WHO WE ARE:
A family of three, with a son age 19. We knew going into this resort that Beaches has a partnership with Sesame Street (we had previously visited Beaches Boscobel in Ocho Rios, Jamaica), but decided to give this resort a try.
ARRIVAL AT PROVIDENCIALES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT:
When you arrive at the airport, you must clear immigration, retrieve your bags from baggage claim, and pass through customs. Once at the other side, all you have to do is find the Beaches representatives outside, who will write your room number on your suitcase, and direct you to a taxi. Taxi’s are typically segregated by the village in which you stay in, because each village has its own check in area in its own independent lobby. Transfers are included.
The hotel is a 15 minute drive from the airport on the northern coast of the island, on Grace Bay Beach, one of the top beaches in the world. We arrived at about 12pm (on the American Airlines flight from JFK), and our room was not yet ready (check in time is 3pm). You are greeted by a cold towel and rum or virgin fruit punch upon getting off of the taxi. They do a seated check in here, where you have to fill out a brief form regarding which flight you will be departing on, if any special events (birthdays, anniversaries) will occur during your stay, and you must provide an imprint of a credit card for incidentals. You can do online check in (as we did) at www.beaches.com which saves you the time of filling out this form, instead you have to check for accuracy. American lost one of our suitcases, but luckily Beaches can assist. We filled out a form with the record locator provided by the airline, and a description of the bags and its contents and Beaches took care of contacting American to get our suitcase to us. We got a phone call the following night saying that the suitcase was in the next taxi from the airport, and that they would bring it to our room once it arrives. They provided us with basic toiletries and a 15% discount on clothing at the Resort Shop during the period in which our baggage was missing, which was very nice of them and not necessary for them to do. Since we arrived early, we were walked to lunch, and told to check back at the front desk a little bit later.
The hotel is large, but not nearly as large as other reviews describe it (perhaps it feels larger if you have younger children). It is split into four villages (according to the website, but technically there are only three): Caribbean, Seaside (a subset of the Caribbean village, and therefore when I refer to the Caribbean village from this point forward, I am including the Seaside village), French (where we stayed), and Italian. The Caribbean village is the original part of the property, and is located along the beach. The French village was constructed in the very late 1990s, and is located at the front portion of the property, approximately a 5 minute walk from the beach. The new all suite Italian village sits to the east of the Caribbean village along the beach. This village opened in January 2008. The tennis courts are located near the French village, and restaurants and pools are scattered throughout. Typically as a rule of thumb, the Caribbean village rooms are cheaper than rooms in the French village which are cheaper than those in the Italian village, though as expected a suite in the Caribbean village will cost more than a standard room in the Caribbean village. No matter where you stay, you are entitled to use the same amenities and restaurants throughout the resort. Therefore my recommendation would be to think about what type of room category fits your family best (is it necessary to have butler service? Do you want your kids in a separate room? Do you need a sitting area), and then choose the village that has the room that best fits your needs. Each room also had 2 golf size umbrellas (perhaps more in larger rooms) for rainy days. You can also ask for more at some of the lobby areas (the Italian village were particularly nice to us).
We stayed in the French village in room 1143, a Luxury Walkout Room. This gave us a guaranteed small patio area with two chairs, which we like. The second and third stories of the French village only have French balconies, which you cannot sit out on. Our room had two double beds, a 42 inch television with lots of channels and good reception, a pull out single sleeper chair, a fridge restocked daily with bottled water (additional beverages can be added to the fridge if you ask!), and plenty of drawers in the dresser (some resorts we’ve been to have not given us enough space to lie out all of our clothing). The bathroom had two sinks, one inside of the bathroom, and one right outside across from the closet. The shower/tub combo had good water pressure. The amenities provided are from the Red Lane Spa, available on site. Despite the room being about 10 years old, it must have been renovated recently. As Sandals Select members (the free loyalty program of the Sandals family of resorts), we were greeted with a special door hanger welcoming us home, and chocolate rum balls. We were also invited to a lunch reception on the Wednesday of our stay, and we received a 10% discount on photo or gift shop purchases of over $100. Every night, you receive turndown service and a copy of the following day’s activity schedule. The rooms also have safes in the closets, but they are not large enough for a laptop.
There are 16 restaurants on site, and it is possible to sample each of them in a one week vacation (we did!). They provide you with a brochure explaining your dining options in your check-in pack. Most restaurants are closed once per week, but this seems to be different over periods of time where the resort is full as it was the week that we visited.
CAFÉ DE PARIS: Open from 6am-10pm. This is a Starbucks type place providing pastries and specialty coffee throughout the day. Located in the French village. Outdoor seating available.
REFLECTIONS: Open for buffet breakfast 6am-10:30am, buffet lunch from 12:30pm-2:30pm (until 3pm on Saturdays), and buffet dinner from 5pm-10pm. “International” cuisine, relatively small considering most all inclusive resorts emphasize their buffet restaurant. Very few people were ever seen eating here. This restaurant was okay, but we preferred it for lunch and breakfast, because we prefer a la carte dining for dinner. Located in the atrium in the Caribbean lobby. Outdoor seating available.
BAREFOOT BY THE SEA: Open for breakfast from 7:30am-10:30am, lunch from 12:30pm-2:30pm, and dinner from 6pm-9:30pm. A la carte dining featuring Caribbean seafood throughout the day. It was better for lunch when we tried it than at dinner time: my wife’s swordfish was overcooked and not particularly good. Located on the beach in front of the Italian village. Outdoor seating only.
MARIO’S: Open for buffet breakfast from 6:30am-10:30am, buffet lunch from 12:30pm-2:30pm, and a la carte dinner from 5pm-10pm. The buffet here definitely had the most options throughout the day. There was a pasta station during lunch, omelet station during breakfast, and a nice spread of appetizing fish during breakfast as well. For dinner, appetizers are obtained by visiting the antipasta bar, but the entrée is a la carte. There is a small kids area decorated with Sesame Street characters, which was very cute; the tables look just like the adult tables, but are kid sized. Located in the Italian village. Outdoor seating available.
GIUSEPPES: Open for buffet breakfast from 7am-10:30am, buffet lunch from 12:30pm-2:30pm, and buffet dinner from 5pm-9:30pm. We only tried this place for breakfast, and it had the same basic dishes as Mario’s, including the omelet station, plus a make your own crepe station, but lesser selection. Located in the French village. Outdoor seating available.
SCHOONERS: Open for breakfast from 7:30am-11:30am EXCEPT Wednesdays, and dinner from 6pm-9:30pm. Apparently breakfast is very slow here, and the menu has essentially the same items that you can find at the buffet restaurants open at the same time. For dinner, the restaurant provides decent seafood. Skip the crab cakes, there was limited crab meat in them. They also host the Sandal’s Select luncheon here. Located in the Caribbean village near the beach. Mostly outdoor seating; there are a limited number of indoor tables.
ARIZONAS: Open for a grill lunch from 11am-4pm, and tex mex a la carte dinner from 6pm-9:30pm. The grill has items such as jerk chicken, pork, hot dogs, hamburgers, and salads, as well as a smoothie bar. There is also an ice cream man with various good humor and popsicle products. At dinner, it is a la carte featuring 20oz t-bone steaks, fajitas, and BBQ chicken. Located in the Caribbean village beside the Cascades pool. Outdoor seating available.
BOBBY DEE’S DINER: Open for a la carte 50’s diner cuisine from 11am-6am. Here you can get burgers and fries, hot dogs, chicken fingers. Mostly fried foods. In the back there is a snack area with cookies and soft serve ice cream. Located in the French village near the water park in the pirate ship. Limited outdoor seating is available, but I’d sit inside, you lose the ambiance if you eat outside.
BELLA NAPOLI PIZZERIA: Open from 11am-6pm. Fresh wood grilled pizzas prepared in approximately 20 minutes. Dine in beside the Iguana pool, or order take out, and get a pizza box to take to any place in the resort. Twice weekly they have pizza and a movie from 6:30pm-8:30pm. Located in the Caribbean village. No indoor seating.
CRICKETERS PUB: Open from 12pm-2am. Throughout the time it is open, you can get a la carte items such as chicken pot pie, fish and chips, and other UK specialties. At night, it’s a lively pub with 9 beers available (Turks Head bottled and on tap and New Castle Brown Ale, Sam Adams, Bass, Moosehead, Coors Light, Guiness, Miller Lite, and Labalt Blue in bottles or cans). Kids are allowed in here during the day, and it’s relatively empty for a la carte lunch despite this fact. Perhaps parents are unaware that they can bring their kids here. Located in the Italian village. Outdoor seating available.
GORDON’S PIAZZA AND GRILL: Open from 10:30am-5pm. Another wood grilled pizza place, though this features an expanded menu including fish, chicken, sandwiches, paninis and salads. There is also a snack bar in the back called Ristorante Bambini, serving kids favorites. There is also a popcorn machine here available for the taking, as well as self service beverages including strawberry daquris and pina coladas (all virgin). Located in the Italian village. No indoor seating available.
SAPODILLAS: Open for a la carte dinner from 6pm-9:30pm. Adults only (16 years and older). Serving continental cuisine, this is the most upscale dining experience that Beaches Turks and Caicos offers. The line does get long because the turnover is slow and there is limited seating indoors. Arrive here approximately 30 or so minutes before you would like to be seated to ensure you are seated when you want to (we waited for almost an hour, and didn’t sit down until 9 the night that we went…ideally we would have liked to be seated around 8). This was probably the best meal we had, but make sure you are not in a rush (one woman in the restaurant was frantic because she was nervous she would not have time to pick up her child from the kids club before it closed). Located in the Caribbean main building, beside Reflections. Outdoor seating available.
LE PETIT CHATEAU: Open for a la carte dinner from 6pm-9:30pm. Adults only (16 years and older). Serving French cuisine. The food was decent, and the meal was nice and leisurely. Located in the French village. Outdoor seating available.
KIMONOS/SUSHI BAR: Kimonos is open for hibachi dinner from 5pm-9pm. You must make a reservation by calling the sales office, or visiting it (directions are provided in your check in pack). This is the only restaurant requiring you to do so. The meal was good, but not very entertaining (definitely not Bennihana performance quality). For groups less than 10 people, you will be paired up with another group. First, you receive a chicken soup. Then you get an appetizer plate featuring shrimp tempura, a piece of California roll, and a skewer of chicken yakitori. Then your chef arrives and cooks chicken teriyaki, shrimp, mahi mahi, steak, veggies, fried rice, and a Japanese pancake. The sushi bar is open from 6pm-9:30pm, and does not require reservations. You can get a variety of rolls here, and after 8pm you can call in an order and take it out. Located in the French village. Outdoor seating available at sushi bar ONLY.
The hotel is located on the 12 mile long Grace Bay Beach. You can walk up and down the beach in either direction of the resort, and not get stopped by security guards anywhere (although if you try and enter another resort’s property, or use their chairs, you might get caught). The beach is a little bit narrow, but Beaches has the best stretch that we saw (and we walked approximately one mile in each direction). The beach is significantly less crowded down towards Treasure Beach (the left of the property, beyond the Caribbean village), because most people think that this is no longer Beaches property. The Italian village beach is a bit more crowded, especially because some butlers reserve seats for their groups. The beach is on the Atlantic Ocean, so it is a bit rough (we only had a green flag one day and a yellow flag one day, the rest of the days all water sports were cancelled). The water is beautiful in color, and there are reefs right off shore. The sand is very soft, but there are very few shells which is disappointing for younger kids.
You sign up for these activities at the water sport shed near the Italian village. They offered the following activities, all with instruction if necessary…
~Snorkeling (snorkel tours three times daily, sign up the day before at the water sports shed. They take you out by boat to a reef 2 minutes off shore for a 30 minute snorkel).
There are no towel cards, and towels were readily available except on a few cold rainy days when people hoarded them for their warmth (ourselves included).
There were two hard tennis courts and two Astroturf courts, lit for night play. There were rackets available, as well as balls. Racquets were in good condition, many with new feeling grips. There were tons of tennis racquets available. Even if you are an avid tennis player, the racquets were perfectly usable (although my wife thought they could have been restrung). You do not need to make reservations for tennis courts, just show up. You can get racquets and balls from either the Spa reception area or the tennis shack near the courts. There is a pro who does free clinics, and private lessons for a fee.
There was a fitness center located in the spa area. There were a few ellipticals, treadmills, stationary bikes, several weight machines, as well as several free weights. When we went on rainy days at around 5pm, it was a little bit crowded but it was perfectly fine. They had a few large TV’s displaying BBC and CNN. It was air conditioned, which was nice. There was water (both bottled and from a cooler) and towels available. Open 24 hours a day.
Located off the Caribbean lobby was a small room where you could play the slots. I don’t think anyone ever used this.
PING PONG/SHUFFLE BOARD/BASKETBALL/CROQUET/XBOX/CHESS:
There is a half court basketball court in the Caribbean village, as well as a few shuffle board courts. You can get equipment (as well as board games) from the equipment shack. There were a few billiards tables outside of the Turtles lounge in the Caribbean village. More ping pong tables, and billiards tables were available near the XBOX Game Oasis near Bobby Dee’s, and this was more aimed towards kids. The Shadow Lounge, although we never entered, looked like a teen hangout with air hockey, and basketball, but I don’t know if you have to pay (I’d assume no). This is also where the Scratch DJ academy takes place. Croquet was available outside of Cricketers in the Italian village. The XBOX Game Oasis has large TV’s and several XBOX systems with many recent release video games available for kids to play for free. There is also giant chess in the French village, and another set in the Caribbean village.
There are eight. No pool is more than 4 and a half feet deep, and most of them have zero entry. I believe five of these pools have swim up bars. The Cascades, Italian Village, Riviera, and Camp Sesame pools are all heated. One of the cool things about the Italian Village and Riviera pools were that there were two pools in one: a very shallow kiddie pool and a regular pool. This would be very convenient for a family that wants to have their kids be in the same place, despite different swimming abilities. Most of the pools have attached hot tubs, though these were normally invested with little kids. There is an adults only Jacuzzi near the beach. There is a water park on property that was added when the Italian village was constructed. There is a long lazy river, two new water slides (one which you go in a tube, and one body slide), as well as a surf simulator that no one over the age of 10 can figure out, and my family couldn’t understand why. But it was definitely fun. There is also a small slide area for little kids with fountains that shoot up out of the ground. The old water park area near Bobby Dee’s features two more waterslides, both body slides, that aren’t as long or exciting as the new ones. People of all ages enjoy the water park, and it is a really cool expansion.
Several located throughout the property. Most of the bartenders were friendly and were very willing to serve. This resort was not a heavy drinking resort, despite being all-inclusive, though people were definitely drinking the top shelf liquor. As stated before, there were 9 types of beer available, and 4 Beringer house wines (Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Cabernet) that were all good by all inclusive standards.
The daily activity schedule is posted in various locations throughout the resort, and provided to you during turndown service. The “Players” tried very hard to get people to play Bingo, pool and beach volleyball, and to dance, but I felt as if they faced rejection a lot of the time, which was somewhat sad. They were all really fun and tried to get people motivated, without being in your face like some of the GO’s at Club Med are. There is a disco, Club Liquid, in the Italian village that is very cool. Until about 10pm, teens are allowed in, and no alcohol is served. It then opens up to the rest of the resort guests. You win points for participating in events, and 150 points gets you a prize at the end of your stay.
There definitely were some, as we did get bitten, but it wasn’t awful. We felt as if we got bitten the most in our room. Bring bug spray.
There is a spa on site, though we didn’t take advantage of this. It features Red Lane Spa products that are found throughout the Sandals family of resorts.
For kids up to the age of 17. There were several age groups: Cookie Monsters (age 3-4), Lil Mateys (age 5-7), and Captain Kids (age 8-10), Tweens (11-14) and Teens (15-17). They seemed well attended, but there were still a ton of people on property that did not utilize this free service. We did not, as our son was too old. Babysitting is $15 per hour for 1-2 children, 3-4 children require an additional sitter until 11pm. After 11pm, the rate increases to $20.
There is a nurse on site, and her consultations are free of charge. There is a cost for any doctors visits or medication required as a result of your consultation. The nurse is located in the Caribbean village.
There is internet available at the resort, available at a cost of $13.99 per day or $38.99 per week. There are wireless hot spots in the Caribbean lobby and atrium. Internet cards can be purchased at the front desk.
The Snap Shots photo shop photographers roam the property taking pictures. When they take a picture of you, you receive a bracelet with your photo number. There are two photo shops on site, one in the Italian village and one at the Caribbean village. You can save all of your pictures in a file under your telephone number. Photos can then be purchased individually printed or on a photo disk, at an additional cost charged to your room.
As Sandal’s Select guests, we were invited to a luncheon at Schooners on the Wednesday of our stay. They had a very nice buffet with good shrimp and lamb chops and nice desserts, and they played Bingo for nice Beaches logo prizes. They also gave out a Kitty Kat Cruise for a family of four, a prize valued at about $300. We also got two pairs of Beaches logo sandals as a gift for coming to the luncheon. If you’ve been to a Beaches or Sandals Resort before, make sure you register for Sandals Select, you get treated very well.
My wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary while staying at Beaches. They sent chocolate covered strawberries and champagne to our room, which was a very nice and unexpected touch.
SESAME STREET PARTNERSHIP:
One of the big draws for families to this resort is the Sesame Street partnership. There are 8 characters on site (Zoe, Elmo, Grover, Abby Cadaby, The Count, Bert, Ernie, and Cookie Monster). They walk around during the day through the pool areas, posing for pictures, and do various activities with the younger kids club groups. Six out of seven nights a week they have a Sesame Street show, similar in quality to the Sesame Street Live shows that we have in New York. They were well choreographed and different each night. They took place at the main stage in the French village. The remaining night each week, they have a Sesame Street parade.
Check out is at 11am. Late checkouts are $350 based on availability. The night before your departure, they provide you with check out instructions. You must have your bags outside your room by a predetermined time provided on your check out instruction sheet. When it is your departure time (approximately 3 hours before your flight into the USA and 2 and a half hours before your flight anywhere else), you must go to your lobby area to check out, and then proceed to the departure lounge. This lounge has a locker room (bring a lock for a locker if you have a late departure), and showers. They ask you for your room number and the number of guests in your party, and then guide you to taxis outside where you are reunited with your luggage. A short ride back to the airport, and then you’re on your way out of paradise. In our opinion, it was unnecessary to get us there so early. While there are increased security regulations at the airport, they take place during the boarding process. Since there was no line for security and very few people waiting to check in, we got through to the gate area with more than 2 hours to go before our flight, and were a bit bored in the waiting area. Note that there are boards in each lobby with departure times: these times have been changed to approximately 30 minutes earlier to accommodate the new TSA regulations.
It was a great vacation and much cheaper the week after Christmas (nearly half the price!). This hotel can be pricey, but if you get a good deal, go for it (we never would have stayed here if it was as expensive as it is Christmas week, but having a college age kid and being able to travel on a week other than Christmas is an amazing thing). Even with no young kids, the Sesame Street characters were not intrusive at all, and there was plenty to do for my entire family. The only complaint we had was the poor weather while we were there, but the hotel can’t do anything about that. We’re ready to recommend it to our friends.
If anyone has any questions, you may feel free to message me!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dive into a one-of-a-kind, unbelievably exciting Beaches all-inclusive Turks & Caicos vacation for the whole family. A 45,000 square-foot waterpark; four magnificent villages, boasting the architecture and ambiance of Italy, France, the Caribbean and Key West; a 12-mile beach lapped by clear turquoise waters; endless fun activities for everyone, from tots to tweens and teens, featuring Sesame Street(R) characters, the new Xbox(R) Play Lounge and a sizzlin' teen disco, Liquid at Beaches-all located on one of the world's best beaches.19 Specialty dining options with everything from Caribbean to Japanese, Italian to French, Seafood to Sushi•7000-sq-ft retail village offering guests" high-end jewelry, fashion, candies, souvenirs•Our very own Pirates Island themed aqua-playground hosting one of the Caribbean"s most comprehensive water parks featuring nine slides, lazy river, surf simulator, water cannons, cranks and spray features•Kids of all ages can enjoy fun and games with Elmo and friends in our Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street(R)•X-BOX(R) Play Lounge with plasma screens and the latest games on the market •Voted Beaches Resorts "World"s Leading Family All-Inclusive" 14 years in a row•Voted Beaches Turks & Caicos "Turks & Caicos Leading Resort" for the 4th year in a row•Voted Beaches Turks & Caicos "The Caribbean"s Leading Family All- Inclusive" for the 2nd year in a row•Six Star Diamond Award- Beaches Resorts "Keeping it Green", American Academy of Hospitality Sciences•Six Star Diamond Award- Beaches Turks & Caicos for the Italian Village•Five Star Diamond Award- The Resort, Le Petit Chateau Restaurant and Mario"s Restaurant ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Beaches Turks Caicos Providenciales
- Beaches Turks And Caicos Resort Villages And Spa Providenciales