Having never been out of the country before in my life (unless you count walking over the Mexican border into Tijuana for the day when I was in high school), it still seems surreal that I’ve experienced TWO international trips within the past month. My passport is getting a workout! This post is intended to be a thorough Beaches Turks & Caicos Review. I’m going to try to touch on the accommodations, the food, the activities, as well as the work The Sandals Foundation is doing. So grab a cup of coffee. It’s a long one!
I’ve always heard amazing things about Turks & Caicos and Beaches resorts in general, so I jumped at the chance to go when I was invited to speak at the Social Media On The Sand Conference last week. Not only was I invited to attend, but my family was invited to accompany me to Beaches Turks & Caicos. Unfortunately because of the age of my kids, I wasn’t comfortable taking them out of school, but my mom generously agreed to come stay with them so Paul and I could go together. I’m used to attending these trips alone so I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share this experience with him. (And no, we did NOT try to coordinate the color of his shirt with the water!)
Beaches Resorts are geared to families with small children and multi-generational vacations so we definitely missed our kids, but I’m a huge proponent of nurturing the marriage relationship, and getting away by ourselves was just what the doctor ordered. We had been going in different directions for months so having this time together was a much needed reprieve.
This was my second experience with an all-inclusive (my first was just last month at The Westin Playa Conchal in Costa Rica) so I found myself comparing the two the entire time I was there.
First of all, a little geography lesson.
Turks & Caicos is a string of islands in the Caribbean, located just south of the Bahamas and a short plane ride from Miami.
We flew into Providenciales, and the Beaches resort is conveniently located only about 20 minutes from the airport. There is shuttle service from the airport, and the ride is pleasant. I was actually surprised how civilized and built up the surrounding area was; compared to our shuttle ride from the airport to our resort in Costa Rica, it seemed quite modern.
Beaches Turks & Caicos Review: The Accommodations
The accommodations are utterly luxurious. The moment we arrived on property, I felt like I was living in a movie. The attentive staff immediately whisked away our bags (after we had confirmed which ones were ours) and brought them to our room while we checked in. They were waiting for us when we arrived less than 15 minutes later. We were assigned a concierge who was basically at our beck and call the entire time we were there.
There are four villages on property, and we were assigned to a suite in the Italian Village.
The Italian Village is pretty much in the middle of the resort and houses the largest and most extravagant pool. The buildings and grounds are meticulously kept, and the attention to detail is remarkable. I’m fairly persnickety when it comes to cleanliness in hotel accommodations, and Beaches definitely passed the test both in our rooms as well as at the pool, in the restaurants, bathrooms, everywhere.
When we arrived at our suite the first night, our bed was turned back and bedazzled with towel art along a gift from the conference sponsors. There is turn-down service every night. We immediately noticed the furniture. They don’t mess around. It was gorgeous. I felt like I was coming home, except my furniture at home is no where near this extravagant.
(And those are real flower petals. It’s the little things, ya know??)
There are many different types of accommodations to suit any type of family or group traveling together. There is truly something for everyone. For some reason, I failed to get a picture of the second bedroom in our suite, but there was a bunk-bed with a pull-out trundle that can easily sleep three children. This is HUGE news for this family of five. It is RARE to find a room that sleeps more than four, so we usually have to pay a premium for a suite or stuff a cot in whatever available space we can find. Their room also contained an X-Box. I couldn’t help but think it such a waste that our kids weren’t with us. Then I remembered the cost of plane fare, and I decided we’d made the right choice after all!
We heard from the CEO of Sandals/Beaches resorts during our conference, and he takes great pride in their elite 5-star service. The staff definitely goes above and beyond to make you feel completely and utterly spoiled. But it’s not just that. They seem genuinely happy to be there, and that’s hard to find these days.
Dining at Beaches Turks & Caicos
After the presentation from the CEO on our first day at the resort, I had high expectations for the food. There are 19 restaurants at Beaches Turks & Caicos. Unfortunately, we were underwhelmed by the flavor and diversity. I realize that most of the food has to be flown in and it is expensive, but for a 5-star resort, I was expecting more.
That said, these are my recommendations based on our experience.
If you want a swanky adults-only meal, try Le Petit Chateau, a restaurant serving French cuisine. It was definitely the best meal we had there.
The breakfast buffet at Marios, the Italian restaurant, was quite extensive. The first day we were there, they had Cajun Fish . . . yes, for breakfast! You know me, I like my meat and veggies for breakfast so I was thrilled. It was quite tasty too. I cannot, however, recommend Mario’s for dinner. That was our most disappointing meal.
We ate at Schooners for lunch on the first day as part of our conference. They put out a buffet for us, and the fish was pretty good. Plus if you eat outside on their covered porch, you have a lovely view of the water. I wanted to eat there for dinner towards the end of our trip, but it was closed for renovations. We were also hoping to eat at Sky Lounge, but they were also closed for renovations while we were there. I guess that’s part of traveling in the off-season. However, the resort was not crowded at all, which was awesome. I would travel in the off-season again, for that convenience alone.
For a super fun dining experience, definitely make a reservation at Kimonos, the Japanese restaurant on property. They put on quite a show, and the food was fairly tasty. This is definitely a great place to take kids. I also hear good things about the sushi at Soy.
I enjoyed eating at Barefoot By The Sea for breakfast, where you eat on the sand with a view of the beach. Paul ordered pancakes, which looked like they came out of a freezer bag so I’m not sure what is up with that. But I got steak and fried eggs, which was pretty good. I also had two mimosas so I’m not sure my judgement was 100%. Ha! But truly, that was my favorite breakfast of the trip. I wish I hadn’t waited until the last day to try it.
Got Dietary Restrictions?
If you have dietary restrictions, they can accommodate you. There is a Culinary Concierge, which allows you to request special meals that suit your needs, but this does not mean they have gluten-free foods readily available at every restaurant. You have to pre-order them, which requires advance planning. Thankfully, I’m not so sensitive as to need that, but if you are Celiac and want options such as gluten-free pizza or pancakes or burger buns, that is the procedure. It’s available, but it’s not as easy as just ordering it whenever the mood strikes.
Drinks at Beaches Turks & Caicos
The drinks definitely deserve their own section. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. The house wine is pretty flat. I tired of it quickly, but I appreciated having the option to upgrade for an extra fee. As for the beer, my husband is a guy who values his craft ales, and he was also a bit disappointed with the options.
The cocktails, on the other hand, were very good. They were generous with the alcohol, and they do have some high end brands of liquor if you know what to ask for. Not only are the cocktails delicious, but they come with a side of entertainment. The bartenders at the swim-up bar put on quite a show, and that definitely added to the experience. They are also great with kids. You don’t even have to know what you want to drink; you can tell them what you have in mind, and they’ll whip something up for you.
Another high point was the coffee. The coffee was also consistently excellent throughout the property. My only issue was that they served it with whole milk, and when I asked if they had cream, they brought me Coffeemate.
I loved the help-yourself coffee/latte/espresso maker in the lobby of the Italian Village, and I took full advantage of that. Often.
Beaches Turks & Caicos: Things To Do
There are a ton of things to do if you’re the active type. Unfortunately for me, I was afraid that my mal de barquement syndrome would act up again so I was wary of doing much boating. I did decide to throw caution to the wind and go sailing, and I’m SO glad we did. That was an AMAZING experience. Utterly surreal.
Other activities include:
- Scuba Diving
- Paddle Boarding
- Wake Boarding
- Wind Surfing
And you can take lessons for all of the above at no additional fee.
There are also excursions available if you want to pay extra.
Or you could just sit around and enjoy the stunning view, which is pretty much what we did during most of our free time.
My husband and I each splurged on a 90-minute massage at the Red Lane Spa. This is also an additional charge above the all-inclusive pricing, but if the spa is your thing, they do a fantastic job. The spa itself was serene, and like everything else on the property, pristine and immaculately clean. The staff was highly skilled and very accommodating. My only regret is that I didn’t splurge for a facial too!
Traveling with Kids at Beaches Resorts
Beaches properties are designed for kids and families, and there is no shortage of things to do. PLUS Beaches is one of the only resorts to offer certified nannies for infants, which is something to keep in mind if you’re traveling with babies.
There’s also a staffed Kids Club where the children will be kept occupied if the adults want some time alone. Sesame Street characters wander the property, which always creates quite a commotion . . . in a good way. Then there is a water park, a game room, and a “night club” for tweens.
There are always activities scheduled in the evenings with entertainment . . . some for kids/families and some for adults. They definitely keep you busy if you like to be busy.
My Thoughts On the All-Inclusive
When we were in Costa Rica, we spent two nights eating at the all-inclusive resort where we stayed and two nights eating off property. It was part of the programming for the retreat, so we didn’t pay extra to eat elsewhere. Looking back on that trip, while I enjoyed our resort immensely, it was getting off property and seeing the surrounding area that clinched the experience for me.
At Beaches, we felt rather trapped. I know that sounds insane in such a gorgeous place, but we are people who like to see and do things. I couldn’t help but feel that while the views were spectacular and the accommodations were exquisite and the service was impeccable, I was yearning to see what Turks & Caicos is like outside the “walls” of the resort.
While we could have left the property, taxis are expensive, and we would have had to pay for our own food, when eating on property was already paid for. Even though the cost of our stay at Beaches was subsidized by the conference, we didn’t want to spend extra money to eat elsewhere so we didn’t.
With that in mind, I think we would seriously consider other options before staying at an all-inclusive resort in the future. But that’s just us. Take that information with a grain of salt.
The Sandals Foundation
I know this post is long, but I would be remiss if I didn’t also point out the work that The Sandals Foundation is doing in the Carribean. The CEO and founder of Sandals and Beaches resorts is from Jamaica, and they are passionate about giving back through initiatives that improve the lives of the Caribbean people. 100% of donations are used to fund projects in that region.
We were provided with backpacks before we left, and we filled them with school supplies to donate to The Sandals Foundation. You are also given the opportunity to donate to the Foundation when you register at the resort.
But what I really love about The Sandals Foundation is that you can actually visit some of the schools they support as a part of your vacation. If I ever go back, I definitely want to look into that. Talk about getting outside of the resort and getting to experience the culture!
In Summary . . .
All things considered, we had a fabulous time. There is no denying that Turks & Caicos affords some of the most stunning vistas in the world. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to experience it with my husband at a place that offers such luxurious accommodations and gracious hospitality.
I hope I’ve touched on all your burning questions. If not, feel free to leave a comment on this post, and I will respond to the best of my knowledge.
By way of disclosure, as a speaker at the #BeachesMoms Social Media on the Sand event, my stay at Beaches was significantly discounted. Of course, all opinions and experiences are mine and purely genuine.