Cuba Café’s open deck restaurant area.
ST. EUSTATIUS--St. Eustatius has a new bar, lounge and eatery: Cuba Café at Knippenga Estate. Situated right above the Whale Tails restaurant, the café opened its stairway Saturday, March 6, for a sneak preview.
A luxury swimming pool, sundeck lounge and Hispanic-styled bar offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and a real opportunity – the last few weeks – to glimpse basking whales.
Architect and owner Rob Proper (left) with Cuba Café manager Louise Boekestijn.
Rob Proper is the architect of this concept and the building. Owner of the Old Gin House Hotel in Lower Town Oranjestad and co-owner of Holland House Beach Hotel in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, Proper first studied architecture in Delft, then put his principles to practice in consultancy for some 40 years.
“Cuba is a vibrant mix of Spanish and Caribbean culture and we have tried to reflect that passion in the design layout of the Cuba Café. Picturesque arches, flagstone steps and discrete multi-level floors create mystique. Cuban-inspired art and motifs are designed to enhance that feeling. ‘Zorro’ and romance could be waiting around every corner,” Proper said.
“We are starting to open on the first Friday of the month while we complete the interior, finish the pool – waterfall and all – and two padel [a combination of tennis and squash – Ed.] courts. We shall then extend opening hours to include all weekends, Friday through to Sunday.”
Manager Louise Boekestijn is convinced that many Statians will enjoy spending a relaxing weekend by the pool. “Our fine-dining chef from Whale Tails, Rene Colla, has created a wide range of tapas and we have an inviting cocktail menu. Lighter cuisine means lighter prices and we use locally-grown produce and fruit from Made in Statia.”
Proper is certain that the launch of such a venture will prove successful in the time of COVID-19. “The entire Knippenga staff is being vaccinated and the COVID curse will be lifted very quickly. We really need to get ready for more joyful and hopeful times to come. St. Eustatius is a quality island for Statians and for visitors. It has unique nature and fascinating heritage and monuments to discover and explore. It now has an elegant Cuba Café. Roads may be bumpy, but our future is definitely not.”