Home>Travel inspiration>Hotels

The Best Curaçao Hotels and Resorts for a Truly Local Stay

By Laura Feinstein

Jul 7, 2021

share this article
flipboard
At the Balinese-inspired Baoase, five villas surround a saltwater infinity pool.

Courtesy of Baoase

At the Balinese-inspired Baoase, five villas surround a saltwater infinity pool.

Boasting local art, ecofriendly initiatives, and even a museum dedicated to Curaçao’s complex history, these singular accommodations showcase an unexpected side of the island.

share this article
flipboard

Located in the southwestern Caribbean Sea, the island of Curaçao is as striking as its namesake electric-blue liqueur. The C of the “ABC Islands” of the Dutch Antilles, which includes nearby Aruba and Bonaire, Curaçao is one of the region’s most diverse destinations, with three official languages and architectural influences ranging from Dutch colonial to contemporary island cool. Drawing centuries of travelers to this secluded oasis is the equally rich and abundant natural beauty—a mix of desert island; rocky, adventurous cliffside; and screensaver-worthy beaches lined by vibrant aquamarine waters.

Home to over three dozen beaches and surrounded by a fringing reef, Curaçao is a global leader in ocean conservation, with many visitors drawn to its underwater safaris and secluded lagoon dives. Fusing Caribbean charm and a European cosmopolitanism, Willemstad, its capital, is a miniature, candy-colored Amsterdam, set among a lively profusion of restaurants, bars, beach clubs, and boutique hotels.

Accommodations in Curaçao range from chic beachside boutiques to ecoluxe villas and secluded hilltop retreats.

Because of its location outside of the hurricane belt, Curaçao enjoys mild weather almost year round, although summer months bring scorching temperatures, so book in advance for more temperate weather between February and June. To inspire your adventure, here are 10 properties throughout the island that we recommend for an unforgettable stay.

Curaçao’s oldest operating hotel, Avila Beach also features modern amenities like an infinity pool and spa.

Avila Beach Hotel

Book Now: From $179 per night, expedia.com

Built in 1780, this lemon-colored property is the oldest operating hotel in Curaçao, and many of its staff are locals who have worked at the 150-room property for decades. The main hotel entrance was preserved and refurbished within the original mansion, while newer areas provide modern amenities like an infinity pool, spa, and fitness center. The boutique shop celebrates local artists, featuring works from a rotating selection of creators, with painter José Maria Capricorne’s works adorning much of the hotel. 

A community treasure, Avila’s Blues Bar and Restaurant is considered the best place on the island to hear local jazz, and its Octagon house, once a refuge for philosopher and “Libertador” Simon Bolívar while in exile, is today a seaside museum named in his honor.

Kura Hulanda Village & Spa

Book Now: From $104 per night, expedia.com

Winding cobblestone streets lead to Kura Hulanda’s eight blocks of formerly abandoned buildings, which were all given new life in 1998 when Dutch entrepreneur Jacob Gelt Dekker transformed the area into a thriving resort museum. The location offers 80 unique hand-painted guest rooms, many of which retain their original 18th- and 19th-century features, including carved mahogany and teak, high colonial ceilings, and traditional wooden shutters. 

Amenities include two freshwater pools, five restaurants, a spa, a sculpture garden featuring local artist Hortense Brown, and a series of design installations located throughout the resort. To learn more about Curaçao’s complicated history, the property’s Kura Hulanda Museum features rare African art and a thoughtful exploration of the island’s legacy of slavery. 

Nature lovers should book a room at the Landhuis Klein Santa Martha, near great hiking and diving.

Landhuis Klein Santa Martha Restaurant and Boutique Hotel 

Book Now: From $71 per night, landhuisksm.com

Article continues below advertisement

If you want to escape the pack of beachside resorts, drive up to the north for a secluded stay at Landhuis Klein Santa Martha—a renovated 17th-century Dutch colonial country house overlooking Curaçao’s cactus-dotted countryside. Just a short drive from Santa Martha Bay, Christoffel National Park, and several top diving spots, this six-bedroom hideaway is a nature lover’s dream, ideal for hiking, communing with local wildlife, or simply unwinding. 

For both visitors and locals, the hotel’s main draw is the restaurant, which serves Dutch Caribbean cuisine, local seafood like piska kora (red snapper), and vegetarian-friendly meals to be enjoyed on a terrace that offers spectacular views of the bay. Also nearby are the region’s salt flats and lagoon, a nesting area for the island’s flamingo population. 

Kick back with a cocktail in one of the secluded cabanas at Saint Tropez Ocean Club.

Saint Tropez Ocean Club 

Book Now: From $113 per night, expedia.com

Located in the heart of Pietermaai—a formerly run-down neighborhood now home to illuminated cobblestone alleyways, eclectic bars and restaurants, and modern apartments—the Saint Tropez Ocean Club offers a touch of Mediterranean art deco luxury with a tropical twist. 

Designed by owner Michel Oliemuller to highlight the space where surf and sand meet, the main dining and drink areas offer unspoiled views of sunsets over the turquoise waters facing Venezuela. The hotel’s secluded cabanas are a particular happy hour favorite, providing an ideal location for kicking back with a cocktail after a long day exploring the city.  

The “no photos” policy at Baoase ensures ultimate relaxation.

Baoase Luxury Resort

Book Now: From $575 per night, expedia.com

Also located in Pietermaai, this Balinese-inspired, family-run boutique hotel contains 23 luxury rooms and suites, including five villas surrounding a saltwater infinity pool. Here, relaxation is the name of the game, with a “no photos” policy enabling guests to discreetly enjoy the resort’s bungalows, all set around a private lagoon. 

At the Baoase Culinary Beach Restaurant, executive chef René Klop blends tropical influences and Eastern flavors with classic French cooking, and he frequently invites visiting Michelin chefs to craft exclusive dinners fusing indigenous ingredients with European techniques. 

The hotel’s resident guide, Carlos, offers diving and snorkeling tours to the West Side, with a detour to Playa Kalki for spotting parrotfish and turtles, as well as excursions to investigate sunken boats and structures now home to coral colonies and marine life.

Located on a beautiful stretch of sand, LionsDive is committed to sustainable tourism.
LionsDive Beach Resort Curaçao 

Book Now: From $284 per night, expedia.com

While Curaçao’s pristine reefs are a well-known marvel, there’s still an ocean to explore, so check in to LionsDive, situated on a beautiful stretch of white sand located near Curaçao Underwater Marine Park. The hotel has made ocean preservation a major commitment. In addition to several green initiatives that power the resort, you can also hire a snorkel guide or learn to dive at the on-premises Ocean Encounters dive center—a beacon of conservation and sustainable tourism.

As part of Project AWARE’s “Adopt a Dive Site” program, the LionsDive team regularly tends to the house reef and maintains Coral Restoration Curaçao’s nursery where visitors can snorkel among sponge colonies and striking elkhorn and pillar coral.

Morena Eco Resort

Book Now: From $158 per night, expedia.com

Article continues below advertisement

A modern and luxurious resort that takes “going green” seriously, Morena was constructed in 2008 from sustainable, ecofriendly materials culled from regional fair trade cooperatives. Each immaculately curated guesthouse contains a rooftop solar water heater and is designed to enable natural sea breezes to cool and ventilate rooms. The resort is enhanced by the lushness of its garden filled with indigenous plants and buzzing hummingbirds; it also supports green education initiatives and collaborations with Green Force, a local organization dedicated to promoting recycling in Curaçao.  

The resort is car free, but you can borrow bolderkarren (traditional Dutch carts) to get around. A short distance to Jan Thiel Beach, one of the most popular spots on the island, the hotel also offers a saltwater pool and the Mazzai Spa, providing various wellness treatments using natural ingredients. 

With a luxurious spa, tasty food, and water-powered jet packs, Papagayo has something for every traveler.

Papagayo Beach Resort

Book Now: From $174 per night, expedia.com

Anytime you’re traveling with family members, a wedding party, or friends with different interests, finding lodgings can be challenging. Papagayo, just five miles south of downtown Willemstad, offers something for everyone—including spa treatments, delicious food, and water-powered jet packs for skimming the waves. Set along Jan Thiel Beach, the sprawling resort features a bustling beach club and plaza, casino, wellness center, restaurants, bars, and even a supermarket, which comes in handy for last-minute sunscreen and wine runs.

Set away from the shore by a jungle-inspired labyrinth, 75 stand-alone villas—some with ocean views and private pools—provide welcome moments of privacy.

BijBlauw Hotel

Book Now: From $122 per night, expedia.com

Opening its doors in December 2013, BijBlauw is a hidden local oceanside gem with a cosmopolitan design sense. The property features nine rooms and one apartment, a restaurant that pours refreshing drinks and serves locally sourced dishes like tuna in lime risotto, and the BijBlauw Concept Store, with local and Dutch-made interior design items, fashion pieces, and colorful accessories. Elegant yet intimate, the hotel’s vibrantly painted walls and earthy decor accents are the perfect complement for the tranquil blues of its luxurious ocean backdrop.

At Mondi Lodge, indigenous flora and solar-heated showers make for an eco-friendly experience.

Mondi Lodge

Book Now: From $136 per night, expedia.com

Step inside an eco-friendly tropical sanctuary when you book one of Mondi Lodge’s colorful palapas, or bungalows, built on poles and designed to feel like a real-life Swiss Family Robinson adventure. Rooms are decorated with driftwood collected during ocean cleanups, and guests embrace the morning with the sound of chirping parakeets, which flock to the nearby tropical garden, along with curious iguanas and lizards.

Curaçao native Danith de Haseth runs Mondi Lodge (which sits on her family property) and is always available to offer helpful tips to visitors. For a romantic retreat, rent the secluded bedroom tree house, built around the mighty ficus tree her grandparents were gifted on their wedding day. It extends to an open porch and hidden outdoor shower nestled between the air roots. In the mornings, enjoy an open-air breakfast, much of it grown or cultivated on-premises, including fresh tropical fruit and organic eggs from the lodge’s own chickens.  

With ecopreservation in mind, Mondi boasts that “not a single tree was chopped” during construction. The lodge is surrounded by indigenous flora, showers are solar heated, and rooms are cleaned and stocked with organic cleaning products by the local, family-run business Integra Natural. All revenue made through tours is donated to regional charities and recycling efforts, further proving that a singular luxe hotel can be made all the more spectacular by a commitment to sustainability and social justice.

>>Next: The AFAR Guide to Curaçao

Products we write about are independently vetted and recommended by our editors. AFAR may earn a commission if you buy through our links, which helps support our independent publication.

Sign up for the Daily Wander newsletter for expert travel inspiration and tips

Please enter a valid email address.

Read our privacy policy