Sandals Royal Curacao: Sandals All-Inclusive Review and Tips

We just returned from a week in Curacao, where we stayed for 3 nights at the new (open in 2022) Sandals Royal Curacao. The Sandals Resorts offer incredible all-inclusive, adults-only resorts all over the Caribbean. A vacation at any Sandals Resort can be fairly expensive, however when you look at all that is included in the price, and the service you get at most Sandals Resorts, it turns out to be a great value! After visiting a couple of the resorts in Jamaica, we were so excited to experience the new Sandals Royal Curacao. While we love the property, we don’t like to sugarcoat things so here’s our honest review about the resort.

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Check out prices for Sandals Royal Curacao here

Sandals Royal Curaçao drone shot

Where is Sandals Royal Curacao

Sandals Royal Curacao is located on 44 acres of land located right on the bay of Spanish waters. The resort is about 30 minutes east of WIlliamstad, in a private gated community. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the resort from the airport, but no worries, because your transportation to and from the airport is included in your stay.

What is Included at Sandals Resorts?

The great thing about Sandals Resorts is that everything in included, even scuba diving. There are so many daily activities going on, you can choose as much or as little to do while on vacation. Sandals Resorts are one of the only all-inclusive resorts that is actually ALL inclusive!

This is what’s truly included in your stay at Sandals Royal Curaçao

  • Dining at 8 restaurants + 3 food trucks
  • Unlimited alcoholic beverages
  • 13 bars, including a swim-up bar
  • Stocked bar in every room
  • Unlimited Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks® Wines
  • PADI-Certified SCUBA diving and equipment
  • Snorkeling and equipment
  • Additional activities, such as Hobie cat rides or paddle-boarding
  • Tennis, pickle ball, and other sports
  • Fitness center
  • Daily entertainment
  • Bikes to explore the resort
  • All tips, taxes, and gratuities
  • Roundtrip airport transfers
  • Wifi

Things that are an additional price:

  • Spa Treatments at Red Lane Spa
  • Local Adventure Tours
  • Private Cabanas located by the beach and the pool

Golf

Some Sandals Resort that have golf courses near or on the property, include the green fees to play at that golf course. Even though Sandals Curacao is located right next door to the Old Quarry Golf Course, rated one of the best golf courses in The Caribbean, golf is not included in your stay. We’re hoping down the road, this becomes a partnership, because the course is awesome!

If you’re looking to explore off the resort, here are the popular tours around Curacao:

Rooms and Suites

There are 25 room categories at Sandals Royal Curacao, ranging from garden view bungalows to seaside butler bungalow with private pool.

Sandals resorts have 3 levels of room categories: Butler Elite, Club Sandals, and Sandals Luxury. In short, Sandals Luxury are the entry level rooms, Club Sandals includes room service, and Butler Elite suites come with personalized butler service.

For a full breakdown of the room categories, check out which Sandals resort is right for you

The current pricing for the room levels (June 2024):

  • Sandals Luxury $341-457 pp/pn
  • Club Sandals $356-526 pp/pn
  • Butler Elite $664-1703 pp/pn

The most luxurious suites at this resort are the Awa Seaside Butler Bungalow with Private Pool ($1703 per person/per night), which has an amazing private pool overlooking the ocean, and the Kurason Island Poolside Butler Bungalow with Patio Tranquility Soaking Tub ($1000 per person/per night), that has a semi-private heart shaped lagoon.

Subi Club Level Walkout Room with Patio Tranquility Soaking Tub

We stayed in the Subi Club Level Walkout Room with Patio Tranquility Soaking Tub. We loved the soaking tubs during our other stays. This is a pretty popular room category, as it’s on the cheaper side. It’s on the ground floor, so technically you could walk out from your room, although they do have lots of flowers and bushes blocking, which adds to the privacy. This is a Club Sandals room. These are located in building 11 and 15, closer to Aolos and the food trucks. We loved the location, was on the quieter side, but still close enough to the main pool.

Restaurants

There are 8 restaurants and 3 food trucks located all over the Sandals Curacao property. They really do a good job of having a little bit of all cuisines.

Here’s a list of the 8 restaurants:

  • Butchs Island Chop House – high-end steak and seafood restaurant (Reservations required and resort evening attire required)
  • Vincent modern European – Decent food and service, we got duck and salmon. (Reservations required and resort evening attire required)
  • Zuka latin fusion
  • Strand seafood house – located right on the beach, with great sunset views. This was our absolute favorite of all! Great lobster
  • Gatsu Gatsu sushi – who doesn’t love all you can eat sushi? Great sushi and ramen!
  • Aolos mediterrean – we didn’t eat here, but has a great view overlooking hole 1 on Old Quarry Golf Course
  • Pietra Italian -we didn’t eat here for dinner, but we did eat breakfast here as they have a breakfast buffet, and this is where the wonderful pizza oven is for lunch!
  • Kanaal Cafe and wine bar – of course the coffee shop which sweets and pastries, and wine bar is always a hit!

The food trucks are open from 11am-7pm everyday, so this is a great option for lunch or an afternoon snack. We found the food trucks to be quick, and they are smaller portions. Here’s what you can find at the food trucks:

  • Toteki – traditional Curacao fare
  • La Palma – spanish tapas
  • Kishi – Asian fusion (this was our favorite!)

Pools

There are 3 public pools to use, the infamous Dos Awa double infinity pool and 2 “quieter” pools. The Dos Awa pool is in the middle of the resort, has a swim up bar, and this where all the action is. Right next to that, is a quiet pool, that has a bar nearby. This is a great spot if you still want to be close to things, but want it a bit quieter. And then further away, on the east side of the resort, is another quiet pool, located near the Melemele rooms. This pool is quite a bit of walk from the main resort area, so we found hardly anyone there, and there is no bar close, but they do have a cooler with beers and water.

Beach

There are sort of 2 beach areas at Sandals Royal Curacao. There is ocean beach, which is right in front of the infinity pool. There are some loungers here, but there is no beach access access here, as it’s a very rocky area and has a big drop off. Then there is the swimming beach, which is on the Spanish Water channel which leads to the harbor. This beach is like a little inlet. The beach is protected by a long floating pier with the floats extending underwater. It allows water to flow in and out, but protects swimmers from the boat wakes. The swimming beach is a nice sandy beach, with calm water, and it’s actually a longer walk along the beach if you enjoy that.

Entertainment

The entertainment team at Sandals Royal Curacao was great! They have entertainment during the day and then in the evening, and they do a really good job. The entertainment during the day at the pool was very enjoyable, dancing, joking, even water games with other guests. We never stayed out late enough to see the evening entertainment, but have heard good things about it.

One tip when planning your dinners is to go earlier, so you can see the nightly entertainment. One night we had a reservation 9pm, and that is typically right when the main entertainment is going on.

Spa and Fitness Center

The fitness center is included and has a nice selection of weights and cardio machines. The dumbbells go up to #50 which is actually pretty nice for a hotel gym.

The Red Lane Spa is additional, but you can book a nice massage, facial, or pedicure to relax on vacation.

Service

This is where our review turns a little more truthful than others might. And before we get too into it, yes we would recommend Sandals Resorts overall. Yes, we will go back to other Sandals Resorts. We just probably won’t go back to Sandals Curacao. While it didn’t impact our time at Sandals, we just felt like the service wasn’t the top-notch service that we expect from most Sandals Resorts. We found the customer service on the island as a whole, was sub-par, and we later learned this is a Dutch thing. The Dutch believe in an egalitarian environment, meaning all people are equal. We are all for this, as we don’t think we are better than anyone else. However, when it comes to customer service, or visiting a restaurant, it can feel very stand-offish and sort of rude. This is abundant on the island of Curacao, not just at Sandals Royal Curacao.

Overall Review of Sandals Royal Curacao

Given that Sandals Royal Curaco is a new property, opened in June of 2022, there are still some kinks that the resort is working out. Besides the service being a little below par of the typical Sandals Resorts service, the Royal Curacao property is gorgeous! From the beautiful double infinity pool to the gorgeous grounds, we think this is one of the prettiest Sandals Resorts we’ve visited. And if you can get over a little subpar customer service and maybe waiting a little while to get some food, you’ll probably enjoy it. Our favorite Sandals resort, Sandals South Coast, had a much more welcoming and friendly vibe than Royal Curacao. Our understanding is that Sandals Curacao is currently bringing in workers from other island, in order to provide more of the normal Sandals Resort hospitality and culture to the resort, so I think they are working on that. Besides the service, the property is absolutely gorgeous, as everything is up-to-date and new! And even though we felt the service was a bit off, we met many people who say this is their favorite Sandals resort now and will continue to come back!

Sandals Curacao beach

Tips for your stay at Sandals Royal Curacao

  • If you want a lounger with umbrella at the main pool, you’ll need to get up early. The butlers are out there early putting towels out for their clients, so the chairs can get filled fast. We would go out around 6:30am-7am and grab some towels and put some of our personal items there, while we went to get breakfast. We found that most chairs were gone by 10am (which is also when the swim up bar opens)
  • We recommend going to dinner early, then you have time for either another dinner later, or can go explore the evening entertainment, which usually starts at 9pm.
  • Take some time to explore the island. We spent 4 days before our stay at Sandals Resort and we rented a car and drove around, and it’s a great island to explore. If you don’t want to stay longer, you can take a day to go into Williamstad or do an excursion on the island.

Things to bring for your trip at Sandals Curacao

  • Evening attire – if you plan to eat at Butch’s or Vincents, you’ll need evening attire, which for men is pants and dress shirt. No shorts, sandals, or hat
  • A light sweater or cardigan for women in the restaurants in the evening – some restaurants can be chilly, so I wish I had a light sweater for those nights
  • Electrical converter – there is a US outlet in the bathroom and 1 in the room, but if you need more, it’s smart to bring an electrical converter like this
  • Pool float
  • Yeti or hydro flask tumbler – an easy way to carry your drinks around, bring a tumbler and the bartenders will fill this for you
  • Lots of sunscreen – you are close to the equator, so it gets hot and the sun is close! A lot of people were getting burned quickly, and while there is a gift shop, it can be quite expensive.
  • Snorkel gear – if you want to snorkel from the beach, or even do a snorkeling trip, you’ll want to bring your own snorkel gear. This is the one we bring everywhere.

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