Aruba welcomes Raoul Lemmerling, new Aruba Marriott Complex General Manager

I dropped in to visit my new neighbor, hotelier Raoul Lemmerling, and welcome him to One Happy Island, on behalf of Bati Bleki Buzz readers.

Lemmerling comes to us from London, where he was GM for the Central London Cluster, which includes a number of snazzy hotels, a total of seven, in different famous neighborhoods such as Kensington, Marbel Arch and Maida Vale, practically the center of the universe, in terms of tourism, finance, and business in general.

Aruba is his first resort experience, he explains, having spent more than 20 years with the Marriott hotel chain.

How did you move around your London properties, I asked, naturally wondering how one man can be in seven places at the same time?

I should have guessed the answer, biking, he said, of course, he is Dutch, walking on nice days, and/or taking the Tube, London’s public transport network underground.

The weather, Lemmerling reports, determines how you move around the city, notwithstanding, with rain every third day on average, all suits and shoes get ruined fast, and my guess is that Lemmerling also lost a bunch of umbrellas, in his three years in the UK.

And he must have also been drenched in Paris, when he lived and worked there, in a glamorous, and sophisticated heart-of-town hotel.

Luckily, Aruba has no weather issues, in fact not even a weather forecast, and thinking how much time he is saving on the commute to work, the new Aruba Marriott Complex General Manager already went back to running in the early morning hours, tried windsurfing, and is thinking about Beach Tennis.

I didn’t want to rain on his parade and tell him that he will work as many hours here, as he did in London or Paris, especially in light of being responsible for everything from financial results to guest satisfaction.

He will eventually find out, but meanwhile let him explore his new playground.

He already loves it.

The complex in Aruba includes the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, with 414 rooms, Marriott Aruba Ocean Club, 311 rooms, and the Marriott Aruba Surf Club with 900 rooms, it is the largest Marriott complex in the Caribbean. I started counting the bars and restaurants, 17 – that by itself is a huge undertaking.

Lemmerling is especially happy with the Lobby Bar, and its cosmopolitan buzz, he is delighted with the culinary team, fresh red snapper for lunch, and being full of ideas and plans — his baby-blue eyes twinkle as he speaks about the future, because he is interested in local food, customs and culture, and would love to see more of it introduced in his resort’s vacation product.

Next year, he promises. Lemmerling believes that next year, when we emerge victorious from under the pandemic spell, Aruba will be hopping and the resort will reclaim its party-central status, with exciting events, and more community involvement.

I told him that Carolina Voullieme León, Director of Sales and Marketing and Stacey Banfield, Marketing Communications Manager are the most creative event-planners under the sun, for selfish reasons.

They threw the best parties, in the old days, and I want to stay on the guest list.

Fluent in Dutch, German, French, and English, American-English — he did not pick up any silly British hunky-dory, or easy-peasy, while in the UK.

Lemmerling is planning to learn Papiamento and looks forward to welcoming his wife and daughter, as they move to the island. He was hoping they will fall on love with Aruba, and they already did.

Cheerio. Ta-Ta.

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September 23, 2021
Rona Coster