Caribbean Resort Chain Gets Greener

While Divi Resorts spent much of 2012 revamping guest rooms and constructing a grand lobby and welcome center at Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort in Aruba in time for the 2013 high season, the company was also greening up properties.

With 10 hotels across five islands in the Caribbean, Divi Resorts is always upgrading its resort collection, but “This year was the right time to invest in environmental improvements,” said EJ Schanfarber, president of Divi Resorts, in a written release.

“Not only is it the right thing to do,” Schanfarber added, “It will enhance the guest experience in a variety of ways.”

The company’s resorts include five on Aruba, making it the biggest brand presence on the island, two on Barbados, and one each on Bonaire, St. Croix and St. Maarten.

Schanfarber announced a sustainability path when he first arrived at Divi Resorts five years ago, but it proved a hard sell to employees. The ex-ski resort executive shelved his grand plan and took smaller steps toward sustainability, waiting for better timing to implement bolder changes.  

The environmental measures Divi Resorts put in place include the installation of 50,000 LED light bulbs at all five of its Aruba resorts; the addition of sensors and timers to all public area lights at the Aruba resorts, the addition of ultra-high efficiency toilets in all 280 guest rooms at Divi Phoenix Beach in Aruba; the installation of solar water heaters for both Aruba and St. Maarten properties; the addition of a desalination plant to supply water to Divi Little Bay Beach Resort in St. Maarten, the addition of a greenhouse at Divi Southwinds in Barbados and more.

New grooming machines were acquired and double shifts of beach cleaning was employed at Divi Little Bay on St. Maarten in order to retain the Blue Flag status of the resort’s beach, the first beach on the island to receive the global environmental recognition. Divi Little Bay’s beach is the only beach in the Netherland Antilles to ever be honored for its environmental stewardship.

In addition to equipment, Schanfarber also restructured employee training in order to engage resort staff in the sustainability effort to go well beyond recycling cans and bottles. Communication message points were written for employees to enlist hotel guests in preserving the fragile local environments.