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“Everything and more...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao

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Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   Santa Barbara Plantation | Porta Blancu, Nieuwpoort, Curacao (Formerly Hyatt Regency Curacao Golf Resort, Spa and Marina)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Nieuwpoort
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Everything and more...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2013

To be honest, I usually only write reviews when I have something to warn other people about, usually due to a bad experience. When I have a great stay it means the hotel was doing what it is supposed to, however my recent stay at the Santa Barbara resort in Curacao was different class.
After a long trip from San Francisco, my wife and I arrived at the hotel around 9pm on July 26th for 7 nights. We were immediately impressed by how much the resort and the room looked like the pictures on the website, I find this doesn't happen too often.
Upon arriving in the room we had noticed a couple of minor housekeeping issues which I reported to the front desk. Some hotels would have just fixed the problem but the staff at this hotel decided to move us to a different room. This was great as it made us feel comfortable. Unfortunately the new room had a small maintenance issue so we were moved again even though we didn't request this. Nina at the front desk told us that it was important that we truly enjoyed our stay and that she wouldn't be happy unless we were happy. The new room we were moved to just blew us away. Due to our inconvenience, we were placed in one of the hotel's best rooms looking on to the ocean. From this point we were treated like VIPs.
You may ask why I gave this hotel 5 stars when we had to relocate twice, well, I have to be honest, I've never received service like this in any hotel in the US or Europe. I think it's important for a guest to overlook any flaw in a hotel when the management and staff truly go out of their way to make your stay unforgettable,
Even before we were were moved to a superior room we were already impressed by our original room. This is a truly beautiful resort. Here are key details you need to know about the hotel and the island:
Firstly, the hotel:
Very friendly staff, Fantastic beach, well kept grounds, beautiful golf course, good pools.
The food at Medi is good and NOT overpriced, we found the food at Shore to be ok, but Medi was better. The gelato bar was good too, the sushi wasn't bad for a hotel. You need to rent a car to stay here but it is well worth it. It's about a 30 minute drive to Willemstad but this is by far the best resort. We visited the hilton, marriott, and a few others where the food was overpriced and sub standard. This resort has everything you need. I loved the swimming area on the private beach.
The island of Curacao:
Not as green and lush as other Caribbean islands but still pretty. It's worth driving to wards Westpunt to a park where there are caves and lots of lava rock. You don't get hassled walking down the street by people selling stuff and even at restaurants there is no pressure. It's a very laid back place. You will experience slow service in the restaurants but this is normal here.
The highlight for us was the Santa Barbara resort. It was a home from home. If you are ok with renting a car and being away from the tourist areas and you are accepting of the 15% service charge on food etc. then you SHOULD stay here. The manager, Vladimir is friendly and helpful, as are all of his staff. This is the way a hotel should be. I hope to go back some day. If you visit, you won't regret it.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,052 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (317)
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New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2013 via mobile

My wife and I stayed here for honeymoon for a week in July 2013. The property and the rooms are excellent. Very clean, and the staff was great. The pools and the private beach are awesome. The Shore restaurant is very good, and Bella Italia is also good. We also drove to Centrum and a high end grocery in Jan Thiel to stock up on food.

As you already know this place is far out, but not the end of the world far. To me that is part of the attraction. You will definitely need a rental car if you want to leave and explore. We used Just Drive Curacao and they excellent.

Here are my tips for the management...

1) Provide FREE shuttle service to major destinations for those who don't want to rent a car. Also consider free or discounted airport pickup and drop off. You guys are to far out not to include it. Even better would be a be water taxi service.

Also put up temporary signs guiding folks since a lot of the roads are closed due to construction.

2) Provide FREE WiFi in your lobby or have more than one laptop for public use. Your in room rates are ridiculously overpriced. If budget hotels provide free WiFi why can't you?

3) Ditch your watersports provider (Ocean Encounters). They are horrible. We originally booked a day boat trip with them and we found out they added a $36 fee (per person) for making the reservation without disclosing the fee. Also their rates are a joke. Super overpriced.

4) The hotel should provide FREE non-motorized boats. Again most resorts provide these for free. Instead you have to go through Ocean Encounters and pay their overpriced rates. Basic sailboat, canoe, paddle board, etc.

5) I shouldn't have had argue with your front desk staff to get a free upgrade to a water view room when you guys were pretty much empty. I would understand if you guys were full or close to full, but there is no added cost on your end. Ultimately, the bellhop (Terrance: tip him well, he is great) was more pissed off than we were and talked with the GM and got us upgraded (with a very nice cheese plate). Maybe its a cultural thing, but usually hotels want to upgrade you when they can if it doesn't hurt their bottom line.

When we stayed the property was only 25% occupied, so it was like we had a private resort.

I hope the place is around the next time we come by. Again, highly recommended. Don't let the fact is far out scare you.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida, United States
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2013

I spent the weekend here with my boyfriend and this resort can only be described in one word: paradise. Every single room has a view of the pristine blue ocean.
While some might say that this resort is a bit out of the way, it is the perfect place when you are seeking to escape the chaos of every day life, totally check out and relax on a beach with a good book. I literally put my cell phone in the safe upon arrival and didn't retrieve it until we checked out. I wanted to be totally disconnected and relaxed.
You should definitely consider renting a car and get yourself a good map. There is a lot to explore on the island - definitely check out Westpoint for some gorgeous off the beaten path beaches.
I took the time to get a massage at the spa. My therapist's name was Rodiane - she was amazing. I am lucky enough to have a friend who is a massage therapist and have been spoiled and am picky about my massages - but Rodiane is up there. The massage rooms were like nothing I've ever seen. Each had its own private little vanity - no group locker room for this hotel - and an outdoor shower and relaxation area. You only need to arrive 10-15 minutes before your treatment.
They have two pools and a quiet beach depending which you prefer. They have these little egg shaped beds right by the water that are perfect for a nap while listening to the waves. A marina is just a short walk down the beach where they have all kinds of water sports and excursions.
The rooms are exquisite and very clean. They each have a balcony with a view of the water and comfortable chairs on which to enjoy the view (perfect spot if it happens to rain). The water pressure in the shower was awesome - this is something really important to me when staying at a hotel. They have these wooden panel doors that you can close the blinds on and the room becomes as dark as a cave - perfect for a good night's sleep. My only criticism is they really should put little pads on the legs of the chairs - when they slide on the floor in the room above you they make a loud noise.
The resort has several restaurants - a pool restaurant (I highly recommend the fish tacos and the burgers), a fine dining restaurant called Shore (amazing tenderloin and risotto!), and a restaurant called Medi (I only had a chance to eat at their breakfast buffet, which was one of the best that I've ever seen. They had a made to order omelet station and all sorts of options. Definitely something for everyone. I saw another review that said it was horrible but I assure you that it is quite the opposite!) They definitely have tons of dining options.
They have a gelato place and I think a pizzeria - I never had a chance to try the gelato but it looked delicious! They also have a little sundries shop - they have everything you could possibly need - over the counter medications, suntan lotions, make up, toiletries of all kinds. Definitely came in handy!
One of the coolest things about this hotel is it has a sushi bar in the lobby accompanied by a full liquor bar each evening. A unique dinner/snack option for guests.
I highly recommend this hotel if you are looking for a relaxing stay at a luxury resort with full amenities.

Room Tip: All of the rooms have a view of the water so you really can't go wrong but our room was on a cor...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Konigswinter, Germany
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2013

We stayed for a week and really loved the place. Besides the remote location, which should be obvious when you book it, since I guess everyone looks at a map upon booking, it leaves nothing to be desired.
The room we had was big, with a nice bed, very quiet, every night we slept very well. The pool area is nice, unfortunately too few sunbeds have a soft overlay, they should have all of the sunbeds equipped that way.
Breakfast was nice, all drinks included in the half board rate, nice quality, egg station, we found the breakfast alright.
Dinner was exceptional, our rate included house wine and soft drinks, so all taken care of that we desired. The restaurant choice is nice, with a meditaranean-style restaurant which is good, a good sushi place and an outstanding place called "Shore" where high quality food is served, all part of our dinner plan. The steaks there are delicious, so is the rack of lamb. Unfortunately this restaurant was only open Wednesday to Saturday, so make sure of the opening hours and take the chance of eating there when you can!
The maids did a good job, always nice and clean everything.
A car is advisable, with Hertz car rates starting at 45 USD/day, or even a little less at the airport upon arrival.
Golf is a little on the expensive side, and difficult when you come in the windy season, like we did. We spent 400 USD for 2 green fees, equipment, shoes (rent), balls and a glove each. Take a glove and a few balls from home, that will save you at least 50 USD.
All in all a great experience and very well woth the money. Having seen many hotels in the world due to my job, I can absolutely recommend this one, it absolutely fulfilled our high expectations!

Room Tip: we had a garden view room to the back, not facing the pool, nice and quiet, the other ones looked qu...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brussels, Belgium
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2013

The Hotel used to be a Hyatt. While the employees are all friendly and provide a good service the property is poorly managed. Rooms are dirty and stuffy and the food quality is substandard for a hotel of this category. It goes so far to even question the freshness. The breakfast buffet was by far the worst we have experienced in any hotel around the world. Overall you get the feeling that the hotel has been cutting corners. The Location if you want to discover Curacao is one of the worst on the island and the resort as such does not make up for it. Working in the hospitality industry I enquired later on the island what what happened with this hotel. I understood that the owners stopped the contract with Hyatt, that staff has been let go and that indeed the property is poorly managed. All complaints have been addressed to the manager and we checked out the first night. Definitely stay away from this property.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MJKirsch, General Manager at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao, responded to this review, August 6, 2013
Dear CassilisBrussels:

I see you are an active TripAdvisor member and take your hotel stays very seriously. Thank you for your feedback. I take your review very seriously and I am interested to learn more about the problems you experienced and invite you to call me directly at +5999.840.1234.

Yes, we did transition to a Benchmark Resorts & Hotels managed property in Dec 2012 and have striven to exceed expectations and to provide a luxury vacation experience for our guests. But we clearly feel short of those standards during your visit. I sincerely apologize for your experience.

We do pride ourselves on providing a relaxing vacation surrounded by the natural Caribbean environment. Our views are of mountains, blue water and the island’s natural flora and fauna. As a result, we are about 25 minutes from Willemstad. Guests can enjoy the activities on the resort like hiking, golf, biking, snorkeling and watersports. Plus, within 15 minutes of the resort, there is an Aloe Plantation, Jan Thiel with nightlife and a casino, kite boarding and an Ostrich Farm with Safari Tours, and more! Plus, we offer a shuttle service to Willemstad. I am sorry that we did not communicate those options to you.

If you chose to visit us again, I’d love for you to by my personal guest! Please contact me directly to make your reservation.

Safe Travels on Your Next Adventure!
Philippe Everskijk
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2013

We can't thank Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort enough for helping us plan our dream wedding! The resort has a private beach which made our guests feel safe and comfortable. The rooms and the entire resort are very clean. From the moment you walk into the lobby, the view and ambiance are breath-taking. The staff have amazing hospitality. They always did everything with a smile and would go out of there way to get things done. All of the restaurants, Shore, Splash, Sushi, & even Medi (which was closed for us on this stay) have great food & will accommodate to your dietary restrictions. Not only were all of our guests vegetarian but we also had a few extra religious dietary restrictions that they took care of! Last, but def not least, Anjali & Gianni, our event coordinators, never let us break a sweat with all of this planning. Hats off to them. Having an Indian wedding is a challenge as is, but to have it at a destination can be even more of a challenge. However, my husband and I would recommend this resort not only for their wedding but even for a vacation. I know we are going back!

A couple things to note - the location of the resort is far from the airport (and several of the big airlines don't have the best timings) so budget extra time to get to and from the airport. This may be a detraction for some but it was one of the big reasons we chose the place. We really liked the secluded feel and the non-commercialized aspect of the resort. It's high luxury tucked away next to nothing else which is really hard to find nowadays. We looked at other resorts and islands, namely Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Grand Cayman, St. Johns and the Bahamas but couldn't find anything that fit this perfect blend of luxury yet seclusion besides Santa Barbara. In Curacao itself we also visited the Marriott and the Renaissance (which was better than the Marriot) but honestly the only thing they offer that's better than SB was that they had casinos. Santa Barbara blew their beaches, restaurants, hospitality, rooms, cleanliness, pool, etc. out of the water!

Room Tip: Full water view rooms are the best ones to get.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helsinki, Finland
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2013

After two stays, both as a Hyatt, as well as Santa Barbara we highly recommend this resort. Excellent service, beautiful large property well taken care of, great views and atmosphere. We will surely come again!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao

Address: Santa Barbara Plantation | Porta Blancu, Nieuwpoort, Curacao (Formerly Hyatt Regency Curacao Golf Resort, Spa and Marina)
Location: Caribbean > Curacao > Nieuwpoort
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Nieuwpoort
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao 4.5*
Number of rooms: 350
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort captures natural Caribbean charm and delivers it with an international elegance and sophistication. Just 35 miles from Aruba and served by a modern international airport, escape to paradise and embrace Curacao’s magical sea, sky and sun on 27 acres of rare natural preserve. At the same time, feel that every need is provided for, with exceptional service and refinement. Enjoy superior amenities like the Pete Dye designed golf course, a luxurious spa, resort pools with Caribbean views, an alluring white sand beach with a swimming lagoon, and sophisticated dining. Relax with the rare luxury of privacy on a secluded island within an island sequestered from the hustle and bustle of town center, and explore unlimited diving, snorkeling, boating and geo adventure right outside your door. Whether you are seeking an intimate retreat, or a lively and invigorating amenity-filled vacation, the resort creates a truly magnificent opportunity to experience the best of both worlds, and create your own. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hyatt Regency Curacao Golf Resort, Spa And Marina Hotel

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