In the presence of Governor Alfonso Boekhoudt, former Governor Fredis Refunjol, Minister Andin Bikker, Minister Dangui Oduber, and their respective wives, the Sunset Grille at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino had the distinct pleasure of unveiling its Wall of Fame, a picture gallery of island movers and shakers and celebrities.
All Wall of Famers were invited last night to view their portraits, and enjoy dinner in the elegant dining room, or on the wraparound terrace overlooking the Palm Beach tree tops.
Businessman Rene Kan shared some of the restaurant’s history, just before the unveiling and reminded his invited guests that from around the Millennium, until the resort was recently refurbished by new ownership, the Aruba Growth Fund, walls were hung with caricatures of important locals, anchoring the restaurant in the island’s business life, and honoring patrons who regularly brought their special guests for dinner.
In that spirit, Kan explained, the return of the wall turned into an art project.
And it wasn’t easy to secure good images, but armed with his iphone Kan secretly took some pictures himself at regular business meetings, and the rest of the photographs were mostly sourced from social media.
Rona Coster helped curate and coordinate the project, recruiting the help of a talented Florida caricaturist who also worked for the Miami Herald and the Sun-Sentinel, Florida’s largest daily newspaper.
“Thank you to everyone who supplied us with pictures and those with the good humor who let us be their paparazzi for a day,” Kan bantered
One of the restaurant’s most exciting aspects is the return of executive chef Matt Boland. He was the one who led the Sunset Grill to numerous AAA Four Diamond Awards in the 80s and 90s, and he is the one entrusted with the task of returning the restaurant to its traditional steakhouse roots.
The Sunset Grille was the go-to place for getting business done and a place for those in the government to dine. “Please don’t hesitate to bring your guests and contacts back,” Kan said, “a new terrace was added last year, which makes the restaurant with its stunning views one of the nicest outdoor steakhouses in the world!”
And with Boland in charge, one can look forward to an impeccable dining experience in a restaurant setting befitting the Wall of Fame personalities.
Kan wrapped up his address stating that in 2015, the Aruba Growth Fund bought the property and branded it a Hilton. The following year the resort was remodeled. Operations really started in January 2017, and today, the company is proud to say that the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino is one of the most successful Hiltons in the world, and has one of the highest occupancy rates in the chain. Most importantly, the resort in Aruba enjoys one of the highest team member satisfaction scores, thanks to its talented and committed staffers.
From the very beginning, the company’s mission was to bring back the rich history of the Grand Dame, Kan stated. It did so with furniture and fixtures inspired by the sixties, with the artwork hanging throughout and with the recently renovated grand ballroom named after genius American architect Morris Lapidus. The brand-new Oscar’s Market in the lobby, named after the late Oscar Henriquez, the Aruban hospitality visionary is part of that philosophy.
So much of what excites Kan about the Aruba Caribbean is its ability to bridge the past with the future.
Arriving at the resort, one gets to see what made Aruba such an enticing island—the beautiful view of the ocean, the food, the celebrities, the stories of Oscar Henriquez…all tied to what it is still doing today: Making Aruba the best tourist destination in the world.
And guests of the property share in making that vision, a reality.
And while heiress Paris Hilton was not able to attend, her picture still hangs on the wall.
The public is invited to come view the Wall of Fame, and stay for dinner with family members and friends, the Sunset Grille is ready serve you with the best steakhouse experience under the sun!