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by Kristin Young | Updated On: November 11, 2020 | Curacao
Planning a vacation to the beautiful island of Curacao? Lucky you! Curacao is one of my favorite Caribbean destinations and if you’re wondering where to stay in Curacao, the good news is there are plenty of great options for the best place to stay in Curacao, and in this guide I’m going to share my favorites with you.
Curacao is a small Caribbean island at the southern end of the Caribbean islands chain – it’s just off the coast of Venezuela. Formerly part of the Dutch Antilles, it is now a self-governing island within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and you’ll hear plenty of Dutch being spoken around, as well as English and Papiamentu – the local dialect.
Don’t have time for the whole guide and just want to know our picks??? For a central location in the middle of nature of the north end and the city conveniences of the south end, we love the Blue Bay Beach Resort area. The villas and apartments are independently owned, so check outour favorites from Airbnb here, or the Bayside Boutique Hotel here.
Want to get away from it all?? The villas along the coast near Westpunt are our favorite. They are right in the heart of all of the best beaches and hiking on the island. Find our top Airbnb picks here.
If you prefer a resort experience, you can’t go wrong with Baoase Luxury Resort. It’s very near two of the best snorkeling spots on the island, as well as all of the activities in Willemstad.
Curacao is the most overlooked of the “ABC Islands” (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), but there are plenty of reasons to visit this gem of an island – with plenty of the best places to stay in curacao offering a mix of beachside paradise and access to the best entertainment in the Caribbean.
Willemstad, the capital of Curacao has long been a popular stopping point for Caribbean cruises, but Curacao has far more to offer than can fit into a few hours stopover. Curacao has amazing nightlife, a tasty food scene, some great beaches and terrain for hiking and biking, lots of history and is a truly unique Caribbean experience.
If you’re wondering where is the best place to stay in Curacao then this is the guide for you! I cover where to stay in Curacao tips and advice – from where to stay in Curacao all inclusive options to the best beach hotels in Curacao.
Let’s jump right in to find out the best area to stay in Curacao for your needs and my recommendations for the best hotels in Curacao.
Table of Contents
WHERE TO STAY IN CURACAO
When you’re wondering where to stay, Curacao has many different options, and the first step is to think about which type of resort or area you’d like to be in. The best location to stay in Curacao will depend on what you’re looking for.
Are you looking for somewhere that’s within easy walking distance to shops, nightlife and restaurants? Or, are you looking to stay near the best spa in Curacao?
As some general advice when choosing where to stay on Curacao, you won’t find much happening on the east coast of Curacao – shorelines are rocky and terrain rugged, so there are no beaches but there are some great hiking trails.
Beaches on the south of the island tend to be man made or enclosed, specific for the resorts. If you want “proper” beaches, you’ll need to head to the north west of the island to the more remote areas.
A rental car is a must for exploring Curacao, as aside from exploring parts of Willemstad on foot, it’s the only way to get around. Some resorts offer transfers to town, but these can be restrictive (and expensive).
The best places to stay in Curacao are dotted all over the island, so below you’ll find an overview of the main areas to stay on Curacao, so you can work out which is the best area of the island for you!
Best for:Entertainment and Nightlife
If you want to be close to all the action and by the beach, then Jan Thiel – a beach resort located south of Willemstad on the south east of the island – is a great place to start your search for Curacao hotels and resorts. Jan Thiel Village is made up of several resorts all surrounding the Jan Thiel beach with restaurant and beach bar options.
Here you will find plenty of resorts as well as great restaurants, with resorts and hotels lining most of the beach. Jan Thiel is a great option if you’re wondering where to stay in Curacao for snorkeling, as this is the nearest area to the tugboat wreck – a great spot for diving, snorkeling and underwater exploration.
Jan Thiel is a lively area, a little similar to Mambo beach, but its advantages are that it’s closer to Willemstad and is a little more low-key, suitable for families or those who want things to do without worrying about loud music keeping them up all night.
The main downside to Jan Thiel is it’s a long way to drive to the beaches in the north of the Island, but if you are happy to be in a resort setting that’s close to lots of facilities, Jan Thiel is definitely a great spot to look for the best hotel in Curacao and you’ll find a good selection of all inclusive resorts Curacao here too.
Best For: Access shops, dining, and historic sights
If you’re someone who loves culture, shopping, and seeing the sights, then Willemstad (the capital of Curacao) is another place to compare hotels in Curacao.
Willemstad is a colorful city, with vibrant pastel-colored houses from the Dutch colonial period that line Pietermaai district, and you will never get bored of the options here for eating and drinking. If you want to dive into the island’s history, there are several museums and galleries here which are worth a visit.
Alongside resorts and all inclusive hotels in Curacao, Willemstad also has some cheap places to stay in Curacao available, so if you’re on a budget this is a good place to look. Willemstad is spread out over much of the south of Curacao, but I recommend staying in Pietermaai if you can for the architecture and ocean views.
Willemstad also has some great Airbnb Curacao options if you’re looking for a Curacao vacation rental or apartment/condo rental.
The only downside to Willemstad is there are no natural beaches, although both Mambo beach and Jan Thiel are close by.
Next up in my guide to where Curacao: Where to stay, is the ever popular Mambo Beach. Located a short distance further up the coast from Jan Thiel, Mambo beach is also easy to reach from Willemstad and is within easy access of the city.
If you’re wondering where to stay in Curacao for nightlife, Mambo beach is definitely the place for you. Plenty of the best resort in Curacao options line the beach (which is man-made), and there are no shortage of options for dining, cocktails, and entertainment.
Many of the resorts along Mambo beach have extensive amenities and are located right along the water. You’ll find some of the best hotels in Curacao here with luxurious rooms and beautiful pools.
If you’re looking for somewhere quiet and away from the main action, though, you may want to give Mambo Beach a miss. Jan Thiel is more suited for families, and if you’re in search of the best beaches in Curacao, Mambo Beach is man-made so you may want to consider resorts further north or Blue Bay.
However, if you want to be close by to lots of amenities and love a lively party atmosphere, Mambo Beach is a great place to stay in Curacao!
Best For:Central Location between Northern Beaches and City Shops
If you venture further north up the western coast from Jan Thiel and Mambo beach, you’ll come to the Piscadera and Blue Bay area.
Still within easy reach of Willemstad, the areas of Blue Bay Beach (also known as Blauw Baai) and Piscadera are home to some beautiful hotels and villas.
Blue Bay is home to the large Blue Bay Beach resort and has a sheltered, sandy beach that is one of the most popular (and best) beaches in Curacao – especially on the southern half of the Island. If you stay in this area, you’ll have the advantage of being able to get here early and claim your beach umbrella before all the day-trippers show up.
Staying in either of these areas is the best of both worlds on Curacao as not only will you be within easy reach of Willemstad and have some great places to eat on your doorstep, it’s also not too far to drive north to more of the island’s best beaches!
This area is a great choice if you’re looking for the best place to stay in Curacao for families, or, if you want somewhere that’s convenient and has plenty of facilities that’s lower key than some of the resorts closer to Willemstad. Blue Bay is even reportedly home to the best coffee on Curacao!
Further north, you’ll find the area of Coral Estates, Curacao, in the center of Curacao on the west coast. Accommodation here is predominantly made up of holiday rentals Curacao, and there are also plenty of Curacao luxury villas here.
In addition to the villas that you’ll be able to find on VRBO Curacao (keep reading for which ones I recommend), there’s also a beautiful resort here that opened up – the Oasis Coral Estate – which is set right next to the ocean.
In the Coral Estates area you can expect stunning, un-obscured ocean views, the feeling of being away from it all, and lots of space. It’s the perfect space for families who are interested in Curacao villa rentals or if you want to stay at a great resort with lots of wellness facilities.
Although the coast here mainly consists of cliffs and rocks there are some smaller beaches within easy access that are great for snorkeling and swimming if you are willing to drive a little. Dining and entertainment options here are less varied than in many of the other resort areas further south, so you’ll either mostly eat at the resort or shop for your own supplies for a self-catered villa.
Last but not least in my guide to the different areas of this island that you should consider when looking for the best hotels in Curacao is Westpunt.
Perfect for those looking for a Curacao resort to get away from it all or even one of the beautiful villas Curacao has to offer in this stunning part of the island. This is the place to unwind in peace and quiet and enjoy the best of Curacao’s landscapes and beaches.
Here you’ll be close to the best beaches on the island (I recommend Grote Knip beach), snorkeling and swimming as well as gorgeous rugged terrain that’s perfect for hiking or mountain biking – so it’s great for outdoor lovers.
On the other hand, you are far away from facilities and town here so I recommend stocking up on supplies and groceries before heading up this way. It’s also not the place if you’re looking for a lively nightlife scene or lots of different restaurants and bars on your doorstep.
Now that hopefully I’ve helped you answer the question “where should I stay in Curacao?”, in the next section of this guide I’m going to run through my top Curacao hotels and my picks for the best hotels in Curacao in each of the above areas of the island.
If you’re not sure yet which area is right for you, having a look at the different resorts and vacation rentals may help you narrow it down further so that you can find your perfect stay Curacao has.
Hotels in Curacao Island are a mix of independently owned hotels and resorts as well as properties owned by major chains. You can find my reviews of each option below, and if you wish to find out more, clicking on the links after each review will take you through to book directly on airbnb or booking.com so that you can check rates, read more reviews and book your stay in Curacao.
When looking at Curacao resort options, I recommend cross-checking the different meal plans and packages available (especially if it’s one of the all inclusive resorts Curacao has) as these can vary from resort to resort and across different booking websites.
If you’ve chosen one of the quieter places to stay Curacao has to offer, you may find it more convenient to book more meals included in your package up front and go for a full board or all-inclusive option.
Let’s get started with my top places to stay Curacao has to offer!
Best Willemstad Resorts
Wondering where to stay in Willemstad, Curacao? Here are my top picks.
Pros:Close to the action of Willemstad, beautiful private beach, great service. One of the best luxury resorts.
Amenities:Private beach, Spa, restaurant, Infinity pool, boutique, gym, airport transfers.
A little slice of sleek Balinese paradise in the Caribbean, Baoase Luxury Resort Curacao brings the highest standards in luxury hospitality to Curacao. The resort offers gardens, private pool and master villas, which all come with beautiful interiors and plenty of privacy. If you’re wondering where to stay in Curacao for honeymoon, you won’t want to miss the beautiful honeymoon Jacuzzi suite here!
Baoase hotel Curacao is perfect if you want the very best and an experience in Curacao that will stay with you for years to come. If you are looking for a getaway for your honeymoon or just to escape with a special someone, there are no shortage of options for an extra romantic stay – from romantic turndowns to romantic sunset picnics on the beach.
If you choose to stay elsewhere but want to visit the property, it’s possible to book a beach day –pass for $100.
Best for: Access to Shopping and Queen Emma Bridge
Pros: Quintessential Curacao City Views
Cons:Busier area near cruise ship dock
Amenities:Pool on the water, bicycle rental, casino
If you’ve made it this far in your planning, then you know that quintessential Curacao view, and the Renaissance Curacao Resort(a Marriott property), is located just across the bay. It’s just a short walk to just about anywhere within the city that you would want to go, including the Queen Emma Bridge. That picture at the top of this post, yep, that’s the Renaissance Hotel in Curacao!
Located right on the ocean and the bay, you’ll have access to a waterfront walking path and an incredible sandy beach entry infinity pool! Plus, with an onsite casino, fitness center, and spa, you’ll really never have to leave.
Renaissance is a perfect choice in you really want to be right in the heart of Willemstad.
Cons:Some guests have complained about service levels
Amenities:Private beach, pool, restaurants, spa, golf
Located on the shorefront in the heart of the Pietermaai area of Willemstad, the Avila Beach hotel Curacao is a great option for those who want to be close to all the convenience and facilities of Willemstad, while being right on the water in an upscale resort.
The Avila resort, Curacao, features an infinity pool, private beach, fine dining restaurants and a range of room types, whether you’re looking for something modest or an ocean-view suite.
Avila hotel Curacao is a great option if you’re looking for a full service resort with good standards without paying an arm and a leg.
Best For: Families & Couples looking for luxury on Mambo Beach
Pros: Beautiful contemporary resort perfect for couples & families
Cons:Noise from beach parties
Amenities:Beach, pool, spa, diving, fitness.
This hotel, run by Dutch chain Van der Valk is a great option for couples and kids looking for a luxurious retreat on action packed Mambo beach. Eco certified, the resort has been tastefully designed and there’s plenty to do here during your stay, either at the resort or nearby.
Rooms are tastefully designed and feature wood paneling and verandas, giving the feeling of staying in a colonial-era bungalow. The pool area and grounds feature lush greenery and tropical plants, giving a garden-like feel and a relaxing ambiance.
This is a great option if you’re looking for a luxurious oasis to retreat to in the middle of the action.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly resort on Mambo Beach, another option to consider is the Sunscape Curacao Casino, resort and spa. There are plenty of activities to do here including a kids club if you feel like enjoying your vacation kid-free for a few hours.
This resort is a good option if you’re looking for something mid-range – rooms are clean and modern but don’t expect luxury (Van der Walk above is a higher end offering). This all inclusive resort Mambo Beach offers good value for money as well if you’re looking for a more affordable getaway.
Amenities:Dive shop, large pool, 3 restaurants, beach, spa & fitness
Last of my selections for the best Mambo Beach hotels, Curacao, is Lions Dive Beach Resort.
Another beautiful place to stay close to the action, Lions Dive resort offers hotel rooms, suites and apartments for those wanting more space or planning to stay for longer. The apartments offer the benefit of a fully fitted kitchen if you prefer self-catering (or if you’re not in the mood for cooking, you can still eat at the resort’s restaurants or head out).
The resort features a large sports size pool, private beach, multiple restaurants, and a spa and wellness center. As you’d guess from this resort’s name, there’s also a dive shop on site which is a renowned PADI and SSI dive center. You can do your PADI qualification here, head out on an experience dive or take a snorkeling trip. If you’re looking for the best place to stay in Curacao for diving, definitely add this resort to your shortlist.
Located right on Mambo Beach, this resort has all the usual benefits of being in the heart of this area with its many restaurants, bars, nightlife and amenities.
Pros: 2,000 acres of private grounds, private golf course, beautiful beach area
Cons:Expensive if not on an all-inclusive plan
Amenities:Golf, Spa, Extensive grounds, kids club, water activities, beach, pool, 5 restaurants and bars
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Jan Thiel that feels more secluded, then Santa Barbara beach & golf Resort Curacao is definitely a good accommodation choice to consider. Set among over 2,000 acres of land, this is a paradise for golfers (the on-site golf course is rated among the top in the Caribbean).
At Santa Barbara golf and beach resort Curacao, the beach offers a sheltered swimming lagoon with clear waters, sheltered from the main channel, and the resort’s main fine dining restaurant offers beautiful sunset views out over the ocean. There are plenty of activities to keep families or couples entertained here, from jet-skis and trips to Little Curacao to poolside Cabanas, tennis and a spa.
If you’re looking for plenty of amenities for your stay in a beautiful setting, Santa Barbara beach resort will not disappoint.
Best For: Those wanting plenty of facilities, nightlife and things to do
Pros:Resort, hotel & beach club in one
Cons:Can get noisy, be careful which room you choose as some hotel rooms have internal balconies
Amenities:Pools, spa, private beach ‘pool’
This resort in the heart of Jan Thiel is a great choice if you’re looking for plenty of action and don’t want to have to venture out far for amenities.
The Papagayo comprises a sleek, modernist hotel, a separate beach resort with 2 and 3 bedroom garden villas, a beach club with lots of events and parties, and a gallery which comprises several boutiques, a casino, restaurants and a supermarket. There’s also a spa and dive center which can arrange snorkeling and diving trips. If you like design and boutique hotels, this is definitely an option to look into.
If you choose the hotel, be careful which room type you choose as some of the most basic rooms only have “internal” balconies (very little natural daylight) or views of the road. However many of the upgraded room types have beautiful ocean views. The beach area is small and man-made, so those wanting a good beach should consider other options.
If you want to be near lots of entertainment, this is a great choice for couples. Willemstad is an easy drive away too if you want to head out exploring.
Best for:Hotel experience with a central Location between beaches and city
Pros: Proximity to the beach and snorkeling
Cons:short walk to the beach, and most rooms don’t have a sea view
Amenities:beach, restaurant, pool, spa, nearby golf and yoga
Located within the gated community of Blue Bay, and just across from Blue Bay Beach, the Bayside Boutique Hotel is one of our favorite spots on the island. The central location between the wilder north and the more cosmopolitan south is the big selling point, but with great snorkeling just steps from your door and hiking and flamingo watching at nearby St. Michiel you could spend plenty of time just exploring the area around Blue Bay.
The clean and beachy modern hotel rooms surround a central common area that includes a pool and sundeck. Are you a golfer?? If so, hotel guests get a nice discount on golf at the Blue Bay Golf course, which is also just steps away.
If you want to be on a great beach and strategically placed to get around the island, then the villas and apartments at Blue Bay Resort Curacao are a great option to consider for your Curacao vacation.
With accommodations split across two properties (The Garden and The Ocean), rooms at Blue Bay Curacao resort are not typical hotel rooms. They are vacation rental style and come with an attached living room, fully equipped kitchen and come in various sizes sleeping up to six people.
Blue Bay beach resort Curacao is a good option for families or groups of friends who want to have the convenience of a resort setting and restaurants and amenities on site, but want more space for themselves and the option to have a self-catered break.
This resort is also a great option for golf – Blue Bay golf resort Curacao is home to its own 18 hole golf course.
Best for:Proximity to Beaches, Snorkeling, and Hiking
Pros: New Resort right on the beach with decent snorkeling
Cons:Pretty far removed from most stores, restaurants, and amenities
Amenities:beach, restaurant, pools, dive center
Away from it all, Oasis Coral Estate Beach, Dive and Wellness Resort is the only resort property located within the exclusive Coral Estate community. Just a short drive from all of those AMAZING picture perfect beaches on the north end of the island, Oasis is a perfect spot for people looking to rest, recharge, and relax on the beach and in the water.
Although it’s a bit away from it all, there are several dining options right on site, a dive center where you can book scuba and snorkeling trips, and even a gorgeous modern wellness center. Did I mention the view??? The water is as blue as it gets, and the snorkeling along the cliffs is pretty great as well.
Just a short drive outside the gated community, you’ll find the Jan Kok salt flats that are usually home to hundreds of pink flamingos grazing in the shallow water. It’s the perfect spot for a photo op on your way out to explore the nearby beaches, Shete Boka National, or even hike Christoffel Mountain.
Amenities:Private beach, spa/wellness, pool, on-site restaurants & bars, gym, kids play area, tennis
Be aware, this lodge seems to have gone downhill recently. However, if you prefer a hotel experience rather than a villa or apartment rental, this is one of the only options. If that’s what you’re looking for and Kura Hulanda doesn’t seem to fit, try checking out the condo rentals at Marazul Dive Resort. We have several great options listed below under the Villa and Condo section.
If you want to be away from the noise of other resorts and surrounded by nature, then Kura Hulanda Curacao Lodge is the place to be.
With an enviable position on the cliffs looking out over the ocean, you can expect stunning sunsets, and a beautiful beach all to yourselves as part of the resorts. Plus the location is great for driving to other beaches in the area (the best in Curacao) or for exploring nearby hiking and walking trails.
Given its location amongst nature, you’ll want to make sure you stock up on essentials before heading this way as there’s not much in the way of supermarkets or restaurants and bars around.
Now that you’ve read my shortlist for the best hotel to stay in Curacao, it’s time to also consider holiday rentals curacao has to offer as well as Curacao villa rentals and Airbnb Curacao options.
If you’re vacationing with your family or a group of friends, sometimes it can be easier and more cost effective to go for a self-catered holiday rather than opt for a hotel or all-inclusive resort.
The good news is that there are plenty of Curacao villa rentals located all over the island, ranging from simple Curacao vacation rental apartments through to Curacao luxury villas complete with private pools and maid service included.
When considering villas Curacao has to offer over hotels, a rental car is a must for getting around, especially for anything outside of Willemstad or one of the main resorts on the south of the island.
Oceanfront, Private Pool, and Stunning Views This ocean facing Curacao villa sleeps up to 8 people (4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms) with a private pool, outside dining area, bright interiors and a beautiful oceanfront cabana for relaxing in.
Stunning Caribbean Style Ocean Front Villa Sleeping up to 6 guests (3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms), this beautiful villa features a stunning oceanfront swimming pool and ocean views. The villa itself has the feel of a traditional bungalow, with plenty of space for indoor and outdoor relaxation.
Coral Estate Sealine Villa in Curaçao Another oceanfront option, this contemporary villa sleeps up to 6 (3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms) with small plunge pool and ocean front garden. A bakery and 2 restaurants are just 300 meters away.
Ocean Front Villa – Breathtaking View If you’re looking for a retreat for 2, this airbnb has stunning ocean views (reportedly with frequent sightings of dolphins!) and is just 1 minute’s walk to the beach and to Lagoon Ocean Resort for pool and restaurant. Sleeps 2 (1 bedroom, 2 bathrooms).
Oceanfront Bungalow 3 BR 3 Bath w/glorious views! Located within Marazul Dive Resort, this villa sleeps 6 (3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms) and features its own private pool, and plenty of space for outdoor dining and relaxing. Stairs down the cliffside allow direct access to the Caribbean sea for swimming and snorkeling.
Dive & Relax by the Oceanfront Pool This “Caribbean Millionnaire’s Retreat” is designed to impress, with wrap-around infinity pool, spectacular views from a private cliff-top and great snorkeling in the ocean below. Perfect for those who want privacy and the wow-factor. Sleeps 8 (4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms).
Beachhouse -private pool -historic Pietermaai -sea This beautiful little beach house, located in the historic Pietermaai district of Willemstad has stunning ocean views, a private pool and arty décor that make it the perfect pied-a-terre for exploring. Sleeps 4 (2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms)
Private Oceanfront luxurious city villa with pool This stunning design-focused duplex home is the kind of villa that will make you never want to leave Curacao. Located in Pietermaai with all nearby facilities, private pool and sleek interiors. Sleeps 2 (1 bedroom 2 bathrooms).
Penthouse The Strand 4A; Private, Oceanfront This penthouse loft apartment sleeps 6 (3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms) has impressive views of the ocean, plenty of space and homely custom design by Caribbean designer, India Hicks.
Modern tropical villa, close to the beach! If you’re looking for a sleek, modern upscale villa, this beautiful house may be just the thing for you. Sleeping up to 6 guests (3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms) this Jan Thiel vacation rental features a large private pool, garden area and sleek white interiors.
Luxury VILLA VISTA ROYAL-Jan Thiel Beach Another good option for larger groups, this modern villa sleeps up to 8 guests (4 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms), includes a large private pool and garden, modern décor and is just a short walk from Jan Thiel beach with its restaurants and supermarket.
So there you have it! Those are my best places to stay in Curacao for both hotels and resorts as well as vacation rentals. Did you manage to find your perfect place to stay for your Curacao vacation?
As you will have seen from this guide, Curacao really does have something for everyone. What’s more, it’s a great year-round destination as it’s located outside of the main Caribbean hurricane belt. So whether it’s great diving you’re after or just a relaxing break with the family, I hope you love visiting Curacao as much as I have.