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.)
- 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