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For an immersion in old and new Curacao, this sprawling low-rise resort was built around La Belle Alliance, the 200-year-old “country residence” of English and Dutch governors during their successive occupations of Curacao—the pretty seaside structure being preferable to the derelict official governor’s mansion in Fort Amsterdam. Many years later, in 1949, it opened as the Hotel Avila, and the handsome sweep of beach was added 10 years later, with the help of a large jetty. The hotel has been family-owned since 1977, and today some 10 modern buildings have joined the original villa, now the elegant hotel lobby. The wide-ranging options (in space, style, and even upkeep) include the older Belle Alliance Wing, with rooms and suites pillowed in tropical gardens—all have balconies, but only suites have unblocked ocean views. For those who want a full blast of the Caribbean, the sunny, woody Blues Wing has 20 rooms built right onto a pier jutting out into the sea. The newest addition, the Octagon Wing, has 68 rooms on four floors, done in minimalist neutrals and all with balconies. In addition, the hotel has one of the island’s best beachside restaurant/bars, Blues, which offers tasty live jazz music every Thursday—that, plus the hotel’s rich heritage and glorious seaside setting, earns back an extra star docked for inflated room prices. Oh, and the little Octagon Museum on-site, set inside a seaside cupola that houses an exhibit on Venezuelan liberator Simón Bolívar, whose sisters lived in exile here in the early 1800s (Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat 10am–noon; $5).