We traveled to the Sands for the week of Thanksgiving with our family of 27 people. This trip was long planned and much anticipated. I researched numerous properties in Turks and Caicos and selected the Sands as I felt it would best accommodate our large group. We were all very pleased with our selection. The staff at the Sands was very helpful in securing room and dining reservations for our large party in advance of our arrival.. Overall we found the staff to be very polite and hospitable.
Check in- We did not have any difficulty securing a taxi/ large vans to transport us from the airport the short distance to the resort. We did encounter some confusion at check-in, which I had attempted to avoid by arriving a day early. Despite being told that I would be able to take care of check in prior to the arrival of our large group this did not happen. I was repeatedly told the rooms were not ready and I latter learned that some of the rooms were vacant for a couple of days. This resulted in a delay in check-in and some confusion and could have been easily avoided. Despite this small problem we moved on to enjoy the first evening which included a manager's cocktail reception. The complimentary rum punch, local beer and snacks were a welcome treat and wonderful start to a great family reunion.
Accommodations: Each small family within our extended family had their own accommodations ranging from a one bedroom to a three bedroom condo. I had booked very early and requested all ocean front rooms, which were well worth it. Our only complaint was that one of the bedrooms in the 3 bedroom unit contained only a sleeper sofa. This room is billed as a bedroom and therefore should contain a regular bed. The rooms were very clean, well appointed and comfortable. It was lovely to open the blinds each day to soak in the beauty of the Grace Bay beach. All of the rooms included a lovely, spacious screened in porch. As the weather was fantastic we spent much of our time on the beach or in the pool.
Activities : Members of our group ranged in age from 6-70 and there was plenty of activities to keep everyone busy. We took advantage of all the non-motorized water sports on the property to include the kayaks, Hobie cats, stand-up paddle board and snorkeling equipment. While there is not an over abundance of this equipment it was almost always available for our frequent use. Members of our party rode bikes and played tennis. There is also a small gym and movie/gathering room that we made use of.
Beach: The beach is absolutely stunning. It is much more spacious than many other resorts beaches and it never felt crowded. Each day the hotel staff assisted us in securing chairs and sun umbrella's for everyone in our party. There was never a shortage of chairs or umbrellas. The water is a truly gorgeous shade of blue and the beach was very well maintained. You can walk for miles in either direction of the Sands all along the magnificent Grace Bay. Restaurants and other hotels are within easy walking distance.
Scuba Diving-- Two members of our party went on two scuba scuba diving excursions booked through Ocean Vibes. One member of our party was completing her scuba diving certification and enjoyed a fascinating underwater experience.
Fishing-- many off the boys/men in our party took advantage of private fishing charter booked thru the hotel. They returned with large fresh Wahoo. Hemingway's (restaurant on site) graciously grilled and perfectly seasoned the fish. We enjoyed our freshly grilled fish complete with side dishes from the comfort of our beach chairs.
Private Boat Charter- we rented a private boat charter through Island Vibes and enjoyed 4 glorious hours on the water. We snorkeled, soaked in the beauty and perfection of Iguana Island, savored a freshly prepared conch salad, sipped rum punch and showed off our diving skills on the boats diving board.
Para-sailing- many in our party took advantage of this activity. There are multiple water sports companies that attempt to solicit your business on the beach and therefore it is wise to negotiate the best price, as they are competitive with one another.
Dining: we enjoyed many breakfasts, lunches and one dinner at Hemingway's. The food and drinks were delicious. Hemingway's also provides beverage and food service directly to the beach. Our favorite dining experience was at the Mango Reef, located a short walking distance down the beach at the Alexandra Resort. Our whole party enjoyed an exceptional dinner there on Thanksgiving. While they offered a traditional Thanksgiving meal, we all elected to enjoy local fare and were rewarded by a wonderful meal. The wait staff at the Mango Reef was extremely welcoming and accommodating to our large group. We spent several hours enjoying the serene setting on the lighted outdoor deck. While everything on this island is expensive, we found that the Mango Reef was the best value and quality. Another dining highlight was our casual dinner at Somewhere. We were treated to delicious Mexican fare accompanied by live local island music.
Grocery store- we did take advantage of the hotel shuttle to the grocery store and stocked up on breakfast, lunch, alcoholic beverages, water and snack items. The shuttle waited for us while we shopped. While very expensive, this really helped cut down on our dining expenses and the kids enjoyed going back to the rooms and preparing lunch or sharing breakfast with their cousins.
Pool- the pool is lovely, clean and well-maintained. While much of our time was spent on the beach there was always space to sit at the pool and we enjoyed swimming in the lazy-river type pool and relaxing in the hot tub.
Photographer- We hired Kellie Hayes of Brilliant Studios to take some professional photographs our family. Kellie and her associate took exquisite photo's of us in the resort and on the beach as the sun was setting. Our photo's are a wonderful keepsake for this truly special vacation.
Overall, the Sands was the perfect setting for our large family gathering. We would all highly recommend this resort and the beautiful Grace Bay. Some in our party have traveled extensively in the Caribbean and feel that the beauty of Grace Bay is unparalleled.
Request oceanfront rooms in building 3 or 4! The views are stunning!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.