Posh Casino Resort on 17th-Century Fort Overlooking Caribbean Sea
After the Dutch landed on the Caribbean island of Curaçao in the mid 17th century, they quickly set out to defend the tropical paradise from jealous neighbors back home. Along the isle’s bays and inlets, the Dutch colonists built several imposing fortresses, including the impressive Waterfort, which protected the capital city of Willemstad. Today, Plaza Hotel Curaçao & Casino blends Caribbean hospitality with Dutch culture and holds court atop the former stronghold, where upscale restaurants and boutiques overlook the Caribbean Sea. And those looking to explore the island are a short walk from white sand beaches and the floating market.
Palm-leaf fans cool visitors to the elegant lobby. A grand staircase leads up to the guest rooms, also accessible by elevator, which are accented by soft beige or blue hues. Each classic doubles room provides views of the Caribbean or downtown Willemstad’s colorful buildings.
Come dinnertime, head to the Waterfort Arches, where Mr. Conga's Cuban Cuisine serves traditional ropa vieja and Cuban cigars while live trumpet music passionately recalls life in Havana. At the more romantic Scampi's Restaurant, diners crack open fresh lobster and catch a once-in-a-lifetime sunset over the Caribbean.
Wrap up an evening with a frozen piña colada beneath palm trees at the outdoor pool. Those looking to press their luck can head to the hotel's Royal Casino, which stays busy after dark with ringing slot machines, weekly karaoke, and bingo games.
Willemstad, Curaçao: Vibrant Dutch Architecture and Outdoor Markets
Located just 40 miles north of the Venezuelan coast, the former Dutch territory of Curaçao became a constituent country of the Netherlands in 2010. Located on Curaçao’s southern shore, the capital of Willemstad draws snorkelers and beachcombers year-round. Despite its tropical setting, the city resembles a quaint Dutch village, as bold yellow and cotton-candy pink hues colorize 17th-century colonial buildings throughout the main districts of Punda and Otrabanda. The two districts sit on either side of St. Anna Bay, but you can cross over via the Queen Emma Bridge, which floats atop 16 pontoon boats. More than a century old, the bridge is affectionately called “the swinging old lady” for the way it swings open to allow boats to pass.
On one side of the Queen Emma Bridge, downtown Punda boasts duty-free shops and outdoor vendors selling exotic perfumes and handcrafted jewelry. Steps from the hotel, you can visit the floating market, where native Venezuelans sell fresh fruits and vegetables from their docked fishing boats.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.