Sometimes when you’re traveling for work and have no control over your own arrangements, it can be worrisome. I spend hours, if not days, researching every last bit of where we stay—more often than not, an Airbnb rental—when traveling on our own. So not having an itinerary until the night before and just showing up to a Curacao resort having done no prior research was concerning.
Turns out I needn’t haven’t been concerned. This Curacao resort at Santa Barbara Beach was absolutely perfect.
I get a lot of emails from readers or people who stumble upon my site via Google asking for Caribbean resort destinations, and the truth is that I’ve stayed in shockingly few, often preferring an Airbnb or tall ship experience over anything fancier. This was one of those times I was glad I was traveling for work and had an editor book my Curacao resort on my behalf.
This post was last updated in March 2022.
Sadly, the original Santa Barbara Resort we stayed in suspended operations in 2020. The good news? It was taken over and rebuilt as a more high-end Sandals Resort. I’m leaving this post up in hope it inspires you to visit this new Curacao resort nonetheless, as the area is truly spectacular.
Where to stay in Curacao
I loved how remote this section of coastline in Curacao is—Santa Barbara Plantation is a good 25 minutes from the capital of Willemstad and flanked by a private residential community—but also accessible (i.e. a short drive) to so many things we wanted to do, from a visit to the Chichi doll factory to a morning of boat diving.
Since we were there on assignment, our editors kept us pretty booked to the hour the five days we were there. Had we had more time to chill? I can see both of us just hanging out at this spot all day long. I mean, wouldn’t you?
We stayed on-site for dinner one night, and like the rest of our time in Curaçao, the food was on point: a good mix of surf and turf, very fresh and accented by seasonal ingredients.
Unlike other islands, Curaçao isn’t chock full of sandy beaches—or at least, parts of its coastline are rocky and rugged, like the area around Santa Barbara Plantation where the Sandals Resort is.
Like Bonaire, it’s a mostly desert island. For the sandy stretches, you drive north to the west coast for the afternoon. Still, this resort does a great job of making do with what its got—and creating a roped-off lagoon along its one sandy spot.
Check current prices for Sandals Royal Curacao couples-only resort prices here. And if this Curacao resort isn’t in your price range, here are other places to stay around the island:
About Santa Barbara Plantation
Really what I loved the most about the slice of land that Sandals Curacao inhabits is the sheer space; including a Pete Dye-designed 18-hole golf course spanning 6,920 yards, the resort spans 3,000 acres that abut the Spanish Water Bay.
So next time one of you writes me and asks where you should go on your next tropical vacation, don’t be surprised when I respond with a single word: Curacao.