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“Santa Barbara Mixed Bag”

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Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Nieuwpoort
Certificate of Excellence
Manassas, VA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Santa Barbara Mixed Bag”
Reviewed 17 January 2013

Went to a business conference / semi vacation January 5-10. Room was excellent, first class. Hotel is extremely isolated and has one shuttle bus to town and one back ONCE a day. The town is a $50 cab ride away. Two restaurants -- 1 was the SHOR, excellent but not enough seating and very expensive.... you had to reserve in advance or they couldn't get you in. MEDI retaurant was below average and over-priced. 15% service fee added to ALL bills even though the MEDI was mostly a buffet. Went to a mexican buffet there one night ... with tax and automatic tip.... $38 per person and it was truly Taco Bell quality... no drinks.

Just not much else there except the golf course.

Beach area was very nice but seating was very uncomfortable. Two pools were nice as well.

Staff was very reponsive. The Golf course was the most beautiful I have ever seen (Old Quarry) and I have played Peeble Beach. Ocean views, mountain views and harbor views. Immaculately kept and easy to get on. I got the first tee time a weekday morning in a cart by myself and finished in 3 hours and 10 minutes. PB Dye course which was tough but fair overall. Plan to play this one twice. The first time will leave you with some surprises and you'll definitely play better the second time.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank DaveSManassas_VA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Elyse E, Public Relations Manager at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao, responded to this review, 4 February 2013
Dear DaveSManassas_VA,

Thank you for sharing feedback of your recent stay at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort. Our team is proud of the service and offerings we provide to our guests, so they will be delighted by your compliments.

With regard to your comments about the restaurants, we apologize that your experience did not live up to your expectations. We have passed your review on to our culinary team in our ongoing efforts to keep our guests satisfied.

Thank you again and I hope we will have the opportunity to welcome you back to Curacao in the near future.

Warm Regards,
Elyse Eisen
Public Relations Account Executive
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Toms River, New Jersey
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 January 2013

My husband and I stayed at the resort from Jan. 5th - Jan. 12th. Our overall experience was very good because of the wonderful attitudes of the people working throughout the hotel, especially the restaurant servers. They were all so kind and so willing to please; smiles were contagious, it made for a fantastic vacation. Our room was spacious and clean with a very pretty water view. My husband especially loved the little cabanas on the beach. The beach was a perfect place to relax. The three restaurants, Medi, Swim and Shore served delicious good quality food and drinks.
My suggestion to cut down some frustration would be for the front desk to be better equipped in answering simple questions. For instance, when trying to confirm our transportation to the airport we were not asked what company was booked, we where automatically told to speak with the tour desk who also did not ask who we were with, after 15 minutes of trying to understand why we were not on the transportation list, I was told I should be speaking with the Concierge not the tour desk. When asked what movie was playing on movie night, I was told to ask the concierge. I was told the wrong information about the internet access as well. The front desk told me the cost for using the computer in the business office was $10.00 for 5 minutes. It actually is $5.00 for 10 minutes. These are very minor incidences that could be easily corrected with proper training; I think the most upsetting part of our trip was dealing with the “in house jewelers”. I was given pricing for some beautiful pieces of jewelry, I asked the sales rep. to write down the information in hopes I could convince my husband to purchase these pieces for me. He decided to surprise me and went to buy the jewelry, he was told the price written was not correct and everything went up by a substantial amount. He spoke to the manager of the store and was told that nothing can be done and that was that! Needless to say, I thought that was a very bad way to do business and of course was very disappointed that I did not get the lovely bracelet and earrings.
Overall this property is beautiful, clean, serves good quality food and because of the friendly staff is a great place for a vacation.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank kathyd7560
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York
Level Contributor
91 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 January 2013

We arrived just after Christmas, after a recent hostile change in management (hyatt was replaced by the owner/developer). First of all, bad timing to change management at the busiest time of the year! Doesn't bode well for the decision making skills of the new management. Here are some of the good and not so good things about the hotel formerly known as Hyatt curaçao (which was how most people, even the hotel staff refer to the hotel). After having paid a big price, it doesn't really make it okay that the hotel staff was continuously apologizing for what they know are shortcomings.

Good Stuff:
1. Beautiful property, well maintained grounds and golf course
2. Nice spa facilities and services (not as good as Rosewood Mayakoba, a lot better than Grace Bay Turks and Caicos)
3. Ocean views are amazing, everything is almost brand new (recent construction can't be beat)
4. Staff were genuinely nice, though seemed overworked, lots of running around and apologizing
5. In room dining services were once good and once bad, though with lots of apologies. Food generally was okay.

The stuff that needs improvement:
1. No information books in the rooms. This may not seem like much, but when you pay top dollar and want to spend time relaxing ant the spa and taking advantage of the hotel amenities, would be nice to know things like the gym hours, spa menu, in room menu, restaurant menu and hours...etc! We had to go to the spa to get the service menu and price list.
2. Check in process wasnt exactly smooth. Lots of stress around the "system is down" -- something I heard a lot of during the 4 night stay.
3. High hedges line most of the main walkways to the pool, restaurants, lobby, gym. Though the hedges may shield the wind, they also hide the beautiful ocean views. Imagine that some of the ground floor rooms would otherwise have ocean views.
4. Concierge, though nice, really didn't have some of the basic necessities, like maps of the resort or maps of the island (all of this should have been in the information book)
5. Hard to get a chair in the shade by the pool or beach. Pool seemed too small for the number do guests at the hotel
6. Not much of a beach--the "beach" is in the waterway with lots of boats coming through. In order to protect the beach, the hotel has built a walk way and obstructed what might be an okay view
7. Location is far from the heart of Wilemstad, about 30 minutes driving. We had a car, but with the road construction and detours, ended up lost at night
8. Bathroom shower area was built as an "open concept" and had a privacy curtain, which seemed an afterthought.
9. Breakfast was lots of stress, lots of kids. Hotel seemed to run out of some basics...like whole wheat bread. Generally, the hotel seemed unprepared for the high level of occupancy.

Room Tip: We stayed in the building farthest from the beach and closest to the Shor restaurant and think this...
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Surfcoast09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Savannah, Georgia
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 January 2013

I attended a conference at the resort in early January with my wife. We were very happy with our room - Ocean View in private area of resort. The furnishings were first class and luxurious. The buffet breakfast in the Medi Restaruant was exceptional. The lunches and dinners at the resort restaurants were very good but if we had stayed more than the 3 nights we might have tired of the options. Service was very good to excellent throughout our stay. We had originally booked a room while the hotel was still under Hyatt management. We had heard of difficulties immediately following the transition but by the time we had arrived on Jan 6th everything seemed to have been smoothed out. Downside - very far removed from activities outside the resort sponsored and a 30-40 minute drive back to the main city. If you are looking for privacy and luxury and do not need many activities I highly recommend.

Room Tip: We really enjoyed the privacy of the remote rooms but the price was indeed higher. We also enjoyed...
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank USMAGRAD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blumenau
Level Contributor
34 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 January 2013

We arrived on the 22/12 in Curacao, it was pouring and the Island was flooded (they don´t get much rain), so the first impression wasn´t the best. But when you arrive at the Hotel, their loung is just something out of this world, very impressive. My brother had visited this hotel while it still was a Hyatt run hotel. We heard it was taken over just a couple of weeks before, and lots of the amenities were lost. The rooms are pretty nice, room cleaning was really good in our room, but my brother´s and syster´s room not so good. Food was good, not great, the Shark restaurant for dinner was great, but my parent´s and syster told us that for lunch wasn´t great.
All the kids stuff was lost with the takeover, no babysitting, no kids club, no nothing....
The pool are is really nice, and the beach is also pretty nice.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Bruno F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 January 2013

A week before we were to travel to the Hyatt we were emailed to tell us that the owner of the resort had decided to reneg on his franchise agreement and try to run the hotel on a standalone basis. Given the short notice and our flights already booked we decided to persevere with our stay based on the good things we had heard about the resort through friends who had stayed.

First the positives, the location is excellent and the resort has obviously had a lot of investment into it. Everything is modern and the grounds well maintained. There is a nice pool area where you can relax and the pool staff make an effort running plenty of activities throughout the day to keep the more energetic of guests entertained.

Unfortunately, the change in management seem to have come at a cost.

On trying to book a taxi through the concierge prior to arrival to collect us from the airport we were unhelpfully instructed that they would only book a return and we would have to email the hotel with our details. The cost of which being $140! We had wanted to hire a car for the second half of the week so only needed one way. In the end we booked a car for the full week.

The staff appear demotivated and there is a clear lack of leadership. We were faced on more than one occasion with long waits for breakfast despite empty tables. The service in the restaurants is that of an all inclusive resort but at the price of al la carte. We would be served in some cases by four different people in one sitting!

The housekeeping is also a shambles, rooms are cleaned at random times of the day and in some cases not at all. Frustratingly in calling housekeeping and most of the services from the room phones you are transferred to an external operator who makes promises they have no control over delivering.

Clearly it is still early days and the management may be able to turn the place around. Overall we enjoyed a welcome break, but this had nothing to do with the hospitality of the resort. Having visited many beach resorts like this, and whilst it may have an advantage location wise in Curacao there are much better managed resorts on other islands which can be visited for the same money.

Hotel tip: don't pay the $15 a day per device wifi charge, wifi can be got for free for all customers of the Italian ice cream parlor within the resort, the portions there are generous :)

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank Rivermax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
usa
Level Contributor
40 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 January 2013

I was excitedly anticipating my family's stay at the Hyatt Curacao until I received an email the day before our departure for Curacao from Hyatt explaining that the company was no longer affiliated with the resort. I was floored that Hyatt chose to inform us of the change even though this change had officially occurred in November. After calling the resort directly to confirm that indeed we would not arrive at an abandoned property, the staff there reassured me that they were honoring the reservation entirely. The missing "Hyatt" logo at the entrance to this stunning resort was the only trace that the Hyatt brand was missing.

From Michael and Chamilla at the front desk to Maurice at the pool, Ludy and Rolly at the pool/beach restaurant/bar, Lupe, the concierge, bellman Julio and all the other wonderful employees including a sublime massage by Sabrina at the spa, the staff was exceptional. I have to say that the staff made our stay truly special. Each staff member we encountered was incredibly friendly and gave us the impression that they really wanted to address any needs we had--no request too big or too little. Service was speedy and amiable--we never had to wait for anything more than a reasonable amount of time.

Upon arrival, we were upgraded to oceanfront rooms that had generous balconies, very comfortable beds and pillows and beautiful appointed bathrooms--we had two connecting rooms with our three daughters, ages 10-18. The toilet in the bathroom was completely private with a door but the shower area had a curtain closing off the entire bathroom. The shower would be very tough for an elderly or handicapped person to get in and out of as you had to step on a little stool and then step over the lip of the tub.

The breakfast buffet at Medi was very sumptuous and included many hot and cold options and had the requisite omelet station, fresh fruit (although none is grown on the island), pancakes, cheeses, breads, bagels, croissants, etc. The service was very fast and even with a line out the door, we were seated within minutes. It's partially open-air which was nice.

We had lunch at the poolside Swim bar and were satisfied with the selections. We never ate at Medi for lunch but the menu looked good. Dinner at Medi was another story. The first night we dined there, it was a Mexican buffet with only a few a la carte items offered from the menu. It was not good at all but the chef overheard my daughter saying that the only thing she would eat was the white rice and pita bread, so he told our server not to charge her for the buffet. Shor for dinner was much better and had a great selection of grilled items where you could choose meat, chicken fish or seafood, also choose your seasoning and sauce. It was a very pretty indoor/outdoor setting that was casual but elegant. The waitress service was great and so was the brownie sundae dessert.

The pool area was beautiful and it was easy to get chairs at any time of day and the resort was at capacity. Thank goodness there was no need to get up at the crack of dawn to claim the chairs!!! The beach area was the same. It's actually a man-made beach on a lagoon inlet that comes directly from the sea that the hotel faces. The only complaint about the beach and pool is that the chairs are DEADLY uncomfortable. It is like lying on a plank of wood. There were a few chairs at the pool of a slightly different style with cushions, but the staff actually offered yoga-mats to make the other chairs more comfortable. The chairs are beautiful to look at and must have cost the resort a fortune, but the charms ends there. Even the staff complained that since they are made with woven plastic/rattan (who knows, but it was hard!), they are incredibly tough to clean. Also, the many/most of the chairs were broken.

The hotel is a little remote--about 40 minutes from the airport and 1/2 hour from Willemstead, but it isn't really necessary to leave the resort if you don't want to. Willemstead was an interesting city with shops and restaurants and a really cool pontoon footbridge which adjoined Punda with Otrabunda. The oldest Synagogue in the western hemisphere, Mikve Israel, making Willemstead a worthwhile destination.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank goldab
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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