Sandals Resorts International (SRI) has taken yet another giant leap forward in expanding its large footprint in Caribbean sands, this time in Curacao, marking its first entry into the Netherlands Antilles.
Sandals Royal Curacao has been open for a short while, but not yet formally open.
Located at the sprawling Santa Barbara Plantation in Willemstad, it’s SRI’s 16th property on a 9th Caribbean destination, a signature record for the 40-year-old company that’s been in Saint Lucia for all of three decades.
The new Sandals Royal is located on prime beachside property on the 472 square-kilometer (180 square-mile) island located 3,220 kilometers from New York, but twice the size of Washington.
The pastel-painted capital, Willemstad, is 400 years old and is protected by UNESCO, with new structures emerging around age-old buildings – and Curacao is quite popular, not only among Dutch citizens, but Europeans and Americans too.
There’s only one international airport, but the tiny island boasts a record 63 commercial harbors and 550 kilometers of roadways.
Sandals Royal guests can explore the colorful capital and visit the busier Punta and more-quiet Otrobanda sections by foot (across the Queen Emma pontoon bridge), or an available ferry, or driving across the imposing overhead Queen Juliana bridge.
Caribbean visitors will also notice the island is basically a giant coral rock like Barbados, mainly dry all-year-round, with people-friendly iguanas and large multicolored lizards – and see more cacti than anywhere else in the region.
With a GDP of just over US $2 billion, Curacao earned $282 million off tourism last year, in a visitor-welcome island where the average citizen can communicate in Dutch, English, French and Spanish, but 81.2% are fluent in the indigenous Papiamento language.
SRI has been inviting the world to Royal Curacao, ‘Where amazing comes together’ on a tiny beautiful island whose natural and cultural wonders connect to create ‘a beautiful mélange unseen anywhere else, where the natural romance of the intimate island comes alive…’
You’ll see it all ‘in the line where the desert landscape gently slopes into the azure ocean, where waters invite you to dive in and explore what’s beneath and how the wind catches a sail, propelling adventures yet to come…’
You’ll also taste it ‘in the quintessential flavors of Dutch, Caribbean, Latin and Creole cuisine, simmered low and slow, melding into a stobá stew; and hear it when you learn to say I Love You in four different languages…’
And ‘You’ll then put it all into the memories you’ll create, with the person you love, here at Sandals Royal Curaçao…’
Here alone on a working holiday, I can attest to (almost) all of that…
But don’t just take it from me…
To see, taste, smell, hear and feel all of it, All You Need Is Love!