Playa Linda Beach Resort: 40 years of exceptional vacation experiences

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ORANJESTAD – The Playa Linda Beach Resort is highly identifiable for its many-tiered design that has been a part of the island landscape for almost the entire length of Aruba’s tourism industry, and holds the distinction of being one of the island’s first timeshare options. It celebrates its 40-year history this month, with employees, members and guests joining the celebration from its prized location on Palm Beach. Over its long history, this beachside resort has become a beloved place to stay, for its high level of guest care and small community experience at the center of the island’s best places to eat, shop and play.

The resort first opened its doors back in 1983, after the completion of its first wing. There were only 78 units at its opening, but immediately drew interest for itsprime location and intimate appeal. Its appeal grew with the resort maintaining its community-minded environment, and remains a particular favorite among families. Today it offers217 suites, with a wide diversity of ways to vacation with options including studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and lanai suites, townhouse apartments as well as outstanding views from penthouse and rooftop suite accommodations.

All three of its construction phases were realized through the efforts of a team of local, visionary industry leaders, including developer Raymond Maduro of Sun Development, architect Dan Oduber, contractor HenkBijen of Albo Aruba and René Nieuwkerk, who was Playa Linda’s first general manager. Each played their part in contributing to the Playa Linda as it is today, distinctive for its design and remarkable for its upscale, yet still homey atmosphere.

Rene Nieuwkerk, Playa Linda’s first general manager when the resort opened in 1983, recalls the early years, when Aruba’s tourism as well as its timeshare product was still in its infancy. “At that time, people were not familiar with timeshare, but once potential buyers received a view of the Playa Linda, from the site as well as from sea, with a special boat contracted just for that purpose, it was an easy sell,” comments René smiling, as he nostalgically remembers the first days of the Playa Linda Beach Resort.

The success of the resort throughout the years is clearly demonstrated in its sold-out status year-round, almost right from the start, and with many of the original owners of the resort still returning each year as well as also bringing in other family members and friends. Today, owners at the Playa Linda Beach Resort can compose different generations of the same family group. Loyalty and love of the Playa Linda is not only shown in its number of original owners, but also in several members of the staff who are still at the resort, thirty-plus and forty years later.

In the present day, Playa Linda GM Peter van Grinsven, together with Operations Director Sulaika Kelly and Finance Director Ann Brinkman, continues to guide the resort as it evolves its high-end appeal while maintaining a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Peter, who has been with the Playa Linda for 21 years and its general manager for the last seven years, remarks that the resort’s charm is very much based on the familiarity of home. “A lot of our employees have been with the resort for many years. As much as we strive for our guests to enjoy a home-away-from-home setting, we do the same for our employees. The quality of our accommodations, combined with the community feel, is what helps set us apart.”

Since its opening, the Playa Linda Beach Resort has led the way in defining island comfort andwarm hospitality as well as demonstrating a dedication to sustainable development. The Playa Linda was the first to put chickees on the beach, bringing in Seminole Indians from Florida for their construction, and was the first resort on Aruba to offer a free-form pool as well as a lush, mature garden. In recent years, Playa Linda has endeavored to realize environmentally-friendly operations, and was the first resort on Palm Beach to achieve ISO-14001 certification.

Comfort, community and unrivaled island and oceanfront views continue to be at the heart of the Playa Linda’s success. After forty years, the beachfront, timeshare property looks forward to impressing its members and guests, from all parts of the globe, for many decades to come.

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40 years of countless memories

Playa Linda down through the decades

Playa Linda officially marks its 40th anniversary this year in July. Its long history is full of island firsts as it continues to fulfill the vacation goals of its many members and guests.

1953 – 1978: Before the Playa Linda there was Playa Linda’s idyllic location, with one of the best spots on Palm Beach used for the island’s first beachfront hotel. Plans for the “Basiroeti” were first formed in 1953 and realized in 1957, when the “Basi-Ruti” first officially opened its doors. The collection of bungalows spread along Palm Beach was picturesque as well as historic, hosting the then Dutch Princess Beatrix on a visit to Aruba in 1958.

1981: Construction of the first wing (its south wing) of the Playa Linda first began in 1981. Aruban developer Raymond Maduro had the foresight to realize how successful timeshare could be in Aruba, and after establishing the Aruba Beach Club a few years previously, found the island’s second timeshare resort, christened as the Playa Linda Beach Resort.

1983: The first phase of the Playa Linda opened, and was soon followed by the completion of all of its three phases, and quickly established itself as an emblem of island comfort and ambiance. It was the first to put chickees (aka palapas) on the beach, bringing in Seminole Indians from Florida for their construction, and the first resort on Aruba to offer a free-form pool as well as a lush, mature garden.

2005: Sustainable, environmentally-friendly goals came to the forefront with the adoption of ISO 14001 standards. Playa Linda was the first Palm Beach area resort to institute the higher environmental ISO benchmarks, building upon the Green Globe 21 certification it held for many years previous.

2008 – 2011: Playa Linda underwent its first full renovation in its 25th year, and introduced new room categories of townhome, penthouse and spa lanai, and improvement of facilities with a new fitness center, kids activity center and new restaurant and shopping options.

2018: Contemporary aesthetics and the well-established traditions of hospitality were again brought to the forefront when the Playa Linda underwent another major renovation soon after remaking its pool deck the year before, with the introduction of a brand new adult pool option. The 35th year was marked with a brand new lobby, and improved amenities of multi-functional meeting space and luggage room as well as a refresh of all rooms.

2023: Playa Linda is reaching another zenith in its 40th year, with itssuccess based on warm hospitality as well as an ability to heighten the vacation experience, having evolved through various renovations and with services expanded and enhanced withthe use of new technologies.