> Destinations > Turks & Caicos Islands > Trip Reports > Trip Report
We traveled from Newark, NJ non-stop to Providenciales on a Continental charter. No one from Beaches or Sandals showed up to do activities on the plane as we were told they would.
First and most importantly, my kids had a great time on this vacation. They met kids their ages and found fun things to do all week. The scheduled activities were pretty well organized and they were able to pick and choose what they wanted to do. Highlights were my son going windsurfing -- there were three boys who showed up for the lessons and the Beaches guy spent the whole afternoon with them. My daughter was talked into the Talent Show and the Miss Teen contests by a staff member, "Junior". He was really nice to the kids and we all enjoyed his dancing and sense of humor. We have some priceless video of our daughter singing her heart out on stage in front of many hundreds of people on the main stage...
For the not-so-great stuff -- we were a little disappointed in the resort overall compared to Sandals St. Lucia, which was just elegant.
Not a pretty island at all. The water and beach were gorgeous, but compared to the tropical St. Lucia, the island looked like a gravel pit. The resort itself was tropical, of course.
We were somehow "downgraded" to a room that did not meet our expectations. Even the room we booked would have been small, perhaps, but in the French Village, it would have been a new room instead of the very old room in the Main Building where we were placed. I asked immediately about going back to the room were were "upgraded" from; I was told it was not available. The room we were in the first two nights was no Suite. They called it a Junior Suite because it had a mini bar setup. The view was a tree on the balcony and the service entrance (dumpsters and trucks) by the door. The walk to and from the room was extremely long. There were ants all over the balcony and the bathroom floor. My wife was extremely upset. This was totally unacceptable to her and I spent a lot of time trying to make her feel better for the rest of the week, even after we moved.
Our travel agent finally got in touch with them Monday and quickly got us moved. The room we ended up in was very nice but was apparently the LEAST nice in the Parrot Cays -- first floor, in the back, view of the chain link fence, landscaping in bad shape. We found out that some people we met had complained about it and got moved (from our room!) to a nicer room (upper floor, by the beach) in the same building. The thing is that our relocation was so much nicer than the room we started in that we thought we had better make the best of it. The layout was opposite of what I had hoped: the main area included the Master Bedroom, Bath, etc. and the separate room was the pullout couch where the kids slept. This was also opposite the layout in our St. Lucia suite (master bedroom was a separate room). The level of service we received went up about 1000% after we were moved on Monday. We asked for towels and they came in five minutes. We asked for some Red Stripe beer later that day, and that took about 7 minutes. We had many extra towels and beers every time we returned to the room after that. This was not the case the first two nights. I'm not sure how I feel about this as I should have been getting excellent service in ANY room.
The French Village pool (Riviera) was gorgeous, new, and immaculately clean. The main bartender (Joseph Finlayson) quickly warmed up to the wife and I on the first day, when we displayed a little patience waiting for service when he was beseiged by some poorly-mannered children...he took great care to keep us with drink the rest of the week. He renamed the "Royal Boat" to the "Double Trouble" in our honor since we were ordering them with a couple of extra pours of his best dark rum. This is where we spent most of our pool time. It was uncrowded and very comfortable.
The main pool bar was, well...usually crammed with noisy kids and parents who didn't seem to mind that their kids were so obnoxious. We might have had three or four drinks there all week. You could tell the staff were at the limits of their patience. I give them a lot of credit for not drowning any kids all week.
The Iguana (middle size) pool was always busy with activities for the kids. The staff was great there, but the pool bar only seats about six people. The pool is in poor shape (chunks of broken bottom, mold and missing tile on the bar) and looks like the original pool from the original hotel. Someone actually sliced his foot pretty badly on the pool bottom while we were playing volleyball. We heard a lot of comments from others that the pool was "scheduled for an overhaul". I enjoyed this pool because of the activities (conch cooking demonstration, pool volleyball, dance lessons, etc.).
We did not have our reservations made by our travel agent. We ended up eating at Kimono's with the kids, which was so-so. The chef must have been a new guy because he didn't say much or do much all night. I was only bummed about this because the kids had heard our stories about St. Lucia (catching shrimp in our mouth, etc.) and they were excited to go there.
The kids opted not to go to Sapodillas or Le Petit Chateau simply because they were busy with friends and activities, so we got to have two nice romantic dinners. Both were very good. Good food and service. This somehow made us feel better about the lack of privacy in the room. Note: I had much better Grouper in Daytona, Florida last year...
Generally I enjoyed the food in all the restaurants. Schooners was the best for me with good breakfast and awesome dinners (seafood!!!). We also really enjoyed the Italian Restaurant breakfast and dinner buffets -- elegant dinner buffet! I was impressed.
Our trip was relaxing and we all got a tan and the kids totally enjoyed themselves. As value for the dollar goes, this certainly counts for a lot. We did not expect this to be a gorgeous, romantic holiday like we had at Sandals St. Lucia. We were prepared for a lot of kids and it was not a surprise. We were, however, disappointed in our accommodations. This trip cost more than St. Lucia and our room was really not 'all that'. We would do this differently in the future. My feeling is that I will spend another thousand or more to be assured the we are BOOKED in an excellent suite. Any upgrade, if it even happens, will be a bonus. I think the next trip will be Adults Only, and we may opt for something with more night life (maybe not an all-inclusive).
Also, Beaches Returning Guest is not the same as Sandals Returning Guest. No dinner, just a cocktail party for Signature Guests. No t-shirts, no special handling or treatment that we were aware of. This was a bit of a disappointment as well. Perhaps we had a distorted reference point because we went to St. Lucia first and we were expecting to be treated like royalty, like we were there.
We would probably not go back to Beaches Turks and Caicos. There are too many other resorts for us to gamble that we would have a disappointing experience again. If you are interested in a kids' vacation, I recommend that you find out exactly as much as possible about maintenance that may be going on, and about how full the resort is. Book the nicest room you can afford!
Don't expect a Beaches to be like a Sandals With Kids as it is advertised though, because you will certainly be disappointed.
Thanks to Michael for this trip report ...