Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Masha danki, Amsterdam Manor

For all that disappointed us about beach dining at Passions, the opposite was true of pretty much everything else about our hotel. Maybe it's because the Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort is a modest, three-storey place, so staff and guests become more familiar to each other than they would in one of the high-rise über-resorts further up the coast. Maybe the employees are empowered in a way that might not be possible at a large corporate chain. Whatever the reason, they gave good customer service.

Three different employees wished me happy birthday on Friday, despite the fact that we hadn't mentioned the occasion at check-in.

The day after my birthday, we discovered a bottle of wine had mysteriously appeared in our fridge; when we asked at the front desk, the response was a smiling, "Well, I wonder how that happened??" No "Ma'am-it's-our-corporate-policy-to-mark-your-celebration-and thank-you-for-choosing-us" (or worse, "What? Let me find out who did that!"). Just a sweet gesture.

Trying to decide between two Aruban restaurants on our last night, we decided to seek advice from Illis at the front desk. "My personal preference," he said, "is Gasparito." And then, without prompting, "But it might be busy tonight; let me call and make sure they have a table for you."

The Amsterdam Manor is also a six-time recipient of the
Green Globe certification for environmental sustainability, and this goes beyond the obligatory "please reuse your towels" bathroom sign.

It's the first place I've seen can- and bottle-recycling bins around a hotel pool (why don't more places do that?). And lunch ordered from the restaurant on the beach comes not on plastic plates or styrofoam takeout trays, but rather in reusable bamboo dim sum baskets.

(Oh, look--another change to show bitterballen pr0n! Yeah, I know, you've seen this one before. I don't care.)

Yes, they still serve drinks in plastic cups, and yes, the balcony lights are on all night (largely, I assume, for decorative purposes), but the hotel is at least demonstrating that some eco-friendly actions are painless and unintrusive.

Plus, it's pretty. And check out the sky-blue perfection of the trompe l'œil on the far wall.

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