Category Archives: Resorts

A Caribbean vacation in summer? Yes, let’s go!

Did you know there are over 7000 individual islands in the Caribbean?  Who’s ready to spend a few days on one this summer? The Caribbean in summer?  Yes!  It’s when the best deals are.  Especially after April 1, when kids eat and stay free at Divi Resorts.  June is when most Divi Resorts offer the lowest rates, but there are deals all summer long.  Vacation dollars go further, spacious suites are available and there are plenty of palapas for a quiet snooze on the beach.  There are also as many activities in summer as in season.  This is sounding like a vacation made in heaven.  But, it’s the Caribbean.

So, just where should you go for a Caribbean beach vacation?  I’m giving an “A” to Aruba.   First of all, there are few worries about hurricanes.  Aruba is technically out of the hurricane zone.  The temperature is only slighted elevated in the summer months due to the ever-present trade winds.

Aruba has too many temptations to list.  But, just consider these:

Divi Village, Divi Aruba Phoenix and Divi Dutch Village offer all-suite accommodations, an ideal set-up for families.   Not only are the suites spacious with modern amenities, but also they feature fully equipped kitchens. That’s handy for keeping kids satisfied with a little snacking and refreshment throughout the day, and an excellent way to stretch the family’s vacation dollars.   ‘Because you will want to do this vacation again next year.

If the brood is just too tired to go out at night, it couldn’t be easier to settle in for a night at home.  Slide open the balcony doors, plop onto a comfy couch and hit the remote for the flat-screen TV.  You can also gather ‘round the dining room table for board games.

Staying in won’t feel like a letdown after all there is to do during the day.  If you opt for the Druif Beach area, you’ll have your pick of multiple pools (enough to choose a different one just about every day), lighted tennis courts (weekly tennis clinics, too), poolside games and beach walks every afternoon, a water sports center with enough free activities to keep families entertained no matter how long the stay.   Aruba’s only 30-foot rock climbing wall is located on the Divi beach.

There are more than a dozen restaurant choices for the entire family when you do feel like dining out together.   (Remember:  kids eat free April 1 through December 21st.) Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort also has a nine-hole golf course and pro shop.  Parents might also like an evening at the Alhambra casino, which can be reached by a free shuttle bus from the resort.

Over at Phoenix Beach, the curvaceous pools are a big hit with families, as is the cool and comfy Pure Beach restaurant.  For a convenient diversion, go across the street and roam the Butterfly Farm.  Buy one ticket and go multiple times.

It’s just a shame you have to go home at some point.  I guess that’s why it’s called a “vacation.” Be sure to check out Divi’s discounted Summer rates!

What’s Your 2013 Travel Resolution?

Did you make resolutions for 2013?   Did the list include:  Be a better person, work smarter, be more organized and take more vacation days? It might come as a surprise that those four resolutions are connected.  Workplace experts highly recommend taking vacations.  Yes, that was an “s” on the end of the word “vacation.”  Vacations recharge the batteries, replenish the creative juices and make a person more productive at work, according to those who study workplace behavior.  So, think of it this way: vacations are a good thing for you and your business.

Planning is key. January is a good time to sit down with the calendar and map out optimum times to be away from work and accommodate the whole family’s activity and school schedules.  There are also early booking specials that help stretch the vacation dollar.  (Was “find ways to save money” a resolution, too?)

Divi has a few vacation ideas for you in 2013.

  • Be part of the yachting set that will gather in St. Maarten-St. Martin for the island’s Classic Regatta, March 29-31.  Divi Little Bay’s Regatta Package gets you a discount on a room; a sail on a catamaran to watch one of the races and VIP passes to opening and closing festivities.  So party with the yacht crews during one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful sailing events. Ever done that before?
  • Or meet on the beach with “top chefs” at this year’s Taste of St. Croix.   Noted chefs from across the US descend upon St. Croix to cook up a party each night of the six-day St. Croix Food & Wine Experience.  The Thursday night event is the Taste of St. Croix, held under the stars on the beachfront of Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort. Planning ahead is absolutely crucial as tickets sell out to the Taste of St. Croix in less than 30 minutes (1200+ tickets gone in minutes).  Get a guaranteed ticket by booking a three-day stay by January 30th.
  • Need a photo for next year’s holiday card?  How about dressing up for the Carnival parade in Barbados in August during Barbados’ famed Crop Over Festival?  Last year, Divi Southwinds provided costumes for guests to join in the fun.  Watch the website for details of this year’s plans.
  • Is 2013 the year you learn to golf?  Make an tee time appointment with a golf pro at the Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort in Aruba.  Golf in the morning, relax at the beach in the afternoon, and fine dine at night at the resort’s gourmet restaurant, Windows on Aruba.  Is there a better way to spend a vacation day, or two, or ten?

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!

A Beach. A Chair. And a Beverage.

I don’t know how photographer Joel Collins managed to capture a shot of all these empty chairs in front of the Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort on Aruba last month. Since the hotel installed them, all painted pretty in Caribbean colors and lined up side-by-side facing the dreamy Caribbean Sea, the site has been a very popular spot for Divi guests — any time of day, morning and night. No matter the time, the chairs are always taken!

The chairs are from way up north – New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Designed in 1903, and originally called the Westport Plank Chair after the city of its birth, the chair is now known universally – truly the world over – as the Adirondack Chair. There are a more than a few good reasons why this design has endured and is inextricably linked with vacation time, no matter the terrain – mountain or seaside: it’s comfortable and durable; and probably of equal importance to many, it has an armrest wide and sturdy enough upon which to sit a drink. The story goes that is precisely what Thomas Lee, the designer, intended.

If you’d like to know a little more about the history of the Adirondack chair (There’s even a little business intrigue in this little tale.), visit the Orvis site. You can even buy a little of the Divi beachfront for back home!

I think this chair on the beach in front of Divi Phoenix Beach is a perfect spot for ____________. Well, you fill in the blank.

And, I wonder why there are nine Adirondack chairs in front of the Divi Phoenix Beach in Aruba. Shouldn’t there be ten, one for each of the Divi resorts across the Caribbean? I know what I would be thinking about if I were in one of those chairs: Which Divi to enjoy next?!

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.

My Day Trip to St. Bart’s

I know there’s a speedboat in my future. I just love to be on the water and going fast. (Part of the joy of every journey is in how you get there, right?) On my recent trip to Divi Little Bay in St. Maarten, I learned about the fast ferry over to St. Bart’s. Zipping around the beautiful blue Caribbean Sea – that’s for me.

The fast ferry trip from St. Maarten to St. Bart’s is a fun way to spend a day while vacationing on St. Maarten. Dock to dock in less than an hour means you will have a full six hours to make like you’re a celeb in this ooh-so-French playground of the Caribbean. You’ve read about it in People and heard about it on Entertainment Tonight. Now, you know what the fuss is about. Entering the harbor in the capital of Gustavia and you know: it’s gorgeous. Red tiled roofs, exquisite shop facades, stunning fashion inside the windows, cafes, a landscaped esplanade around the U-shaped harbor, towering hillsides enveloping the town, and croissants aplenty. I came prepared to spend time soaking up the ambiance of this beachy bit of France, rather than dishing out cash in the pricey shops. But, window shopping is affordable and fun in St. Bart’s.

Here’s a tip: Hit the shops as soon as you dock, because most close for a leisurely French lunch from noon until 3 (some close at 1 instead). So, after eying the fashions and jewelry, I headed over to Shell Beach, an easy, 10 minute stroll away. True to character and name, it was a wide swatch of sand, beautiful with big boulders and laden with shells. There’s even a little bistro and beachwear shop. Chaise lounges can be rented from the restaurant for a more comfortable angle for people watching.

After heading into the surf, relaxing on the beach or even a little snooze on a chaise, head back to town for lunch. Remember where you are: meals are not rushed here. The fast ferry returns to St. Maarten at precisely 4pm.

If you want to check out all of St. Bart’s, another option for the day is to take a taxi for an all-around-the-island tour. Next time, I’ll do that.

The day I went, it was a smooth ride over under a gorgeous blue sky with pillowy puffs of clouds, the kind that give pictures a little contrast from all that gorgeous blue.

If the wind in your hair is not your thing, sit inside in the smooth comfort of the cabin and enjoy a beverage, chat with the hostess and scan the horizon for St. Bart’s up ahead and Saba to your right. You’ll get a nice view of St. Maarten as you leave it behind or approach it on the return.

The lovely and amiable Eugene at Divi Little Bay will make the arrangements for a trip from Divi.

I did mention that the fast ferry leaves St. Bart’s precisely at 4, didn’t I? And that’s a good thing. You’ll be back at the marina in St. Maarten at 4:45. Which means you can do the slow sunset sail offered by Passaat, departing nearby. It’s a tranquil antidote to the fast life you’ve just lived in a day in St. Bart’s.

The fast ferry operates year-round, but here’s a deal you should hop on now: Divi Little Bay has a 4-night $499 for two special that includes the fast ferry trip to St. Bart’s, (the trip alone is a value of $130), plus the transportation over to the marina from Divi Little Bay. It’s all included in the $499. Book by June 30. Travel until December 16th. Get on it fast!