Enchanting natural surroundings, architectural eye candy, and an ambience of relaxed elegance might be reason enough to visit Santa Barbara Plantation, Curacao’s newest luxury resort development. But the master-planned complex about 25 minutes east of Willemstad, featuring a hotel and a variety of upscale residential offerings, entices guests with a plethora of top-notch activities, too.
The gated enclave is set between the glistening Spanish Waters bay and the Caribbean Sea on 1,500 acres of terrain encompassing mangrove estuaries, rolling hills, beachfront and bay front.
Here’s a look at what lies within:
Old Quarry Golf
The plantation’s showcase piece is the new championship 18-hole golf course, designed by Pete Dye. The 7,200-yard Old Quarry Golf Course, challenging for all skill levels, offers picture-postcard vistas of the sea from several holes and dramatic natural contours throughout. As the renowned golf course architect Dye puts it: “When you have played here… you don’t remember your score, you remember where you played.” To keep environmental impact at a minimum, salt-tolerant Paspalum grass was used to allow for irrigation with reclaimed or brackish water. At the clubhouse, you’ll find a pro shop, locker rooms, a lounge, and a restaurant. There’s also a driving range on site.
Hotel & Spa
The Santa Barbara Resort Curacao Golf Resort, Spa & Marina is the island’s newest hotel, offering 350 guestrooms along a strip of sugar-white sand coast. Extra pampering is available at the Atabei Spa, where you can simply enjoy holistic treatments inspired by the culture of the Arawak people, Curacao’s original inhabitants, or go all out and rent a spa bungalow to indulge in en-suite spa services.
A Peter Burwash International (PBI) tennis center features four hydro-grid clay courts with night lighting, a pro shop, group and private instruction, round-robin tournaments, and player matching.
The Marina has 128 slips to dock vessels up to 150 feet long, with rentals possible. Charters for fishing and diving as well as boat tours — catamaran dinner cruises are among those featured — are available for easy access to the nationally protected waters just off the coast of the plantation, where unspoiled coral reefs make for an abundance of magnificent marine life. A second marina at Barbara Beach can accommodate up to six mega yachts (120 feet max) as well as diving boats and charters.
Water Sports and Activities
The Beach Rental & Tour Center offers a full menu of water sports and island tours. Snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking are among the water-based activities. On land you can explore the diverse flora and fauna along walking, jogging and biking trails that weave throughout the grounds; bicycle rentals are available at the tour centre.
Santa Barbara Plantation
Porta Blancu, P.O. Box 4816, Nieuwpoort
Curacao, Netherlands Antilles