Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Hotel Review: Santa Barbara Resort in Curaçao

Hey friends! I've had a lot of questions about the resort where we stayed in Curaçao. At the bottom of this post, you'll find my review for Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort. I've included all of my instagram photos from the trip first so you can get a peek into what it looks like!

lace romper (wearing size XS) // tassel beach bag // Tory Burch sandals (in sand patent)
 pink kimono // white tank (a staple) // white pants // Tory Burch wedges (on sale!)

view of Curaçao from the helicopter

black one piece swimsuit (wearing size 4) // earrings

sangria from Santa Barbara's fine dining restaurant, Shore
 jean shorts (almost sold out), similar here // wedges (back in stock!)
lace-trim cover-up // Tory Burch sandals
Ralph Lauren robe, similar here & here



the view of downtown Curaçao from the ferry
underwater camera shot from Klein Curaçao
 similar off shoulder top // statement earrings // David Yurman link bracelet
view of Santa Barbara Resort from one of the stairwells

We stayed at Santa Barbara Resort in Curaçao, and like I've said before, if you've never heard of Curaçao, please google it! It's located near Aruba in the Caribbean and has some of the prettiest water and beaches I've ever seen in my entire life.

Room: My mom and I had a "premium water view" room with two double beds. The rooms are very spacious with huge windows, the beds were comfortable, and there is a TV, desk and chair included in the room. Each room has a balcony and each balcony has a fan, which was perfect for staying cool if you still wanted to sit outside. Another thing we appreciated was that the air conditioning worked really well! In such a hot environment, air conditioning is crucial. If you want to see exactly what the rooms look like, there is a good picture here.

Food: There are three different restaurants on the property: Splash pool bar, Shore and Medi. Splash Pool Bar is (obviously) located next to the pool and serves a variety of lunch items. I appreciated that they served healthy items (like salads) while also serving grilled items (like hamburgers and quesadillas), depending on what you were in the mood for. They stay open until 7 p.m. so we ate an early dinner there a few nights. Medi is a casual restaurant where breakfast as served, as well as dinner. And Shore you have already seen in this blog post! It's Santa Barbara Resort's fine dining restaurant, so everything is top notch here. The entire restaurant is open air, and you have a great view of the ocean from wherever you're sitting. Room service is also available at all hours of the day. My mom and I were guilty of ordering room service several times on the trip... sometimes you just want to eat in your room in pajamas!

Beach: The beach at Santa Barbara Resort was simply amazing. I said this before, but I have never in my life seen clearer water than in Curaçao. It was clear in some places, and bright turquoise in others. The resort has a pretty good sized swimming lagoon right in front (it is "roped off" by a dock that goes around the lagoon). We loved this - there weren't any huge waves, and you could swim or snorkel around the lagoon without feeling like you were in open seawater. They offered kayaks and paddle boards at no cost, and you could choose to take them out of the lagoon if you wanted. The waitresses from Splash Pool Bar also served the beach, so you could order drinks right to your spot on the beach. Our favorite day in Curaçao was the day we relaxed by the lagoon all day! We both agreed it had the best beach/swimming of anywhere we've been.

Pools: There are two large pools at Santa Barbara Resort. They are beautiful pools, but we honestly didn't spend much time there - we were too enamored with the beach area and lagoon!

Activities: Perhaps the best thing about Santa Barbara is that there are tons of activities offered every day - we were so busy that we came back to our rooms exhausted every night! (Of course, if you'd rather have a relaxing vacation you don't have to sign up for any activities.) They offer a mountain bike tour, hiking, pilates, yoga on the beach, beach volleyball, bingo, beach tennis, a scuba clinic, sand castle building class, bocce ball, beach soccer, coconut bowling, and even an iguana feeding. There is a huge, incredibly nice golf course on Santa Barbara's plantation for anyone who loves to golf. My mom and I love boat rides so we booked an excursion to Klein Curaçao one day - it was an all-day excursion with a lot of great snorkeling. They also offer a "lunch cruise" that is a shorter boat ride and still offers some great snorkeling.

Spa: The spa at Santa Barbara Resort, named Atabei, is phenomenal. It is very different than other spas I've been to before because it is more private and less rushed. What I mean by that is, there are no women's locker rooms or changing rooms. Instead, when it is time for your treatment, you are taken back to a huge room with a a bathroom, outdoor shower and patio. You can change and leave all your belongings in the bathroom, and then your treatment takes place in the same room, so you never have to worry about your belongings. After the treatment, they give you 20 minutes of alone time. You can shower in the outdoor shower, relax on the patio with a book, or whatever you want. I always feel rushed after a spa appointment (like they are kicking me out), so this was something I really appreciated. Atabei uses a local herbalist that lives on the island to create all of the treatments. I received the Stemps Massage while I was there, which is very similar to a hot stone massage, except the masseuse uses sachets of locally grown herbs dipped in warm organic oil.

Transportation: One thing I love about Curaçao is that there are direct flights from Charlotte (and also NYC). It was so, so nice to have a direct flight on the way home - we were tired and ready to be in our own beds! (Most other tropical destinations require several connecting flights.) Once you land in the airport, Santa Barbara Resort is approximately a 45 minute drive away - it's not a bad drive, and you really get to take in all of Curaçao on the way in. We didn't rent a car while we were there, since most everything you'd want or need is at the resort. However, I definitely recommend going into town one day (or even two) because the downtown area is a must-see (you can ask the hotel to arrange a taxi). Which brings me to my next point!

Downtown: The downtown area is separated into two parts by a floating bridge - one side is called "Punda" and the other is "Otrobanda" which literally means, "the other side." On both sides you'll find amazing restaurants, colorful buildings and cool shops, and you really have to explore them both.  If you google Curaçao you will most likely see photos of the colorful buildings downtown - they are beautiful. We went into town for lunch and ate at the Gouverneur de Rouville, a wonderful restaurant - we felt like we were getting a taste of real Curaçao cuisine. I highly recommend the Cuban banana soup! It was very hot the day we went into town, so we had to stop every half hour to get something cold to eat or drink. We sat at the Iguana bar and had coconut ice cream and watched the boats come in and out of the harbor, every time a boat comes, the floating bridge has to move out of the way. It's really cool to watch!

Cost: The rooms are very reasonably priced, especially considering the amazing tropical location. I was surprised at how reasonable they are! Like most resorts, the food and drinks can be pricey, and there was a service charge already included in the bill. Right now Santa Barbara Resort is offering a really great deal for readers, but you have to book by the end of July! The deal includes a fourth night free when you book three nights, a $100 resort credit, complimentary room upgrade and daily breakfast. You really can't beat the cost when you consider all the resort offers and how insanely beautiful it is.

Downsides: The only downsides I could think of were that there wasn't much going on at night. This resort was really quiet and relaxing, so if you want to "party" at night, you won't find that on the resort (I'm guessing you would have to go into town). It is perfect for honeymooning couples or couples that just want to relax on vacation, though!

In conclusion, I would highly recommend Santa Barbara Resort as a place to vacation - I simply fell in love with Curaçao upon arrival. One thing that is definitely worth mentioning is how amazing the staff is. No matter who we talked to, the staff was always positive, upbeat, friendly and some of them were even hilarious. That's important to us! If you'd like to book using the exclusive offer, or just want to check out room rates, click here. xoxo

(P.S. I did this same exact review format for St. Lucia! If you want to check out my other review, click here!) 

SHOP THE POST:

*Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post, however I did receive compensation in the form of room and travel c/o Santa Barbara Resort. As always, all opinions are my own.

39 comments:

  1. You're trip looked like a blast! I LOVE that pink kimono!

    www.rosyoutlookblog.com

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  2. Absolutely LOVED this insightful post! Great photos and tips!

    http://www.lartoffashion.com

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  3. Such a great review, Caitlin! It looks like you had the most wonderful time. It's so great that you get to spend so much quality time with your mom.

    Love from South Africa

    Arum Lilea

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  4. Stunning pictures, place and outfits! Really wish I was there! =)

    http://whattostyle.blogspot.com/

    xoxo,
    Jessica

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  5. Would love to visit! You look amazing in every single outfit! Love love love! XO

    Shall We Sasa

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  6. Sounds like such an amazing vacation! Definitely adding it to my bucket list

    // http://lifeplusbe.com/

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  7. Just dying over all the tassels and pom poms! Summer can't come soon enough or I might have to jump on a plane some place tropical!

    C's Collection | http://chelseascollection.com

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  8. It looks and sounds lovely! The houses are so pretty in all those colors and the water is so blue! Stunning really!

    http://sequinsinpink.blogspot.com

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  9. It sounds/looks perfect! I always love your travel posts, they give me ideas on where to go! Sidenote: I'm visiting Raleigh for the first time next week and I'd love recommendations for food and must see's (even though I know you live in a different city I feel like you would know the places to go there!)

    xo, Nina
    Law of Fashion Blog

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  10. Love hearing different hotel reviews. I always pay attention to what people say about a hotel before I book. Love all of these pictures!!

    How Gorgeous

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  11. Your trip looked spectacular! I've been wanting to get out and see some new beaches! Looks like I'll have to check this out!

    Nicole // Chronicling Home

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  12. Looove that purple eyelet top!! I also absolutely love the photos of the resort! SO beautiful! I am glad you were able to sneak away to the spa as well. Pretty photos!

    xx,
    Ash

    www.ashleyannplan.com

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  13. I'm all about a more relaxing vacation ((not a partier really)) so this place sounds amazing! Appreciate the review!

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

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  14. Could you tell me what brand and color of pink nail polish you're wearing? It's hard for me to find a good color. Thanks!

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  15. Seems like the perfect trip!!!

    www.lesleyandeve.com

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  16. Loving the tassel beach bag and that beautiful one piece!

    x Sarah
    http://www.bohochiccafe.com

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  17. These are all so stunnning!!! It looks like it was a beautiful vacay! I am especially loving the white dress and white lace romper!

    Xx Maya from Maya Unmarketed

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  18. OMG I stayed at this exact same resort in 2011 for my honeymoon! It was new back then and I think it was a Marriot back then and they changed the name. I loved it there! Curaçao was beautiful!

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  19. What an amazing trip filled with delicious food, magnificent views, & memories to last a lifetime. That sangria is stunning. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

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  20. The resort sounds amazing and I love all of your swimwear!!

    HashtagFabLife

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  21. OMG I love every Look. You look so beautiful and I really love your style! Amazing pictures!

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  22. Love all your pics!!!

    www.lacaleya.com

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  23. This looks like such an amazing trip! Plus I love all of your gorgeous swimsuits!

    www.blushandbordeaux.com

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  24. Just came across your blog and wow your photographs are stunning! Looks like you had an amazing trip, your outfits are to die for too - I want it all!

    Sami x | Daisy Daydreams

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  25. The resort sounds incredible! I wouldn't ever want to leave :)

    xx Kathryn
    www.chicandshimmer.com

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  26. Looks like an amazing vacation, I love reading your hotel review posts!

    xoxo,
    Katie
    chicincarolina.blogspot.com

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  27. So many cute vaca looks!

    www.giltedgeblog.com

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  28. Looks like so much fun! Now I want to go!
    -Jules

    Lipstick and Jules

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  29. amazing post...as always! You look beautiful and I absolutely love love love your pictures and outfits!

    https://homesweetlemonade.wordpress.com/

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  30. Hi Caitlin! I am looking to go to Curacao with my boyfriend and we also live in Charlotte - What airline did you fly? We want to fly direct, but can't find any direct flights :(

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    1. Hey Lindsey! We flew American. They only have direct flights on certain days.... try looking at Saturdays because I know for certain that they have direct flights on Saturdays! Email me if you have questions!

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  31. Lovely pictures!
    xx
    Mademoiselle Coconath
    http://mllecoconath.com

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  32. I need every single outfit from this trip!! Beyond adorable!

    Jordan: The Teacup of Style
    Instagram: @teacupofstyle

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