The Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao has recently seen a surge of new and re-branded hotel developments backed by the world’s top hospitality brands, as well as expanded flight routes. From a fully renovated Marriott, to upscale all-inclusive options like Dreams and Sandals, as well as newly flagged properties like Trademark by Wyndham and Curio by Hilton Collection, Curaçao is proud to offer differentiated new accommodations that cater to an increased influx of North American travelers.
This has been a strong year for the island’s expansion with brands like Sandals, Wyndham and Hilton all planting a flag in Curaçao. In early 2021, Sandals Resorts International announced that it will transform the current Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort into Sandals® Royal Curaçao. Set to begin in late 2021, the transformation will initially include 350-luxurious rooms and suites stretched along the Spanish Water Bay and the Caribbean Sea, with further expansion planned in the coming years. Conceptual plans for the resort include adding key elements for the signature Sandals experience, including new expansive pools, a variety of dining options, lavish accommodations, and newly constructed River Suites. Guests will also have access to the neighboring 18-hole Pete Dye championship golf course, two onsite marinas and a 38,000-square-feet indoor and outdoor event and meeting space – the largest on the island upon completion. The Sandals® Royal Curaçao goes on sale Aug. 4, 2021 and is set to open fully on April 14, 2022.
In May 2021, Kunuku Aqua Resort became a part of the Trademark Collection by Wyndham portfolio, a collection of soft-branded upper-midscale and above hotels that maintain their independent spirit and individuality. The family-friendly resort with an on-site water park offers a total of 24 apartments, along with 189 rooms. The resort is currently undergoing exterior and interior upgrades, including all rooms and apartments, set to be completed in 2022.
Finally, in June 2021, Hilton announced the signing of the newly opened Mangrove Beach Corendon Curaçao Resort as the newest property to join its Curio Collection by Hilton portfolio. Owned by Corendon Group, the all-inclusive resort is expected to convert in September 2021 and will re-establish Hilton’s presence on the island. In its next chapter as a Curio Collection property, Mangrove Beach Corendon Curaçao Resort will offer curated experiences for adventurous travelers, while also catering for those in search of a tranquil Caribbean retreat.
This growth and development comes on the heels of renovations and openings on the island of three additional global brands in late 2019/early 2020, including Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort, Dreams Curaçao Resort, Spa and Casino and Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino. Situated just minutes from the island’s historic capital of Willemstad, the Curacao Marriott reopened in November 2019 after an extensive $40 million renovation. The 336-room oceanfront hotel unveiled a newly redesigned lobby, guest rooms, restaurants, pool, grounds, and meetings/event space. A month later in December 2019, the Dutch Caribbean’s first-ever Dreams resort officially made its debut in Curaçao following a large-scale renovation of the former Hilton Curaçao resort. The 197-room all-inclusive resort offers seven dining options, a dive center, a spa, and a prime stretch of private beach on Curaçao’s Piscadera Bay. And in early 2020 the Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino, located in the heart of Willemstad and adjacent to the Rif Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, completed a $12 million redesign that included a nearly updated lobby, 223 guestrooms, on-property casino, and Nautilus restaurant.
Catering to these developments and subsequent increased demand and seasonal travel influx, airlift to Curaçao is back in full swing. For US travelers, American Airlines flies daily from Miami International Airport (MIA), and will add a second flight every Saturday from November 6 to December 11, with plans to run a second daily flight starting December 16, 2021. Non-stop flights from New Jersey (EWR) on United Airlines are set to resume on a weekly basis starting November 6, while the weekly non-stop flight from Charlotte (CLT) on American begins operating again on Saturdays starting December 4. Twice weekly direct flights from New York (JFK) on JetBlue Airways continue to be fully operational.
For Canadian travelers, direct flights are available from both Toronto (YYZ) and Montreal (YUL) starting this Fall. The Air Canada weekly flights from Toronto (YYZ) will resume on October 1, with a second weekly flight planned for Mondays starting December 20. WestJet Airlines will also begin operating its weekly Sunday flight from YYZ starting on October 31. From Montreal, Air Canada will operate twice per week on Mondays and Wednesdays as of December 13, 2021.
Welcoming international visitors since January 1, 2021, Curaçao’s entry requirements and safety protocols have adapted to coincide with the evolving travel environment. To enter the country, travelers must complete the below mandatory steps via www.dicardcuracao.com:
1. Complete the digital immigration card online before departure.
2. Digitally, fill out the Passenger Locator Card (PLC) 48 hours prior to departure and carry a printed document of proof with you.
3. Each visitor entering Curaçao will need to show a negative result from a certified COVID-19 PCR-test taken at most 72 hours before your flight to Curaçao or a negative result from an antigen test taken at most 24 hours before your flight to Curaçao. You will need to carry a printed document of proof with you. You will be required to upload the negative test results of the COVID-19 PCR-test on dicardcuracao.com before departure.
4. 3rd day on-island Antigen test. All passengers departing from low-risk, high-risk or very high-risk countries are required to undergo an Antigen test at a local laboratory on the 3rd day in Curaçao. The reservation and payment of the 3rd day antigen test is part of the PLC process.
For more information on entry conditions and travel updates, visit www.curacao.com.