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“Beautiful property, but”

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Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Nieuwpoort
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
78 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Beautiful property, but”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 February 2012

First, if I had the ability to give this 3 1/2 circles that would have been my rating, but it was closer to 4 than 3 so that was the overall rating. There were lots of very good to excellent things about this property, but we had some issues.

First the good:
-- Everyone has a smile and is trying to make things right. Most of the wait staff and housekeeping staff go out of their way to do things the right way.
-- Our room was lovely; we had a suite with a lovely view; plenty of space, two balconies,etc.
-- The grounds were wonderful.
-- Virtually all of the food we had was delicious.
-- The beach was pristine and long (but it did look artificial and thanks to a break water, there were no waves unless generated by a passing power boat).

Now the issues (in no particular order):
-- Before we arrived, we asked the concierge to make reservations at each of the hotel's two main restaurants. The reservation the first night at Medie was fine; the second night reservation at Shor was MIA. My suspicion is that the problem was at the restaurant, not with the concierge, but it was disconcerting even though the staff was able to find a table in a corner after a few minutes delay.
-- When we left Shor after the reservation glitch, at the suggestion of the manager we made two more reservations. The day of the next reservation, I walked over to confirm the reservation and it had not been made. I then went to the hotel manager (Alberto Rizzo), who said he would take care of the problem and indeed we had no further problems.
-- One night we had reservations at a restaurant in Willemstad. The day before the reservation, we had the concierge arrange for a taxi reservation. When the time came, we were stood up. We were on the verge of giving up -- indeed, we were at hotel reception trying to make a restaurant reservation at the hotel -- when the doorman came running. He had found another taxi and our night was saved by the doorman's diligence.
-- All this serves to flag two issues about the property. The first is that they are short on restaurants. The hotel has converted the lobby into a sushi restaurant at night, which relieves some of the congestion, but at night both regular hotel restaurants were fully booked. At breakfast, the only restaurant open had long lines. The evening situation wouldn't be a big issue if the Hyatt were close to other properties or to Willemstad, but it's not. Willemstad is at least a 30 minute drive, costing approximately $35 by taxi. Indeed, one of my travel companions noted that the driveway to the hotel was the longest she had ever seen.
-- Given that Willemstad is a ways away, the hotel needs to provide better transportation options. It needs a recurring shuttle to the city. Right now there's one shuttle at 8:30 with a return at 2. And, they charge $12 a person for the shuttle. Given that taxis are at a premium, they need to insitute hourly service or at least every other hour service.
-- Perhaps the biggest issue was the pool situation. There are two adjacent pools, but they were dominated by kids and just swimming was difficult. They need to provide an adults only pool or at least an adults only time in one of the pools. They may not need lifeguards, but they need to provide some policing on the behaviors of the children. Yes, I know, that's really a responsibilty of parents, but if they're not doing their job, someone needs to step in. One afternoon, I was jumped on by a 10-year old while swimming and a short time later was hit twice by a soccer ball while sitting on a lounge chair.
-- The noise factor also was an issue in the evening. Kids were yelling, running and skateboarding in the halls and outside well past eleven in the evening.

(FWIW, I don't know if this is true, but we were told by a staff member that the hotel was frequently taken over by large Venezuelan families who unable to enjoy their country fly to Curacao, nannies in tow, to party at certain Curacao properties. We were there during Carnaval so it's possible that the situation was exacerbated at the time of our stay.)

Room Tip: Try to get a room away from the Medi Restaurant. They often have music until 11. If you're ear...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
5 Thank prhnjd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
28 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 February 2012

After disappointing stays at two previous hotels on Curacao we decided to try the new Hyatt in the Santa Barbara Plantation area-it proved to be a great decision.The property is beautiful and very well maintained.We are not golfers but The Old Quarry golf course situated along the ocean front looks like a very enticing set up for those that do play.
Our room was at the ground level overlooking very nicely landscaped grounds and out on to the ocean (other water view rooms that overlook the bay channel are directly on the water but not true ocean view).The room was very modern and well appointed including double sinks, a flat screen TV , premium bedding and a small refrigerator.We had breakfast delivered each morning and ate out on the front patio area which was very nice.
For us what really set the hotel apart from others we had visited on Curacao ( or elsewhere for that matter) was the staff.Whether it was our airport check in with Jahnil(sp) where we were warmly welcomed and given bottles of cold water and chilled hand towels (very nice touch) , our jovial hotel check in with Patrick at the front desk , our thorough and informative property tour and room check in with Mem, our delicious al fresco lunch at Medi served with smiles by Jerick or our memorable dinners at The Shor charmingly hosted by Matteo and flawlessly serviced by Sandra and Gilbert, every one we met during our stay was not only happy and enthusiastic about their job but they were all genuinely proud of the hotel -the management and Hyatt are to congratulated on this accomplishment. I can honestly say that there is not one thing my wife or I would change about our stay-it was perfect.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank SnorkelMan50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 February 2012

We spent 10 days around Xmas this year at this hotel (2 families, 4 kids between 9 and 16). It is a nice hotel, and the staff is very welcoming (this is the #1 highlight). But one quickly gets bored there. First, and my biggest disappointment, if you are looking for a beach on the ocean with waves, there is none. It is a man-made beach facing a canal where lots of boats are circulating, In fact “real” natural beaches are not in abundance in Curacao. If you are looking for miles of endless sandy beaches, this is not the place. The pool area was small and the pools themselves very ordinary.

Room was comfortable except that a curtain serves a door to the bathroom (there is a real door for the toilet room). So privacy is an issue especially when travelling with teenager girls. Daily substantial service charges (on top of room rate) was a bad surpise and a downer when we checked-out

The food at the hotel was very average (regardless of the restaurant), not cheap, and after 10 days we had gone thought he menus a few times and were desperate for something new. Because the hotel is far away on its own, access to non-hotel restaurants becomes complicated. To makes thing worst, the food was very North American and European (burger, pizza, pasta steak, ribs). Local fares and flavors were totally missing. So much great fresh fish available in Curacao, but little of it on the menus. The restaurant Shore had fish but it was the type: pick your fish, your side, your seasoning, and your sauce. No great creative dish to blow your mind, no good signature dishes, nothing memorable.

Scuba diving was stunning and well organized!

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank grdube
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
pennsylvania
Level Contributor
185 reviews
94 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 February 2012

The setting is beautiful if a little remote. I advise renting a car unless you spend your time just relaxing on the property. The property has a long layout and our adult kids were put in a room on the complete opposite end of us. However both rooms were lovely inside and modern. The east side room supposedly had a partial ocean view but being on the first floor you'd have to have xray vision but the garden is pretty. Our other room on the fourth floor on the west side had a lovely view of the dock/ocean side, pretty sunset views.
We ate at all but the sushi bar. Medi was good casual food, nice breakfast buffet and tasty pizzas. Medi has a sangria flight. Was good and lots of fun the first night we arrived. The Bella Italia had great gelato, however the first night we arrived saw coconut my favorite only it was not available to the day before we left and it was gone by that night. They also have a great cappuccino in the morning. Swim was a great place for salad or burgers and drinks around the pool. I did get sick one day from my lunch there which was unfortunate but always a risk with salad. The service from the swim restaurant was amazing, our one male server actually ran to get us drinks. Shor is definitely a place you need a reservation. The food is good and the kitchen clean, you can view the whole operation. They have a great mojito, upper end wines and tasty soups. View is amazing to boot. Food is pricey though and includes service charge. They really could use a third place for dinner as the lack of restaurants at such a remote resort makes one want to go off property.
The golf course is very nice with exceptional views. The rough is truly rough expect some lost balls.
The pools are not overly large or special and at times there were plastic cups as well as cigarette butts floating in it but it is a windy island and people tend to leave things lay by the chairs so can excuse some of it. The beach is long and narrow but the greatest part is they kept many of the native trees so there is lots of shade to get out of the sun. As previous TA review mentioned the chairs are nice looking but can get uncomfortable.
Rooms were large and had some nice touches. Showers and sinks have slow drains beware. Lots of closet space but only 6 hangers so difficult to hang lots of things. Robes in room for use. Housekeeping was a little lax. I saw them cleaning the one day and most days they just skimmed over the room ie, so was a little dirty by weeks end.
Our complimentary paper never came although they kept asking and checking into it. I figured it was due to our location next to the last building.
Most staff were very helpful and pleasant.
All in all a great place to spend a week in spite of the the small problems.

Room Tip: higher floors have better views
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank 4vrongo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland OR
Level Contributor
29 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 February 2012

Hyatt's seem to often be "separated" from other areas, conceived as "all-in-one" destinations. Go there, spend all your time and money on property, rarely leave (except to return to airport).

I spent 3 nights at this property, mostly on business (present at a conference) + took an extra day for myself to see some parts of Curacao. The service was very good. Room was nice. But not quiet. Band playing until 11 PM (which I guess is not that big a deal - unless you have to get up early the next day, which likely few would do.) Beach was on an inlet. Very upscale area. Pool as nice but had too little shaded options. $4 to use each pool towel? Lots of activities scheduled in all the time, if you're so inclined (again, designed to keep you entertained and on property, I assume.) Staff very friendly and accommodating. Large carafes of coffee in the morning - for $4/cup. Actually their Japanese restaurant (sushi, sashimi, tempura etc) that served in the main lobby (!) had good food and not terribly expensive, considering. Overall, a good destination hotel for my first time on Curacao.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank RobertPater
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Magnolia, Tx.
Level Contributor
219 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 290 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 February 2012

We stayed 9 nights since the promo deal offered was too good to pass up, PLUS airfare was cut-rate from Houston. Curacao is 1 of our fave Carib islands, so since we already knew the island, we knew this place was out-of-the-way & should be great for relaxing. Yes, there are a LOT of rooms that require a several minute walk to get to your door, so if you're not into walking, ask for a room closer to the lobby. We asked for quiet, upper floor w/ocean view & that's what (I think!) we got, albeit it was as far from the lobby as one could possibly get. Rooms, lobby, pool & restaurants are as shown on their web site. Noticed some reviews took issue with the bathroom directly by the front door with no doors to seclude tub or vanity from people entering or exiting the room, but there is a long, large drape that can be pulled shut for complete privacy, so we didn't mind. A pocket door gives privacy for the toilet. We upgraded to what was described as best ocean views for a deluxe king, but we also had an excellent view of the Shor Restaurant, several tall date palms in a garden between the hotel & restaurant plus an excellent view of the wing of rooms with higher priced suites -- NOT my idea of "ocean view"; my description: "restricted ocean view". You be the judge from my pics. It was also quite a walk to the swimming beach which was way over on the other side of the hotel area. Very nice beach, once you get there. Didn't use the pools because the beach was quieter with less kids, but on weekend days, it got noisier from boats docked temporarily at the small marina as well as increased guest load. The hotel allows outside day visitors to pay a fee to use the beach, so everyone on the beach is NOT a hotel guest. Snack & bar service on the beach was excellent, but they should expand the menu to include a few items from Medi Restaurant. There are limited water activities available for an additional fee you pay to a 3rd vendor. (With the 14% daily resort fee charged, they should provide these services FREE to hotel guests!) Snorkeling at this beach yields seeing only a few fish, so save snorkeling for other locations when you rent a car or book snorkel adventures with any of several boats leaving from Spanish Water. Biggest surprise of this trip: the food at all restaurants was superior to most other Carib hotels, even from other islands. It's also pricier, but you do get what you pay for. Mixed drinks from SWIM (the pool bar that provides beach bar service) are very weak on the alcohol. Had to ask for a double in order to tell it was an alcoholic drink. "House" wines at Medi & Shor are quite good; again, a little higher priced than what we're used to in Houston. Cab service is very expensive on the island so if you plan to go off resort, rent a car. Shuttle service is offered into Willemsted, but the schedule was inconvenient for what we wanted to do, so the concierge arranged for an inexpensive local rental car service since the Hertz desk at the hotel had only their most expensive cars available. The company (G&H) provided free pick-up/delivery & the car was in better shape than most Hertz rentals we've had in the Caribbean. There are lots of roads & trails to hike right on the property - it's quite vast, so this is a good place for hikers & they provide maps. We never knew when daily maid service would show up because they were apparently not on any kind of regular schedule, so it interfered with our quiet reading time twice. At check-in we were asked what time we wanted maid service, but since we would keep different schedules each day, we told them "anytime after 10 a.m." Sometimes they came at 1:30, other days at 3:30 or 4, too late in my book if I'm spending the day at the resort. They also seem to do a lot of banquet, wedding, conference, etc., business. Evening soirees from these groups sometimes got loud, so we were glad we were far away from the lobby/banquet areas. There's also live entertainment some evenings at Medi, but those are also sporatic. We re-arranged our entire Wednesday activities to revolve around a 7:30 dinner reservation at Medi with good table views of the 8-10 pm entertainment (belly dancer & exotic band that nite). An evening shower at 7:30 shorted out all the electric plugs in the outdoor entertainment area to the point of not being fixed until the next day, so poor coordination between restaurant staff, hotel engineers & the entertainers resulted in the show starting at 9:30 inside another part of the restaurant, completely out of hearing & out of sight of our table. We stuck around for over 45 minutes after our meal was finished just waiting for the show. When it began, we weren't even aware because we couldn't see or hear it. Quite a disappointment as it was the only night we could schedule evening entertainment into our own schedule. Something management needs to be aware of: we witnessed several disagreements & unpleasantries between different members of staff including housekeeping, grounds keepers, beach bar service, Medi Restaurant service, to name a few. After talking with 1 employee about it, he said it was due to a major change in management staff & the whole system of management as they knew it since the hotel opened was being turned upside down for many. New rules being made including making guests not only personally sign out for every pool towel, but also making guests sign them back in or get charged $15 per missing towel are ludicrous for this calibre of hotel. (The concierge later said we would not be charged for towels we returned after the pool closed because we couldn't sign them back in.) In my book, if the staff ain't happy & act that way in front of guests, the hotel suffers. I will admit when minor problems arose that directly affected us, I mentioned it to management & they were resolved immediately, but seeing employee disagreements almost every day got tiresome. Internet fees are very high, both wi-fi & use of business center desktops. They should offer free wi-fi as an amenity since they charge the resort fee. All in all, we had a good stay, but we won't return because we prefer smaller, non-chain accommodations with real beachfront views in studio or 1 bdrm + kitchen settings. To have this kind of accommodation at this resort would've been out of our budget. I don't know if there is a fee to use their tennis courts because we don't play tennis. You DON'T get what you pay for in the 14% daily resort fee added to your bill & be sure to check your bill carefully before check-out. We were charged for drinks at the lobby bar we never ordered. When we saw this, it was removed from the bill. If you love big resort stays, then you might like this place more than we did. The only reason I gave this 4 stars was because the original deal was a great bargain for the size & type of room compared to other places at the time. It was also very clean with great food.

Room Tip: Rooms at either end of wings quieter but long walks. If you need elevator all the time, stay close...
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank cmb2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Ontario
Level Contributor
84 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 February 2012

Just returned from a week in Curacao. We selected the Hyatt because it is new and was reviewed very favourably on Trip Advisor. The start of the holiday did not go well as we were given the wrong room and had to change rooms the following day. Both rooms had the same furnishings it was that the new room had the desired Caribbean view. Rebecca at the front desk handled the situation very well. The beach is really different as it is situated along a manmade dock separating the water from various boats. Lounge chairs and beach service is excellent. Food at the Swim restaurant is excellent. The other restaurants were good as well but we preferred the Shor to the Medi. The staff cannot do enough for you but their systems drive you to drink at times. Reservations are a must or you did get turned away as we witnessed several times. We scratched our heads as empty tables became available within 5-10 minutes and guests could have been served. This could pose a problem for the first nighters just arriving from Canada (or other countries) tired and hungry. We were all inclusive and we did have to sign for everything-no band system here. The hotel communication was a bit confusing regarding the drinks and premium brands in terms of what was paid for and this could be sorted better for the future. Just make sure you know what is considered all inclusive at the time of ordering either food and/or drinks. The bar service at all the restaurants was tops. At times the large groups pose a challenge for the staff but they do carry it off very well. You meet staff from all around the world and I mean that-at least 20 different countries. The real dilema for this resort is that if you do golf and any water sports are extra. The hotel is isolated and transportation to other restaurants and into town during the evening/nightime hours adds up quickly. Take a cab or rent a car to see the island. The hotel grounds are lovely and having a balcony overlooking the sea was great. So, the bottom line is good accommodation, good food and very good service just not five star as we did not have a stocked mini bar and we were not given the little things to warrant the five star treatment.

Room Tip: If you can afford an unobstructed view then go for it. Really beautiful.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Rebecca091
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao

Property: Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao
Address: Santa Barbara Plantation | Porta Blancu, Nieuwpoort, Curacao (Formerly Hyatt Regency Curacao Golf Resort, Spa and Marina)
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Curacao > Nieuwpoort
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Nieuwpoort
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao 4.5*
Number of rooms: 350
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort captures natural Caribbean charm and delivers it with an international elegance and sophistication. Just 35 miles from Aruba and served by a modern international airport, escape to paradise and embrace Curacao’s magical sea, sky and sun on 27 acres of rare natural preserve. At the same time, feel that every need is provided for, with exceptional service and refinement. Enjoy superior amenities like the Pete Dye designed golf course, a luxurious spa, resort pools with Caribbean views, an alluring white sand beach with a swimming lagoon, and sophisticated dining. Relax with the rare luxury of privacy on a secluded island within an island sequestered from the hustle and bustle of town center, and explore unlimited diving, snorkeling, boating and geo adventure right outside your door. Whether you are seeking an intimate retreat, or a lively and invigorating amenity-filled vacation, the resort creates a truly magnificent opportunity to experience the best of both worlds, and create your own. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hyatt Regency Curacao Golf Resort, Spa And Marina Hotel

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