recommend Livingstone as a good place to rent when you visit Curacao. The risk of break-ins is something no matter where you stay you must take precaution to prevent. I would also suggest writing down your international numbers to your credit cards, keep a separate photo copy of your passport and I found 880 worked in place of 800 numbers for the cards that did not have an international numbers. Pay phones in Curacao that you use with your credit card charge you $9.00 a minute so beware of that financial landmine in emergencies too.

Some other things: Jan Thiel beach passes come free to guests. A popular beach venue to locals and tourists alike that's a short walk away. There is a full restaurant and bar at Jan Thiel beach area though you will have to pay a small beach chair rental. The beach also has water sports. Be warned Jan Thiel beach is very crowded and not a traditional beach but I still thoroughly enjoyed my time there. The west end of the island in my opinion has the best beaches big Knip in particular.

As resort guests you also get free daily beach towels to be returned for clean ones. The internet at the resort is bought in time slots from the front desk but WIFI can only be accessed at the open restaurant/bar lounging area. At the time of this review internet access was $10 for two hours no expiration for your stay -- good for email-- they also have a computer to use. There is a small convenient store with a very robust selection of food, snacks and other random items. I used a local grocery store for my shopping. My room received cleaning service every other day. I did eat at the restaurant one night and it was excellent dining.

Overall a very clean modern property with a courteous staff. I did not notice one other American on the property while I was there amongst the Dutch but for me that was perfect.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with family
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5  Thank speakgary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Livingstone Jan Thiel Resort

Address: Jan Thiel Baai z/n, Willemstad, Curacao
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Curacao > Willemstad
Bar / Lounge Beach Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 97 Speciality Lodging in Willemstad
Price Range: ₹ 9,873 - ₹ 14,586 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Livingstone Jan Thiel Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 131
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Also Known As:
Livingstone Jan Thiel Hotel
Livingstone Jan Thiel Curaçao
Livingstone Jan Thiel Resort Curacao/Willemstad

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