Talking about the Holiday Inn

The Holiday Inn Resort Aruba, recently announced to its media partners and the world that it is celebrating 55 years of True Hospitality with many exciting additions and a new General Manager.

That General Manager is Kevin Anderson, on his third management round in Aruba, with the Holiday Inn.

Anderson came here as an interim caretaker in 2014 for a few months to manage the Holiday Inn Resort until the mothership, InterContinental, finds the next star leader.

He left in December, and days into the new year got a phone call asking if he would like to be the chosen one.

Anderson returned to Aruba at once and picked up where he left, working, and living here from 2015 to 2019. He returned to the USA before the 50th resort anniversary celebration, which he helped set up, yet never attended.

His career then took him to Cleveland, Ohio, again with InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, as a fulltime General Manager, until he was offered to get back to Aruba, to return to his property, in time for the 55th anniversary party which he intends to help plan and attend.

Anderson is happy to report that he took over the resort from General Manager Simone Farci, the man he handed the reigns over, when he left.

Anderson shares that while he lived in Cleavland, overseeing the daily operations of a hotel found near a major hospital, during the pandemic, he saw immense grief and personal tragedies, an experience which forever changed his perspective on life.

I am among those who are now more grateful, more patient, and more philosophical, he says, I stopped rushing, and I am more accepting of people and circumstances.

And that is the reason why, on a personal level, he is happy to be back on One Happy Island, running one of the busiest properties here, and catering to a diverse group of guests. He finds that this winter was busier than usual, and that the island played host to traditional markets from the East Coast of the USA, but also other international visitors.

As a resort, he explains, the Holiday Inn reinvents itself continuously.

In October of last year, it opened AGAVE, its latest culinary offering, serving Mexican food, as interpreted by Executive Chef Alwin Donata.

Resort Marketing & PR Director Eva Ruiz, hosted the event, with guests enjoying cocktails off the pool deck, at sunset, followed by a four-course tasting menu, covering most of the restaurant’s specialties. The mural of the Agave, was hand painted as a tribute to the colorful cuisine, considered among the world’s most progressive.

According to Anderson, the Sea Breeze Beach Restaurant, is among the resort’s best features, serving a contemporary and on-trend menu, brimming with starters, salads, soups, and healthy bowls, plentiful and fresh, with a spectacular ocean view.

The revamped Palm Lobby Bar & Café is now a hub of activities, serving drinks and nibbles around the clock, and the Gelato store, on the beach, is a big hit, with guests.

I asked about the recent talk about the resort’s reflagging and upgrading. Anderson smiles ruefully when he quells my concerns. We have been hearing the same rumors, he says, for 23 years. Of course, the possibility exists, the future is fluid and unknown, but so far there is nothing concrete to report, and it’s business as usual, here.

According to the ever cheerful and charming Ella Bencosme, Marketing & PR Coordinator, the Holiday Inn has kept a steady presence on the island for more than five decades, almost 55 years, same name, same logo, while other hotels rebranded over time, the InterContinental resort remained a constant on our tourism landscape.

She adds that the resort comes with 590 room, and has the most diverse offers, including all inclusive, and EP, in a great number of categories, in many markets, with something for everyone, maintaining a solid rating, and an enviable average daily rate, in comparison to the chain’s other regional properties, many of them in countries in South America where some travel destinations found it difficult to recover from the pandemic.

The Holiday Inn in Aruba keeps a high return visitor rate and keeps upgrading and improving the room product and restaurants.

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March 12, 2024
Rona Coster