A Klooster in Curacao!
Klooster means monastery in Dutch. This wonderful yellow hotel, was once a monastery, so that adds an intriguing addition to my list of unusual accommodations!
Last July, Don and I had our first trip to Curacao. We arrived after dark and were given refreshing tea drinks to enjoy in the courtyard.
The monks who lived in this place for only about 50 years would have spent a lot of peaceful time in the cloisters, as they would have been called. In fact at least one monk or priest is spending an eternity in the cloisters... his grave seemed to be very near where we were sitting.
This is the lobby in morning light. Our desk clerk was a young intern who had just arrived from The Netherlands a week before. That means he knew nothing about the interesting hotel history.
He also had no clue about finding us soap, since our bathroom had none. (Some arrived next day) Our room happened the one with the blue doors, right next to the desk. I had a feeling that didn't mean we would be getting any extra special service.
A Red and White Room
Our room was nice, with lots red trim, which was a fun way to combine modern decor with the old style windows and shutters and tall ceilings. The bathroom had shiny white tile with a line of red and boldly painted red floors.
The room had good air conditioning, which was a plus with the island's steamy air. But it was a cold, clammy shock every time we entered, since the body adjusts to the heat in most open air settings.
Rise and Shine on Sunday Morning!
At 5:30 am, I heard the bells of Cathedral Pietermaii, clanging next door. The Fraters van Zwijsen, who built the monastery in 1932, enjoyed the convenience of strolling just a few steps to the Cathedral from the monastery.
It was a little too close for my (sleeping) comfort! You can see our room window, beneath the words, t' Klooster.
As the bells clanged, cars filled the street and happy worshipers began to congregate before mass, right outside our window!
The Colorful Chapel
We missed 6 am mass, but the hotel, had its very own little chapel!Curacao is known for color! The brightly painted Dutch Colonial buildings are what make this Caribbean Island my favorite of the ABC Islands!
The architecture of the monastery is different than most of the island buildings, but it's just as bright!
The chapel interior is actually white, but the stained glass and sunshine played a trick during the day. Beside changing color, the chapel was also transformed to another use. The only kind of service you find in the chapel today, is dining service. It's a restaurant, now.
Going to Chapel
We actually made better use of our chapel in the evening when it became a lounge. The priests and monks left the Klooster in the 1980's. I wonder how sad they would be to see their chapel filled with purple lighting and bottles of liquor?
Then again, I think these Fraters, who arrived in 1886 to set up a school... knew pretty well how to balance their work and relaxation!
Karaoke Near the Chapel
The Fraters might even have joined in on some karaoke at the cafe beside the chapel. We managed to talk our very sweet bartender, Mary into giving it a try.
I'm glad I didn't have to wear long robes as I wandered our courtyard area. It was hot in August and there was little breeze. We did have a small plunge pool, which helped. And I enjoyed my book in the hammock for a while!
Our stay at t' Klooster was fairly quiet, without much social interaction. But there was something bright and welcoming about the very building and courtyard!
It was a convenient and safe walk to the colorful waterfront with the "Swinging Lady" bridge and the floating market. A great way to be introduced to Colorful Curacao!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!