By Ricky Browne
As tourism world wide has been laid waste by the global pandemic, at least one hotel chain has gone ahead with its expansion plans, with Sandals Resorts International (SRI) announcing its new hotel in the Dutch-speaking Caribbean island of Curacao.
“I am beyond pleased to announce that Sandals Resorts International has entered the Dutch Caribbean,” Sandals CEO announced via LinkedIn on Monday.
Sandals is a luxury all-inclusive chain from Jamaica with resorts in Jamaica and several other Caribbean islands. The hotel is scheduled to be opened in 2021 — the first time that Sandals has ventured to this Dutch island.
Curacao is the eighth island for the brand in the Caribbean. Apart from itsDutch culture and beautiful capital city of Willemstad, the island is a diver’s paradise with some 65 dive sites.
“Welcome to Sandals Curacao” Steward said, with an image of the island’s flag 🇨🇼.
The hotel will have 350 rooms, with further expansion planned. It is the company’s 16th current resort.
The island, off the coast of Venezuela, has a flight time of two hours and 45 minutes from the air hub of Miami.
“Set on a 3000 acre estate known as Santa Barbara with two marinas and an 18 hole Championship golf course. Sandals Curacao is set to bring a new dimension to our portfolio of world class Caribbean luxury resorts,” he said.
The resort will sit on 44 acres of the 3000 acre estate.
“With its Dutch & European influences we can’t wait to share what we have in store once “Sandalsized”. Thank you the our incredible team, 15,000 strong, for always reaching for the stars and setting the bar in hospitality excellence!” he said.
Since 2010, Curacao has been an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It used to be a unit with the other Dutch islands, including Aruba and Bonaire — creating the ABC islands, and also Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba.
Historically Curacao was a centre of the slave trade for Holland, until that country ended the slavery in 1863 — about 30 years after Britain. In the 20th century it regained prosperity based on the business of refining oil from Venezuela. This has created a massive oil refinery complex that sits right next to the picturesque colonial capital of Willemstaad. in 2010 in a change of constitutional status that dissolved the Netherlands Antilles.
“For us, This expansion signals the strength and resilience of the Caribbean and our commitment to strengthening tourism by looking through a forward lens to a better tomorrow.
“On behalf of my Dad, Chairman & Founder of Sandals Resorts International & I, we thank you all out there for your continued support.” Steward said.
It won’t be the first time that the Sandals chain has immersed itself in the flavour of the Dutch in the Caribbean. Its Sandals Whitehouse — now rebranded Sandals South Coast — on the south coast of Jamaica has a Dutch area, recently revamped with rooms that open right onto a pool.