THE HILTON ARUBA CARIBBEAN RESORT & CASINO HOSTS A ROYAL PARTY. One of my friends who attended the Hilton Holiday Preview Party reported he thought it would be a stiff corporate affair in suit and tie, the first introduction of the old lady with a new dress! Maybe the blue understated invitation, and the handful of corporate lawyers at the entrance to the Grand Caribbean Ballroom gave him that impression, but the party was nothing like that. We had a great time, dancing, drinking, nibbling and socializing, inspired by the fresh vibe, and the upbeat mood of the resort, which culminated with La Hora Loca. The resort’s events team looked fabulous, with professional hair and makeup for Lisa Dammerman and Nunette Maduro. Robert Y Su Solo Band Show never sounded better, with Raynold Semeleer smoothly opening the dance floor. I looked at the lovely interactive food stations and did not see a single chafing dish, neither was there a buffet line. What happened here, I quizzed Chef Hector Espinoza. We do things differently now, he said. Indeed it seems the Grande Dame just got a shot of adrenaline in her arm, everything looked crisper and brighter, including the lobby, and the festively draped ballroom. The man at the helm, Olivier Maumaire welcomed his guests, speaking about the property’s brand transition, and sharing the surprise employee-produced video which awaited his arrival. He spoke from the stage into a microphone, making his presence felt. So, that’s what it is: New leadership, with a French accent, and a good-natured air, making its presence felt. I know everything about you, I told him, as he concluded his presentation. How is that possible, he shot back, did you speak to my wife? Good answer. No, I did not speak to his wife, I Googled him, and I found out that he has a strong F&B background and up until six months ago, he spent time in Puerto Rico at the El San Juan, the very same hotel I told you, Jeff Lesker was now managing. It’s another classic Trading Places episode, which happens frequently in this area. And while I am on the subject I should tell you that another former Radisson Aruba alumni, Rob Smith, who was also the general manager of the Wyndham/Westin here, continues to grow his international career with Aimbridge Hospitality as a regional VP with expanding resort responsibilities, and that who knows, we might also someday see him back in the area or even on One Happy Island. Businessman Rene Kan accompanied by his beautiful wife Aimee promised another Royal Party later in the year to celebrate the real-estate purchase of the resort by the Aruba Growth Fund. The fabulous party this week was just a preview of the big one down the road. Meanwhile the team worked hard to jump-start sales of holiday get-togethers, with Audrey Wolff and Marvinia Richardson, taking care of clients’ wishes and requests.
LIFE COACH NATHALY CABRERA. I recently met a life coach at a birthday party and immediately felt the urge to lie down on her couch and tell her everything. But instead, I asked, what do you do? I help un-stick people, she said. What do you mean, I pressed on. Then she explained that most people are unhappy doing the same things over and over again, always getting the same results, and always getting mad at the fact that they are getting the same results. They are stuck. She helps them see the automatic patterns they have, how they react to things in the exact same predictable way. Then she encourages them to find new solutions, new avenues. She advises her clients to live their own life, for their own sake, instead of living a certain way to please others, and trying to always save others from whatever mess they are in!! You have to be able to look at yourself honestly, take your own inventory, she said. You have to decide to make yourself happy!
FRESH BUSINESS ADVICE. Gone are the days when business consultants came in suits and James Bond briefcases. Today they come in very attractive packages, Ana Maria Ramirez, of BallyHoo, specializing in branding and merchandising, with UNOCA and Frasa Trading among her clients, and Sue-Ann Lee, of Gray Area Business Consultancy, offering branding and marketing expertise when the answer is not clearly defined in black or white, with the tourism authority among her clients. Both executives came from a corporate arena and decided at a young age to do their own thing, set up their own companies, and see how far their thing will take them. So far so good. Gotta be impressed.
MICHAEL TCHONG RETURNS TO ARUBA. One of my favorite speakers of all times will be in Aruba speaking at the ATECH conference next Friday. I hope you can make it out to see him speak about innovation and how he’s pushing the envelope with his fifth startup, Social Revolution LLC. He actually hopes to demo his digital marketing toolbox, which, he believes, will revolutionize marketing. You can find more info here: http://www.atechconference.com. Besides being a high-energy, passionate speaker his trademark motto is, “I help you catch the next wave before it catches you,” so if you sometimes wonder about the future, sign up for the conference and find out where technology is going. Also check out Michael’s analysis of trends on his own website: ubercool.com.
A VISIT TO ASD IS COOL. ASD – Aruba Supplies & Distribution is located at Eagle. It is designed to equip and supply hotels and restaurants but everyone is welcome. Perfectly normal kitchen-loving, cooking-enthusiasts are welcome to browse for the latest inventions. Staffer Rodney Theysen who loves to cook reports that working at ASD is like working in a candy store. I toured the store shelves lately escorted by the valiant Alexander Drop, and found some serious professional kitchen equipment, deep fryers, ice cream makers, pots, pans, gorgeous dishware and glassware, containers of every shape and size, besides incredible gismos, gadgets, and whatchamacallits. Examples? Cherry scented vinyl urinal screens just think about how useful they can be in a busy restroom. A croquette maker, a magical machine, plopping perfectly formed croquets, made from just about anything. Escargots dishes, Pizza craft aluminum paddle and spoodles, you know, deep spoons for sauce, with long handles. Indestructible Melamin serving dishes, take out boxes in every form, and best of all an ice cream scoop with heat conductive fluid in the handle, which mean your hand warms the scoop, which in turn cuts into frozen ice cream effortlessly. Rodney just got himself a set of food decoration drizzle spoons, which instantly made him an abstract plate painter.
GUITARIST PEPE GONZALEZ HEADS TO VEGAS. Classic guitar maestro Pepe Gonzalez is Vegas bound for the Red Carpet Tango Festival, where he annually meets his dancer/musician friends, for three days of instruction and interaction at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. So if your Tango moves require improvement, sign up October 15th to 18th. [email protected]