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Monday,  February 26, 2024 2:04 AM 

'The California of the Caribbean': Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curaçao

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  •   08-25-2014  8:02 am

'The California of the Caribbean': Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curaçao

As the island of Curaçao experiences exponential growth in tourism arrivals from Canada, one local resort is vying for its share of the business.

John MacMullen, director of sales & marketing for Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, paid a visit to Toronto this week for the Incentive Works trade show, and also took some time to enlighten media on the product.

This premier luxury resort with 27-acres of Caribbean beachfront opened in 2010 and is managed by Benchmark Hospitality. There are 350 guest rooms and 16 suites, each offering waterfront views of the sea. In addition, an 18-hole Peter Dye championship golf course is onsite, plus extensive meeting and wedding facilities, an intimate spa, 120-slip marina, five restaurants and three pools.

Thanks to Canada-Curaçao connections with Air Canada, Sunwing and WestJet, the island is becoming a popular choice for more Canadians. Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort recently introduced an all-inclusive option, though European plan is also available.

"The difference between us and the other resorts you may be experiencing as an all-inclusive is that we are very much a high-end, up-market destination so our version of the all-inclusive is very personalized - it's something that we really pride ourselves on," MacMullen said.

Calling Curaçao the "California of the Caribbean," he pointed out that a near-steady 29-degree weather forecast with little rain makes it an ideal escape year-round, especially considering its location south of the hurricane belt, so it's a more viable option for summer travel.

Quick facts:

- Located on Santa Barbara Beach Plantation, a 1,500-acre luxury master-planned resort community in the southeast region of Curaçao

- As the largest indoor space on the island, the resort can accommodate all types and sizes of events from large corporate gatherings to intimate affairs. It has nine meeting rooms, 25,000-square-feet of outdoor space and 9,000-square-feet of indoor meeting and event space including ballrooms, breakout rooms and boardrooms.

- Situated between the Caribbean Sea and Spanish Water Bay

- 25-minute drive to the capital city of Willemstad

- Seasonal service from Toronto with Air Canada, Sunwing and WestJet, plus from Montreal with Air Canada

- Approximately a 35-minute drive from Hato International Airport

What to do:

- The resort sits at the base of the Tafelberg mountain. Guests can enjoy one of the daily group hikes, venture on their own by foot or on one of the resort’s mountain bicycles

- Features four lighted tennis courts managed by renowned Peter Burwash International

- Daily diving trips depart from the resort’s marina with visits to some of the world’s best dive sites including the Mushroom Forest and Klein Curaçao

- Children ages 3-12 can participate in Camp Arawak activities and adventures that focus on the culture, history and environment surrounding the destination. Lead by a resort trained counselor, kids will enjoy an afternoon of eco-friendly crafts and facts, photo safaris and locally inspired activities

- Daily resort activities range from yoga to a game on the resort’s life size chess board

Main photo: John MacMullen, director of sales & marketing for Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort