- 30 Dec 2010 9:20 AM
Calm azure seas, a wind-whipped coastline, tranquil beaches and coves, caves and rock formations combine to create a one-of-a-kind natural setting as unique as Aruba's history. The island language and culture is a rich blend of all the international explorers, colonists, merchants and visitors who have reached its shimmering shores over the centuries.
The Westin Resort Aruba offers more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space. It's a newly refurbished property featuring eight restaurants and lounges, the world-class casino, a spa and nearby golf facilites. The property is located just seven miles from Queen Beatrix International Airport and five miles from downtown Oranjestad.
In the June 2010 Travel + Leisure issue, The Westin Resort & Casino Aruba was noted as one of the top 3 All-Inclusive packages that offer the most savings up to 34%
Richard Roy has been the General Manager at The Westin Aruba since November 2009, he was acting GM for a year prior to that, and has been at the hotel for a total of 3 years. He says this is a unique property with truly unique people, and that’s what makes the island and his resort special.
Before joining this 481-room Starwood Hotels & Resorts hotel, American Mr. Roy served as manager at The Westin La Cantera Resort in San Antonio, Texas, and director of operations at The Westin Buckhead Atlanta.
He began his career with Starwood as director of operations and director of food and beverage at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. Also in Nashville, Roy held positions with Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and spent over fifteen years with Gaylord Entertainment.
Richard Roy, 47, is a member of the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association (AHATA), is a Certified Food and Beverage Executive (CFBE) and a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America.
“The service culture here is complimented by soft-skills customer service training for all staff, including housekeeping as well as the front desk team,” says Richard. “A personalized experience for each guest is the goal of the hotel,” he continues, “I’m glad to lead such a strong team of capable people”.
What’s expat life like in Aruba?
I met my wife here, and I’m very happy. Key things are more expensive in Aruba than at home in the States, for example my home; electricity and water, however its good that just about everything is available in the local shops. I enjoy golf here, and local water sports like snorkelling, plus I’m learning more about scuba diving.
What other career other than yours would you choose?
I started my career as a chef, having chosen to study that as my father was a chef too, however I love what I do now and wouldn’t change a thing. Ever day is different with so many opportunities to meet guests from every state of the US and from around the world, including Hungary, although 75% of guests arrive from North America.
What's on the career horizon?
I hope to live in Aruba for many years to come, although the company usually likes to rotate management and so probably I’ll be here for another 3 to 4 years. The next position maybe back in the States, however it could be in the Caribbean again as I have experience here. It probably wont be in Central America as I speak basic Spanish, I do speak a little of the local Arubian language thanks to my wife and two step-children.
What job would you never wish to have?
What are the highlights of your career so far?
One to mention is that before joining the Starwood hotel group I worked at Gaylord Entertainment and I booked some Country and Western bands that went onto become superstars. I’m happy to have been a catalist in thier success, and we’re still friends today, for example with Keith Burns from Trick Pony.
Major life achievements so far?
My recent marriage to a local lady, she’s in HR at another hotel on the island. The marriage made me an instant dad, it’s a new dimention to my life which I really enjoy. We’re all very happy together.
Secret of your success?
Integrity, honestly, fairness to all. Being truthful and consistent in everything you do is the secret.
Well, my father gave me some good advice, saying something along the lines of, “love what you do or change your job, life’s too short not to enjoy every day at work”.
What can’t you resist?
A great meal, fine food with a good wine. I still like to cook, recently I prepared a Thanks Giving Dinner for 23 people in my home.
Culinary highlights at the Westin Aruba include the restaurant Bon Bini (Welcome in local language Papiamento) which serves up what has to be Aruba's finest breakfast buffet, including: made to order egg dishes, smoked salmon, freshly baked breads, fresh fruit, and hot favorites such as sausage, bacon, pancakes and french toast.
Another favourite of guests is the Pago Pago Steakhouse and Seafood Restaurant, famous for its 24-ounce rib-eye and 16-ounce sirloin steak. There are also plenty of other fine dining menu choices as Pago Pago redefines modern Caribbean cuisine, delivering innovative taste combinations that make this dining experience unlike any other on the island.
For more information or resort reservations visit WestinAruba.com