The Curious Case of Curacao


The most interesting man in the world is holding afternoon court at an outdoor restaurant overlooking a postcard-perfect turquoise stretch of Caribbean Sea. In the span of 15 minutes, he will speak eloquently about everything from historic preservation and the merits of nuclear energy to government corruption and his favorite menu items.

If he seems right at home—even with water in hand instead of beer with XX on its label—that’s because he is.

The Sandton Kurá Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club, a lush 74-suite retreat on the northern tip of Curaçao, is one of two properties on the island funded by the Jade Foundation and co-creator Jacob Gelt Dekker, whose real-life background makes the fictional Dos Equis spokesman look like an assembly line worker at a paper clip factory.

The Netherlands native with rugged, Redford-esque looks maintains residences at both the Beach Club and its sister property, the Kurá Hulanda Hotel & Spa—an eight-block village in the capital city of Willemstad—along with home bases in Key West, New York and Amsterdam. The official bio on Dekker, 65, suggests that he has “circumnavigated the world more than 50 times,” but it’s this tropical outpost just 40 miles north of the Venezuelan coast that has captured the entrepreneur’s fancy.