You could hop on a direct flight to big-name and well-known Caribbean vacation destinations like the Bahamas or the Dominican Republic, but those looking to check into an undiscovered gem should look no further than Curaçao. And as it turns out, the island’s burgeoning luxury resort scene is just one of its well-kept secrets.
The colorful Dutch colony is tucked right next to Aruba and less than 40 miles north of Venezuela, resulting in much more temperate year-round weather than the typical Caribbean island without sacrificing the sparkling turquoise blue waters that the area is known for, an abundance of fresh fruit and seafood and expansive biodiversity in its fauna and flora all across the island. And, although Curaçao has a distinct identity all its own, the island’s Dutch influence is omnipresent in its architecture — particularly the stunning display of colorful canal houses and Dutch Golden Age architecture that can be found throughout the Punda neighborhood in Willemstad.
To make the most of your visit, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite resorts across the island. Whether you’re looking for an all-inclusive luxury resort where you can sip colorful cocktails from dusk to dawn or you’re more into a city escape that’s walking distance to all the best bars and restaurants, Curaçao has something to suit every kind of traveler.
European hotel chain Cordendon, known for its commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, will be your best bet if you’re looking for a European-inspired escape by the sea. The Mangrove Beach Corendon Curaçao offers an extensive selection of six bars and five restaurants on site, ranging from sushi and pizza to barbecue and even a patisserie lounge with European-inspired fare including croissants, pain au chocolat and espresso-based beverages that would earn the stamp of approval from the most discerning coffee drinkers. The five-star property was designed to look like a retro cruise ship with gorgeous Art Deco detailing throughout. The detailing is the most immediate in the lobby, where you’ll find vintage brass light sconces adorned to each of the indoor/outdoor columns and retro-inspired curved couches that snake their way around the check-in and lounges. Mangrove Beach also has a cigar lounge set right on the water, butler service for select suites, as well as private plunge pools and oversized shaded balconies with unobstructed views of the Caribbean Sea. Everything you could need or want for a relaxing vacation can be found right on the property, but Mangrove Beach is also conveniently located less than 20 minutes by foot to downtown Willemstad for those who want to get out and explore the city.
Think of the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort as the ideal combination of a beachfront city hotel and a resort. The luxury property is located just outside of the historic Punda neighborhood in Willemstad, which allows guests to easily get around the city by day before retiring to their room for unobstructed ocean views by night (each room is outfitted with its own private balcony facing the sea). This resort is not all-inclusive but still has a number of restaurants worth checking out, including fine dining Ç Spice and casual indoor/outdoor tapas restaurant Zala Gastro Lounge — which is going to be the best spot for taking in views of the ocean and enjoying the Caribbean breeze. Although both restaurants are situated in such a way that every seat has a decent view of the ocean and the resort grounds, you’ll want to grab a seat by the bar for unobstructed views of the sea and fast service. The resort also offers one of the island’s best coastlines with nearly a kilometer of private white sand beaches that are open for swimming or simply soaking up the sun with a cold beer in hand. It’s worth noting that the manicured beaches are only open to guests of the hotel and finding a comfortable lounge chair or sandy spot by the water is easy — even on weekends.
Although Sandals tends to attract honeymooners or couples celebrating a milestone, the newly opened Sandals Royal Curaçao is a stand-out option for travelers looking for a comfortable all-inclusive experience within the lush banks of the eastern part of the island. It’s somewhere to drop your bags and instantly feel taken care of from check in to check out, whether it’s housekeeping stocking your favorite brand or bottle in the minibar or the concierge going out of their way to find reservations and transportation to the island’s best restaurants. The expansive 3,000-acre property has 13 (yes, 13!) all-inclusive bars and eight new restaurants with endless nooks and crannies — like shaded seaside huts on the edge of the coastline — throughout the resort that were made for cuddling up with a good book and a neon-hued blue lagoon cocktail, as well as five seaside bungalows and eight island suites complete with bespoke butler services to cater to your every whim, from planning a picnic on the beach to booking a poolside cabana. Sandals Royal Curaçao is also sandwiched right next to the Old Quarry Golf Course, where amateur and enthusiast golfers can swoon over the sweeping views of the Caribbean sea while playing the 18-hole green or practicing their putt.
City-lovers should look no further than the Renaissance Wind Creek Curaçao Resort. The 237-room property is conveniently located within the Rif Fort Village waterfront shopping complex just outside of the UNESCO-listed historic area of Willemstad and within walking distance to all of the city’s best bars, restaurants and museums, including the top-rated Netto Bar, where you’ll find a whimsical green-hued homemade rum, and the Kura Hulanda Museum, an anthropological museum dedicated to the history of the Atlantic slave trade in Curaçao. The indoor/outdoor open air design in the lobby and guest rooms as well as the private white sand beachfront also makes this resort a great option for taking advantage of the natural splendor that Curaçao has to offer right in the middle of the city center without sacrificing modern amenities and creature comforts like beachside bar service and private cabanas.
Located on nine acres of private beachfront and lush gardens, Dreams Curaçao Resort Spa & Casino feels like a countryside island getaway in the middle of the city; the property is located less than a 10-minute drive to the center Willemstad and just steps from the beachfront walking/running trail that runs along the adjacent John F. Kennedy Boulevard. The luxury resort and spa features three curated bars and seven restaurants — including one gorgeous beachfront private dining experience for two that includes a bespoke local-focused menu served exclusively on a secluded part of the beachfront at sunset (talk about turning up the romance). The property also boasts a fully equipped onsite casino with plenty of slot machines, blackjack tables and more. It’s also worth noting that those looking for picture-perfect postcard white sand beaches will particularly appreciate the Dreams coastline; tucked onto Piscadera Bay, the location is ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
Sunscape Curaçao Resort Spa & Casino is just minutes from Mambo Beach — the young and trendy beachfront neighborhood in central Curaçao where you’ll find local beach clubs, artisanal boutiques and casual local-focused restaurants — and is the best option for travelers who prefer checking out the coastline that locals frequent rather than a closed-off or overly manicured private resort beach. That said, the property also features one of the largest private beachfronts in the country for those who prefer to stick on the resort. The all-inclusive property also has a handful of local and international restaurants that include both casual and fine dining options, including a casual al fresco sushi bar and an elegant seaside Curaçaoan seafood restaurant, both of which serve up locally fished seafood. Looking to relax and unwind after a day of exploring and eating? Sunscape also has a renowned onsite spa that is committed to using all-natural local products and providing personalized treatments. Book the Rainforest Experience if you’re committed to relaxation; the multi-step treatment circuit includes a warm stone massage, a calming water-based facial and access to the property’s hydrotherapy circuit.
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