CONSIDER THE FABULOUS HOLIDAY INN FOR STAY-CATION. If you are staying on the island this summer, you should consider the Holiday Inn for your family’s vacation. And I will tell you why. I was graciously invited to tour the refreshed resort and my expert tour-guide Bettina Daal, the dedicated Regional and Local Sales Manager showed me the much-improved and upgraded rooms, which will all be fully renovated by December 2013, including the totally redesigned Sea Breeze lounge, with some of the best sea-scapes here. The Curacao tower is now a luxurious resort within a resort, with its private pool, lined with comfy cabanas, Jacuzzi and tropical bar. The rooms there already look awesome, with new bathrooms, and a ton of amenities besides spectacular views from the ocean-front balcony. The rooms boast two double beds with white crisp linen, and free in-room WiFi, as well as fridge, flat screen TV, coffee maker, hair dryer, the works. Each room has TEN electrical outlets so you won’t have to crawl all over the carpet and peek under beds to find an outlet for your phone, ipod, ipad and laptop, and the room can support four internet users at the same time, which is great for families with electronic-loving kids. I was most impressed with the choice of “soft” or “firm” pillows, I swear, you can choose the degree of firmness of your pillow, now that’s taking comfort to the extreme!! The room also features a spacious spa-style shower instead of the old fashioned tub. The counter is lined with Bath & Body Works shampoo and body lotion, and the space is in general light-filled and upscale. We then went for lunch, at Coral’s buffet restaurant, which serves all-you-can-eat daily breakfast, lunch and dinner for super-reasonable prices. No wonder that for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, the line went out the door, with a record number of locals and tourists eager to sample the tremendous spread. The friendly Raul Villagran, Director of Sales & Marketing, has it good, with Bettina and Magali Meza Guzman in charge of things in the office, I’d be going fishing in his place, since they are capable of handling everything and anything, but as a man of principles, I heard he contributes more than his share to the successful team effort. I met General Manager Jorge Landa on my tour, exuding confidence and ease, and proud of his resort’s performance as a property of choice for both Latin and American markets. The Holiday Inn is not what it used to be, check it out in its new updated version, this summer.
SEE YOU WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT CASIBARI. Jazz on the rocks, is highly recommended. The Jazz night at the Casibari Café on Wednesday is terrific. Last week we listened to ZazaZoo, with Erik Jan Eman, Martin Buitenweg and singer Sangeeta, the Cosy Cotton Band from the Netherlands and a local surprise, the Criss Cross project with maestro Eduardo Maya who pitched in. The Criss Cross project is a group of very young, talented jazz musicians; you will be amazed at their ability and charm, playing swing, blues and Jazz, under the stars. For a totally unique and spontaneous experience, head to Casibari Café on Wednesday, you don’t have to show your passport at the gate, just come right in!
NERIUM AD REAL SCIENCE, REAL RESULTS. A product that promises to knock five years off our faces is being marketed in Aruba by Kimberlie Szidar and Maria Thompson. If you see Valerie Camacho and Candy Reino Rasmijn looking more fabu than ever, it’s probably because they are using it. Where can I get a jar?
CMB HOSTS SUCCESSFUL WOMEN. Dr Mary Anne Chambers has a resume of 60 pages, says Armin Solognier, who organized the evening with her at the Alhambra Ballroom, two weekends ago. He managed to get more than 150 women together, including Minister Michelle Hooyboer-Winklaar, with just a few hours’ notice, which is testimony to his charisma and solid connections with movers and shakers here. Chambers was visiting Aruba as guest of CMB when she agreed on the speaking engagement. I liked the 2-3 hour format of the event. We were educated for a while, then we had some cocktails. Short and sweet, and it didn’t take all day! What I took away from the gathering is the following: Praise more, criticize less. Recognize our good fortune, and don’t take it for granted. Put your education to good use, not only for your personal gain, but also to provide opportunity for others. The Alhambra Ballroom served a champagne toast and delicious snacks. After the presentation we all trouped into Fusion for a few more cocktails. I met some awesome new girlfriends, Misha Raymond, Carolina Lopez Paz & Diana Wever Salcerdo, and reconnected with diva Bettina Daal. We all learned something that day.
CULINARY ART INTRODUCED TO ART RULES ARUBA. The program will be kicked off on July 15th, as the registration went really well, even better than last year for theater, music & performance, DJ and street art, dance, fashion, creative media, rap & poetry. This year’s bonus workshop, Culinary Arts, is making its debut for the first time with chef Urvin Croes as the teacher, mentor. Euro Kitchen design Aruba donated the use of kitchen appliances, two complete stoves with pizza oven, courtesy of Roger Van Riet, who checked out the website after he heard about the it from Urvin and was pleasantly surprised with the program. We truly believe that this workshop is great for our youth as it hasn’t been done like this before and the kids will be learning from the best, as you know! While the program is taking place in San Nicolas, Art Rules Pariba, a great number of kids from Oranjestad will be riding the bus each day. The fashion program is looking for donations of second-hand clothes, go to Art Rules Aruba on Facebook, if you are cleaning your closet and have a bag you don’t need of last year’s fashions.
MEGA DEAL IN THE MAKING. We hear that a mega deal is being worked on, a marriage between the Riu Palace Aruba and the Westin Resort & Casino Aruba, which is managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Wells-Fargo, the bank which owns the Westin property is negotiating a deal with Riu Hotels & Resorts, as the later expressed a desire to create a super-duper all inclusive, 900 rooms, merging the two properties. It’s a complicated deal engaging financial minds from both sides of the ocean, with at least three sets of lawyers and accountants. [email protected]