The Coolest Thing Aikens Has Ever Done
Apr. 01, 2016
“What’s the coolest thing you’ve done for a guest?” is a question we get from time to time. People notice how quick we are to fly in their favorite whiskey or prepare a surprise birthday celebration for someone in their group, so they start to wonder what else we’ve done to deliver the Aikens Experience.
Over the years, we’ve taken some drastic measures to delight our friends and guests. Julie applied to the province of Manitoba to get certified to officially administer a wedding at Big Molly’s Bar.
Another time, a dockhand dressed up in a bear costume, hid out by a shorelunch site and imitated a charging bear to prank one guest who obviously travels with practical jokers.
Another summer, the crew built a new shorelunch site and dedicated it to a dear friend of Aikens and the Turennes, Tom Greteman.
It’s impossible to say what the coolest thing is we’ve done for a guest, but the truth is we have fun with special requests and flat out love doing creative things to make someone’s trip.
“My favorite part of this whole thing is doing something special for a guest and seeing their reaction,” said Julie. “We’re able to plan anything if we know in advance. Whether it’s bringing in a certain type of drink or stocking up on someone’s favorite snack, it’s my pleasure to arrange that.”
Sometimes guests don’t want a thing, but it’s still nice to be asked––and to know that we’re genuinely willing to do whatever we can to enhance their Aikens Experience.
“All the people that work there are just 100 percent happy to help you,” said Joe Harrington, a repeat Aikens guest from Monticello, Arkansas. “If you ask for something special, they’ll fly it in for you. Julie asked me, ‘Is there anything special you’d like? I’ll get it for you.’ I said I was fine, and she said, ‘Well if you want any Cuban cigars, or special wine, we’ll get it for you.’”
Families with lots of kids have enjoyed massive scavenger hunts that Julie and the team put together, while other groups loved sand volleyball tournaments we setup on the beach or turned Big Molly’s Bar into the World Series of Poker, with Pit and Patrick as primarily players.
“If it’s a special birthday for someone, of course we’re doing to celebrate,” said Julie. “Or if it’s an anniversary trip, I’ll put rose petals on the bed and make chocolate-dipped strawberries and place a bottle of champagne in their room as a gift.”
One of the all-time classic moves Julie pulled off was orchestrating a private dinner on the beach as a complete surprise for a couple on their honeymoon.
“We laid out a bunch of candles along the beach leading to a table setup on a remote spot, with a campfire prepared and a blanket on the ground,” Julie said. “We put a note in their cabin that told them to go take a walk, and as they went down the beach they started seeing the candles. We came out to serve their food and then left them to enjoy their dinner and special evening all on their own.”
Planning surprises is a thrill for Julie, who loves traveling with Pit and their kids, and appreciates a well-planned vacation where everything goes off without a hitch.
“I enjoy experiencing new things. When I go on vacation with my family I try to make sure everything is just right, so at Aikens I work really hard to make sure our guests have the perfect experience they want.”
“I like it when people let me know that it’s someone’s birthday or they have a certain request for us to do something special for their upcoming trip,” Julie said. “Sometimes people are afraid they’re being difficult, but they’re not. I live and breathe this. I pride myself on doing those extra little things.”