Saturday, November 25th 2017.

Destinations

Geraldine Huybrechts
CURACAO
EXPERIENCE A COCKTAIL OF SUN, SEA AND MEETING FACILITIES

 

By Geraldine Huybrechts, Managing Director B-Eventic

 

Oh blue Curaçao! With delight in our hearts we accepted Destination Curaçao’s Fam trip invitation to this beautiful little island in the Netherlands Antilles. When we arrived February 9, on our sunny destination after a ten-hour flight from Amsterdam, we knew our four days in this tropical paradise would be packed with activities and locations to check out. No time to lose, on with the report!

 

Curacao Curacao
Curacao Curacao Curacao

 

World heritage and cocktails (Day 1)

Our first stop of the day was the excellent Kurá Hulanda Hotel http://kurahulandahotel.com/.  This totally renovated city block is now a five star hotel in the centre of the capital Willemstad. It consists of several buildings in village style, reviving the Dutch architecture of the 17th and 18th century. It has two pools, multiple restaurants, a health spa, a casino and beautiful gardens. It’s also home to the world famous anthropological Museum Kurá Hulanda and to a brand new conference centre. The resort is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with the Puna district.

A small walk away from the hotel we arrived at the historic Rif Fort, built in 1828, where we had a magnificent view of the famous colorful Willemstad houses and visited The Renaissance Curaçao Resort which was in our opinion more suitable for the American, than the European market. Back at the Kurá Hulanda we enjoyed a delicious outdoor dinner accompanied by a live band.

 

map curacao

 

Dolphins, beaches and filet. (Day 2)

dolphinsAfter a delightful breakfast we paid a visit to the Curaçao Public Aquarium and the Dolphin Academy: one of the most memorable highlights of the trip. Both were built on the oceanfront and are unique because of their ‘open-water-system’. We met some of the dolphins and could even touch them. Various interactive programs are offered, including dolphin swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving. This makes for excellent teambuilding or incentive activities.

LandhuisAfter saying goodbye to our aquatic acquaintances, we continued our way to Westpunt, logically the westernmost point of the island, where we visited the Christoffel Park. This is the largest national park of Curaçao and home to a rich variety of local flora and fauna. There are hiking and mountain bike trails, but special activities like safaris, cave excursions and a full moon hike are possible too. The park also organizes multiple projects to support sustainable development.

We also made a little stop at Landhuis Dokterstuin. This land house was built in the 18th century and was owned by the government, who used it to lease small plots of land to former slaves to encourage agricultural development. Today, it’s a typical Creole restaurant.

BokaWe passed by the Shete Boka National Park. Boca means “coves” in Papiamento: Curaçao’s unofficial language. The ten holes in the rocks (more than four meters wide), battered by the power of the waves, offer fascinating sea views. Three species of threatened sea turtles use this region to breed. It’s an ideal area for hiking trails or quad, buggy or jeep tours.

Finally, we arrived at Westpunt, in the Kurá Hulanda Lodge (the sister property of the KH Hotel).  This intimate beach and dive resort boasts 42 guestrooms and 32 one- and two-bedroom suites with kitchenettes, allowing guests the benefits of vacation rentals http://www.destination360.com/caribbean/curacao/vacation-rentals combined with the facilities of a resort. It’s a place for peace, quiet and relaxation.  Although certain rooms are in need of renovation.

 

Westpunt Westpunt Westpunt

 

Westpunt is also home to the best beaches of the island. On some of them it’s possible to organize private special events, incentives or celebrations. One of them is the Cas Abao Beach, which can be completely privatized, the perfect spot for a beach party.
We enjoyed our sandwich lunch: an ideal spot for sunbathing while getting calmed by the ocean waves. More active people can practice a wide variety of water sports. It’s also an excellent place to snorkel because the protected coral reef comes in very close to shore.

 

Local art Local art

 

After our picnic, it was time to discover some local art. Nena Sanchez, born on Curaçao in 1945, paints colorful Caribbean sceneries.  When you enter her studio, you enter a world of tropical flowers, typical native cottages, blue skies and palm trees.  Native Curaçao is reflected in all of her work. Yellow, blue and red are abundantly and cheerfully used. As a self-taught artist, she experiments with the use of different materials such as wood, canvas and paper.

Our hotel for the next 2 days was the very luxury Hyatt Regency hotel. Opened in April 2010, it’s an extensive full-service luxury resort, situated between the Caribbean Sea and Spanish Water Bay.  It offers 350 Deluxe rooms, hotelincluding 15 suites and three private buildings with upscale amenities.
The recreation options are a private beach, health spa, full service salon, 24 hour fitness centre, three pools http://curacao.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/activities/pool/index.jsp, four tennis courts and an 18-hole Pete Dye championship golf course http://curacao.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/activities/golf/index.jsp. The Hyatt Regency Business centre offers innovative meeting facilities in style and stunning settings for all kind of event types: large and small meetings, conferences, conventions, social events, weddings et cetera.

After a quick shower, we were ready to embark directly from the hotel for a boat trip to discover the Spanish Water Bay and the Santa Barbara plantation, while enjoying delicious appetizers.
The Santa Barbara plantation is an exclusive residential community resort.  With the Tafelberg, the Spanish Water bay and the Caribbean sea close by, the views were spectacular. A bit tipsy, we got off the boat and went to the SHOR restaurant, one of three Hyatt Regency restaurants. This one was located right next to the ocean, and offered a palette of seafood grill themes in a contemporary style. SHOR buys from local farmers to ensure the freshest ingredients and to boost Curaçao’s agriculture industry.  Try the mahi filet if you’re there. It’s absolutely delicious. It was truly a first-class fine dining experience!

 

boat_trip

 

Herbs, Ostriches and Blues (Day 3)

Next morning, we drove to the botanical garden of Dinah Veeris Den Paradera.
The name “Den Paradera” comes from the Paraguiri Indians, who had a great knowledge of herbs.  When the Spaniards came, slaves were brought to these Indians to be cured.
Dinah, a hearty lady in her late 80’s (although she doesn’t look it), started to preserve traditional medicinal plants when she noticed a lot of information was getting lost. She started to bring herbs to this garden to save them and to keep the knowledge alive.  Dinah is known throughout Curaçao as a healer and has written different books, like “Green Remedies and Golden Customs of our Ancestors.”

After a refreshing pink herbal drink, we continued our way to the Ostrich and Game Farm, where the guided tour evolved into a true safari.  We even touched, fed, and rode some ostriches.  The Zambezi restaurant next to the farm was decorated in a true African style.  Ostrich and lots of other African dishes were served. 

 

Serena Chichi

 

After the African experience, we visited another artist: Serena Janet Israel. Serena started her “Chichi” project in 2007.  Chichi is a nickname for a special women on Curaçao.  With her sculptures, Serena expresses the positive way of life.  The figure is unique in form and local ladies come to paint them.  An ideal souvenir when you visit Curaçao.

To end the day, we visited the Avila hotel http://avilahotel.com/ . Its different wings are home to different types of rooms. The Octagon Wing, built in 2006, has the newest Avila hotelspacious rooms with balconies and ocean views. The Blues Wing rooms are part of an all-wood structure, built on a pier. The hotel has multiple conference and banqueting facilities for business conferences, seminars, workshops, meetings and other social events.

To end the very last evening, we were invited for dinner at Blue Bay hotel http://www.bluebay-curacao.com/ .
Here, the accommodation is also divided into three types. As the hotel was fully booked, we have not been able to see any room but we did enjoy the excellent dinner on the beach. The  hotel has some real excellent restaurants, bars, a private wide beach, water sports and a golf course. Live cooking at the beach is one of the many other incentive possibilities. The plan was to hit after dinner one of the many night-bars of Curaçao, especially http://www.sainttropezcuracao.com/, but as we were all pretty tired, we decided to take a night-cap in our hotel.

 

Goodbyes (Day4)

Marriott Marriott

 

The last day, we visited the Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Case http://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-deals/curmc-curacao-marriott-beach-resort-and-emerald-casino/. Allthough it’s not brand new, the hotel offers quality. This resort offers 247 rooms including 10 suites, all with balcony or terrace, different restaurants and bars, a fitness centre, swimming pools, a whirlpool, a sauna and a range of water sport activities.  Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Case can host business meetings in four meeting rooms.  It’s located close to the World Trade Center, which is one of the biggest building complexes in the Caribbean. It has 18 meeting rooms, a business centre, an auditorium (room for 325 people), an exhibition hall and a commercial area. The WTC proves that Curaçao can host major international business gatherings with ease. 

 

Willemstad Willemstad

 

Before we had to catch our flight, some time was left to visit charming Willemstad, and we had a great very local lunch!

It is clear that Curaçao offers a wide range of exclusive activities and amazing dinner experiences.  This island has a lot of potential to grow as a MICE destination.

 

CuracaoWhat other Incentive professionals say

Curaçao is so much more than beautiful beaches and dive sites. With its original venues (country houses, beaches, forts or even the Maritime museum) and possibilities for original land and sea excursions, it has the means to organise a great incentive!

Marilyn Harrison – EMM Travel Consultant – HRG Belgium


Curaçao, Ideal winter destination with a great mixture of authenticity, colorful architecture, range of valuable outdoor venues, warm hospitality and a delicious surprising local kitchen.
Caribbean ambiance with an European flavor.  Hyatt Regency Curaçao Golf Resort & SPA is a TOP hotel that meets all your expectations.

Tine Algoet - Managing Partner – Mind and Motion


Curaçao is a beautiful and versatile destination in the Caribbean Sea.
Although small in size, the island is surprisingly huge in possibilities for incentive travel. The authentic atmosphere, quaint architecture, beautiful hotels and the warm friendliness of the people will charm every corporate group, big and small.

Katrien Huyge - Incentive Planner – IPOC Events

 

group

In a nutshell, the assets of Curaçao are:

  • authenticity of Caribbean charm.
  • magnificent selection of hotels for each budget.
  • excellent cuisine, from great casual to exclusive fine-dining in local and international restaurants.
  • variety of incentive activities, water sports, attractions.
  • business meeting & event facilities and venues, from hotels to the World Trade Center.
  • mixture of cultures and art.
  • tropical mild temperatures.
  • distances are quite limited.

KLM departs from Schiphol Airport to Curaçao nine times a week, there are also daily flights to Bonaire to be booked. Flights to Aruba and St. Maarten depart five and three times per week.

Special thanks to:
  • Curaçao Tourist Board – Eduard Suares – E.Suares@ctbe.nl
  • The DMC Destinations Curaçao – Kim May Huisman-Schmitt – kim@destination-curacao.com www.destination-curacao.com
  • Glenaki and BBT Online
  • All the sales, marketing, event managers and directors of the different venues
  • The great group (Tine  Algoet – Mind and Motion, Didier Schmidt – In Search of Excellence, Katrien Huyghe -  IPOC events, Marilyn Harrison – HRG Belgium, Laurent Meulewaeter – American Express, Birgit Defoort – Glenaki, Karin de Graauw – BBT Online and Eduard Suares – Curaçao Tourist Board)
For more info:
Belgian representative: Birgit Defoort, BDefoort@aviareps.com
http://www.curacao.com/nl
http://www.facebook.com/curacaotb

 

Curacao Curacao Curacao

 

 

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