Beauty on the Beach: Aruba's Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort
Melanie ReffesMay 11, 2020
Bucuti and Tara Beach Resort is an adults-only resort on Eagle Beach Photo Credit Bucuti and Tara Beach Resort
On palm-studded acres 15 minutes from the Queen Beatrix International Airport, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort fronts the quieter Eagle Beach on the west coast of the island. In the capital city Oranjestad, named for the Dutch Royal House of Orange, the adults-only resort is no stranger to resilience and recovery as it opened on Black Monday October 19 in 1987. “Guests with reservations and those who want to reserve for future dates can feel secure with our flexible policies for arrivals through December 22nd which will not incur a cancellation or change penalty up to the day of your arrival,” said Ewald Biemans, owner and CEO.
As the Caribbean’s first carbon-neutral hotel, TripAdvisor’s top-rated Hotel for Romance in the Caribbean and the recipient of the USA TODAY 10Best Caribbean Readers' Choice 2020 award for Best Resort and Best Restaurant for Elements, the resort enjoys nearly a 70% repeat visitor business with loyal fans returning year after year. “Many of our guests have shared their desire to proceed with their honeymoon, milestone anniversary or much needed getaway and our message to you is that we are here, ready and waiting to welcome you back, “ adds Ewald Biemans. www.bucuti.com/
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is 15 minutes from Aruba's Queen Beatrix International Airport
Photo Credit Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort
With health and safety taking a front row seat, new protocols are in place. Using guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and advice from doctors and nurses hosted onsite, the resort is ready to welcome guests. “We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness and sanitation to provide protection for our guests, “said Ewald Biemans. A touch-free vacation guarantees a stress-free vacation with guidelines that now include periodic testing for staff as well as temperature checks before each workday. Hospitality marries high-tech like curbside greetings by a personal concierge, hugs and handshakes replaced with warm smiles and check-in via a personal tablet.
Sanitized public areas and guest rooms are sealed until guests arrive and state-of-the-art ionizer technology removes bacteria in the air. For additional peace of mind, dining tables are spaced apart, menus are sanitized and the Sand Bar is being renovated to provide additional social distancing options. “Every day we hear from guests ready to return to Bucuti & Tara and we are pleased our new touch-free safety protocols will provide guests with peace of mind so they can focus on what is most important which is one another,” adds Ewald Biemans.
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is an adults-only on the west coast
Photo Credit Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort
Beds for heads
In 104 guestrooms, suites and penthouses; a good night’s sleep is easy breezy. The Bucuti Wing invites with 63 rooms including 48 garden view guest rooms, 10 ocean view, 3 bungalows and 2 ocean view suites. Recently renovated, Tara Wing comes with 36 oceanfront suites, 4 penthouse suites and 1 deluxe room. With finishing touches added in 2018, suites, lobby and lounge reflect island décor. A newly designed entrance way and concierge lobby greets guests upon arrival.
Big on comfort, rooms and suites are outfitted with a microwave, mini bar that includes coral reef-friendly sunscreen, large balcony or terrace, kitchens in the penthouses and Aruba Aloe toiletries made on the island. Clean air is courtesy of dehumidifiers, air-purifiers and filters that keep the air free of allergens and odor-free. With its signature ‘no surprise rates,’ nightly pricing is inclusive of taxes, fees, breakfast, local calls, Wi-Fi and complimentary use of an IPad.
Courtyard at the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort Photo Credit Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort
Luxury living in a Penthouse Photo Credit Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort
Steward of the environment
Pioneers in sustainable tourism, the resort under the watchful eye of Ewald Biemans and his team, is a Caribbean trailblazer with eco-friendly practices that reflect an ongoing commitment to the environment. Earlier this year, the resort became the first Caribbean hotel to achieve LEED Gold certification adding to a prestigious collection of well-deserved accolades including the first-ever inductee into the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s CHIEF Hall of Fame for Best Practices for Environmental Sustainability and the first-ever recipient of the World Travel & Tourism’s (WTTC) Tourism for Tomorrow 2019 Climate Action Award. Ewald Biemans was a featured presenter at the WTTC’s prestigious 2019 Global Summit headlined by former U.S. President Barack Obama and the first individual to receive the Gold Adrian Award Leader in Sustainable Tourism presented by HSMAI and National Geographic in 2017. “I am most proud of the resort becoming Certified Carbon Neutral which is a culmination of our 32 years of steady efforts to operate as sustainably as is possible, “said Ewald Biemans.
CEO and owner Ewald Biemans is an eco-tourism trailblazer Photo Credit Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort
As the Caribbean’s greenest hotel, the resort is a shining example to hoteliers in the region also committed to protecting the environment. Coveted initiatives include the lowest per-occupied-room electricity usage of all hotels in Aruba, lower carbon footprint due to sourcing from local suppliers, solar panels that are used to heat the water, sink and shower water reused in the gardens and bio-degradable detergents. With a nod to the island’s wildlife population, the resort supports the volunteer-run Donkey Sanctuary and subsidizes spay & neuter surgeries to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats. “The time, heart and resources Ewald puts behind his passion for the environment has produced results for our resort, for the island and for the Caribbean, “said Susan Logan, director, sales and marketing.
With a myriad of palate-pleasers, Elements is one of 3 on-site dining options. Eat local like buttery lionfish gussied up with lime, olive oil, peppers and onions and grilled
Grouper crowned with Caribbean fruit salsa. Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan choices are on the menu like cashew cheese tacos and peanut tempeh satays. A delectable fusion of European and Caribbean flavors, Elements is open from 7 am for breakfast, from noon for lunch and 6 pm to 10:30 pm for dinner. Savouring the warm breeze, dinner on the oceanfront deck or inside with floor-to-ceiling windows come with vistas to-dine-for. Theme nights like Local Arts and Local Eats every Monday celebrate the island with a chef-led cooking demo and vendors selling local crafts. www.elementsaruba.com/
Adjacent to Elements, Sand Bar is open from 11 a.m., to midnight for local sips, snacks and sunset spotting. The Caribbean’s first Healthy Hour tempts with a fruity array of smoothies and mocktails. Linger awhile as steel bands perform from 5 - 7 pm and 9 pm to 10 pm.
Under the watchful eye of Executive Chef Kelt Hugo Maat and Maitre D` Bas Kruisselbrin, Chef’s Table at Senses is a gastronomic journey worth the splurge. For an added taste of Aruba, Dine Around offers a choice of restaurants including Elements. Not an all-inclusive, the resort offers several meal plans, some with Dine Around vouchers.
Grilled grouper with Caribbean fruit salsa at Elements Restaurant Photo Credit Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort
Body and soul
Another first on the island, wellness specialists curate personalized programs tailored to each guest. From a power walk on the beach to a brisk hike in the Arikok National Park, fitness, nutrition and relaxation are top-shelf priorities.
Gratis options include oceanfront Pilates, seaside yoga, early morning Qigong on the beach and vegan cooking demonstrations. In the Purun Spa, a medley of massages, rubs and scrubs takes the edge off with the island’s aloe, sea salt and coconut. The spacious fitness center keeps the theme with eco-fitness bikes that are electricity-generating creating kilowatts that are sent to the resort’s power grid.
Fitness center is equipped with eco-fitness bikes Photo Credit Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort
Kickstart the mojo with options like movies under the stars, white glove champagne service at sunset and a couple’s massage on the beach. Kick it up a notch with a chef-prepared beach picnic; yacht sail on the Monforte schooner, sunset catamaran sail and a romantic dinner pour deux in a palapa on the beach.
Whether celebrating a wedding, honeymoon, anniversary or vow renewal, ‘VIP Arrival’ sets the tone with expedited escorts through airport security, glass of bubbly, fast luggage pick-up, front-of-the-line through immigration and customs and a luxe ride in a big black car to the resort. For those who plan ahead, honeymooners are assigned a romance concierge and upon arrival, perks go the distance from a welcome sign on the door, local snacks, souvenir champagne flutes and invites to a sunset toast on the beach.
Picnic on the beach is romance must-do Photo Credit Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort
Out and about
Lit for a night swim, the freshwater infinity- edge pool is open 24/7 with plenty of shady sun loungers that come with a red flag signalling the beach steward, as pool servers are called, who deliver cocktails and lite bites poolside. Steps from the Sand Bar, the cool pool is popular for a sunrise swim and an evening dip. Eagle Beach is without towering hotels (those you’ll find on Palm Beach) and invites eco-astute guests to the weekly clean-up on Wednesdays. “We have practiced social distancing long before it became law, “notes Ewald Biemans, “we have an enormous beach of powder white sand and everyone has their own space, there are no lines, no waiting for elevators and no crowds.”
The pool is open for a sunrise dip or a sunset swim Photo Credit Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort
Snag a cab or ask the concierge to organize a guide and explore the capital city of Oranjestad with its shops, markets and restaurants, Alto Vista Chapel on the hills above the north shore, Arikok National Park and California Lighthouse near Arashi Beach on the northwest tip of the island. “Travel inspires compassion and knowledge,” adds Ewald Biemans, owner and CEO, “my recommendation is to get off the beaten path and experience something new and different, something meaningful.” Close to the resort, Links at Divi Aruba is for golfing twosomes and Alhambra Casino for couples tempting Lady Luck. www.bucuti.com/activities#aruba-attractions
Alto Vista Chapel is a small Catholic chapel on the hills above the north shore Photo Credit ATA
California Lighthouse near Arashi Beach on the northwest tip of the island Photo Credit Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort
Launched in March, #BringingBucutiToYou is a wildly popular social media campaign that entertains with videos, music, updates on the resorts blog www.bucuti.com/blog and a YouTube channel with a boatload of interactive fun. www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXPqe81bm27wbKMepKIHp9yvx7syYandI
“When travel resumes, Bucuti & Tara will be ready to welcome our treasured guests as soon as they touch down, “ said Ewald Biemans owner and CEO.
Private dining pour deux on the beach Photo Credit Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort
Shaking and stirring at home
Poured with pleasure, Kiwi Frizz packs a lot of oomph in a small glass.
1 kiwi peeled and sliced
1 oz. peeled pineapple chunks
1 ¼ oz. Zacapa 23 Rum
½ oz. agave nectar
1 oz. Lime juice.
Dash of club soda
6 ice cubes
Place the kiwi and pineapple in a glass and muddle using a muddler or the handle of a sturdy wooden spoon to press the fruit against the side of the glass. Add ice cubes and a shot of Zacapa 23 or rum of your choice and pour the lime juice into the glass. Add the remaining ingredients, try honey instead of agave nectar, stir, add a fruity decoration and serve.
Kiwi Frizz packs a lot of oomph in a small glass Photo Credit Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort