TRANSITIONS. At the Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino, is saying farewell to a much-appreciated Vice President and General Manager, Kevin Schwab. In the summer of last year, Schwab was awarded the Breakthrough Leadership Training Award and Global Award for General Manager of the Americas by Marriott International, which gives you an idea how brilliant he is. He ran the day to day, physical and financial operations of the resort in Aruba with passion, commitment and innovation since 2009 and is now moving on to oversee not just three but THIRTY resorts, in another part of the world. Kevin took pride in the promotion of his people and invested time in training others, measuring his own success in the personal growth of his troops. Canadian-born wife Nadine reports Aruba was a great experience, as they will be leaving, wanting to stay a bit longer. Come back to visit any time, Kevin, we’re better off having met you. And on that note, we already miss Ann & Scott Derrickson. He was the good-natured and super friendly General Manager of the Marriott Surf Club, who is now General Manager, Marriott Ocean Watch at Grande Dunes, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, after having spent more than ten years in Aruba starting at the Wyndham Aruba Resort, since 1998; then twice at the Radisson Aruba Resort Casino & Spa, first in 1999 and then in 2003. Judging from his love affair with the island, we won’t be surprised if we see him back in a few years.
BEST VIEW. This week I explored a pretty fantastic view for coffee, cocktails and food. The second floor at Hadicurari Centro di Pesca is now an amazing terrace with truly breathtaking vistas. If you climb up the stairs you won’t be disappointed. Nos Clubhuis offers Creole food, stoba and fresh fish, a nice bar and to-live-for panoramas which the fisherman’s stichting shares. Veteran Food & Beverage man Rafael Statie is in charge which guarantees warm local hospitality.
SCOT’S BRATS. On Palm Beach at Playa Linda Beach Resort, right on the boardwalk, next to the activity center and the chlorinated Jacuzzi you will find Scott’s Brats, short for Bratwurst, a hut selling sausage sandwiches. The owners, moved from Wisconsin to Aruba to open the take-away food stand, and they serve breakfast and lunch from 8:30am – 3:00pm. The concept is so simple, it left me speechless. But of course nothing is easy, the move to Aruba must have been difficult, and the bureaucracy hell, but Scott persisted and is now serving Johnsonville Brats, Italian Sausage and Beef Sandwiches with marinated onions, surprise, at local prices. Make sure you have your bathing suit on, or shorts. It’s extra hot on the beach these days.
THE WEDDING OF THE SEASON. As promised the wedding party of Nadine Pietersz and her long-time husband, businessman Bas van den Nieuwenhuijzen, was an elegant affair at Tierra de Sol, with a distinguished Who’s Who, guest list. The club house vestibule was lined with life-size Venice street-scapes. The pool was converted into a gondola-filled Grand Canal and the famous Rialto Bridge, spanned over it. One of the highlights of the wedding was seeing the bride and groom on the Ponte Di Rialto welcoming their guests and recounting their personal story, that of a sixteen-year friendship and love. French Champagne and entertainment with the Pasta E Basta singers from Amsterdam, made for beautiful pictures, as a remote controlled drone flew overhead shooting video and images of the glitterati.
PENHA PRESENTS. Rafael Batista the Clinique skin care, makeup and cosmetics consultant has moved his make-up box and brushes to Penha and is dividing his time between the Palm Beach Plaza Mall store and Main Street. Penha Aruba is the oldest and one of the leading Perfume and Cosmetics retailers here, and Rafael will surely contribute to growing their local market share.
NEW FRAGRANCE. A beautiful event orchestrated by Maruta Veeris introduced an oo-la-la fragrance, La Petite Robe Noire, from the house of Guerlain, launched just recently in Europe, and heading into stores here this week. Sheelah Oduber reports that Maggy’s Perfumery is preparing a huge launch in November, but the fragrance is already for sale, and it’s irresistibly delicious in a very French way. Maruta got all fragrance consultants from DUFRY, Maggy’s & Penha together in the Marriott ballroom for a super chic event, with the Parisien Guerlain representative, and we all left a delightful scent trail behind when we went home.
WESTIN ENTERTAINS. A Client Appreciation Day designed to introduce the Westin Aruba Resort new sales team was hosted this week by General Manager Richard Roy and his good-looking and dynamic event & banqueting department. Richard Kosofsky, the new Director of Catering and Convention Service is not new to Aruba, he is even married to an Aruban, stylish Shannon, having worked here a few years ago when Starwood Vacation Ownership was introduced — before the global economic downturn of 2008 prevented it from ever getting off the ground. Richard & Shannon recently came back to Aruba and settled down, with Richard going back to the Westin, to the F&B department. The lovely Darienne Arends and the gorgeous Eliana Fun, join two veteran sweethearts Robert Zara and Lino v/d Biezen – winner CHTA, Caribbean Supervisor of the Year 2011 and winner Shoco Supervisor of the Year 2010 — in sharing responsibilities for the upcoming Christmas parties, as far as sales and execution. The party at the Westin was a lot of fun, with very tasty food, and fantastic music. The pastry chef gets an Award of Excellence for making the most delicate and creative chocolate, fruit, and cream temptations, too beautiful to eat!
WALLY WIGGINS IN ARUBA. The man who created Divi resorts in the late 60s is back for his annual visit. Walter Wiggins, better known as Wally, a lawyer by profession, from upstate NY, is best known around the Caribbean as the man who invented Barefoot Elegance. Wally developed a chain of hotels on various islands, branding them around the idea that clothes are unimportant, since it’s what’s in the heart that counts. While he no longer is involved with Divi, he comes to visit Marcus & Cindy, Mi Dushi, Kukukunucu, every year, and they in turn invite Divi Oldies/Goldies, to share an afternoon with the quintessential patriarch. Astrid Muller, Gerrit Griffith, Roy Leitch, Ricky Schlachter, Ray Dyer, Dhaddy Brokke, Jossy Brokke, Inchi Briesen, Juancho Tromp and Karel Vlaun Castro sipped cocktails and nibbled on terrific hors d’oeuvres with Wally, fondly remembering yesteryears. Wally still practices law, writes books, and is expecting his grand-daughter, who just graduated law school in Florida, to join his law-firm in Ithaca, NY any day. “Make sure you tell everyone about my sweatshirt,” he said, pointing at a well-used flannel with both portraits of Martin Luther King Jr and Barrack Obama on it, under the heading: One Dream, One Reality. Having participated in the American Civil Right Movement, in the 60s, Wally continues to fight discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin to this day!