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Sandals Royal Curacao: Where Royalty and Amazing Caribbean Realities Merge

By Earl Bousquet
Sandals Royal Curacao etched its image on the majestic horizon of an oceanic horizon on 44 acres of exclusive beachfront property in a 400-acre island plantation distant from the bustling but beautiful Willemstad, the island’s capital and still the main port of entry and departure to and from the Netherlands Antilles. (PHOTO: Earl Bousquet)
Sandals Royal Curacao etched its image on the majestic horizon of an oceanic horizon on 44 acres of exclusive beachfront property in a 400-acre island plantation distant from the bustling but beautiful Willemstad, the island’s capital and still the main port of entry and departure to and from the Netherlands Antilles. (PHOTO: Earl Bousquet)

If, as my Little Oxford dictionary says, being ‘royal’ means suited to, worthy of a king or queen, or belonging to a family of royals, or in service or under patronage of king or queen, or splendid, on a grand scale, then all fit categories fit and come together at Sandals Royal Curacao, the latest splendid hotel to open on a grand scale on a grand plantation suited to making you feel like being royal.

That feeling of belonging to and touched by royalty is how couples from Planet Earth who couldn’t or didn’t want to wait for the grand opening of Sandals Royal Curacao felt last weekend on Opening Night, June 24.

Specially-invited by Sandals Resorts International (SRI) Executive Chairman Adam Stewart to share the curtain-raising opening-night launch ceremony with him and Sandals crews from across the Caribbean, those gathered for the occasion at the Caribbean’s leading exclusive luxury resort chain’s 16th property on a 9th island included many who’d already felt royal at other Caribbean properties.

But each also admitted Curacao was their best experience staying at the globally-branded Caribbean chain’s palatial resorts.

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Extra-Royal guests can also drive freely around and across Curacao in their own personal Mini Club. (PHOTO: Earl Bousquet)
Extra-Royal guests can also drive freely around and across Curacao in their own personal Mini Club. (PHOTO: Earl Bousquet)

Each had arrived days before and was personally invited, through a tropically-gilded envelope from Stewart, directly-delivered to their rooms, on arrival, by a suite of smartly-suited courtiers, accompanied by a signed expression of his sealed ‘pleasure to personally welcome you’ to SRI’s ‘latest home-away-from-home’ in its first move from the English-speaking to ‘the colorful and captivating Dutch Caribbean.’

The man at the helm of the Sandals realm told the Royal Curacao’s first guests he felt ‘honored that you chose to be part of our story, as we not only write but experience and celebrate the next chapter in our beloved brand’s history during our commemorative 40th anniversary year.’

Committing to offering them and future guests ‘the very best always from the tapestry of Sandals Royal Curacao’, Stewart on opening night told Group Chief Executive Officer Gerhardt Rainer, group and property managers, gathered guests and friends from far and wide they were living a dream his legendary father Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart only dreamt of.

His dad had a decade earlier dreamed of acquiring the property and ‘Sandalizing it’ and while he was not on hand to live that dream today, Sandals Royal Curacao represents ‘a labour of love years in the making’, inspired just as much by ‘the natural beauty and pulsating culture that surrounds it’ as by them, its royal guests — ‘and the meaningful ways’ SRI invites them ‘to connect with this coveted slice of paradise.’

Citing the ‘Innovation, Heart and Soul’ behind the group’s designation of its latest Royal luxury resort as ‘Where Amazing Comes Together’, SRI’s helmsman invited the gathered guests to continue to absorb the royal feeling for the rest of the weekend, ‘with every breathtaking view, each delectable bite and sip, the warm smiles of our Team members and the immersive experiences our team has curated for you beyond the resort…’

Those who’d thus-far been to both sides of the pastel-painted capital Willemstad, or out on any of the daily catamaran tours or fishing trips, or simply chose to live simply relax in the homely excellence of ‘living at one and playing at all’ of the brand-new branded resort’s overwhelming number of facilities, all felt the added variations of style and luxury associated with the brand — except more so at this latest extension of the ever-growing Sandals Caribbean realm.

Each couple was welcomed on arrival by a dedicated Club Sandals Concierge with an individual plan ‘to elevate’ their luxury-included vacation ‘to a new level of indulgence’ through provision of ‘flawless personalized attention and exceptional hospitality’ throughout their stay.

Press and travel writers from near and far invited to share Sandals’ latest serving of the brand’s royal feeling in Curacao did feel the exclusive attention and treatment normally reserved for guests — from me being driven into happiness around and across Willemstad and the sprawling 44-acre Sandals Royal’s space within the ocean-wide 3,000-acre Santa Barbara Plantation by exclusive (and almost verifiably know-it-all) taxi operator Marlon Frans, to the European couple who simply couldn’t stop tracking and photographing the resort’s colorful lizards and friendly iguanas, to the ‘retired American globetrotter’ who likened the picturesque and quarry-laden ‘Table Hill’ overlooking Willemstad to South Africa’s Table Mountain, to the Mexican who said she’d ‘never seen such a concentration of cacti per square inch…’ even in Mexico.

Thanking General Manager Kevin Clarke, the Caribbean ‘Task Force’ members and the Curacao first-timers for the success of the seamless transition from the earlier Santa Barbara property to the current oasis of picturesque beach-side and terraneous Caribbean, the man with the helm at the Sandals realm thanked all present (and absent) for their roles in SRI ‘not only being voted the world’s best luxury vacation resort company for the last 27 years in succession,’ but also ‘having the highest rate of return visitors’ regionally.

SRI’s ultimate and unending objective being ‘to always outperform others’, Adam Stewart promised to maintain the elevation of Sandals standards even beyond royalty, each and every time, at all the other 15 resorts, while always planning ahead with new ways to remind loyalists and royalists that although Sandals Royal Curacao ‘is as good as it gets on the planet’, they should still ‘Put on your seatbelts, because we’re about to take-off again!’

Indeed, if royalty is meant to be splendid and on a graduating scale of grandiose grandeur, it’s all wrapped and enveloped in scale and style, branded and sealed at Sandals Royal Curacao, where royalty and amazing Caribbean realities come together, like nowhere else!

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