The Unforgettable Faces Of Our Beach House
Introducing…Prisca Berkhout, F&B Supervisor
Prisca was bitten by the travel bug at a very young age. She was born in Holland to a family of globe-trotters – her mom is from Mauritius and her father, who works in the oil industry, spent the majority of his life navigating the high seas. It was only a matter of time before she would leave her native country to spread her wings and discover the world.
When Prisca decided to leave Holland at the age of 23, her first move was to another Dutch-speaking country, Curacao. She gravitated to the Caribbean lifestyle and wanted to start her journey in hospitality. Her adventures in Curacao included working in various beach restaurants, as a wedding planner and even a flight attendant for four years! The decade she spent there meant that she was exposed to other cultures and she can impressively speak seven different languages: English, Dutch, French, Spanish, Creole, Papiamento and German. Her Marriott story began about three years ago. Here we talk to Prisca about her love for Cayman and why she enjoys working at the Beach House.
A career in hospitality was always in the cards for Prisca. She was working in an office job in Holland in her 20s when she realized that she wanted to be part of an industry where she could engage with more people. She said: “Back in Holland I was working for a shipping company and I had more of a 9–5 schedule. But it wasn’t for me. I wanted to interact with more people and make them happy. As I had some experience in being a bartender it was easy for me to make the transition into hospitality once I landed in Curacao – that’s how my journey started. I love being able to leave an impression on people and make them feel as if they are in a home away from home. When you are at home you are surrounded by your friends and family. What I try to create is the feeling for guests that even if you are on holiday, you still have a friend. That is what the whole Beach House experience is about!”
She pursued a few different jobs before she landed at the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort. After being there for about 18 months she had the opportunity to move to Cayman. It wasn’t a difficult decision for her to go from one paradise island to another. When asked what attracted her to Cayman she said: “It was the hotel. One of my old managers worked at the Beach House and she told me all about it. She told me how friendly the people are and the international character of the place; so that inspired me. I love the Caribbean life. I adore the attitude around ‘Seizing the day!’ In Europe life feels arranged, planned out and so organized, which is good workwise. But in your private life it is so nice to be able to pick up the phone and make plans with friends for the same day. I love being able to be spontaneous. That is just the lifestyle here. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the Caribbean life just yet.”
Her experiences in Curacao left an indelible impression on Prisca and it just reinforced what she always knew – hospitality was for her. The Beach House was the perfect next step in her career. She added: “I knew for a fact that after working for Marriott in Curacao that I craved working with different people from various cultures. I also loved having the opportunity to meet guests from all around the world as well as work with a diverse team – it is so international. Through that I made friends in almost every continent! One of the major gifts of working in the hospitality business and in a hotel is to be able to make friends from all around the world and even the chance to meet and work with them at another hotel anywhere in the world!”
When asked what she loves about being part of the Beach House team, she points to how diverse and creative the working environment is. She elaborated: “The best thing here is the creativity in each and every one of us. Everyone is part of what we are doing here. If anyone has a creative idea, it bubbles into something really amazing and that is what I really like about being part of the team. The opportunities given to individuals who come here with a dream or with an idea of what they want to do or think that they can do. That is something I am looking forward to for myself. The possibilities are endless.”
So when Prisca is not mingling at our oceanfront Vista Bar or taking photos of guests during the sunset at Veranda, her free time is spent with friends and enjoying the natural beauty that Cayman has to offer. She revealed: “I love meeting up with friends and having a drink on the beach. Those moments are really special. I don’t do it very often since we live and work on the beach so therefore you get used to it. But when you do, it is very special. Those little moments – having a bonfire on the beach and sitting with friends watching the sunset – mean a lot. The sunset never gets old. It is like a painting; everyday is a different canvas of colors and I am blessed to witness it every day. I am one lucky girl.”
When asked what Prisca is looking forward to, she is optimistic about what the future holds and welcomes the next chapter in her career. She concluded: “The Beach House cultivates a very friendly, nurturing and supportive environment. This is what gives us a unique personality that no one else can replicate. It is all part of the journey. The little changes that they do – the décor and uniforms in Veranda for example. That is what makes it more vibrant. Change is always good. You need to be creative and fresh and welcome change. Because everyone changes – the world changes. Everyone’s expectations change. You need to be able to keep up with that. This is where I think we at the Beach House excel and what we are becoming known for.”