Hotel outside: Beautiful with impeccably clean grounds. The hotel main office has tasteful colonial decor and is easy to get to. Guest units are in separate 3 story blocks. This is not a huge property so getting around it is relatively easy and the beautiful landscaping with all the birds, butterflies and small lizards scampering about makes for an enjoyable stroll.
Rooms: We stayed in the most basic level of room, the garden-view studio and couldn't be more happier with it. When we travel we don't spend a lot of time in our room but for a basic level room we were very impressed. The studio rooms are open, comfortable, well-lit, and kept very clean. The maid service was exceptional and leaving several extra dollars in the room each day for cleaning staff goes a long way and was appreciated. Beds are surprisingly comfortable and among the best we've stayed at anywhere in the Caribbean. The large screen TV carries a very good selection of English-language programming including a UO Ducks football game we decided to stay in late for one night! The balcony is large and private with table and chairs. There is a compact clothes washer/dryer combo in each room that comes in handy and lets the traveler pack less for a stay. Cleaning staff leave single use boxes of powdered laundry detergent that's replenished when used. The kitchenette comes with a microwave, refrigerator and sink with diningware. An oven or stove top would of been ideal additions to cut down of food costs. The AC was great and kept the room very cool and dry. Smoking is not allowed in the rooms so no foul smoking odors to deal with. There's also a variety of local what-to-do and where-to-eat magazines in each room that were helpful. The only complaint I would have is the guest units don't have elevators and carrying heavy luggage up three stories after a screwed-up exhausting late night flight (thank you once again US Airways for a terrible travel experience) can be a chore I'd rather do without but the front desk does offer help with your bags if desired.
Beaches: It's easy to see why Grace Bay beaches are rated among the best in the world. Crystal clear warm water and white sands. We were visiting in the off-season and there were very few people on the beaches so getting a couple loungers on the beach with an umbrella was never a problem. And there were almost no beach vendors (Mexico, take a cue here and start making laws to get rid of these annoying vultures!). Literally, only one guy every other day would walk by on the beach near the water and maybe ask a few people on his way for paragliding services. He even had the class not to seek out and harass folks that are obviously just there on their loungers enjoying the beach. People that wanted to go paragliding would get up and catch him walking by the next time. Hobie cats and kayaks are available for guests at no charge and you can check them out where you pick up your beach towels.
Pools: There are 2 pools. One by the beach and the quiet-pool about 100 feet away. It was low season so we usually wouldn't see more than one or two couples at each pool with plenty of chairs and umbrellas available. No rushing out at 7 a.m. to toss a towel to 'reserve' your spot. The quiet pool actually has another very small pool attached to it and a large hot tub that was, like the pools, very clean and relaxing. This area is also well shaded with palm trees so if you are nursing a bad sun burn this is an ideal place to limit sun exposure and enjoy a relaxing pool. As a bonus we did not see a single vendor at the pools! Pool towels are next to the beach. The hotel Restaurant bar next to the main pool goes into Happy Hour mode from 5 to 7 each evening so a few more people would show up but it still is very low-keyed and not crowded at all. We didn't know about the happy hour until towards the end of our stay unfortunately but the bar serves some great drinks and we met some very friendly guests at the pool that were a real pleasure to know.
Restaurant: The Pelican prepared an awesome curried conch that was probably the best meal we had during our stay. It's not the highest TripAdvisor rated restaurant in the area but the food was very good and staff are very friendly and attentive. It was also one of the latest-open restaurants around and being the town starts to close at about 8 p.m. each night, if you're into starting your evening late like we do finding a place to eat past 8 limits your options. Renting a car to get about is a good idea and unlike what you pay on the island for everything, the cost is reasonable during off-season (about $35 day). Taxi rides, from what we were told by guests, usually run about $10 each person each way in the local area.
Tip on restaurants: You often will see a "service charge" on your bill along with the local tax. This service charge is usually 10% of your food purchase. You see this a lot (not everywhere though) and it's basically a partial gratuity built into your bill. We did run across one place that added a full 18% gratuity into the bill so of course service suffers when you run into that, but the 'service charge' let's you decide for yourself what the rest of the tip based on the food purchase should be. This was explained to us by a server at one restaurant and an owner at another that didn't have this service charge. Just watch out for this when tipping so yo don't overtip because food is so incredibly expensive here.
This was our first trip to TCI and with all the price researching I did before making reservations and the end result with our great experience at the RWI, this resort is a very good value and probably one of the best values on the island if you're looking to get the most out our your travel dollar. Sure, it is not one of the bigger resorts in the area that has more bars on the grounds and added amenities like a fitness room, which we did miss having but our primary goal was to relax and we did. Some people might have an issue with Club Med next door which does have nightly entertainment and you will hear loud music being played. It personally didn't bother us and we didn't think it overly loud or anything outside the ordinary of a resort zone area but if you are a light sleeper, early to bed type that wants absolute peace and quiet, I can see their point.
Buying anything on The Turks & Caicos islands is very expensive. More expensive comparitively than even Hawaii. Seeing a 6-pack of Corona for $16 or milk for close to $6 a gallon at a local IGA store are examples of the sticker shock you will run into here. Eating out, expect to pay at a minimum of $50 for 2 people for a basic meal NOT including drinks. It's easy to run over $100 a meal a couple if you toss in appetizers and drinks. We were warned before making the trip and found ways to minimize our food costs like bringing a large bag of cereal, protein and snack bars,hitting the duty free store for booze before departing the US (up to one liter per arriving passenger is OK), and taking tips to do some grocery shopping and using the limited kitchenette in the rooms are all ways to help reduce your costs and the make the trip more affordable.
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- Also Known As:
- Royal West Indies Hotel Providenciales
- Royal West Indies Providenciales
- Royal West Indies Resort Turks And Caicos/Providenciales