I cannot believe we stayed at the same resort that previous reviewers, who had so many negative things to say, stayed. What a difference several months apparently makes. Also, perhaps the 7 million dollar investment the new owners made are now paying dividends.
My wife and I love the tropics and we decided to celebrate our 30th anniversary at the Sunscape Curacao. I wanted it to be something special for the two of us. I was pretty concerned after reading some of the previous reviews on Trip Advisor. So much so, that I had a fallback plan to stay at another hotel.
However, we experienced none of the negative issues reported by previous reviewers. My wife and I felt Sunscape compared very favorably with many of the hotels we stayed in on other Caribbean Islands and in Mexico. Most importantly we were impressed enough that we are making plans to return.
If I were to give only one piece of advice I would suggest you pay, if you are able, the additional fee to secure a Preferred Club Unit as we did. The Preferred Club is in building 8. It has its own pool and private beach area. This is one of the newer buildings on the property and the rooms were recently updated, as have all the rooms in the other buildings in the resort. We were in room 8117. It was on the first floor so all you had to do was walk out the patio door to the pool and beach. However, some may prefer a unit on the top floor (better ocean view).
Following is a more in depth review of specific areas
Our check-in was smooth and flawless. As soon as we gave the front desk our name we were escorted to the Preferred Club room and offered a welcoming glass of champagne and fruit juices. We were asked to complete a simple check-in form, given a resort map, a quick orientation and we were on our way to the room. If you register for the preferred club you will avoid long lines at the check-in desk by bypassing it and going right next door to the preferred club room.
Just about everyone I passed from the grounds keepers to the maids, security, bellmen and cooks, if I smiled and said hello they would smile and say something back. If I asked a question, they would try to answer. Some speak better English than others but I found most understood what I was saying. I can only think of one person, one of the bartenders at the main bar who seemed disinterested and rude. It’s funny; I saw him on the first day and never saw him again after that.
I want to recognize just a few of those individuals who made our trip so special
Jonathan and Astrid, in the middle of our vacation the screw in my glasses came loose and a lens fell out. My wife went to the front desk and they called maintenance. Now when I think of maintenance I think of hammers and wrenches but Jonathan and Astrid had a tiny eyeglass screwdriver and according to my wife spent 20 or 30 minutes replacing the lens and reseating the screw in the frame. If it wasn’t for them I would have spent the rest of my vacation wearing a monocle.
Norma(aka. Baby Love), the daytime bartender in the Oceana Bar was funny and made great drinks. I even taught her to make a "Painkiller" Try her sweet sunshine but be careful, they can sneak up on you. Also the grill cook at Oceana, I believe it was Iona, tell her I recommended her grilled onions on her fish sandwich. She will either laugh or hit you with a spatula. I had a great time all week convincing her grilled onions enhanced the flavor of her Mahi-Mahi sandwich. Enrique, the waiter/wine steward in the Italian restaurant was very attentive and seemed to know what I was thinking before I even asked a question. Chin Ping the bartender at the lobby bar, has the good stuff hidden away and told great stories. The lobby bar is a great place to go and Chin is a good person to see for an after dinner drink
One last thing on this topic, even though this is an all-inclusive resort tipping is always appreciated. It doesn’t have to be a lot but at the end of the day I would tip those who I thought provide outstanding service. The next day those people would always remember what drink you ordered, give you an extra towel or bring you clean plate.
There always seemed to be things to do during the day and night. The resort offers free use of non-motorized water toys wind surfers, kayaks, Hobie Cats and snorkeling gear, along with free instructions. I would recommend if you like to snorkel to bring your own fins and mask. The resort has an adequate supply but they do put a time limit on your use of the mask and snorkel. If you have teenagers and they like the water you should have no trouble keeping them occupied. If you prefer motorized watersports they can be found at Mambo Beach a short walk or bicycle ride away. At night there always seemed to some kind of entertainment going on at the main pool or a movie on the lawn near the wedding gazebo.
The Sun Scape has a ¼ mile long shoreline, protected by a man made seawall that makes for a large saltwater like swimming pool-no waves, no current. The beach is mostly fine powder sand and has a number of shelters and palm trees to provide plenty of shade. In one of the picture I posted you can see there are 3 separate beach areas. Two larger ones separated by a point, where the water toys are located, and a smaller one at the far right located in front of the main resort pool. The building on the far left is the Preferred Club. The center beach water entry is fairly rocky but there are sandy entry points at the watersports area, along most of the beach in front of the Preferred Club and in front of the main swimming pool. Bring a pair of water shoes with you but be careful of stepping on the rocks.There is a lot of sea life living in the shallows in and among those rocks.
Snorkeling is excellent on both sides of the breakwater. My wife has a fear of swimming in the open ocean but I couldn’t get her out of the water here at Sun Scape. As a matter of fact it was only on our last day at the resort that we actually tore ourselves away from the beach and went to Willemstad
Food is a subjective entity that is so dependent on a person’s personal taste that you can never be sure that your tastes are in line with theirs. So before I begin, here are three objective facts of our dining experiences. One, all of our meals except two dinners were eaten on premises. Two, we never left the table hungry and we never got sick. Three, we always had breakfast in the main dining room buffet, lunch sandwiches from the Oceania grill and dinners in DeMario’s- the Italian Restaurant, Oceana- the seafood restaurant and Himitsu- the Japanese hibachi grill restaurant. We did not do the lunch or dinner buffet nor did we eat at the Blue Water grill. Overall our eating experience at Sun Scape was very positive
For breakfast, there was a decent selection of fresh fruits, cereals, breads, juices and meats to choose from. You could also have eggs done to order on the grill. As an American, one thing to keep in mind is you are in an island country that is 3 times closer to Bogotá, Columbia than NYC. Some of the food, including the eggs, which are very small, are different. If you are used to eating a three egg omelet for Sunday brunch, then be prepared to order a 5-6 egg omelet here. This is not an IHOP, the French toast and pancakes are in a buffet serving tray and they are not cooked to order. I am not apologizing for the resort but just trying to set expectations.
The one thing I didn’t like was that the buffet is located inside a very large palapa. If you were lucky enough to sit on the periphery you had plenty of daylight, but if you were stuck in the middle it was dark. We resolved that problem by taking our plates outside to one of the tables in front of the Italian restaurant. No one seemed to object and once we were finished we bussed our own table and returned our plates to the dining area.
For lunch I would walk to the Oceana grill that had hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken breast and fresh mahi-mahi on the menu. The hamburgers were so-so but the fish and chicken as well as the French fries were good. There was something very cool about sitting in a beach lounge chair staring at the beautiful deep blue ocean munching on a fresh fish sandwich.
We always ate at the different theme restaurants and so I cannot comment on the dinner buffet. We took the advice of other reviewers and always arrived at 6:15 for the 6:30 PM first seating and never had to wait.
Dinner at Oceana under the stars was very nice. Glasses of champagne before dinner and continuing throughout were a good touch. My wife had the deep fried Salmon, (sounds strange but she said it was very good) and I had the Curacao Conch, said to be a local favorite. It was excellent and very different from any Conch dish I have ever had. One warning, the dish was spicy, I like spicy food but it was not mentioned on the menu. The menu is fairly limited as it was at all of the restaurants, but they did have some specials including a whole deep fried snapper that looked delicious.
The Italian restaurant was our favorite. It was very hot even after the sunset so it was nice to sit inside with the A/C going full blast. I understand children are not allowed inside, not sure why and not sure of the cutoff age. The starters were OK but nothing to write home about. As a main course, we both had the tenderloin medium rare. That was good but the reduction sauce surrounding it was even better. We took the advice of other reviewers and ordered nothing with a red sauce. You can have the house wine as part of the all-inclusive package or, they have a small but very good wine selection at a moderate price. Since we were here to celebrate our anniversary, I opted to order a 2009 Marques de Casa Concha y Toro cabernet sauvignon. Enrique, our server, was observant enough to sense that after tasting the wine I was going to say it was too warm and immediately brought a wine bucket to chill it to the proper 65 degree cellar temperature. Way to go Enrique. All in all we both thought this was the best dinner we had at the resort. So good in fact we went back on our last night and did it again.
I was disappointed in Himitsu. Not so much for the food but the fact that we made reservations to sit at the Hibachi grill which had to be 25 degrees hotter than the 87 degree air temperature. Perhaps doing it in February would be better than September. You only need reservations to sit at the grill. There are individual tables away from the heat that are available on a first come first serve basis. I did enjoy socializing with the other couples seated with us, two newlyweds, one from the Netherlands and the other from Atlanta. The conversation was so good that I really do not remember what I ate. I know that like any Japanese Hibachi grill there was plenty of showmanship displayed by the chef and I cleaned my plate so I must have liked the food.
Grounds, Facilities and Security
I don’t know the history of the resort but it appears it was built in stages. As mentioned earlier the property is about a ¼ mile long and relatively narrow compared to the width. There are 4 older two story motel-like buildings in the center of the property while the newer buildings are near the edges. The grounds are well maintained with typical tropical flora and fauna throughout. One thing I found interesting is the number of shade trees in the center of the property. I didn’t expect to see shade trees on Curacao. They were a nice cool touch during the heat of the day.
As I mentioned all of the rooms are in the process of or have been renovated. There is a 5 story midrise on the south end of the property that is currently under renovation. These appear to be efficiency units and the ones in the beachfront building have fantastic views of the beach and the resort. In a few months when they are completed perhaps someone who stays in one of those units can give an update. The three story units building 7 and 8 (Preferred Club) are at the north end of the property away from the resort center and the crowds. I definitely recommend upgrading to the preferred club if you like peace and quiet and want to have beach butlers bring you food and drink throughout the day.
The Security people were always around and made us feel very safe, although I was never quite sure if security was an issue in the first place. I suppose that since there is a casino on site it’s better to be safe than sorry. We sometimes left our patio door unlocked when we were at the pool but kept all of our valuables in the safe. We noticed that the maid would always lock the patio door when she left. That was a nice touch to know that the staff was trained to protect their gust’s belongings.
This resort is still in transition and I believe they are still trying to work out the serving protocol. Yes, at this writing drinks are served in small glasses and yes there is only one beer Amstel. Is that a problem? Maybe for some but in the short run I resolved the issue of small cups by ordering 2 at a time. I would suggest that you bring or purchase in town a 12 or 16 oz. Tervis Tumbler and have the bartender pour multiple drinks in them. The insulated tumblers will keep your drinks cold. I have no suggestion for the single beer but again from what I heard from one of the bartenders management is looking into the issue.
As for some of the reviews that said there was no alcohol in the drinks, I would strongly disagree. I drank 3 of Norma’s “Sweet Sunshine’s” and felt I would be in DUI territory in the states and remember these were small glasses. At the lobby bar after dinner I had a Remy VSOP one night and a Sambuca the next night. It’s pretty hard to fake the alcohol in those. All in all, the small glass policy should be changed and the top shelf stuff needs to make its way from the lobby bar to the other bars. However, unless you have a serious drinking problem or only drink Coors light you should not have a problem getting what you need at any of the bars on the property
There is no reason to rent a car. The resort provides free transfers to and from the airport. Just give them you flight information when you confirm your reservation and 2 days before you leave. In fact they remind you with a note under the door to reconfirm your departure time
If you are going to town during the day there is a bus stop across the street from the resort. The busses are really Toyota vans that hold about nine people. It’s $1.50 each way whereas a taxi ride is $15.00. Make sure the route card says Punta on it. Obviously the return should say Sunscape Resort.
If you are going to town in the evening for dinner I suggest calling a cab. We found a very enterprising cabbie Daniel who can be reached at DanielTaxi-Curaçao@hotmail.com
Facebook: Daniel Taxi-Curaçao,(5999) 673-1717, 563-1717. The first evening we used him he gave us a tour of Willemstad at no additional charge. We made arrangements to meet him the next evening to take us to our anniversary dinner. He was not there at the appointed time but he radioed another cabbie who told us Daniel was running about 10 minutes late and if that was not OK he would take us and, “Oh by the way, Daniel told me it was your Anniversary. Happy Anniversary.” Naturally we waited for Daniel.
Car rentals are available in the lobby if you want to explore the island on your own. You may also want to ask Daniel or another Cabbie what he would charge to give you a personal tour but make sure it’s on a day when no cruise ships are in town.
Bug Repellant- If mosquitos like you at home, they will love you in Curacao make sure you bring your own or be prepared to buy some
I know this is a long review but I hope it gives you a good idea of why my wife and I plan to return
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located near one of the world's most praised diving sites, Sunscape Curaçao Resort, Spa & Casino offers guests a fun-filled getaway of a lifetime with all the privileges of Unlimited-Fun(R). All guests will enjoy limitless access to six delectable restaurants, where reservations are never required and endless domestic and international beverages from seven chic bars and lounges. The Explorer's Club is where kids, ages 3 to 12, can have their own fun while under the supervision of Red Cross certified supervisors and the Core Zone Teens Club offers special activities and events for teens 13 to 17-years-old. All guests will have the fun-filled getaway of a lifetime at Sunscape Curaçao with activities, events, parties and more where wristbands are never required! ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Breezes Resort, Spa & Casino - Curacao Hotel Willemstad
- Breezes Resort, Spa And Casino - Curacao
- Breezes Curacao Hotel
- Breezes Resort Curacao
- Superclub Breezes Curacao
- Breeze Curacao
- Sunscape Curacao Resort Spa & Casino Willemstad