> Destinations > Turks & Caicos Islands > Trip Reports > Trip Report
Aug 30-Sep 7 2003
Summary: This was our second trip to this Beaches. We loved the first trip, and enjoyed this one. We can highly recommend this for anyone, especially if you have kids.
Flight and arrival: American Airlines was on time and efficient. They've provide extra leg room in coach, and that was very nice. Arrival on Provenciales was efficiently handled by Beaches.
Check-in: This, unfortunately, was almost a debacle. And we weren't the only ones. We arrived at the end of their busy season, so could understand they had some problems matching people up with rooms, but they couldn't seem to make themselves say something to that affect. We got to the resort at about 1 PM, and had to wait for the room to be ready, so we ate and loafed around. They assigned a second floor room to us that was a bit out of the way despite the fact that my wife made it clear to them that she has trouble with stairs and needs to be close to activities to shorten walking distances. We asked to be changed, and they did, but getting the new room ready took until almost 4:30. It turned out to be a room with two double beds which was nice, but we did want a king bed. They moved us the next day to a good room.
Facilities and grounds. All the buildings and facilities are well maintained and the entire resort is a pleasure to walk around in. Our room was nice and the maid service kept it spotless. The grounds were being constantly maintained and the flora and fauna were beautiful. We got to watch birds (and cats) hunt for lizards.
Restaurants. This Beaches has eight restaurants and dining areas. They closed the Arizona for maintenance, but moved the menu to the Regency, which was fine. The pool bar-normally part of the restaurant-was set up next to the pool and worked fine. We ate at the Italian buffet, the Regency buffet, the Arizona, Schooners, the French restaurant, and the Sushi Shack. We skipped the Japanese (overheard mixed reviews) and the International (didn't care for it on our last trip, but overheard good comments this time). We particularly liked the Sushi Shack, and had our fill of sushi four out of seven evenings. It is open-air and you can enjoy the breeze and environment while eating sushi prepared by a legitimate sushi chef (who also plays good tennis). One evening a humming bird flew into the flowers on the tree next to the shack.
· Schooners (surf and turf). Excellent the first time. Okay the second time. We met couple at the resort who said they were treated shabbily one evening. Apparently, the staff was catering to travel agents and conventioneer front-men and ignored regular guests.
· French restaurant. Was good, but not as good as we remember from our last stay. (Who invented couce-couce? Ugh!)
· Italian restaurant/buffet. Very good. Food was outstanding.
· Regency (I think this is the name). Usually good, but not spectacular. One lunch we didn't have a single server wait on us. We had to grab the host as he walked by to get some water. The seafood feast night was good, but not as good as one would hope.
· Pirate's Cove. This was for snacks and was convenient and nice.
· French Bakery. We spent many relaxing moments here. The desserts are great, the staff very nice and they made good specialty coffees.
Bars. All the bars serve fast and courteously. I did hear some complaints about speed of service, but didn't see a problem, myself.
Entertainment. They had excellent evening entertainment. People seemed to enjoy it every evening.
Pools. There are four big pools. One is huge. The Jacuzzis were all good, but the adults-only one was broken.
Fitness Center. Certainly adequate, if not outstanding. They have a hot and cold dip that provides for an interesting experience.
Spa. Another couple we met was asked by a friend who works at beaches to use the spa several times. They did, and they were disappointed, even though they didn't have to pay. The staff seemed disinterested and aloof, though the actual services were okay.
Activities. I tend to compare activities to what goes on at Club Meds, which are activity-oriented. In other words, I'm usually disappointed that things don't have more structure and participation.
· Snorkeling: We love to snorkel and took as many trips as we could. However, the fish seemed to have disappeared. Perhaps something to do with the tides. Anyway, the lack of fish and the fact that it seemed that the reefs has lost some of their beauty in the last year-and-a half made these snorkel trips less than memorable. I can't remember, but it seemed that our last stay at Beaches, they had three trips a day, including one fairly late (3 PM). This time, they had two primary trips (11 and 1:30) and one for the concierge at 10. This compressed snorkeling schedule and the lack of fish took some of the luster off our trip. We did see a school of squid once. They swam right up to us and checked us out for several minutes.
· Sailing: Sailing was great for four days, and then the wind died down. Still, it was nice.
· Beach: The beach is fabulous. You can relax all you need to and enjoy wonderful sand and water. You can walk about a ¼ mile down the beach to a coral park to snorkel from the beach. They have removed the two big inner tubes with trampolines that the kids seemed to like so much last year.
· Tennis. They have four nice courts and an instructor there every day but Sunday. He's very good (if a little full of himself). There were enough tennis players that we had games every day I played.
· Scuba. I didn't do the resort dive because of a recently repaired ear drum. I probably could have passed a local exam, but didn't follow through. Several people who did the resort dive really enjoyed it, and I highly recommend it for anyone who likes the water and can pass their little swim test. The regular scuba trips were apparently outstanding.
· Beach volleyball. It was a bit windy, but I didn't even see an effort to get a game going.
· Basketball. Same.
· Water volleyball. Lots of it happening, but the pool is not conducive to a good game. One side is in shallow water while the other is in water about a foot deeper.
Excursions. We didn't do an excursion. We wanted to do the French Cay trip, but it was not going because of rough seas. People who went on the half-day snorkel trip said it was fun.
Check out and departure. This was efficient and quick
Conclusion. The staff was wonderful. The facilities were great. They did try to charge us for a phone call we never made, but they let it pass when I disputed the charge. (Another couple checking out had $150 in surprise phone charges. Seems they didn't see the small note on the phone that stated there is a $6 per minute charge for all calls, including 800 numbers.)
I wonder why they can't do like Club Med for dining at the buffet; that is, use large round tables so people can interact a bit. I'd also like to see some scheduled game times that actually happen. Also, how about a few get-togethers for people that might want to play cards or other board games?
We'll probably go back, but we'll do other resorts first to see if there is something better. We've been very disappointed with Sandals (Royal Bahamian and Royal Caribbean), but we hear the Sandals on Antigua is good.
Thanks to Chris for this trip report ...