Category Archives: Divi Little Bay

All Dressed Up and Someplace to Go – It’s Carnival Time!

Oh, how they love a good party in St. Maarten.  Carnival, the annual festival that has more music, rhinestones and feathers than a Grammy Awards show, is now going on in St. Maarten.  And, it’s going on and on and on.  The island has been partying for two weeks already, and they are not done yet.  But, almost.   The festivities end today.

According to Carnival connoisseurs, St. Maarten has one of the best celebrations in the northeastern Caribbean. There are events day and night.  A festival village is the hub, but parades fan out through the downtown of Phillipsburg.  There are also beauty pageants, numerous heart-pumping concerts, lots of food and costume competitions.  The latter is serious business.

After all, Carnival is THE biggest event of the year on St. Maarten, so it is no surprise that the fashions come out for the occasion.  Front Street, the parade route, turns into a red carpet of sorts with revelers strutting the stuff of the Caribbean’s finest Carnival designers.  There’s every color of the rainbow and then some, plenty of feathers, rhinestones, fringe, beads, netting and towering headdresses three feet high and three feet wide.

Planning what to wear next year begins nearly the day after Carnival ends this year.  Creative minds get sketching, colors envisioned, fabrics ordered, and soon nimble fingers are sewing, beading and spangling for months.

And, that’s not all.   There has to be make-up to go with the outfit.  Revlon commissioned Sandra Hordatt, a top Carnival costume designed based in Trinidad, but who works throughout the Caribbean, to develop some Carnival make-up looks last year. Stunning, we think you’ll agree, but judge for yourself with these make-up pictures.

And, here’s something else we’ve learned.  On Carnival Info, a website which tells you everything you didn’t even know you didn’t know about carnivals around the world, you can order a costume custom made for you.

And, now that you know the dress code, mark your calendar for April 2014.  There’s a party going on.

Since Carnival comes at a very popular time of year for vacations, book a stay at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort well in advance.  It’s never too soon to plan accommodations or party attire!

St. Maarten’s New Top Dining Spot

St. Maarten, regarded as the dining capital of the Caribbean, just got a new “top” dining destination:  historic Fort Amsterdam.  The promontory, on the grounds of Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, is now the backdrop for a special dining experience under the stars, hosted by a pirate costumed waiter, serving up history and memorable cuisine at one of the Caribbean’s most enchanting and exclusive settings.

By day, a hike to the summit of Fort Amsterdam, which dates to the 1600s, provides a stunning vista across the Caribbean, all the way to St. Bart’s and Saba.  No wonder the peninsula served as the island’s lookout, protecting valuable salt ponds from advancing navies and marauders.  Now, by night, the fort at Divi Little Bay Resort hosts Dinner Atop the Fort, an epicurean event that combines history, pirate’s tales and Dutch cuisine amid the native flora and stone ruins of the fort.

A waiter, dressed in pirate garb and well-versed in local facts and yore, welcomes just a few couples nightly.   Diners are driven to the top of the fort by golf cart, tiki torches illuminating the ascent. The specially conceived menu takes inspiration from long ago and includes Dutch stew with beer and vegetables, a true Dutch apple pie and an old-fashioned Dutch dessert called Dutch poffertjes.   Diners will also be enthralled with the twinkle of lights in the capital city of Philipsburg far below and ships sailing in and out of Great Bay Harbor.

The cost of the dinner is $350 per couple, $185 per person; wine is included.   Reservations are required due to limited seating. To ensure availability during your stay at Divi Little Bay, reservations are suggested at the time of booking by calling Divi Resorts at 800.367.3484 or 919.419.3484.

The Blue Flag – Long May It Wave At Divi Little Bay Resort

Divi Little Bay Beach Resort gets lots of compliments on its beach. Newcomers and long-time repeat guests value the lovely arc of sand, but they rarely see the work that goes into maintaining it. If guests rise early, they might catch a glimpse of the new equipment that grooms the sand or observe work crews making sure the area is spotless for guests. Behinds the scenes, Divi monitors water quality, implements safety procedures and conducts environmental awareness training with its staff. In fact, there is a check list of 37 things members of the staff at Divi Little Bay Resort do routinely to ensure the beach is a winner, not only for guests but to earn the Blue Flag, an international eco-label. On December 7, the Blue Flag was raised on Little Bay Beach at Divi, signifying the second consecutive year the resort has been recognized for environmental management of the beach.

The flag was handed over by Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Romeo Pantophlet together with local Blue Flag Coordinator Rueben Thompson of Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) Foundation and partner St. Maarten Tourist Bureau. Divi General Manager Celine van Meer was on hand to accept the flag. The flag will fly for one year, when the honor must be earned again. Little Bay Beach at Divi is the only beach in all of the Netherlands Antilles to be honored with the Blue Flag.

Van Meer spoke at the flag raising ceremony, noting that the clear water, clean sand and abundance of fish and sea turtles in the bay are a part of the Divi Little Bay experience. “To merit the recognition a second year in a row bears witness to the keen sense of purpose and inspired dedication all of us at Divi share in caring for this beach.”

Divi Resorts president EJ Schanfarber has often referred to the people working at Divi’s ten resorts across the Caribbean as “stewards of the land.” The Blue Flag is evidence that indeed they are!

It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere With Cruzan Bay Breeze

Say the words “September” and “hurricane” and the folks at Cruzan Rum think a Bay Breeze is a delicious liquid response. It’s a cocktail made with a splash of pineapple and cranberry juices, a squeeze of lime and a little of their Cruzan Light Rum. Top it with ice and you’re good to weather just about any muggy day. According to Cruzan Rum CEO Gary Nelthropp, “It’s refreshing.”

Let’s make one now and toast the exit of Hurricane Isaac as well as all of the other hurricanes from this season. Fortunately, St. Croix, home of Cruzan Rum and Divi Carina Bay made it through just fine. In St. Maarten, there was no damage, but lots of excitement when a female turtle needed a little help clearing a spot on Divi Little Bay’s beach in order to lay her eggs. Guests and staff alike are on turtle watch awaiting the arrival of as many as 200 sea turtles in October.

We are two-thirds the way through hurricane season. The National Hurricane Center says it last from June 1 until November 30th. So, here’s to a safe October and November and safe travels to the beautiful Caribbean for people and turtles alike.

No need to wait till five o’clock to watch a pro make a Bay Breeze. You can make your very own version:

Cruzan Bay Breeze Ingredients:
1 part Cruzan Aged Light Rum
Pineapple Juice
Cranberry Juice
Lime Wedge

Directions:
Pour Cruzan Aged Light Rum over ice in a rocks- or long drink glass. Fill with pineapple juice and cranberry juice. Squeeze lime wedge into drink and then drop it in! Enjoy!

Divi Little Bay announces a new check-in policy…for sea turtles.

Certain guests, those going by the name of Green Sea Turtles, when arriving by sea onto the beach at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort will receive special accommodations and an unlimited stay. The policy was announced when a female Green Sea Turtle “checked in” to the Divi Little Bay Resort the weekend of August 25, looking for a place to deposit as many as 200 Green Sea Turtle eggs.

Management at Divi Little Bay also announced 24-hour protection and, in addition, that any and all measures will be taken to ensure these guests total privacy for the duration of their stay, which could be as long as two months.

On August 25, a female Green Sea Turtle came ashore at the Divi Little Bay Resort in St. Maarten to lay her eggs.  She arrived at night, which is the custom of sea turtles. When the hotel’s regular guests spotted the turtle, it was apparent that she was having difficulty building her nest due to the rocks and debris left in the wake of Hurricane Isaac.  Staff at the hotel quickly summoned the St. Maarten Nature Foundation, which arrived to help clear the beach.

After about four hours of digging with her front and back flippers, the turtle laid her eggs, covered the nest with sand and returned to sea. Divi staff then cordoned off the area to keep human visitors from disturbing the nest during the incubation period.   The nest is about 50 feet from the front desk and the entire Divi staff is keeping watch.

Now the wait is on.  The incubation period for sea turtles is anywhere from 45-70 days, so the arrival of hatchlings is expected in early October.  Green Sea Turtles lay anywhere from 50-200 eggs at a time. When the hatchlings decide it is time to leave, they will do so under cover of night to avoid natural predators.

Green Sea Turtles are one of the largest species of sea turtles.  Females weigh about 120 pounds; males, 200 pounds and are as long as 60 inches.  Nesting season lasts from March until September The population of sea turtles has plummeted over the last century to the point that all sea turtles are internationally protected.

This is the first time that any member of the Divi Little Bay staff could remember that a sea turtle had nested on the beach. (Perhaps, the female turtle noticed the Blue Flag flying — the global environmental recognition accorded the beach last fall.)  But, once a turtle comes to a beach to nest, it often returns each year.  That’s not unlike a lot of other Divi Little Bay guests.

That Girl Gizmo

That gorgeous redhead over by the bar on the Divi Little Bay beachfront, her name is Gizmo. Why she’s called Gizmo is part of her mystery. It’s a word typically applied to gadgets, especially one whose true name cannot be recalled. But, once you’ve met Gizmo, she’s unforgettable. She’s been lending her colorful personality and presence to the Divi Little Bay property for twenty years.

Though she’s a daily fixture either at the bar or nearby in the new patio dining area, not much is known about her. She is indeed a girl macaw, sporting just about every color in the rainbow, from her crown that is the clearest red in any artist’s palette to her brilliant royal blue tail ending with long feathers of aqua and red.

What brought her as a young bird from her native South American rain forest to St. Maarten and then to Divi Little Bay in 1992 is anybody’s guess. She eats fruits and bird seeds. (No feeding, please. The maintenance staff takes good care of that.) Gizmo also has her own beachfront digs, and does not room with the resort’s other two macaws in the aviary across from the grocery.

The girl always draws a crowd. She is friendly, and the other bar regulars know she’s got a real liking for men. Jewelry, too. Something about the screw winder on watches. Take a bit of precaution if you decide to allow Gizmo on your arm. She will pose for pictures.

What makes her even more unforgettable is that she finally got a bar named for her. (That never happened for Cliff or Norm on Cheer’s.) After surviving Marilyn and Luis, the two hurricanes of 1995, Divi Little Bay underwent extensive renovation (and an expansion to its present size). It somehow seemed fitting to name the new beachfront dining establishment after Gizmo, whose penchant for that particular spot endured. Gizmo’s Bar & Grill got even better in 2008 with another renovation and today is a gathers all birds of a feather, who like simple grilled fish, homemade pizza and a favorite cocktail or an adventuresome guavaberry colada. (A bit sweet for my taste, but when in St. Maarten, why not?) The restaurant is open until 10pm every night, the bar until midnight. But, Gizmo is long gone to bed by then. A namesake needs her rest.