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Home > Destinations > Turks & Caicos Islands > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Turks & Caicos Islands - Trip Reports

Beaches, Provo

Our family spent 2 weeks at Beaches, Turks/Caicos, from Aug.15-Aug.29. We even experienced the media frenzy of Hurricane Debbie. The news was more frightening than the storm.

After 4 days at Beaches, I fairly summed up the place as ff: "A Jack of all trades and master of none." The place is situated magnificently on a beach that is without comparison. The closest rival is the beach I saw at Club Med in Eleuthera. We have been all over the Pacific and never seen such beautiful sand.

We stayed in the Presidential 1 bedroom villa. It was spacious, clean and held all the necessary amenities. You need to understand that the strongest point of Beaches is their MARKETING. Most people understand that a villa connotes at the minimum a separate building, not Beaches. They play pretty free with language. We were fortunate to have been given a second floor room. The view of the beach was gorgeous and we were right next to the Cascade Pool.

Our kids were 6 and 8 years old and spent a good deal of time at the kids' place found at Pirates Island. The service was very good except that on Sundays they have no structured programs so if you are a scuba diver your kids sort of vegetate under minimal supervision until you are back from either the 8:30 or 11:00 one tank dive. The food at Bobby D's was very kid friendly with a fairly wide choice to keep most parents and kids happy.

The scuba diving was pretty much RESORTish. There is more of an interest in offering diving as an added attraction than as a reason for going. Thus for serious divers it is frustrating to go through the song and dance and then have mediocre dives, under extremely conservative supervision. If you go on a 2-tank dive you can figure that you will have a total bottom time of one-hour including decompression stops totaling 10 minutes. Visibility was generally good (75-100ft) except for after the hurricane (20-30ft). The 80-minute boat ride to West Caicos for our first divewas not worth the investment of time, as we found the dive site wanting. We felt the diving at North Point to be the best and at Grace Bay to be the most convenient. Also, be prepared, there is no room to store your gear so you have to drag your stuff back and forth from your room. If you have the misfortune to stay at FRENCH VILLAGE (think Disneyland), that can get old super fast. We found the Beaches' infant strollers to be useful for trucking the gear back and forth. Obviously, if you don't have gear this will not be a challenge.

Food was plentiful and quite varied. GOURMET and LUXURY as well as VILLA are thrown around liberally by Beaches. The food was good, a step up from Club Med fare but nowhere near gourmet. We found Guiseppes, La Petite Chateau and Reflections to be the best. The hype around the two requiring reservations (Kimonos, Sapodillas) has no basis. The person who made Sapodillas originally great now runs La Petite Chateau. The bakery was the unknown jewel. There you got some tastefully baked items. In total you will not starve but rushing back to Beaches for the food or scuba diving I am sure you will not do.

Service in general was acceptable. Most of the Jamaican staff is there to train the T/C islanders who are new to the hospitality industry. Most make a serious attempt to accommodate your needs and requirements. The CONCIERGE service that comes with the Villa stay is unnecessary. It is laughable as a "luxury item". Indeed, it bore the marks of an additional, unnecessary layer of personnel with which to deal on even the most basic requests.

Entertainment is basic and boring. Be prepared to entertain yourself. The games for both kids and adults are largely unimaginative. I do not know what happened after 10:30PM as we were mostly back in our "Villa".

Water activities outside scuba seemed to be readily available. The beach one week was lightly used and on the second week it was crawling with bodies. For the inspired and courageous (largely the Europeans) topless bathing is "allowed". It tended to be mostly on the beach though.

The other stuff like tennis, health club, spa, disco we did not do and can make no comment.

A note for the reader. We checked the boards and read peoples opinions of the place before booking. What we found is that those folks from Chicago, Philly, Jersey or upstate NY tend to have very different expectations from us Californians. I believe they are a bit more forgiving of misrepresentation and seem to thrive in an all-inclusive. So, it is important to appreciate from where the judgement is referenced.

On our scorecard we felt that the value factor did not meet the price factor. Had the price been 30% lower it would have fairly represented the standard that they provided. It is hard to be everything to everybody, but for the time being, the marketing will bring in the single visit customer. We won't be going back because there was and is nothing compelling enough to bring us back. Did we enjoy ourselves and can we recommend the place??? Yes we did! We still have to think about the second part of the question!!

Thanks to Jack for this trip report ...
September 2000

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