Sustainability, service, and standards
Bonaire is a small, 24-mile long island municipality of the Netherlands that lies off Venezuela’s coast in the Leeward Antilles in the southern Caribbean. Together with Aruba and Curaçao, it forms the group known as the ABC islands. Bonaire is popular destination for scuba divers, and is well known for its easy access to various offshore reefs and dive spots. The unique island also attracts wind/kite surfers from around the world.
On the west coast of the island is the Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino, built on the foundation of a World War II POW camp, and near the government buildings of Kralendijk, the island’s capital. The facility became the Hotel Bonaire in the late 1960s, and was purchased by Divi Hotels in the late 1970s. The Divi Flamingo was one of the first hotels on the island and became a dive resort in early 1980s. It was also one of the only local hotels with an onsite casino.
The Divi Flamingo has 80 units, with 30 studio suites, and eight ADA handicap accessible rooms. Because it offers PADI 5-Star dive operations with six boats, it attracts many divers and dive groups from the U.S. Its guests also include leisure travelers from the Netherlands, as well as local business travelers from Bonaire. The hotel’s 140 employees serve its visitors, year round, maintaining an occupancy rate of approximately 75 percent.
The Divi Flamingo is highly regarded for its excellent staff, equipment, certification classes, and customer service. Its restaurants focus on farm to table, dock to dish cuisine, with food purchased from local farmers and fishermen, whenever possible. The hotel also sponsors many events and activities on the island through its Divi Cares program, and it continually seeks to partner with companies that practice eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable practices.
In 2015, the resort underwent a multi-million dollar renovation with upgrades to the main pool, sun deck, and units. It installed minimal water flow valves for showers, bathrooms, and sinks, and added LED lighting and motion sensor devices in order to decrease energy consumption. It closed the Calabas Restaurant space and reopened it as the Pure Ocean Restaurant with a new Executive Chef; updated its Chibi Chibi Restaurant; and updated and renamed the Flamingo Bar, which is now called the Pure Beach Bar.
In addition, the hotel rebuilt its lobby and retrofitted its main kitchen with new equipment, including a walk-in freezer to increase the storage of U.S. shipments. Finally, it constructed a 4,700 square foot beach area, completely renovated its dive shop and classrooms, and added another boat with advanced technology for diving. Over the next several years, the Divi Flamingo will complete a renovation to its timeshare units in order to increase the comfort of owners and guests who seek to stay seven or more nights. Although the dive market has been a mainstay in Bonaire, the hotel is responding to the desires of the European market, believing that all of the upgrades will further entice the Caribbean-bound traveler to Bonaire and the Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino.