Curaçao & Aruba Kudos
American Airlines / KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Tiara Air / Insel AirLaura and Wagner opened new eyes to how well behaved guide and assistance dogs can be, even in the tightest of spaces. On their recent mission to 'Open Eyes and Open Doors' in Aruba, they traveled on small planes on each of these regional airlines, and Wagner won over new converts who were, at first, skeptical.
Thanks to both airlines for 'opening their doors'!
Banco di Caribe / Maduro & Curiels Bank / RBTT Bank
From the very beginning, the Banco di Caribe main branch on the island of Curaçao was very welcoming to Laura and Wagner. While their presence prompted many wide-eyed stares from customers, the staff was always very cordial, and Laura wishes to give special thanks and acknowledgment to Daniella Winklar for her consistent professionalism and kind assistance, as well as her ever-present sunny personality. It's always service with a smile from Daniella and she's one of Waggie's favourite people too.
Originally, the same couldn't be said for Maduro & Curiels Bank and RBTT Bank. On her first visit to the MCB branch in Salinja, Laura found herself stuck between the double set of doors with Wagner while the security people were banging on the glass and shouting at her to get out. Laura, being Laura, wouldn't take no for an answer and pressed on with the help of friend Karen Henken, and eventually everything was worked out.
It was a similar start at RBTT Bank, but now they and MCB have come a long way in accommodating Laura & Wagner, and the service is also with a smile. They are both good examples of what can be achieved when you persevere and raise awareness, and if you're lucky, the enlightenment spreads.
Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort And Emerald Casino
A favorite of frequent travelers to Curaçao with it's distinctive Dutch Colonial architecture above the main open-air lobby, the Curaçao Marriott Beach resort has also championed the cause of The Laura And Wagner Foundation.
General Manager John Totti has been very pro-active in enabling access for disabled travelers and educating his staff about their special needs, especially if they are traveling with guide or assistance dogs. Now instead of wide eyed stares, Laura And Wagner are greeted with friendly smiles anytime they visit the hotel's outdoor or indoor lounges for the best frozen mojitos on the island.
Plaza Hotel Curaçao
Previously known for its landmark parrot on the roof, and currently for the live parrots on its mezzanine floor, the Plaza Hotel Curaçao is positioning itself as the leading accommodation for the budget-minded business traveller. Special kudos to General Manager Lou Roelofsen for his corporate leadership in making his staff aware of the need for guide and assistance dog access for local and international guests.
And thanks also to Lou and his staff for making Laura and Wagner feel welcome and for his kind hospitality.
Riu Palace Hotel, Aruba
The hotel’s reservations desk had initially refused the request, but Mr.Velasco was able to rectify the matter after learning more about guide dogs from LauraAndWagner.com. He and co-GM Lelianne Bakens and their staff went out of their way to ensure Laura and Wagner’s stay was a memorable one, and were quick to take action when a security guard and a member of the housekeeping staff had challenged Wagner’s right to be on the property.
at the Seaquarium beach, proprietor/chef Augusto Moro is the consummate
host and makes everyone, including Laura and Wagner, feel very
comfortable. The food is great, the view is one of the best on the
island at any time of day or night, and it's also a great place to
catch up on the latest international soccer action via the satellite
vanguard establishment in making Laura and Wagner feel comfortable.
What most people don't realize is that guide dogs are specially trained
not to cause any kind of a mess, or be aggressive or bite anyone, and
usually lie under the table or beside the chair of their owner so as
not to disturb fellow diners. The staff of Avalon have always been
welcoming and friendly, and the shrimp bisque has always been one of
Fort Nassau / Brakkeput Mei Mei Restaurants
nestled in scenic locations, Tony Halabi's staff have always been very
courteous and welcoming, and her children Michael and Gabrielle had a
great time at the Fort.
many locations where Laura and Wagner have visited more than once and
were made welcome, it's not always consistent, depending on which staff
are on duty. But once the usual explanations are made about Wagner
being a service animal and not a pet, then it's on to an enjoyable meal.
named, it's one of the friendliest places on the island on
WIlhelminaplein as Taco and his staff always go out of their way to
make sure Laura and Wagner and their friends have a good meal, and a
Kunst Quartier Restaurant
Laura's favourites with a great consistent menu, and an always genial
welcome from Tom, Mark and the rest of the crew. One of the most unique
and comfortable ambiences on the island, it always feels like you're
visiting the home of a friend.
Kura Hulanda Restaurants
is Jacob Gelt Dekker's Kura Hulanda resort complex always a pleasure to
stroll through, all of its restaurants and cafes have always welcomed
Laura and Wagner. It helps, probably, that they are all outdoor
restaurants. And while the staff can sometimes be a bit jittery around
Wagner, they're soon put at ease and help to make it a pleasant visit.
Landhuis Daniel Restaurant
favourite stop on the way to Westpunt or Casa Abou, especially for the
onion soup, and the always smiling reception from the staff. Very
dog-friendly, as they usually have one or two on the property.
Le Petit Gourmet Restaurant
find in Gomezplein with wonderful woodwork throughout, and a delicious
menu. At first the hostess said Wagner wasn't allowed in because they
have an open kitchen, but after her husband and co-operator recognized
that Wagner was a guide dog and explained the situation to her, an
enjoyable meal was had.
Albert Heijn Supermarket
relatively recent arrival from the Netherlands, the manager of the
store was immediately very pro-active in ensuring that Laura and Wagner
were always welcome. Laura usually fits Wagner with a gentle leader,
which is small muzzle strap that helps him resist any temptation from
open food that might be around. Laura always encounters the usual
wide-eyed stares from people who've never seen a dog in a supermarket
before, let alone a guide dog. But it's becoming less and less as
people become more accustomed to the sight. Plus Wagner's always a
great ambassador for guide dogs, and children always want to come over
and pat him, which isn't really allowed when he's "working" and wearing
his harness, but it's an island and rules can be somewhat relaxed here
in the interest of good public relations.
One of Laura's favorite places to find footwear and the staff is always very pleasant and helpful.
Cost You Less / Goisco
case, the first path of resistance was encountered from security guards
who presumed to know the store policy. In each case, after checking
with management, the way was cleared for Laura to enter with Wagner and
go about her shopping like any other customer. But the reception is not
always consistent. The last time they tried to enter Cost You Less, a
security guard again told them to wait, then the day manager said dogs
When Laura mentioned she had shopped in the store many times before with Wagner, the manager persisted in saying he wasn't allowed because of the health law and their concern about germs. When Laura inquired about the specifics of the law and the germs involved, she didn't get and answer. But after requesting that the manager call the owner, things turned around and Laura and Wagner were allowed in, albeit begrudgingly by this day manager who wasn't happy that her "authority" had been overruled. That's how it is on this island . . . many prideful people who don't like being challenged or told they are wrong.
La Curacao - Otrabanda
the staff was whispering amongst themselves, Laura and Wagner were able
to browse through the store unchallenged, and were told they were
welcome to return anytime as they left.
More listings to come . . .