A Caribbean Gem for Families
By John and Sandra Nowlan
As we approached our resort, our friendly driver boasted that the Turks and Caicos offer the best of all worlds — British passports for its 30,000 citizens, the American dollar as its currency and a Canadian banking and health care system. Located where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic just southeast of the Bahamas, this tranquil and tropical archipelago of 40 islands and cays (eight of which are inhabited) also offers the clearest and brightest turquoise water we’ve ever seen, fantastic white sand beaches and several resorts that rate among the best in the world.
Our destination resort of choice was Beaches Turks and Caicos, a member of the family-friendly chain under the luxurious Sandals brand. With a total of 769 rooms & suites in four distinct “villages” — including the new Key West Luxury Village, which opened at Beaches Turks & Caicos in May — Beaches attracts couples, parents with kids and, like us, three-generation families. We were joined by our daughter, son-in-law and our excited granddaughters. As we soon discovered, there were lots of other grandparents around, some with a dozen family members in tow, having the time of their lives watching their offspring play on the beach or in the giant pools, or interacting with the Sesame Street characters that give shows, host breakfasts and wander around the 65-acre beachfront property handing out hugs and high-fives.
The Caribbean, French and Italian villages have their own reception areas and distinct international flavor to their architecture and landscaping. The suites are spacious, spotless and nicely equipped with premium toiletries and well-stocked bars. Maid service comes twice a day. The extensive Pirates Island aqua-playground is located near the French Village and is the second biggest water park in the Caribbean after Atlantis in the Bahamas. Free for guests, it features nine water slides, a lazy river and a lively surf simulator.
All-inclusive resorts sometimes skimp on food, but each of the sixteen restaurants here has its own dedicated team of chefs. The executive chef, Colin Watson, explains that Beaches Turks and Caicos has the same high culinary standards as Sandals but, for kids, more ice cream areas plus unique stands for popcorn and cotton candy. Two restaurants are for adults only so parents can enjoy a break. There’s a good combination of buffet and à la carte venues with almost no waiting for a table. The breakfast and lunch buffets were the best we’ve seen at any resort. The sushi restaurant in particular was absolutely world-class, and the fish and chips at Cricketer’s Pub was excellent.
For us, the best attraction was the waterfront. Protected by the third-largest coral reef system in the world, Grace Bay Beach is an uninterrupted twelve miles of pristine white coral sand facing a brilliant turquoise sea with a color that, in the words of one guest, “makes your heart leap.” Free water-based activities are extensive and include sailing, wind surfing, snorkeling and even SCUBA (certification required). Children can attend Kids Camp for a variety of fun ways to spend the day, and there’s an opportunity to visit a school to socialize with local children. Our granddaughter loved this experience, just one of the many that added up to a family vacation we’ll remember all our lives.
Beaches Turks and Caicos
Lower Bight Rd.
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
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