Advertisement

Curaçao’s Coolest All-Inclusive Resort

January 16, 2015
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Curaçao’s Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort feels like an island on an island. Sprawled out over 27 acres, it’s sandwiched between the calm waters of Spanish Bay and the jewel-toned Caribbean Sea. Opt for the all-inclusive option to keep the Coco Loco mojitos coming without sweating the tab.

Top 15 Things to Do in Curaçao | Best of the Caribbean | Best All-Inclusive Island Resorts Ever

Curacao's Best All-Inclusive Resort | Where to Stay in Willemstad Curacao | All-Inclusive Island Vacations | Santa Barbara
I felt happily stranded at the Santa Barbara Resort but thankful for the plush creature comforts (like this pool) that make it a AAA Four Diamond property.
Curacao's Best All-Inclusive Resort | Where to Stay in Willemstad Curacao | All-Inclusive Island Vacations | Breakfast
Pastechi, a flaky Antillean pocket pastry, makes for a hearty breakfast before hitting the links. Tee time super early? Good thing there are extra stocked on the golf-course beverage cart.
Curacao's Best All-Inclusive Resort | Where to Stay in Willemstad Curacao | All-Inclusive Island Vacations | View
This is my view at breakfast, so on second thought, maybe I’ll push that tee time back an hour or so.
Curacao's Best All-Inclusive Resort | Where to Stay in Willemstad Curacao | All-Inclusive Island Vacations | Golf
Old Quarry, the on-site Pete Dye golf course, gets its moniker from a limestone harvesting operation dating back to 1875. Views like this make head-down golf a struggle.
Curacao's Best All-Inclusive Resort | Where to Stay in Willemstad Curacao | All-Inclusive Island Vacations | Divi
The divi divi tree, Curaçao’s national tree and nature’s perfect umbrella, is my cooling-off place after 18 holes in the southern Caribbean sun. But it’s not just for shade: The pods were once used for tanning leather and can still be used to spruce up footwear. Plus, it also sports a built-in compass — the bent branches always point west.
Curacao's Best All-Inclusive Resort | Where to Stay in Willemstad Curacao | All-Inclusive Island Vacations | Beach Pod
Unlike the divi divi tree, these beach pods are purely for shade and comfort, and still just steps from the water.
Curacao's Best All-Inclusive Resort | Where to Stay in Willemstad Curacao | All-Inclusive Island Vacations | Paddleboarding
Pioneers in the art of vertical tanning, two of the sunshine-deprived members of my party couldn’t resist paddle boarding in the calm waters of the resort’s protected channel.
Curacao's Best All-Inclusive Resort | Where to Stay in Willemstad Curacao | All-Inclusive Island Vacations | Gelato
Gelati Bella Italia, the resort’s caffeine and sugar stop, takes the requisite perk-me-up emporium formula a sweet step further. Coffee in the morning; two scoops of smooth stracciatella or bacio in the afternoon. _ _
Curacao's Best All-Inclusive Resort | Where to Stay in Willemstad Curacao | All-Inclusive Island Vacations | Atabei
Relaxing with a cup of loose-leaf tea at Atabei, the on-site spa, I learn that the treatments take their healing cues from the ancient Arawaks, Curaçao’s indigenous people. I went for the stemps massage, where warm sachets of herbs de-stress my muscles, and the lahara scrub, which combines brown sugar, orange peel and distilled Curaçao liqueur, exfoliates.
Curacao's Best All-Inclusive Resort | Where to Stay in Willemstad Curacao | All-Inclusive Island Vacations | Ocean
After my massage, I stumbled down to one of these secluded limestone perches and quickly dubbed them “serenity benches” — perfect for enjoying another cup of tea while watching the waves crash the shoreline.
Curacao's Best All-Inclusive Resort | Where to Stay in Willemstad Curacao | All-Inclusive Island Vacations | Aquarium
Sure, observing sea life swim behind glass or getting the petting-zoo experience via touch tanks can be fun. But at Curaçao’s Sea Aquarium, just a jaunt from the resort, I actually fed a sea turtle his lunch through the Animal Encounters program operated by Ocean Outfitter.
Curacao's Best All-Inclusive Resort | Where to Stay in Willemstad Curacao | All-Inclusive Island Vacations | Chi chi
Venturing beyond the resort is fun too. At Serena Janet Israel’s Art Factory, I picked up a handpainted Chichi doll done by a local woman and painted one of my own. Inspired by the tropical garden setting, I dressed my Chichi in bold hues, and my finished product got kudos from Israel herself for embodying the Caribbean’s colorful essence. _ _
Curacao's Best All-Inclusive Resort | Where to Stay in Willemstad Curacao | All-Inclusive Island Vacations | Equus
Equus, a horse stable turned rustic restaurant, is open only Friday nights and fills up fast. No forks or knives meant things got messy as I pulled hunks of charcoal-fired shish kabob off totem-pole-size towers of barbecued beef, chicken and veggies. The only side I needed was a bucket of Polar beer.
Curacao's Best All-Inclusive Resort | Where to Stay in Willemstad Curacao | All-Inclusive Island Vacations | Resort
The lobby lounge was my nighttime haven, the ocean breezes and cool travertine floors the perfect antidote to a day in the sun.
Advertisement

More Caribbean & Mexico

Advertisement