Rick and Dede Grosser: “At home we have family, here we have friends and family”

They fell in love with Aruba on their first visit to the island in 1991. For the last 28 years, they have been staying at what is now Barcelo Aruba, the resort has changed brands and names during the years but they stayed loyal to the resort. For the past 15 years they’ve spent their vacations here four times a year. They bring their family, about 50 people, in June every year. We can – without a doubt – call them VIP Ambassadors of Aruba. Meet the wonderful couple, Dede and Rick Grosser of Rochester, New York.

The interview with Aruba Today is interrupted a couple of times because staff of the resort and other guests are being greeted by Dede and Rick. They seem to know everybody, well not seem, they do know everyone. Rick: “It is a large resort, but we grew up with the people who work here. Also, we vacation here year around and we meet the many repeat guests. Together with the resort’s employees they are our Aruba family.” The resort treats guests with respect, whether you are a first timer or a repeat guest, says Rick. “That is just how they are. It is convenient that this is a full inclusive resort, but when we feel like dining out we do so. The resort’s beach to me is the best stretch of sand on Palm Beach.” Rick even opened the Facebook page I Love Barcelo Aruba Group creating a meeting point for travelers to Aruba.

First Visit
Dede had heard about Aruba. And after they experienced a nightmare vacation in Mexico, the couple was up to a success story. “The very first night we went to the Buccaneer restaurant for dinner, which was back in 1991, we met the chef who was going around every table to check up on the guests and we had a great chat together.

He introduced us to some cab drivers that used to hang out there and they invited us to go bowling. It was a terrific night. I told Dede: I love this place; they are so friendly and even invite us to spend a night out with them without even knowing us. We were hooked ever since then.” Even when Dede was pregnant they came to vacation and their three children have spent their youth vacations on Aruba. Once a year, in June, they come with the whole family, about 50 people in total. The group fell in deep love with Aruba. “We all come together here as family, my nieces, nephews, in-laws, the children. The group has branched out and they all know us. Some of the resort’s staff and repeat guests are even coming to my daughter’s wedding soon.”

European Safety & Caribbean Flair
The friendly people, the resort, and the climate are all ingredients they love here. Dede: “The romance of the island, every single part of it is perfect.

Everyone we meet here shows respect and that to us is what the island represents: respect and love. The Aruban people are the most respectful people you ever meet, they treat you with love and warmness and are genuine.” The European touch is a big plus to them. “We love our Dutch friends here, we go to 080 bar, Bugaloe and Aruba water Sports. The Dutch are trustworthy people. The European efficiency and safety, mixed with the Caribbean flair is a unique cocktail they say.

Points of Attention
The couple can be considered Aruba experts, knowing what Americans want and having the many years of experience on the island.

Some recent developments worry them, like the excessive traffic and construction. “They need to slow down the construction, this will bring in too many workers from outside and what will that do to the values of the island? You don’t want this to become a Dominican Republic. The resorts on many other Caribbean destinations might be more majestic sometimes, but that is also because you cannot leave the resort. You need to stay inside for your safety.” That on Aruba is not the case, but the government should maintain that, is their opinion. “There are also too many rental cars and ATV’s.

I am not a big fan of that, they make too much noise and ruin nature. They also cross neighborhoods and not everyone knows how to drive them. The government should have more safety regulations in place for activities.” Americans tend to think they are covered for injuries but they are not, Rick explains. “And the maintenance of the equipment many times is not done properly.” He reads about what is happening on the island and his friends that live here inform him. The couple represent a lot of Americans in their opinion. “There is a general lack of education and information available for the visitors. How to treat the underwater world, how to drive on the island. Many do not realize, they are not informed not to touch the coral, not to drive the sand dunes etc. Not to drink and drive. Do this to protect your island!” q