> Destinations > Turks & Caicos Islands > Trip Reports > Trip Report
My husband and I visited the Turks and Caicos islands in December 2000.
We stayed on Providenciales at Point Grace, a new condominium resort on
Grace Bay beach.
We won a five-night "Romantic Retreat" through an auction at
LuxuryLink.com, and added on two more nights.
Getting There and Checking In
We flew United Airlines from Chicago to Miami, and American Airlines
from Miami to Providenciales. A representative from Point Grace picked
us up at the airport, and the ride to the resort took about 15 minutes.
We were greeted with cold towels and rum punch in the reception area
and were escorted to our room in no time.
We asked for an extra room key, and a key to the in-room safe. We did
not receive either key during our weeklong stay, nor did anyone from
the front desk call to follow up. This exemplifies the consistently
poor service we received from the front desk staff throughout our trip
(details to come).
Point Grace consists of 40 or so suites (I am guessing) in six
buildings. These suites range in size from 1,080 square feet to 7,200
square feet. The units are for sale, but we were told that only five
The buildings are clustered around a stunning infinity pool. Two of the
buildings front the beach and their suites have ocean views, and the
other four buildings house the one-bedroom "cottage suites" and have
pool views. The pool area is beautiful, with plenty of cushioned chairs
for lounging, a hot tub integrated into the pool by a little waterfall,
and a rotunda that serves as the bar.
One cottage serves as Point Grace's reception area. Adjoining the
reception area is a TV lounge and a library with books, audio CD's and
DVD's. There is also a computer with Internet access.
The buildings at Point Grace are by far the most impressive on Grace
Bay. Guests at other resorts were often trying to sneak into the
property to look.
The landscaping at Point Grace is gorgeous. Lots of bougainvillea,
cactus, and palms. Check out the photos on their web site for a better
idea. The property is very compact, and we could walk from one end to
the other in less than two minutes.
Point Grace also owns some villas a few miles off the property.
We reserved the one-bedroom cottage suite as part of our package, and
we were unable to upgrade, as the one-bedroom oceanview suites were
Our cottage suite was huge (1,080 square feet), and the accommodations
were the best I have ever seen in the Caribbean. This is not the
average condominium. We were astonished that we had the lowest category
room! The suite consists of a living room, dining room, kitchen,
bedroom, and bathroom.
The décor is colonial West Indian. The suite is fully air conditioned
and has four ceiling fans. The windows and sliding doors have screens
so we could leave them open at night.
The floors in the living room and kitchen are marble, and the floors in
the bedroom and bathroom are hardwood. The ceilings are peaked with
The living room has teak furniture. The centerpiece of the living room
is a huge television with stereo and DVD player. The speakers are wall
mounted. Surprisingly, our neighbors said they could not hear anything
even when we had the stereo up at a moderate level. We heard nothing at
all from our neighbors during our stay.
The kitchen is loaded with the latest stainless steel appliances. There
is a garbage disposal and a breakfast bar with an Italian granite
countertop. There is also a washer/dryer combo complete with detergent
and fabric softener. The refrigerator comes stocked with a bottle of
decent champagne, Evian, and a platter of candies and fruit. The
kitchen has plenty of pots, glassware, silverware, and Villeroy & Boch
The bedroom has a four poster king bed draped with mosquito netting.
There is a huge walk-in closet with two robes. There are only three
hangers, however, so bring your own from home. Also in the closet is an
individual water heater for the room, so there is never a shortage of
The bathroom has a separate tub and glass-walled shower. There are two
sinks. The one complaint I had that I heard echoed by other guests is
the lack of counter space in the bathroom. There is a medicine cabinet,
but there is no place for ladies to lay out their cosmetics and hair
products. Point Grace supplies high-end Edneé bath amenities, Frette
(Turkish) towels, and a blow dryer.
The terrace is huge and overlooks the pool. It has several lounge
chairs, a table, and a sofa.
The New York Times facsimile was delivered each morning.
Housekeeping came twice daily. Every other night they would turn down
linens, light a bedside oil lamp, and leave candies. We wondered why
that was not done every night.
We met two guests who stayed in both the cottage suite and the one-
bedroom oceanview suite and asked them which was preferable. Both
people replied that the accommodations were "different" and that the
ocean view was nice during the day, but they did not necessarily prefer
the oceanview suites to the cottage suites. Therefore, we did not feel
too badly about being unable to upgrade.
The top room at Point Grace is a four-bedroom, two-story penthouse. We
were told Donatella Versace was staying there over the Christmas
holidays and it rents out for $3,500 per night.
Point Grace is located on the twelve-mile beach of Grace Bay. The beach
was uncrowded, often deserted. No one was ever sitting within 50 yards
of us. Occasionally there would be people strolling by. There are no
hotels on either side of Point Grace, so it is a very quiet stretch of
In terms of the expanse of the beach, Point Grace has the best location
of all the resorts, except for Club Med Turkoise.
The water is a pleasing blue and the sand is powder white. Grace Bay is
beautiful. It does not surpass the spectacular beach/water on San
Salvador, Bahamas, but it ranks right up there.
There is no drink service on the beach, but the bar is nearby.
The big ritual at Point Grace is the serving of homemade fresh fruit
sorbets on the beach every afternoon at 2.30.
Dining and Drinks
Point Grace provides a complimentary Continental breakfast each
morning. They offer juice, milk, coffee (espresso and cappuccino),
teas, cereals, fruit, and a variety of breads (bagels, croissants,
The resort also serves casual lunches by the pool (sandwiches and
salads). The menu is very limited and very pricey. A cheeseburger and
fries were $19.50! For most lunches, we walked five minutes down the
beach to The Sands beachfront restaurant--Hemingway’s, where a
cheeseburger and fries are a much more palatable $7.95. (More on
Hemingway’s below.) To go to another restaurant for lunch, it would be
at least a 15-minute walk.
Mixed drink prices at the Point Grace bar ran about $6.50. Colin, the
regular bartender, knew his stuff. On the down side, the bar did not
open until 11 a.m., and on Colin’s day off, the other bartender did not
show up for work. Therefore, we needed to go to the 7-11 to buy sodas,
bottled water, and beer so we could have something to drink whenever
the bar was unmanned.
A nice aspect of Point Grace is the complimentary Happy Hour every
night beginning at 5.30 p.m. They have a variety of wines, beer and
hors d'oeuvres. Most of the guests did not show up for the Happy Hour
(see "Clientele" below), but we ended up making friends with the ones
who did. It is one of the few opportunities one has at Point Grace to
meet the other guests.
At the time of our visit, Point Grace was about to unveil its dinner
restaurant called Graces Cottage. But since it was not yet open, as
part of our package, Point Grace included three meals at local
restaurants and a private dinner in our room prepared by a chef. The
private dinner was a special experience. The chef, Paul, and his
assistant, Ahmet, set up a table on our terrace and served us shrimp
bisque, salad, sashimi tuna, and coconut ice cream for dessert. Paul
told us that after Graces Cottage opens, a private meal like that
will cost about $300 per couple, so we were glad we had the chance to
Point Grace offers a free shuttle to Grace Bay area restaurants, and it
is very convenient not to have to deal with taxis.
Following are brief comments on the restaurants we dined at during our
Anacaona--Exotic oceanfront dining at the Grace Bay Club. Anacaona is a
five-star restaurant, long considered the best on Provo. Candlelit
tables are under open-air palapas, and we heard the waves hitting the
beach. We went on Sunday, "Indonesian Night", but the restaurant has
different specials each night. They serve Euro-Caribbean cuisine,
particularly seafood. My husband is still raving about the lamb he had
there. An elegant place, Anacaona requires a collared shirt and pants
for men and appropriate attire for women. Cool looking tiki bar
adjacent to the restaurant.
Banana Boat--We went here for drinks after dinner. The restaurant
fronts the Turtle Cove Marina and is part of the Turtle Cove Inn. Very
casual, local hangout. Drink prices are exorbitant--a three-ounce mixed
drink was $6!
Bickels Jamaican Cuisine--Local Jamaican restaurant located downtown on
Airport Road. Very limited menu (four entrees), reasonably priced--
dinner for two was $28 including soup and couple Red Stripes. The place
has three tables and a small bar. Decent Jamaican food, but I would not
go out of my way to dine here again.
Caicos Café--French cuisine across the street from the Allegro Resort.
Very cute place with festive colored lights and open-air dining. Caicos
Café is fun, casual, and upbeat with great service. Extensive menu
(that changes daily) has something for everyone. Their conch chowder is
dynamite. We had a 10-ounce grilled lobster tail for $27--quite a deal.
We went here for dinner twice during our stay.
Coyaba Restaurant--The newest hot restaurant on Provo is Coyaba, part
of the Coral Gardens Beach Resort. This was my favorite place; I would
rank it just above Anacaona. Very romantic atmosphere in a gazebo
surrounded by gardens and fountains. Extensive menu featuring eclectic
Caribbean/European fusion cuisine. The guests at Point Grace were all
raving about the artistic presentations of the food. Ample wine list.
Added bonus: Coyaba serves Blue Mountain coffee--the only place we
found on Provo that does! Very professional, competent service. Cost
was about $140 for two, including wine.
Hemingway’s on the Beach--Hemingway’s is a pleasant beachside
restaurant, located at The Sands at Grace Bay. Tables are outside on a
wooden deck, about five steps from the sand. We dined here for lunch
three days, and had a great time each day. Service is very friendly,
and the standard lunch fare is reasonably priced.
The Terrace--The Terrace is located on an upstairs patio at the Turtle
Cove Inn. The restaurant has fresh fish every day and specializes in
seafood and conch dishes. We went on Saturday night, when The Terrace
features the popular sushi and sashimi platters. They have excellent
sashimi wahoo, conch, tuna and a variety of rolls. The food is
affordable, and many Point Grace guests said this was their favorite
Activities and Water Sports
Point Grace does not have many activities on which to report!
As far as the complimentary water sports go, Point Grace has a Hobie
Cat, two kayaks, snorkeling equipment, and floaties. With such a
limited amount of equipment, it is interesting that they have a full-
time water sports instructor on staff, Allan.
My husband was very upset that there was not a windsurf board, since
Point Grace promotes itself as having a "full range" of non-motorized
water sports. Allan went above the call of duty and took my husband
over to Ocean Club so that he could windsurf using their equipment
(free of charge). On other days, my husband ended up walking over to
the Allegro (10 minutes) and renting out boards for $20 per hour.
As part of our package, we were entitled to two in-room spa treatments.
My husband got a 25-minute massage, and I got a 25-minute mini-facial.
The therapist was Terry, who worked at the Ocean Club.
Point Grace also offers golf at the Provo Country Club and bicycles to
explore the island.
There were people in their 70’s on the high end, and couples in their
mid-20’s on the low end. I would say the average age was early 40’s.
Some children and infants around. The children were well behaved, but
it definitely changes the atmosphere of a romantic, classy resort when
there are kids playing on floaties in that remarkable pool.
What was bizarre was that there were very few guests at the beach, or
at the pool, or at breakfast, although the resort was almost fully
booked. The place was like a ghost town. I suspect most people cooked
and ate in their rooms. Nevertheless, that still does not explain why
the guests chose to stay in their rooms during the day rather than
enjoy the beach. Maybe it is a "condo mentality" to which I am not
When we told people around the island that we were staying at Point
Grace, they kind of grinned and would make a comment like, "A little
disorganized, huh?" The reputation of Point Grace’s inept front desk
staff preceded them.
There are only two competent people on the front desk staff: Simini,
and Pamela, a manager. Otherwise, if we had any request, no matter how
minor, the other staff would simply ignore it or say that they could
not handle it until Pamela was around. No one seemed empowered to do
anything or have any knowledge of basic procedures.
We had several special activities we paid for as part of our package,
and scheduling them was extraordinarily difficult. It required two or
three follow-ups per day. By the end of the week, we started booking
our excursions and activities on our own because it was easier.
On the other hand, the rest of the staff is friendly and accommodating.
A special thank you to Simini, Allan, Colin, Dennis (security), Paul,
and Ahmet for going the extra mile to make our stay at Point Grace a
As part of our package, Point Grace offered us a castaway picnic for
two on a remote beach. This was otherwise known as the Island
Destination tour, offered by J&B Tours.
We let the front desk staff know when we planned to go, yet when we
arrived at the dock, the J&B Tours representative told us that (not
surprisingly) no one from Point Grace had scheduled us and there was
not an extra lunch available. Luckily, J&B quickly assembled a lunch
basket for us, and off we went.
The Island Destination tour consisted of going out about 30 minutes on
a speedboat to a deserted island. The driver dropped us off on Fort
George island with an umbrella, two chairs, the aforementioned picnic
basket, and snorkel equipment. We told him we wanted to be picked up in
three-and-a-half hours, and that was perfect. The picnic basket
contained sandwiches, fruit, cookies, wine, beer, water, and soft
Another day we wanted to take the Beach Cruise, a three-hour boat tour.
Again, since the Point Grace staff had proven that they were unable to
schedule anything for us, we went over to the tour desk at The Sands.
Annie, the organizer at The Sands, was excellent. She had photos,
explained everything to us, and even called us to follow up later that
day to see how we liked the tour. The Beach Cruise started with a trip
to Little Water Cay to see the National Park, home to hundreds of rare
iguanas. Then we went out to open water to snorkle at an offshore reef.
Finally, we went to Fort George to collect shells and sand dollars. The
unplanned highlight of the tour was finding Jojo the dolphin and
watching him swim about a foot from our boat.
J&B Tours is outstanding. The staff was so helpful and we enjoyed our
excursions. A special thanks to Henry and Kisnel.
One day we called Sun ‘n’ Fun to reserve Sea-Doo jetskis for an hour.
Nancy from Sun ‘n’ Fun picked us up from Point Grace. We took the
jetskis out by the conch farm, away from the reefs.
Weather was consistent from day to day. Sunny in the mornings, cloudy
in the afternoons. Constant winds the entire week of 25-30 miles per
hour. It was impossible to play tennis in conditions like these, and
sometimes it was difficult to keep a beach towel on the chair. We had
minor rainstorms one afternoon. Temperature was in the low 80’s, so
with the winds, we did not even sweat.
Checking Out and Going Home
Check out was typical of our dealings with the front desk staff
throughout our stay.
I called the front desk to have our room charges printed so that we
could review them, and a half-hour later, no one had printed them out
or even noted the request.
We requested late checkout (which Point Grace honored with no problem),
and at our designated checkout time, the bellhop came to our room to
retrieve the bags.
I went down to the front desk to check out and turn in the keys. The
woman at the desk had me sign the credit card slip, handed the receipt
to me and turned away without saying thank you or good bye or anything.
An appropriate send off, I thought.
As I walked out, rather irritated, Ahmet, Colin, and the general
manager Duncan MacArthur came by to say good-bye. So that was nice, and
like I said, the staff problems we encountered were only with the front
The Point Grace van was ready for us, and we set off for the airport.
Point Grace does not have a gift shop on property to buy sundries, so
make sure you bring everything from home!
The "island hopper" package that enabled guests to spend time at both
Point Grace and Parrot Cay is no longer available. Apparently,
management had a falling out with Parrot Cay. Based on the comments we
heard from guests who came from Parrot Cay, no big loss. Comments
like, "boring", "lots of bugs", and "we were glad to get to Point
Grace", did not make me want to rush out and make a reservation.
Renting a car is not necessary. There is not too much to see on Provo,
and the guests that did rent a car did not get much use out of it.
Between Point Grace’s shuttle service and taxis, you should be covered.
Mosquitoes came out at sundown, stayed an hour, and left. It was the
strangest thing. As long as we kept the doors and windows shut before
dinner, we were not bitten. However, it cannot hurt to bring bug spray
I used my cellular telephone to make calls while in Provo. The operator
from Cable and Wireless did something to my phone while setting me up
with temporary service, and it took engineers back home in Chicago an
hour to figure out how to reinstate my service. They said they had
never seen anything like it before! My advice is to rent a telephone
when you are on site.
Future of Point Grace
As I stated earlier, Point Grace is opening Graces Cottage restaurant
We were also told that Point Grace plans to construct more hotel rooms
across the road near Graces Cottage and to build a fitness center.
Point Grace is a small, stylish, elegant resort. The atmosphere is
extremely quiet and relaxing. The major advantages Point Grace offers
over the other hotels on Provo are a terrific stretch of beach, and
high-end, opulent accommodations.
Point Grace has a way to go before it can be classified as five stars,
and I hope the service/staff training issues will be worked out soon.
However, Point Grace is not inexpensive, and there is very little to do
there. Frankly, I was ready to leave after four days. There is only so
much lounging and reading and quiet time I can stand.
Provo in general seems to draw mainly families with young children and
senior citizens. At one point, we had a man in his late 50’s ask
us, "Why would a couple in their 30’s want to come here? I’m just
wondering--it does not seem like there is much do here." I was asking
myself the same question.
I might return for a long weekend, but there are other Caribbean
islands and resorts I enjoyed more.
Thanks to Lara for this trip report ...