Category Archives: Caribbean

TEAM MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: RoseAnne Cengiz-Jenghis

If you’ve ever traveled to a Divi Resort as part of a large group, or for a wedding, you can thank RoseAnne Cengiz-Jenghis, In-House Sales Manager for Divi Resorts in our North Carolina office. She’s responsible for booking group travel and weddings, and doing everything she can from North Carolina to make sure these trips go smoothly. A round of applause for RoseAnne! We sat down with her to learn more about her background, and what makes her job so rewarding.

How long have you been working for Divi?

My desire to travel brought me to Divi Resorts 15 years ago. I began my career with Divi as a reservations agent, where I found my passion for the Caribbean through many wonderful conversations with Divi owners and guests. After discovering my love for scuba diving on a personal family vacation to Divi Flamingo Beach Resort in Bonaire, I sought out a position as the group coordinator. That gave me an opportunity to focus on helping large groups create and enjoy their own incredible diving vacations with Divi Resorts.  In 2010, I broadened my scope of business when I accepted my current position as an In-House Sales Manager. I’ve been to all of the Divi Resorts, except for Divi Carina Bay All-Inclusive Beach Resort on St. Croix. Divi Flamingo on Bonaire is my favorite. I really just fell in love with the coziness of the resort and the friendly locals. And you can’t forget the amazing diving.

What is a typical day like for you on the job?

A large part of my day is dedicated to overseeing the travel details for groups I have confirmed. I am passionate about making sure every group has everything they need to have a great time—plus a little extra! I love working with people and making personal connections with groups. I’m also busy all day answering phone calls and emails from new groups interested in confirming travel with Divi. If you’re thinking about booking group travel with Divi, you and I will most likely have a chat—or two or three!

What do you enjoy most about your work?

It’s hard to say! I really enjoy helping scuba diving groups plan their next adventure-seeking vacation. I also love the opportunity to assist excited couples with planning their dream wedding group vacation experience—for example, I was fortunate enough to work with the same friendly family on two wedding groups to Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort. This family fell in love with the island and often plans smaller groups. Another repeat group to Divi Aruba Phoenix also stands out—the Delaney Group, who are mainly a group of retired police officers. I’ve enjoyed working with them ever since they first started coming to the resort in 2011. They return every year, and plan to attend the 2018 Aruba Soul Beach Music Festival.

Hearing our guests’ delight as they talk about their completed group travel vacation experiences with Divi Resorts is very rewarding. I truly enjoy making sure all goes well, and that all guests are completely satisfied and looking forward to their next visit to Divi.

If you’re interested in talking to RoseAnne about planning group travel for weddings, “buddymoons” (honeymoons where friends travel with newlyweds), business conferences, meetings and more, just call 1-800-801-5550 or email groupsales@diviresorts.com. You can also learn more information about group travel at www.diviresorts.com/groups-and-meetings.htm, and find details about our wedding planning services at www.diviresorts.com/weddings.htm.

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.

Divi Resorts Ditches Straws to Reduce Pollution & Promote Eco-friendly Efforts

In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, Divi Resorts is getting rid of plastic straws at all of its Caribbean resorts on Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, St. Maarten & St. Croix, as part of its “Divi Green” initiative.

According to National Geographic, Americans use 500 million straws daily and 8 million tons of plastic trash flows into our world’s oceans every year. While plastic drinking straws are not the top contributor, these tiny tubes are unnecessary and have become a huge problem for the beautiful Caribbean islands and the creatures that call them home. Their size makes them one of the most insidious polluters because they entangle marine animals and are consumed by fish. Divi Resorts hopes to curb this pollution by removing straws from all of its resorts, effective immediately.

“Our goal is to take an active role in protecting and maintaining the beauty of our tropical islands and the creatures that call them home,” said Marco Galaverna, Divi Resorts President & COO. “We’ve always been focused on green initiatives, through our Divi Cares program, and searching for ways to improve our sustainability, so this is just another way we can do our part to help the environment.”

Divi Resorts has been embracing the green movement on its Caribbean islands for years, with initiatives such as water conservation, energy management and waste management programs created to save valuable resources, reducing energy usage and efficiently recycle waste. In addition, Divi Resorts staff participate in workshops and seminars conducted by environmental committees, local government organizations and non-governmental environmental organizations to increase awareness and spread the word about sustainable living. These programs have earned Divi Resorts many awards and recognitions including the Barbados Environmental and Sustainable Tourism Award.

“We’re proud to say we’re putting our best foot forward when it comes to ‘going green’ on our resorts,” said Galaverna.

Travelers looking to stay at Divi Resorts can find information on great Caribbean vacation deals at www.diviresorts.com and also enter to win a free Caribbean Summer Vacation (contest ends April 11, 2018).

Divi Resorts Sponsors Aruba’s Soul Beach Music Festival Featuring R&B Star Alicia Keys

Continuing a 5-year tradition, Divi Resorts’ Aruban destinations are once again sponsoring the ever-popular 2018 Soul Beach Music Festival taking place May 23-29. Voted one of the “Top Five Caribbean Celebrations” by USA TODAY, this year’s event features R&B legend Alicia Keys, neo-soul singer-songwriter Maxwell and actor and comedian Marlon Wayans, among others.

Boasting world-class performers and lively beach and nightclub parties, the Soul Beach Music Festival is just a short walk from Divi’s stunning Aruba properties – Divi Dutch Village Beach ResortDivi Village Golf & Beach Resort and Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort.

“Travelers searching for a fun-filled Memorial Day weekend need look no further,” said Marco Galaverna, Divi Resorts President & COO. “Our resorts are perfect for guests looking for a relaxing place to retreat at the end of an eventful day of sun, sand and stellar performances. Plus, as an added bonus, we’re giving away VIP and ticket prize packs to three lucky winners.”

The contest, which runs from now until May 14th, includes the following prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners:

1st Place VIP Package:
– 2 Friday General Admission Comedy Show Tickets at the Renaissance Festival Plaza
– 2 Saturday & Sunday General Admission Concert Tickets
– 4 Gold Area Entry Passes at the Harbor Arena (2 Saturday/2 Sunday)
– 2 Party Pass Packages (total of 5 entries per person into 5 Official Soul Beach Music Festival After Parties 5/25-5/29) with Express Entry Access
– Bonus Tickets: 2 Friday General Admission Comedy Show Tickets at the Renaissance Festival Plaza and 2 Saturday and Sunday General Admission Concert Tickets

2nd Place Prize Package:
– 2 Friday General Admission Comedy Show Tickets at the Renaissance Festival Plaza
– 2 Saturday and Sunday General Admission Concert Tickets
– 4 Gold Area Entry Passes at the Harbor Arena (2 Saturday/2 Sunday)

3rd Place Prize Package:
– 2 Friday General Admission Comedy Show Tickets at the Renaissance Festival Plaza
– 2 Saturday and Sunday General Admission Concert Tickets at the Harbor Arena

To enter, simply visit https://www.diviresorts.com/aruba-soul-beach.htm, and scroll to the bottom of the page for instructions. Plus, receive 500 extra entries for following @DiviResorts on Instagram.

Special room and all-inclusive rates for the Soul Beach Music Festival are as follows:

Divi Dutch Village Beach Resort:
– Studio suites as low as $159/night and 1-bedroom suites as low as $179/night
– All-Inclusive studio suites as low as $189/night per person and All-Inclusive 1-bedroom suites as low as $209/night, per person*

Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort:
– Studio suites as low as $175/night and 1-bedroom suites as low as $195/night
– All-Inclusive studio suites as low as $199/night per person and All-Inclusive 1-bedroom suites as low as $219/night, per person*

Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort:
– Studio suites as low as $249/night and 1-bedroom suites as low as $269/night

“We invite you to experience an unforgettable weekend of food, fun and first-rate festivities,” said Galaverna. “But be sure to buy your tickets and book your stay today to guarantee you’ll be there, as this event sells out fast!”

For reservations, book online at https://www.diviresorts.com/aruba-soul-beach.htm or call 1-800-367-3484 (Toll-free US) or 1-919-419-3484 (International). For group reservations, please call 1-800-801-5550 or email groupsales@diviresorts.com.

*All-inclusive rates are based on double room occupancy. 3-night minimum stay required.

Divi Resorts Hires New General Manager for Divi Little Bay Beach Resort

Divi Resorts is thrilled to welcome back Anne-Marie Brooks as the new General Manager of Divi Little Bay Beach Resort on St. Maarten. Brooks joins the team in February, 28 years after her first internship at Divi Little Bay back in 1990. She replaces Celine Van Meer, who is now the General Manager at Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino on Bonaire.

“We’re overjoyed that Anne-Marie has decided to return to Divi Little Bay,” said Marco Galaverna, Divi Resorts President & COO. “We’re making great progress in getting Little Bay back up and running in May, and we can’t wait to see what fresh and innovative ideas Anne-Marie brings to the table.”

Born in a picturesque village in the southern part of the Netherlands, Brooks grew up right in the middle of a hotel and restaurant region called “Little Switzerland.” From a young age she worked in the family hotel, managing everything from washing dishes to serving 7-course Christmas dinners. Naturally, she decided to further her studies in hotel & restaurant management.

In 1990, Brooks was offered a six-month management internship at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort to learn more about the industry. She had the opportunity to continue her internship in the United States, but opted to stay in St. Maarten as she fell in love with the island and the people. Not long after, she was offered a position as the Guest Service Manager at the resort.

Since leaving Divi Little Bay, Brooks has acquired a vast knowledge of the resort industry, holding management positions at several resorts on the island, and even owning and managing Beau Beau’s Beach Bar & Restaurant with her husband. Most recently, Brooks spent 21 years working for Oyster Bay Beach Resort on St. Maarten, where she served as the Office Manager, Sales Operations Manager and finally, Assistant General Manager. In her position as AGM, she contributed to the resort’s multimillion-dollar success in vacation ownership sales and transient hotel revenue.

“I believe that it takes dedication, hard work, and most importantly, a passion for hospitality. Making sure my guests are happy and all departments of the resort run smoothly is my top priority,” said Brooks. “I take great personal pride in delivering the best vacation experience to vacation club owners and guests.”

Brooks also has a strong bond with the local community. She has assisted in the organization of several neighborhood cleanups, collected donations for a local orphanage and supported food drives for the less fortunate. In addition, she is an active member of Chaine Des Rotisseurs, an International Association of Gastronomy that brings together food enthusiasts who share the same values of quality fine dining and culinary arts.

Brooks is married to Leroy Brooks better known as King Beau Beau, the famous Calypso artist and entrepreneur, and together, they have four children. In her free time, Brooks is an avid reader and Crossfit member.

Divi Resorts Chef Participating in Barbados Food and Rum Festival

Tantalize your taste buds at this year’s 8th annual Barbados Food and Rum Festival featuring Divi Resorts Executive Chef Henderson Butcher and his creative culinary skills. Slated to be even bigger and better than last year, this mouthwatering event, happening November 16-19, highlights the island’s internationally acclaimed master chefs, unique Caribbean flavors and world-class rum.

“This event is a great way for locals and tourists alike to discover the culinary capital of the Caribbean and sample delicious dishes,” said Chef Henderson.

An executive chef at Divi Southwinds Beach Resort’ pureocean restaurant, Chef Butcher has more than 18 years of expertise, growing up with a passion for cooking his country’s cuisine to share with the world. Now he spends his time his time crafting creative Caribbean dishes using local foods, and helping budding chefs discover their talents.

“Being selected as one of the featured chefs is a great honor and I’m proud to represent Divi Southwinds Beach Resort at this festival,” said Chef Butcher. “Plus, this event gives me the opportunity to interact with young, up-and-coming chefs on the island.”

Chef Butcher is cooking up a storm from 7pm-midnight as part of the Signature Rum event on Friday, November 17. On the menu for this year’s event are dishes that reflect the powerful effect rum can have in the cooking process.

“Barbados is the birthplace of rum, and we believe that people don’t use it enough,” said Chef Butcher. “When you put it in food, it gives it a different flavor. That’s why for my dishes, I want to highlight those flavors.”

Chef Butcher’s menu for the festival includes: Oven Roasted Pork Belly Porchatta with Rum Infused Char Siu style Barbecue Sauce on Savory Roast sweet potato with caramelized cinnamon butter, Purple Pickle Octopus Mount Gay Sliver Citrus Marinated Vegetables and Smoked Sweet Plantain Balls with Ginger Rum Gel and Salted Okra Crisp.

With Divi’s biggest sale of the season, featuring rates as low as $125 per night, there’s no better time to travel. And for locals looking to enjoy a stunning staycation, contact the resort directly to enjoy huge savings on your booking.

“We’re thrilled to offer our biggest sale of the season for Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, especially with this exciting event coming up,” said Marco Galaverna, Divi Resorts President & COO. “It’s the perfect opportunity for tourists to learn more about the beautiful island of Barbados and experience its world-famous rum and distinctive Caribbean flavors.”

Fall specials are on sale now for a limited time only but you can travel right up until December 31, 2018. For individual reservations, please call 1-800-367-3484 (Toll-free US) or 1-919-419-3484 (International). For group reservations, please call 1-800-801-5550 or email groupsales@diviresorts.com. To find out more information about Divi Resorts, visit www.diviresorts.com.

For more information on the 8th annual Barbados Food and Rum Festival, visit: www.visitbarbados.org/food-and-rum-festival