Sandals Royal Curacao

I visited Sandals Royal Curacao in September this year. The resort, located on the island of Curacao near Aruba and Bonaire, part of the ABC Islands often called the Dutch Caribbean, opened in late June 2022. Several of my experienced clients visited the resort and reported back to me their concerns so I decided to check-it out myself! That’s me above hugging the heart-shaped tree.

Sandals Royal Curacao is located in a private, gated enclave called Santa Barbara located approximately 40-60 minutes from Willemstad, the capital city of Curacao. The people of the Netherlands established a trading settlement on the natural harbor of Curacao, the deepest harbor in the Caribbean, in 1634. The resort is located on the channel that leads to the harbor.

I found the staff to be pleasant, professional and obliging.
*Yes, it was VERY hot in September. Curacao is close to the Equator, only 37 miles from Venezuela. *There was a nice cooling breeze however.
*Three beach/pool areas. A man-made beach on the Channel but quite narrow. The Main Pool with the amazing glass walls was very busy. The Quiet Pool was my personal favorite.
*There are lovely one level cottages adjacent to the Quiet Pool, the Melemele 1 Bedroom Butler Walkout Suites (room code WM1)
*The most extraordinary beachfront suites are the Awa Seaside Butler Bungalows with private glass-sided infinity pools (room code ASP).
*The Main Building where I stayed was once a Hyatt Resort. Sandals acquired the property then “Sandalized” it and added on. New private Rondovals will be finished before Christmas.
*Because of commercial traffic on the Channel, no water toys can be taken out. Watersports Staff will take guests out on Hoby Cats. Some watersports available between the beach and pier which separates the beach from the Channel.
*Complimentary bicycles available throughout the resort for easy pedaling!
*No vendors on the beach during my stay.
*The 8 restaurants are all very good with only two requiring reservations. Memorable were Butch’s Island Chop House, a favorite serving steak & seafood…and lobster when in season. Vincent for European Cuisine. A new restaurant, Zuka, specializing in Latin Fusion and always a favorite, a Sushi restaurant, Gatsu Gatsu with chicken or seafood served next to a hot stone for table-top cooking. It’s a fun innovation and I imagine it will appear at other Sandals resorts.
*The Jewels in the Crown at Royal Curacao are the 3 Food Trucks for informal, light, outdoor dining. Toteki – traditional Curacao fare, Le Palma – Spanish Tapas, Kishi – Asian Fusion.
*TIP: If you don’t like the noisy Lobby Bar at cocktail hour, there are several smaller, quieter bars at the restaurants open in the evening. Every evening I chose a different restaurant and had a pre-dinner cocktail, chatting with the bartender.

I’m an early riser and one morning on my way to coffee at Kanaal, the Resort Night Manager picked me up in her golf cart with another guest for a view of sunrise over the golf course. It’s special efforts like this that make a resort!

There’s a nice selection of tours away from the resort that focus on touring the island, boating and snorkeling. Because I’ve done a number of these throughout my career, I opted for the different Curacao Culinary Night Experience that included a walking tour of Willemstad. We stopped at 3 different restaurants and the guide spoke to the many historical sites located there.

by Molly Sumption, Caribbean Honeymoon / Sandals Expert, Seattle & Portland / subscribe to RSS feed