Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort
Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort Curaçao
The 2,000-acre preserve that surrounds this sprawling resort offers enough diversions to keep visitors occupied for weeks. Activity lovers can book tee time at the Pete Dye–designed golf course, play a game on the hydro-cooled clay tennis courts, or tour the Spanish Water Bay by kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Miles of hiking and biking trails lead to expansive island views and hidden caves, and guides are available to point out local flora and feed the island iguanas. The resort spa even offers weeklong holistic health and wellness retreats. Seeking a more low-key vacation? Relax on the property’s 1,500-foot stretch of white-sand beach or enjoy a massage overlooking the sea. Restaurant options include open-air fine dining at Shore, Mediterranean dishes and themed buffets at Medi, and the poolside bar and grill Splash, all of which you can visit for daily meals with an all-inclusive package. The downside of the resort’s size is that its location can feel isolated, and guests need a vehicle to dine off-site or explore more of the island.
By Meg Nesterov, AFAR Local Expert
Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort Curaçao
The ultra-posh Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort is a sprawling property located just 10 miles from historic Fort Amsterdam. Besides unrestricted ocean views, the resort offers a Pete Dye-designed golf course, pools that overlook the sea, top-notch tennis courts, a luxurious spa, and plenty of fine-dining to go around. It’s a favorite of couples for a variety of reasons, from the top-notch service and spacious grounds to the fact that it’s somewhat isolated from downtown Willemstad. While rooms are on the pricey side, the resort does offer several packages to help cut costs. The “Love Is in the Caribbean” special includes a welcome drink, a couples’ massage at Atabei Spa, dining experiences, and more. For an extra romantic stay, the hotel also has fresh flower petals, chocolate-covered strawberries, and chilled champagne at the ready.
By Megan Eileen McDonough, AFAR Local Expert
Santa Barbara Plantation, Porta Blancu, Nieuwpoort, Curaçao