Curaçao & Aruba Kudos

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Airlines

American Airlines / KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Laura has always received first-rate service when traveling with both these airlines to the United States, the Netherlands and other locations. She wishes to give special praise to the crews of the regular KLM flight between Curaçao and Amsterdam who have always gone out of their way to be helpful and who have all become big fans of Wagner. Their friendly and professional manner has made the long flight more comfortable for both Laura and Waggie. And special thanks to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines GM for the Caribbean Area and Suriname, Wim Iserief for his kind assistance and his community leadership.


      

Tiara Air / Insel Air

Laura 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'!

Banks

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.


Hotels

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

Located on Aruba's famous Palm Beach, guests at the Riu Palace were impressed by how well Wagner guided Laura around the hotel grounds, amenities and restaurants, and beach areas. In fact their stay at the hotel, arranged by Bon Dia Aruba GM Grace Mary Maduro was very timely, because Riu Palace GM Richard Velasco had just received a request for a visit by a Canadian family which included their son’s guide dog.

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.


Restaurants

Augusto's Restaurant

Located 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 plasma tv.

Avalon Restaurant

Another 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 Laura's favorites.

Blues Restaurant

Located on the water at the Avila Beach Hotel, with  a friendly staff that has always made Laura and Wagner feel welcome. The lobster is Laura's favourite, while Waggie's usually content with his bowl of water. However the reception wasn't quite as welcoming on another occasion in one of the hotel's other restaurants as an uninformed Manager kept insisting Wagner was not allowed in.

Fort Nassau / Brakkeput Mei Mei Restaurants

Both 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.

Fusions Restaurant

As with 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.

Goodfellas Restaurant

Aptly 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 good time.

Kunst Quartier Restaurant

One of 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

Not only 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

A 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

A new 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.


Retail Stores

Albert Heijn Supermarket

A 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.

Broek Shoes

One of Laura's favorite places to find footwear and the staff is always very pleasant and helpful.

Cost You Less / Goisco

In each 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 weren't allowed.

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

Although 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 . . .