An American Airlines Flight Attendant Blog/Review ~ Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort ~ Curacao


​"Hi, my name is Julie Craven-Benneddeb. I am a Purser Flight Attendant for American Airlines based out of Miami. I am told I am one of the most traveled members of our staff and try and get on a vacation of some sort at least once a month! I love sharing my adventures and helping others plan their vacations! 

Read about my latest trip to Curacao below and the amazing 5 Star Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort! 

You can then see how to book the same special airline and industry staff discount deal I did at the bottom of the blog.


Everyone seems to listen to what Flight Attendants have to say and recommend as we get to travel the world and experience so many hotels! We love to 'Spread the Word!'




My Buddy Kim and I jetted off to the simply idyllic Island of Curacao in the southern Caribbean in January 2019 and opted to stay at the 5 star Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort ... and boy did we make the right choice!

We flew non stop from Miami to Curacao with American Airlines in just 2.5 hours (3 flights a week), then rented a car ($200 for 5 days) and drove straight to the hotel very easily in just over 30 minutes. The car gave us a bit of freedom to check out the island which was nice. Alternatively a taxi costs around $70 for 4 people to share.

For assistance checking out flight schedules this link is quite helpful (although not always kept up to date)

Photo Gallery

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To be honest I hadn't really considered the Dutch Caribbean before, but having been to the more traditional Caribbean Islands simply dozens of times I thought it was time to try something different - well worth it and I would recommend it to anyone, amazing beaches and a very colorful capital Willemstad capital city. It’s known for its old town center, with pastel-colored colonial architecture.


After a very efficient check-in we at the Santa Barbara, we couldn't resist taking a quick look at the pool area before we went to the room...unbelievable! The two main pools are centrally located below the resort's lobby and near Medi Restaurant. With two pools, adults can enjoy a relaxing swim while children play nearby in the exciting splash area with large fountain and watershoots.


From the swimming pools we could see the aqua glow of the ocean and sparkling bright white was simply mesmerizing with very cool sun lounging pods!! We couldn't wait to get into our swimwear and sarongs, but the room!



The Rooms

With the company we booked with, airline and travel industry staff get a guaranteed room upgrade. We ended up with a premier Waterfront Double room and the views were amazing. The super comfortable room overlooking the swimming beach was an experience to remember. We had a tour of the hotel and were told every room at Santa Barbara offers a spacious retreat with luxury amenities and comforts from home, including the option for a King Bed (extra size bed) or two Double Beds, Spacious Balcony or Patio, flat-screen television and large bathroom with shower/bathtub


A subtle but lovely chocoholic surprise awaited us in our room too!




First Stop ~ The Pools!

Despite only a short flight from Miami and quick drive to the hotel, we still couldn't wait to chill out by the pool with a thirst quenching drinkette and to put our feet up looking out over to the aqua blue sea and beach. Say no more!


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2nd Stop ~ The Beach!

Struggling with things to say hear guys!....all that springs to mind is glowing aqua and crystal clear waters and bright wind powder silky sand.


There are 38 beaches on Curacao!, many of them tucked away in secluded areas offering an intimate retreat, as well as tiny surrounding islands perfect for day and snorkeling trips treat....and that's just what we set up to do the following morning! Santa Barbara Beach, a white sand paradise unlike anywhere else on Curacao. It stretches 1,500 ft (450 meters) and invites you to lounge while enjoying views of passing sailboats and yachts.


Swim in the warm, glassy blue, protected swimming lagoon and relax amid the natural, undeveloped views.


The Klein Curacao Adventure

Off to discover the uninhabited island of Klein Curacao. With its powder-white beaches, turquoise-blue waters, and sea turtles, it is definitely a place you have to see. Upon boarding at the fishing port on Caracas Bay, were provided with breakfast, coffee or tea then we embarked on a 1.5-hour sail to the island (also knows a Little Curacao). They we feasted on a delicious BBQ lunch with salads and fruit. The bar was open from the moment we boarded for non-alcoholic drinks, and alcoholic beverages were then served out by 12 noon which included wine, rum, beer and vodka....ok, so I'm not going to be able to tell you much about that day!


Once we arrived, we could see the historic Klein Curacao lighthouse, and were given the opportunity to visit the old rusty shipwreck, swim with sea turtles or just relax on the beautiful stretch of pristine beachfront bordered by the Caribbean Sea. Divers were welcome and dive gear is rentable, although we didn't opt in on that occasion as we had already hit the bar! Oops!




Time for Dinner & Santa Barbara Food

Back from the boat trip, a swim in the pool, lay down on the bed to recover and have a quick snooze, then it was time for dinner, which we were very much looking forward to....starting off of course with a typical Curacao cocktail...clearly laced with Curacao! This idyllic resort has several restaurants and bars. We ate dinner at Shore (after the cocktail during sunset at the bar there!) The bar tender, Fritz, was unbelievable and I had him prepare a cocktail of the day each time.


The food at Shore is delicious! I tried several dishes and all were very tasty and fresh. My favorite by far is the Caribbean lobster, a must try if you stay at the resort. Also make sure to save room for their creme brûlée, yum! ​​In the day, Splash is the fun place to be by the pool with live music entertainment and daily happy hour from 5-6pm. You can enjoy a yummy cocktail, appetizers and lunch around the pool as they have poolside and beach side service.

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Medi is the other main restaurant and here they serve the huge breakfast buffet (free for airline/industry staff with the company we booked through) with a large selection of pastries, juices, fruit, and eggs any way you like. They also have an extensive menu for lunch and dinner, which we enjoyed many a time on the veranda taking in the gorgeous views.

We also tried Bella Italia - they have pasta, pizza, and freshly made gelato. Boca 19 is at the end of the golf course and have great options for lunch and dinner, plus a large choice of cocktails with an amazing view of the Marina.



What to do

At Santa Barbara, there is a nearly endless variety of activities and adventures. Not surprising as it stretches across a 2,000-acre slice of island paradise. From golf and tennis to water sports and guided hikes, Santa Barbara offers everything necessary for a memorable Caribbean vacation.  Relax on the beautiful beach, lounge by the pools, or head to the spa to revive your senses.  It's all within reach. 

Choosing your activities will present something of a dilemma when looking for things to do in Curaçao! You can learn about their fascinating local history or enjoy breathtaking views at Boca Tabla Sea Cave. If you just can’t resist the playful, curious charm of dolphins, you can’t miss Dolphin Academy. This gorgeous property is set on a huge plantation with 2 marinas, and a golf course which has been voted the best in the Caribbean last year and is in the running again for this year too. 



.... and More

If you get bored chilling out at the pool or the beach or island hoping, then you cna always try hiking, yoga, tennis, or the spa which is called Attabei (meaning Mother Earth) and is a beautiful tranquil relaxing place with many treatments available. We chose the 1 hour massage, it felt wonderful and the ladies were amazing. I came out feeling relaxed and refreshed!


Stunning views and so many hiking opportunities!


Willemstad the Capital City is about 30 minutes away, a great town to check out and walking around shopping is loads of fun there. Lots of great places to chose to eat and watch the floating bridge as well!


Golf for beginners (me!) & Experts!

Well, I have NEVER played golf before in my life and never thought I would! We were told we should give it a go, as even if we were no good, it didn't matter because the views of the Caribbean were so breathtaking from the famous resort course called Old Quarry. Please no laughing at my feeble attempts (and no the 1st picture is not me!) You must give it a go!



Getting around by golf buggy is great fun!




Summing Up

From the moment you land on Curacao you feel a warm welcome and at home. The island is very picturesque, the beach and sea a dream and the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort has enough to keep you entertained and busy if you so desire, or you can simply relax in spectacular surroundings and luxury. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! 


CLICK HERE for the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort deal I booked at Special Industry Staff Rates!


Check out some of my other travel blogs here when you have time!

Click here to read my blog and review of Kandima Maldives Resort
Click here to read my blog and review of Hong Kong and Bali


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