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Old Sunday, August 2nd, 2009, 08:16 PM
Pappy Mentos Pappy Mentos is offline
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Default Construction update

Arrived on Saturday, August 1, at the Beach Villas. Construction is still ongoing in Building D (the tower closest to the beach), but it looks like the other three are open. The word is that Building D is to be open by September, but that doesn't look realistic. One problem right now is that the only two elevators are in building A-anyone staying in buildings B and C must use those elevators and walk across to their building. Jacuzzi is still not in operation. Its filled and running, but the tile work around the outside is not complete. For those that complained about the lack of shade at the new pool, they have dug holes for at least ten palapas in the pool deck area. Right now the holes are covered by lounge chairs tied together with caution tape. I hope to post pictures later.

Sorry to report that there is still only one elevator in operation at the old tower. There is a crane on top of the building which I guess is for the sliding door replacement. Saw no activity in that building yesterday or today even though workers were in Bldg. D and at the site of the new lobby.

The new lobby is being built at the base of the old tower facing the road. Word is it will also include the first floor of the old tower and the back three floors of the tower will be re-faced with giant windows from the ground up to the third floor. Not sure what other projects are in mind, but hope to find out more tomorrow.
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Old Monday, August 3rd, 2009, 06:30 AM
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Default Re: Construction update

Thanks for the update! Is the beach crowded or are people hanging at the new pool?
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Old Monday, August 3rd, 2009, 07:19 AM
dancemom47 dancemom47 is offline
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Question Re: Construction update

We are staying there in November. What are the chances of everything being done by then? I at least hope we can get to the pool and jacuzzi!
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Old Monday, August 3rd, 2009, 09:02 PM
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Default Re: Construction update

Looks like we'll be there at the same time Dancemom. I'm also hoping the elevators are all squared away by then.
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Old Tuesday, August 4th, 2009, 07:27 AM
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Default Re: Construction update

On Monday there were two workers installing the tile/slate around the jacuzzi deck and two others working on curbing around its perimeter. They only finished about 1/3 by the end of the day, but I think its possible it will be complete by November.

As for the old tower, what I thought was a crane was simply a pully system. Its ridiculous to watch workers lift the heavy door frames up the outside of the building especially as it sways in the wind. Right now, it looks as if they are repairing the doors on all units closest to the new beach villas. Its slow going as most of the crew seems to be working on the lobby and the last new building. Didn't see anyone working on the elevators.

The pool was packed on Sunday, but it was probably due to the strong winds on the beach that were kicking up a lot of sand. On Monday, there were only about half as many there, and finding a lounge was not a problem at the beach or pool. The poles are in for three of the palapas at the pool. As for the beach, the water in front of the new towers actually looked clearer than the water in front of the old section. Most still swim in front of the old section, but I have seen quite a few in the new area.
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Old Tuesday, August 4th, 2009, 09:16 AM
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Default Re: Construction update

Thanks so much for the great information - we are arriving on September 26th and can't wait!!

Have you been to Pure Beach yet? If so, what did you think - pricy?? I read somewhere that they have entertainment at night?
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Old Tuesday, August 4th, 2009, 10:39 AM
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I Love Aruba Re: Construction update

Is there still a lot of sea weed and debris washing ashore in the new beach area?

Have they put any chairs on the beach in front of the new villas? When I was there in May, there were lots of palapas and no chairs...
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Old Tuesday, August 4th, 2009, 08:32 PM
Pappy Mentos Pappy Mentos is offline
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Default Re: Construction update

Haven't been to Pure Beach yet, alhough it does seem to be doing a good business. Its open for lunch and dinner. The swim up bar gets a little busy at happy hour, which starts at 4 p.m. on all days but Sunday when it starts at three. During happy hour, usually all seats are taken.The pool is beautiful at night, as they added colored underwater lights that change color from blue to purple, red, green and orange. The water really reflects the color as it gets darker outside, making for a great scene from your room's balcony. By the way, the first beach "hut" went up today by the kiddie pool. Its not as wide as a beach palapa, but should provide some shade. They have poles in for 10 huts at present.

The beach has very little seaweed,although there is some in the water. As I mentioned in a prior post, they dredged the area to the right of the jetty and towel hut to remove rocks and seaweed, and it is now clearer than the area between the stone jetties, with only small areas of seaweed from the shore to the end of the jetty. The water between the jetties is cloudy, and seaweed fills the water at about the halfway point. Divi continues to promise that they will bring in more sand to enlarge the beach, but due to the currents, the seaweed will return.

We hope to speak to the manager later in the week for more updates.
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Old Tuesday, August 4th, 2009, 10:40 PM
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I Love Aruba Re: Construction update

These updates are so great! Thanks so much from all of us.

I guess the big question for those of us who have rooms in the tower who are arriving in the next few months is when do they predict the sliding glass door replacements will be done in the tower? When they updated the bathrooms, they were pretty accurate about the scheduled maintenance.

Also if people are displaced because of the construction work, do you know where they offered to put them? I know it's space available, but could it be the new section or the Golf Links? I know that is what Divi offered the owners whose rooms weren't ready yet in the new villas. Divi is very accommodating when they put you out of your room. Maybe you will meet some people who couldn't get into their room because of construction, and they will share with you what they know.

I hope you are having a terrific vacation! Thanks again for answering our questions.
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Old Wednesday, August 5th, 2009, 11:41 AM
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One Happy Island Re: Construction update

I emailed Doug Khun yesterday about a room question and he happened to tell me that my room (Unit 1304) had new sliding doors and a new bed. Not sure if this means the entire 13th floor is done or not.

And I second the thanks for all the helpful information. We will be there from September 26 to October 10th and I will try to drag myself off the beach to send a few updates as well.

Can't wait!!!
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Old Wednesday, August 5th, 2009, 11:52 AM
PhoenixGirl PhoenixGirl is offline
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I Love Aruba Re: Construction update

Can you share Doug's email with us? That sounds like a good email address to have.

I know Doug is always on top of all things relating to construction and he is the best person to get accurate answers from.
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Old Wednesday, August 5th, 2009, 07:28 PM
Pappy Mentos Pappy Mentos is offline
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Default Re: Construction update

Doug Kuhn's e-mail address is doug.kuhn@diviresorts.com. The poor guy must spend his entire day responding to complaints, especially with regard to the Beach Villas. Contrary to my earlier post, not all of towers A, B and C are complete. The outside of the building is finished, but there appear to be units that are still only at the stage of being sheetrocked. My best estimate is that 50 units total in A,B and C are occupied this week, although management will claim they are fully booked. Many of the occupants appear to be RCI transfers, not owners. They are still pushing sales very hard, as you may even see someone handing out Divi bags and brochures in the long hallway between the arrival gate and customs. The sales office is in the window-enclosed floor at the pool over the Pure Beach restaurant. Word is it will be converted to an upscale restaurant like Windows on Aruba when sales are complete.

I strongly urge Beach Villa owners to voice complaints to management about any problems they encounter during their stay. Management is very aware that all of the towers are a work-in-progress and there are little details that need to be fixed. For example, as we thought about purchasing another unit, we looked at some that were available and noticed lighted vanity mirrors in the bathrooms that are not in our unit. We voiced a complaint and were told they would be installed.

I also spoke too soon about the beach in front of the new villas. There was a small accumulation of seaweed on the beach this morning and more areas of seaweed in the water. Its still better than before, but it apears that nature may return it to its prior state unless Divi takes more corrective action. The ten or so palapas they set up in that area are being used, as lounge chairs are stacked nearby for guest use.

Work on the pool huts continues. as I mentioned before, they are being set uo around the kiddie pool and there are a few other to be set up at the pool edge near the new villas. It looks like 12-13 in all are being installed. Unfortunately, the kiddie pool is still not right and will be re-done for the third time. Thee is ine section that is completely dry as it was poured incorrectly and the fountains do not shoot up as high as they should. as I said, its a work-in-progress.

As for the old tower, they are not working floor-by-floor, but rather column by column. Every room in the first column that is on the side by the Beach Villas is being worked on right now. As it appears that the new sliding doors are white, it loks like that is the first column being repaired on that side. The other side of the tower looks like its complete. I was told that when the new lobby is complete, they will also be constructing an internet cafe, espresso bar,as well as showers/lockers in the back of the old tower. Also, the towel hut will be removed to create more beach space and will be re-located closer to Pure Beach.

Last, Pure Beach is a hit. The menu is definitely upscale, and it is a little pricey, but worth it. I had the crab cake sandwich with a sauce made out of sun-dried tomatoes and rosemary for $12.95. Others in our party had the Caesar salad, the blackened Mahi-Mahi sandwich and the Garlic shrimp quesdillas. All were hits. Drinks are $7.50-$9.00, and they have quite a selection.
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Old Wednesday, August 5th, 2009, 08:19 PM
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Default Re: Construction update

Thanks Pappy! I just love your updates. The more I read, the more anxious I am to get there. November is still so far away................
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Old Thursday, August 6th, 2009, 02:09 PM
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I Love Aruba Re: Construction update

Pappy, you are the best! Thanks for taking some of your vacation time to tell us what's going on. Construction progress may be slow, but at least there is movement forward with the spa, the kiddie pool, the new lobby, the palapas around the pool! We are thrilled that the Phoenix is improving the resort as much as they are plus new beds and sliding glass doors in the tower and elevators that are being upgraded!

In May I remember that the Pure Beach menu was very "fishy" (meaning lots of crab, sushi, mahi mahi, shrimp, tuna, grouper, lobster, salmon) for a beach bar. Since I don't eat any of those things, I was kind of limited as to what I could eat, but there were a few chicken items too. I hope the menu opens up in the future, but I'm so happy there's another restaurant choice at the Phoenix!

Also great to hear that there are some palapas being put up for those who want/need shade. We are both sun worshippers, but there are so many people who need shade and I am happy for them. There were a lot of unhappy people there in May, and now they can use the pool too. Moving the towel hut will open up the view from Pure Beach too so that guests can have an unobstructive view of that gorgeous water.

My greatest delight was that they are planning to have an internet room (maybe like the Tam has?). That telephone booth with one very slow computer was pretty bad.

The overall plan sounds fantastic! October cannot come soon enough.
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Old Saturday, August 8th, 2009, 09:13 PM
Pappy Mentos Pappy Mentos is offline
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Default Re: Construction update

Just a few more updates. There is a plan to install BBQ grills at the Beach Villas. Not sure where they will be installed. All 12 huts are now up around the new pool. Sadly, the pool bar has been closed since Wednesday evening. Talk about a fiasco-Maintenance told us that there was broken glass on the bottom of the pool, so they needed to drain it to remove all of the glass. When they re-filled it, broken glass came out of the pool filter, shooting it back into the water, forcing them to drain the water a second time. Then, when they went to fill it again, they used a fire hose and polluted the water with what appeared to be algae or some other dark green substance, which quickly tuned the entire pool green. It has returned to a normal color, but the section by the bar is still closed as they continue to test and filter the water.

The jacuzzi tile/stone decking is done and they are filling the ground area around it with dirt, presumably before they put in some plantings. Hopefully it will be done by the end of the month. Looks like they are pouring the foundation for the tennis courts next to the old parking lot, and they have finished a building in the new lot that will supposedly house the sales office one they move from the building above Pure Beach. We were told that Doug Kuhn wants to turn the building that was the original sales office/model unit into a kids club/activity center.

Pure Beach happy hour is not 2 for 1, but drinks are $4.50 instead of the usual $7.50 during happy hour. They have quite a list of drinks to try. Our favorite is the Pata Pata, which is a Pina Colada mixed with amaretto and rasberry.

One more week to go-still hoping to get the pictures posted before we leave Aruba next saturday. As the connection at the Phoenix is very slow, it is taking forever. Hopefully they will improve the internet service when the internet cafe is up and running. Sadly, the signal from the Westin is actually stronger, but you can only sign on with a room number as its free for their guests, compared to $50 per week through Divi.
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Old Sunday, August 9th, 2009, 08:37 AM
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Default Re: Construction update

It sounds like they were using glass at the pool bar? Please tell me I'm wrong and that the problem was not a result of that kind of stupidity.
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Old Sunday, August 9th, 2009, 09:05 AM
dancemom47 dancemom47 is offline
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Default Re: Construction update

I hope they figure out that glassware and pools do not mix Lol! Sounds like they are making a lot of progress on the contruction side tho. Hope most of it is done by the time we get there.
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Old Sunday, August 9th, 2009, 11:41 AM
Pappy Mentos Pappy Mentos is offline
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Default Re: Construction update

I think the glass may have been from a decorative vase that was filled with shells/coral on the shelf at the end of the bar. Drinks are served in plastic cups on the pool side. Pool is still closed today-not that it matters as its a monsoon outside this morning.
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Old Sunday, August 9th, 2009, 11:47 AM
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Default Re: Construction update

Glad to hear they're not serving in glass. Sorry to hear they would use glass for anything in the pool area............... Not a very intelligent move on their part!

I hope the weather improves for you Pappy.................
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Old Sunday, August 9th, 2009, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: Construction update

The monsoon passed very quickly-about 20-30 minutes of pouring, wind-driven rain and thunder. As we planned to do sightseeing today, it didn't affect our plans much as we simply used the time for an early lunch. If this weather pattern holds up, expect some rain when you arrive. Over the last two plus weeks, we've seen two downpours and many days where a passing cloud delivers several minutes of rain.

One sad note to pass along is the lack of iguanas in the area between he units and the Sunset Bistro. Last year, there were quite a few, including some very large ones that ate french fries left behind by Bistro customers. We were told that measures were taken to rid them from the property -didn't press for details.
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Old Sunday, August 9th, 2009, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: Construction update

So glad the weather cleared for you. We're there in November which is rainy season, so we've come to expect it. I've learned my way around the island pretty well just trying to circumvent the flooded roads.......... No matter, rain or shine, it's Aruba & vacation. It doesn't get better than that!

I'm glad to hear the iguanas are gone. I thought they were too big and aggressive and frankly, they scared me. I avoided that area between the villas and Sunset Bistro like the plague! From the beach I always walked around front to go to the French Market! Not the shortest route I could take, but I didn't have to pass the iguanas..........
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Old Monday, August 10th, 2009, 11:13 AM
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I Love Aruba Re: Construction update

Someone on the staff told us that they removed the biggest iguanas that scared people and left their messes all around the pool.

We still saw some tiny ones around the pool which seemed to delight the small children. I didn't see as many in May by the wood deck where they hide underneath the wood during the hottest part of the day.

Last edited by PhoenixGirl; Monday, August 10th, 2009 at 11:22 AM.
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Old Monday, August 10th, 2009, 11:18 AM
PhoenixGirl PhoenixGirl is offline
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I Love Aruba Re: Construction update

Concerning the accident that caused the pool to close where glass got in the pool...I'm guessing they relocated all the beautiful pottery that decorated Pure Beach restaurant that was anywhere near the pool water. It never occured to me that it was a dangerous situation where they might topple over unless someone very rowdy crashed into one of the pieces.

Was it just the section of the pool around the swim up bar that was closed? If I remember that area was separate from the rest of the pool.
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Old Tuesday, August 11th, 2009, 06:28 AM
Pappy Mentos Pappy Mentos is offline
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Default Re: Construction update

The only section of the pool that was closed was the section that included the swim up bar, as it is separate from the rest of the free-form pool and the kiddie pool. The staff stacked the longe chairs around the perimeter and surrounded it with caution tape during the days that they cleaned and re-filled the pool. As I mentioned before, it was a comedy of errors that kept it closed Wednesday to Sunday, but we are most concerned by the "green cloud" that came from the fire hose the last time they filled the pool. They likely used the fire hose to fill the pool faster as there was a wedding at Pure Beach on Friday night. I'm guessing hose hoses are not connected to the samewater supply as the drinking water. Whether he water contained bacteria is a big question for us, so we hav avoided the swim up bar. Pool test kits only show chlorine and PH levels, not the presence of bacteria levels. They kept filtering and vacuuming the pool since Friday to get the color back to normal. Luckily, the wedding was at night so many of the wedding guests may not have noticed the dark geen water in that section of the pool.

When you arrive, you will likely see hanging in the tower the drawing of the construction plan. It clearly has changed, as the tennis courts were originally to be next to the new parking lot. The plan calls for the manager's office to be located next to the new lobby, and a second store to replace the member's office that is now on the first floor of the tower. The plan calls for grills on the balcony of Pure Beach, but I'm not sure if they are the ones they are supposed to install for guest use. There is no indication how the building that currently houses the lobby is to be used.

Right now, Divi is running many promotions for their new projects. Make sure to pick up your free mesh bag at the airport corridor between the gate and customs. They are also handing out a flyer which includes a coupon for two free bottles of beer on wednesday nights at Pure Beach. On Mondays, they have free Mimosas at the old pool at 11:30 am during a member orientation and at 5:00 a members' party outside Pure Beach with free drinks, finger foods, a raffle and games. You will see sales peole giving tours constantly, but I'm not sure if units are selling at this time due to the economy.
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Old Saturday, August 15th, 2009, 09:37 AM
Pappy Mentos Pappy Mentos is offline
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Default Re: Construction update

Last update from Aruba-

They opened the jacuzzi yesterday afternoon, after they completed the landscaping around it in the morning.

Work on the old tower continues-they are still working on the column of rooms nearest the new beach villas. Since they had the old sliding doors removed when we arrived,and are still painting the balconies two weeks later(the exterior balcony area will now be white with white railings), I would guess that it will be several months before they finish this project. As I mentioned, if your room is on that side of the tower, you may be relocated to another room. I don't think they are relocating guests into the new villas, as many of those rooms are not finished and many guests in the villas are being moved due to problems(waste backup into the shower, dripping air vents, etc.) Didn't see any work on the elevators during the entire two weeks.

Construction of the new lobby is proceeding slowly. They are still in the framng stage. Lookslike the interior of the last tower is sheetrocked only, and the parking lot directly behind that tower is still unfinished. My best guess would be for construction to be comlete by Spring 2010.

Beach is still the same. The area in font of the old buildings is still murky, but swimmable. The other area has clearer water, but more and more seaweed is returning and washing up on shore. I will be glad if and when they expand the beach like they have promised.
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