Curaçao is one of those Caribbean islands that you may have heard of, but didn't know too much about – unless you were one of the millions of viewers of ABC's The Bachelorette, which just filmed single mom Emily Maynard’s finale there. If you liked what you saw – idyllic beaches, crystal clear water, and cobblestone streets set amid colorful 18th-century buildings – then here’s something else that might surprise you: Curaçao is very affordable! It’s low season there from now until mid-December, so you’ll find great deals. And because Curaçao is generally below the hurricane belt, storms are not typically a problem. I have visited the island and have stayed at the two sister hotels where much of The Bachelorette action unfolded, so here's the scoop on both – plus deals and discounts on other great properties:Sandton Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club: If you’re a fan of mid-sized resorts that are not cookie-cutter in any way, Sandton Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club makes an ideal hideaway. Located on scenic coral cliffs above Playa Kalki, a pretty stretch of beach with easy access to great snorkel and dive sites, the 74-room property blends casual beachfront ambiance (there’s also a refreshing free-form pool) with expansive gardens. The food is excellent and the most affordable accommodations are located amid the foliage on the lower level of 10 freestanding, two-story buildings, with rates starting at just $149/night.
Or if you want to recreate Emily’s romantic dates with Jef (her final choice) or Arie, you can book one of two five-night packages: The Bachelorette Experience package includes signature welcome roses, five nights in an Oceanfront Terrace Studio (shown at left), two Bachelorette dinner experiences (private beachfront and Zen garden), a rose petal-lined path to the beach with moonlit dessert and champagne, and a snorkel trip for two to the Blue Cave, from $1,650. You can also step it up with The Bachelorette Dream package, which includes five nights in the three-bedroom, two-story Kalki Villa, five-dozen roses in the suite, two Bachelorette dinner experiences (private beachfront and Zen garden), champagne and strawberries in Jacob’s Treehouse Mansion, sailing trip to Grote Knip Beach, dolphin swim experience, and catamaran snorkel excursion, from $2,750. Both packages are valid until Dec. 23, 2012.
Sandton Kura Hulanda Hotel & Spa: If you’re not a 24/7 beach couple, the sister properties also make it easy for you to split your time between the Lodge and Sandton Kura Hulanda Hotel & Spa, the village-like property in the vibrant capital of Willemstad where Emily & Jef’s final rose ceremony took place. Filled with history and charm – as well as three restaurants (serving delicious Indian, island-inspired Continental, and tapas), a spa set by a relaxing waterfall, and a casino – the 80-room property (shown at right) features hand-carved antique decor, romantic courtyards, two pools, and a nearby beach club. Book a few nights at both properties or stay at either and hop the shuttle between them to enjoy the beach or spa and casino. Room rates start at $139/night.
Curaçao Tourism Deals & Discounts: In addition, Curaçao Tourism has just launched a Fall Promotion featuring more than a dozen hotel deals and discounts, from free nights and resort credits to 25-40 percent off room rates.