KRALENDIJK- Although it seemed uncertain to the last moment whether everything would be ready on time, the brand new Chogogo Resort on Bonaire has in the meantime received its first guests.
Although the paint on the walls is barely dry, the first days of the operation went without major problems, say owners Hans and Gertrude Schellevis in conversation with ABC Online Media. There are now about 100 guests staying in the parts of the resort that have already been completed. Two equal blocks towards the South end of the property are still in the completion phase.
Also ready are the swimming pool, the so-called lazy river around the resort in which guests can swim or float on large blue tires, the reception and the restaurant where breakfast and lunch can be served.
Although the new resort is very large, with about 200 rooms and five luxury villas, it does not look deserted or uninviting, even so short after opening. A number of staff members are still busy with the planting of the new gardens. “Where we could save old trees, we did that,” says Hans Schellevis during the tour of the former site of the Sunset Beach Hotel.
Construction of the new resort has cost nearly $40 million; a huge investment. The financing comes from own resources, from the General Pension Fund Curaçao (APC), from Pensioenfonds Caribbean Netherlands (PCN) and some smaller financiers.
The rooms of the new resort are not overly large, but they are well equipped, including a induction range, a large fridge, plenty of cupboard space, a safe and a Nespresso machine. All rooms have their own balcony. Through travel partner Tui, the owners of the Time-to-Smile resort know exactly what guests find important. Both in terms of equipment of the rooms, to the menu in the various restaurants. “We are however not an all-inclusive resort, although many people seem to think so,” says Gertrude with a smile.
The two adult sons of the entrepreneurial couple will manage the resort on Bonaire, while Hans and Gertrude will mainly continue to run the resort of the same name on Curaçao. Nevertheless, both have been on Bonaire almost full-time last week to be able to receive the first guests on time.
The owners of the newest resort on the island don’t really want to answer questions about the uproar that has ensued, regarding the alleged illegal distribution of imported sand on the beach.
Both Hans and Gertrude indicate that all the discussion has not left them cold. “You work so hard, you try your best and even then still there are things which do not go exactly according to plan:, is as much as what they will say.
The entrepreneurial couple currently chooses not to talk about the business. “We certainly will have our hands full for the coming week with everything that still needs to be arranged,” says Hans. Before Christmas, the number of guests at the resort will double to more than 200.
The team of father, mother and sons seems ready for the challenge.