This is redherring’s fiance.
I lived in Curacao for a while back around 2001. It is a lovely island… but it’s less “sanitized” than other Caribbean islands are. For instance, if you’ve been researching Caribbean vacations, I’m sure you’ve run across stories about Jamaica warning you not to leave the resort you’re staying at. Curacao is not anywhere near that bad, but after dark, you probably want to stick to the populous areas (Punda & Otrobanda) or to the resort you’re staying at. You’re not likely to get in trouble if you venture out, but the after-dark culture there can definitely be gritty.
You mention that you’re considering Breezes, which is formerly the Princess Beach, which was the nicest resort on the island when I was there. If you are plugged in to the local scene, it was theoretically possible to do more ritzy vacation house/condo rentals in, say, Jan Thiel or Westpunt, but for being new to Curacao, you’ve picked the best resort. (at least as of 9 years ago)
If you are into SCUBA diving, seriously, Curacao is the place to be. Even if it’s not something you’ve ever tried, I would strongly suggest taking a PADI Open Water class before going. It’s UNbelievable. I dove for years in the states and never saw anything 10% as mesmerizingly beautiful as what I saw on even routine dives in Curacao. There is a paradise underwater there, just waiting to be discovered. If you’re looking for dive tour operators, PM redherring, and I can make you a recommendation.
As far as restaurants, there are plenty of tasty and charming options, but one that deserves to be called out above and beyond the rest: Bistro Le Clochard. I am somewhat of a foodie and very picky about restaurants, and have eaten at some of the finest restaurants in the world, and Clochard is definitely in my top 5 of all time. It’s been around for a long time, and is situated right at the mouth of the harbor in Otrobanda. It’s just unbelievable. The cuisine is an interesting fusion of French, continental European and Caribbean. If you go to Curacao, and do only one thing, make it a meal there. You may wish to call ahead of time for reservations. Not to be missed. I’m jealous just thinking about it.
The weather is fantastic year round; hot, dry, strong breeze all the time. There are lots of fun things to see. I recommend getting a rental car so you can explore the island on your own during the day. Go to Westpunt. While I understand there’s been some development in Westpunt since I was last there, it’s secluded and beautiful.
I love Curacao and can’t wait to go back myself. Let’s see, I should probably mention the down sides. I mentioned that it’s kinda gritty after dark. Every casino on the island (at least when I was there) was pretty ghetto, so if you’re looking for tropical Vegas, you might want to consider other islands. There are a lot of jewelry shops in Punda that seem to have GREAT deals. Use common sense; If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. I’d stay away from buying jewelry or watches while you’re there. If you must, stick to the bigger, more established vendors.
Overall, I recommend it. Hope your trip is great!