Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is celebrating its 35th anniversary. What started as a hotelier’s dream almost four decades ago, has become one of the Top 25 Hotels in the World according to Tripadvisor, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and Forbes Magazine. Simultaneously, it became the first certified Carbon-Neutral hotel in the Caribbean.
Tourism, a natural choice for Aruba
In 1985, Aruba’s Lago oil refinery shuttered, coveted jobs were lost, and the island’s leaders sought new opportunities for the community to prosper. Aruba’s budding tourism industry was tested and became the focus of growth for the government. Hotelier Ewald Biemans, already a proven leader in the island’s tourism sector, answered the call to invest. With Biemans’ commitment to Aruba, the Bucuti Beach Hotel was born.
Triumph despite an ominous start
Black Monday, Oct. 19, 1987, was the day the stock market crashed; however, for Bucuti Beach Resort, that day marked its grand opening – 11 days ahead of schedule. From the day it opened, prosperity prevailed for this special Eagle Beach hotel. Inspired by the friendly, bright people making up the island community, Biemans incorporated the best of Aruba into Bucuti. He has cared for the local community and its natural beauty as much as for the resort’s guests.
Innovation, adaption and the best workforce
Bucuti & Tara’s success has long been fueled by Biemans’ community involvement and continual reinvestment in the resort and staff. Being a pioneer and an early adopter, while maintaining the resort’s core identity, has been key to thriving in the global hospitality environment. The implementation of advanced technologies and innovations to create an efficient, desirable, and well-organized workplace has been ongoing. Beyond training staff to position them as world-class, the resort cares for Bucuti Associates just as it does guests. During the pandemic, it maintained 100% of its workforce, provided educational opportunities, safe working conditions, healthy food, and even a savings and loans program that also provides “green loans”.
“We are in the nature business”
As Biemans has long said, “We are not in the tourism business, we are in the nature business. People come from all over the world to experience the natural beauty of Aruba.” Protecting Aruba’s nature has been paramount to Biemans’ and Bucuti & Tara’s core values.
While Bucuti’s success in providing an exceptional vacation experience took off, the framework for sustainability soon followed. Biemans was compelled to protect the treasure that is Aruba, and Bucuti & Tara Beach Hotel. He led the effort so the property methodically began earning the world’s top eco-certifications of Green Globe, Travelife Gold, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and LEED Gold v4.1. Ultimately, in Aug. 2018, Bucuti & Tara became the Caribbean’s first certified Carbon-Neutral hotel. In 2020, the United Nations gave Bucuti & Tara a prestigious Global UN Climate Action Award and said that the resort’s sustainability program was “highly replicable and scalable” for hotels and businesses all over the world to follow. For Biemans’, this starts at home, and local students and the government have long been invited to see the resort’s program in person and take their teachings to develop in their own special part of Aruba.
Local success, global stage
International media recognition has flowed with every award, accolade, and certification throughout the years. This has and continues to keep Aruba in the spotlight, highlighting its beauty, culture, people, and quality of experience as a premier Caribbean destination.
A lifetime of ‘firsts’
For 35 years, Bucuti & Tara looked forward, breaking through the shackles of normalcy to incorporate new and more efficient ways to operate. No stranger to defying the norm, one thing Bucuti & Tara will not defy is its community. Having launched beach clean-ups more than 30 years ago, the property still maintains this monthly commitment shared by guests and staff. An early adopter of technology, Bucuti & Tara had the first webcams and was called upon by Setar for Wifi testing as it worked to establish its system.
As Aruba’s pet overpopulation continued to grow, the property launched Stimami Sterilisami, a nonprofit organization to subsidize spay and neutering of local dogs and cats. Since 2016, as of Aug. 2022, more than 30,000 pets have been spayed. Loyal and continual support of Turtugaruba, the Donkey Sanctuary and Pack for a Purpose (benefiting Imeldahof Children’s Home) have been a priority. The resort’s sister company, Tara Eco Supplies, was the first wholesaler to begin importing and selling eco-friendly hospitality products and supplies to the hotel and to the island as a whole.
That the future may learn from the past
As Bucuti & Tara eyes the years to come, it is focused on continuing to elevate its high-quality offerings and relationships to benefit Aruba. The hotel property’s next major goal is to achieve carbon negativity in 2023. Bucuti & Tara continues to freely share its initiatives to help others start their own sustainability journey. Whether residents or other business people, students at the University of Aruba or grade school children in Aruba’s EcoKids learning sustainability and entrepreneurship, Bucuti & Tara continues its pledge to invest in Aruba.
Coming soon: A fitting 35-year anniversary celebration rooted in the tradition of community service
Biemans and lifelong friend and colleague Grete Marie (Ree) Case recently donated a large portion of over 12 hectares (30 acres) of land, with Bucuti and Tara sponsoring the remainder to the nature preservation foundation they founded in Noord. Next month, on a date to be determined, a celebratory 35 trees will be planted to line a walking/running trail on this newly protected tract for the community to enjoy.
Learn more about Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort.