All posts by Divi Resorts

Island Adventurer

When you’re dreaming of a past vacation, the easiest way to relive it is to bring out a few mementos. Souvenirs can help you recall the good times and the great stories from your trip. The best souvenirs communicate something about the spirit and the personality of the place you visited. We gathered a few suggestions of great souvenirs you can bring home from the Caribbean. Each of these islands is home to at least one of the Divi Resorts—we hope you have an opportunity to check them all out!

Aruba Aloe (arubaaloe.com) is the oldest aloe company in the world. Founded in 1890, it’s also the only aloe company in the world that grows, harvests and manufactures its products right on-site. Its products are sold pretty much everywhere in Aruba. You can also visit the Aruba Aloe Museum & Factory Store.

 

Cadushy Distillery (www.cadushy.com), located in Rincon, is the only distillery on the island of Bonaire. It’s most well-known for Cadushy of Bonaire, a cactus liqueur with a cooling lime taste, the earliest entry in the distillery’s Island Liqueurs line. Sign up for a tasting and learn first-hand how the spirits are produced. Don’t forget to bring home a few bottles of your favorite flavors.

 

Earthworks Pottery (earthworks-pottery.com) is worth the short trip to the Edgehill Heights section of the St. Thomas parish. Everything at this workshop is authentically Caribbean, handcrafted by local artists. It offers a range of plates, bowls and vases, available as unique pieces or as part of beautiful sets. Earthworks is also happy to ship fragile items back home if you’re worried about their survival in your suitcase.

 

Although the wild-growing guavaberry can be found elsewhere in the Caribbean, locals speculate St. Maarten is the only place it truly thrives. It’s a central part of local folklore and traditional cuisine. The juice of these berries (no relation at all to guava) is mixed with rum and sugar and then aged to create guavaberry liqueur. Sample the sweet, light concoction and bring home a few beautiful bottles from Ma Doudou (www.rhummadoudou.com), a small shop just off Front Street in Philipsburg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you visit St. Croix, you’ll notice many local women wearing a unique type of bracelet. The St. Croix Hook or the Crucian Hook (www.gotostcroix.com/st-croix-blog/show-love-crucian-bracelet/) is a band-style bracelet with a horseshoe-shaped clasp. This clasp (or “hook”) represents true love on St. Croix. These bracelets come in a wide variety of styles, and you can find them in most local jewelry shops.

Meet our featured President’s Elite Members, James & Brenda Dubilzig

They became members of the Divi Vacation Club in February 2016, converting their traditional Divi vacation ownership weeks to Pure Points. They travel twice a year to Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort—often with their adult son, daughter and their significant others—so James and Brenda were looking for more flexibility.

On one of the Dubilzigs’ recent trips to Aruba, we sat down with them to learn why the Divi Vacation Club fits their needs so well.

“The flexibility is truly a great benefit to the whole family,” James says. “We enjoy being able to choose different-sized rooms depending on how many we have traveling with us. It’s also convenient for us to take advantage of midweek arrivals. We often choose to travel Wednesday to Wednesday, for example.”

The Dubilzigs have visited Divi Little Bay Beach Resort on St. Maarten—“It’s so beautiful,” Brenda says—and on Aruba, they enjoy playing golf at The Links at Divi Aruba, the course surrounding Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort. Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort is still their true home-away-from-home. “Phoenix has everything you want, without being a huge, touristy spot,” says Brenda. “The beach is right there; the pool is right there. You really get to know the staff. When we’re here, we love just relaxing, reading, trading stories with the family and going out to restaurants.” Pureocean, the upscale chef-driven restaurant on the resort grounds, is a favorite—especially when they want to dine and watch the sunset right from the beach.

When they visit Divi Aruba Phoenix in the fall, the Dubilzigs enjoy watching college football from the swim-up bar at purebeach, the resort’s casual dining restaurant. “It’s become a family tradition to watch the Michigan-Ohio State game every year here,” James says. Since their children went to the University of Michigan and the Dubilzigs live in Ohio, the famous rivalry is an absolute must-see for the entire family, especially on vacation. The staff at purebeach is always more than happy to devote one of their TVs to the big game.

“Everyone at Phoenix is so welcoming and accessible,” Brenda says. “It really does feel like home.”

 

Employee Spotlight: Changtai Puguero Corporan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She’s the queen behind the scenes, making your special occasions that much more extraordinary! Changtai Puguero Corporan, Assistant Housekeeping Manager for Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino in Bonaire, is in charge of managing and coordinating the logistics of daily work, and ensuring that rooms are perfect for the arrival of our guests. But her true talent lies in the enchanting towel animals she creates for guests as an added treat.

We recently chatted with Changtai to get a sneak peek into the inner-workings of a tropical, Caribbean resort.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED FOR DIVI FLAMINGO BEACH RESORT?

I have been with Divi Resorts for a year and a half, organizing daily housecleaning activities and prepping rooms for our guests’ arrivals. I also decorate rooms for special occasions like honeymoons, birthdays and special receptions.

WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF WORKING FOR DIVI RESORTS?

The best part of working for Divi Resorts is that we are a great big family, all working together as a team for a common goalmaking guests happy. When a guest approaches me or one of our staff members to thank us for our service and special décor, that is the greatest satisfaction!

TELL US ABOUT THE LASTING FRIENDSHIPS YOU’VE MADE AT DIVI FLAMINGO BEACH RESORT.

I get along very well with everyone, but with the guests, it’s something special. We have many return guests, and I’ve had the opportunity to socialize and get to know them better thanks to the manager rum punch party we host once a week. It’s wonderful to hear about their families, and most importantly, their experiences on the island. Just knowing that I play a part in making their tropical getaway a dream come true is an absolute honor.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TOWEL ANIMAL TO CREATE FOR GUESTS?

I love all of my towel animals, so it’s hard to choose just one! I just let my creativity flow, and my design is usually customized for the occasion. For honeymooners, I like to decorate the room with hearts, candles, and flowers. For other occasions, I tend to create whales, flamingos, turtles, monkeys, or puppies.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING ON YOUR DAYS OFF?

My favorite activities when I am not working are swimming and snorkeling. Bonaire has some of the most amazing beaches, and beneath the water is a magical, mysterious paradise like no other.

DO YOU HAVE ANY INSIDER TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME GUESTS?

The advice I have for guests is to fully enjoy the island of Bonaire, Divi Dive Bonaire, and our many Resort amenities, like our restaurants, pools and beach. You’ll find everything we do here is done with much love and dedication.

Meet our featured President’s Elite Members, Robert & Sherri Anderson

Meet our featured President’s Elite members for this issue, Robert and Sherri Anderson of Maryland, USA.

We caught up with the Andersons on their latest trip to Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, where they graciously spoke to us about their vacation experiences, the reasons they love St. Maarten and their membership in the Divi Vacation Club.

“Before we purchased timeshare ownership, we used to cruise a lot around the Caribbean. Our goal was to visit as many islands as possible to find one place that we wanted to stay,” explains Mr. Anderson. “We use to cruise into St. Maarten’s port and see beautiful Little Bay and the resort situated on the peninsula. That’s what made us decide this was the place.”

“We don’t like high-rises or elevators,” Mrs. Anderson remarks. “We spend all day on the beach, so that was important to us. The water is always calm here, and the resort faces south, so the beach gets the sun all day long. The sunsets are spectacular.”

Once they settled on St. Maarten as their future vacation spot, the Andersons purchased one week of ownership in a one-bedroom unit at the end of March. Steadily, over the next 12 years, they added another week in March and two more weeks at the end of October. They’ve also expanded to two-bedroom units, as they love to bring along friends and family, and having the extra bedroom is very convenient.    

In March 2016, the Andersons converted their fixed weeks to Pure Points and became members of the Divi Vacation Club. “The main reason we decided to join the Club was to take advantage of the Loyalty Benefits,” explains Mr. Anderson. “We are getting to a point in our lives where we want more flexibility to stay in other locations in the Caribbean and around the world, and hopefully, in the very near future, take advantage of mid-week travel.”

The Andersons always travel on all-inclusive plans, so as President’s Elite members, they really like knowing that they get a “starter kit” of sodas, beer and water right from the beginning of their trip. They also enjoy the added benefit of early check-in and the extra VIP attention. The fact that their President’s Elite benefits transfer over to all Divi Club Destinations was also a draw as they made their decision to join the Club.

The Andersons have a found a unique way to use their membership. “We’ve always banked any unused weeks or Points over the years, so when our nieces and nephews have gotten married, we’ve given them the gift of a honeymoon,” explains Mrs. Anderson. “Recently, when our niece got married, we traded our Pure Points for their honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.”

“Divi Little Bay is our second home. The staff are our extended family and friends. We know everyone so well, and it’s great to come back and see what’s changed in their lives, and catch up,” says Mr. Anderson. “Everyone knows us. We can relax and enjoy ourselves. The toughest part of vacationing used to be getting acclimated, but coming here, it’s like being home the moment we arrive, only we don’t have any chores!”

Meet featured President’s Elite Members, Brenda & Joseph Farmer

Meeting Brenda and Joseph Farmer, from Morningside, Maryland, you get the sense that they are devoted, not only to each other, but to their vacation time as well.  Seven years ago, while walking along Palm Beach, they came across Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort and took a tour.  The couple purchased one week in August on the spot, and then for the next six years kept adding to their ownership.  Last year, they decided to become Divi Vacation Club President’s Elite Members, owning Pure Points Prime, which gives them flexibility to enjoy both their fixed weeks or Pure Points, depending upon their travel plans.

“We come every August for multiple weeks,” explains Brenda. “It’s our anniversary and a special time for us. We sometimes have family join us, but the rest of the time is for the two of us to unwind.”

While they love their one-on-one time, the Farmers share the third week of their stay with friends and family, enjoying quality time together and discovering tourists spots around Aruba.  Last year, when their son got married, they gifted the lucky couple a honeymoon at Divi Aruba Phoenix using some of their Points.

During their visit last August, the two celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary in a very special way.  On August 8th, the island of Aruba invited lovebirds to “Renew Their I Do’s” as the sun set on Eagle Beach.  Donning all-white attire, the Farmers joined in on the picturesque event.

“It was very romantic,” says Joseph. “We had pictures taken at Divi Aruba Phoenix, then we were taken to participate in this beautiful ceremony with hundreds of couples. Afterwards, they had plenty of food, drinks, and entertainment, and there were even photographers to capture the perfect moment. We were simply overwhelmed. We were even interviewed by Aruba Today and ended up in the local newspaper!”

The night came to a close with a surprise pampering from the wonderful staff at Divi Aruba Phoenix, including a turndown of rose petals, champagne, candles and anniversary cake at one of the restaurants. Coming up next year is the Farmer’s big family reunion.  They banked points from this year to use next year so that their two sons and in-laws could all be together.

“The flexibility of Points means that everyone can have their own unit and be comfortable,” says Brenda. “Coming back to Aruba is like coming home and we consider ourselves locals. The staff is always so welcoming and we love seeing them every year, they never change.  We also take buses everywhere, walk every day for miles, and have made great friends who we see every year.”

For Brenda and Joseph Farmer, being a part of the Club is the gift that keeps on giving.

A Day in the Life of a Divi GM – Gerrit Griffith

Phoenix Beach Resort, General Manager Gerrit Griffith is a true Divi veteran who has been a staple in our company for many years.  We recently got a chance to talk with Mr. Griffith about his experiences and why he loves his job as a Divi GM.

 

You are Divi’s longest tenured General Manager – how long have you held this role?

“I’ve been a Divi Resorts GM on Aruba for around 32 years!  I actually joined the company 41 years ago, in June of 1976, as Assistant GM.  During my many years with this company, I’ve managed all five Divi properties on the island.”

How does serving as GM of Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort differ from managing the other Divi properties?

“I’ve actually had similar experiences managing each property because fortunately, a lot of our owners and regular guests own or stay at multiple Divi Resorts on Aruba.  As a result, I’ve gotten to know many of these families over the years and have been lucky enough to serve them at each of the properties I’ve managed.  Divi owners and guests tend to have the same high expectations when they vacation with us, and I’m happy to play a role in delivering the signature ‘Divi style’ that they have come to know and love.”

What does the “Divi style” mean to you?

“The ‘Divi style’ means taking a hands-on approach to customer service.  I don’t spend my whole workday behind a desk; I believe it’s very important for me to be out and about on the property, meeting guests and making myself available when needed.  Everywhere I go around the resort, I hear guests greeting me with a friendly ‘Hello Mr. G!’  That sense of familiarity ensures that I am well known and easily accessible to our owners and guests. They know that I am there to listen and help if they ever have an issue during their stay.  The ‘Divi style’ also applies to my management style, the same management style I see across all Divi properties.  We greatly value our staff and always keep our doors open to them. And in return, our staff share this same level of value and service with our guests.”

What is the best part of your job as a Divi GM?

“First and foremost, the best part of my job is interacting with guests.  I love welcoming back owners I have known for years, as well as meeting first-time visitors.  I also enjoy the support system that has formed amongst our staff.  Here, we don’t simply know our team members as individuals; we also know their friends and families.  In this small island community, it’s incredibly important to feel supported by your team and know that you and your family are valued.  We definitely have that kind of relationship here at Divi Phoenix, and you can see the positive impact it has on our company culture.”

How is the culture at Divi Phoenix affected by your team’s involvement in our Divi Cares program?

“The staff at each of our Divi Resorts on Aruba work together to give back through the Divi Impact Initiative, which is part of Divi Cares.  I think this active involvement in community service helps foster caring, positive attitudes among our team.  Our staff loves calling Aruba home, and programs like Divi Cares make them feel good about helping make our community a better place to live and our resort a better place to work.”