It was a conversation that Keith and I had, no fewer than umpteen times, beginning in late January. It’s true that we’ve had a lot of fun travel opportunities over the past few years, but it’s also true that aside from visiting with family, we hadn’t taken a non-work related trip in three years. But mid-April rolled around and we still hadn’t booked anything, and I was reaching my breaking point. So on a Saturday morning, credit card in hand, I hopped onto Delta Vacations website, and booked a non-refundable trip … while Keith and Mayhem were at the grocery store.
A quick two weeks later, we were headed to ATL, with passports, sunglasses, and bathing suits in hand. Next stop: Turks and Caicos Islands. Providencials, to be more precise.
We spent just over two and a half hours in the air, and before we had even landed, Mayhem grabbed me and said, “Thanks for bringing me here, Mom!” The views were pretty darn spectacular from above.
We deplaned in the pouring rain, gathered our luggage, and Mayhem excitedly watched as the first stamp was added to her passport. We found our shuttle, and after a crazy 20 minute drive ‘on the wrong side of the road!’, we had arrived. And the rain had stopped.
I had booked us a room at the Key West Village at Beaches Turks & Caicos resort. After battling back and forth in my mind, I ultimately settled on an all-inclusive resort because I really was hoping we’d just be able to relax on this trip. And having 20+ restaurants to choose from on site seemed like it would make dealing with Mayhem’s food allergies (and our recent switch to a mainly plant based diet) a bit easier. I also wasn’t sure how much Mayhem would love (or fuss about) the beach, so I opted for a resort with plenty of pools and even a water park.
And the beach. The beach was the real reason I settled on Turks and Caicos (with my fingers crossed, since we’d never been there). Keith and I had visited various beaches in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, long before Mayhem was born, and we knew that the beaches at many resorts weren’t always as they’d seemed from the advertising. Sometimes they were fabulous, sometimes there wasn’t a real beach at all, and sometimes there was so much (stinky) seaweed, you didn’t want to venture into the water. I was considering this Mayhem’s first real beach vacation (we’d been to a beach in North Carolina when she was a year and a half, and then to a beach in Alabama when she was two … but she was too young to remember either) and I wanted to find a place where the beach was clean and the water was transparent. Truth be told, I’ve never been a fan of getting into water where I can’t see what else is swimming around, so I’ve often found myself on the beach, simply gazing out across the ocean, or making my way to a pool if I needed to cool off.
But everything I read about Grace Bay (the 12 mile beach that Beaches sits along) kept assuring me that this beach was just what I was looking for.
And it delivered….
And Mayhem LOVED it!
The idea for this vacation was to relax, which is why we left our phones and cameras in the safe for the majority of the time we were there. And that was VERY therapeutic! I didn’t have the need or desire to capture every minute of every day, and we spent more time making memories than capturing them. Usually, only once a day, did I grab my phone and toss it in the beach bag for a couple hours so that I’d try to remember to take a few photographs.
I wasn’t planning to write any type of resort review and I didn’t take photographs with that in mind, but since we’ve had so much interest in where we stayed, I thought I’d share some thoughts on our stay:
The resort is massive and comprised of four villages (Caribbean, French, Italian and Key West), each with it’s own distinct theme. The grounds are pretty immaculately maintained, and we enjoyed walking around and seeing the other areas. If you’re not a fan of (lots) of walking, you should probably give this resort a second thought. But if you enjoy lots of space, lots of pristine beach, beautifully maintained grounds, and you don’t mind walking … keep this one in mind.
Our room was nice, with a king size bed, plus a daybed sleeper that also had an additional pull out trundle. At first, Mayhem wasn’t stoked about the idea of sleeping on the daybed, but it was really big and super comfy, so it worked out perfectly. We had a small balcony with two chairs (we had a resort view room) and we also had a small table and two chairs inside the room as well. We had a fully stocked mini bar and fridge, which were replenished daily, as well. We never touched the juice or sodas in the fridge, but it was fantastic to take cold bottled water to the beach or pool everyday. Keith and I also didn’t mind that there was a bottle of red wine waiting for us nightly 🙂 The room was very clean and had plenty of space for the three of us and we never felt cramped or crowded. As for the bathroom, it was fine. Nice. Nothing special, but nothing terrible.
Water park and Pools:
Mayhem LOVED the water park! Keith and I even took our turns on the big slides and agreed that they were a blast. As a family, we had a great time floating in tubes along the lazy river, and when Keith and I had had enough, we grabbed a couple of chairs next to the ‘kid’ slides and watched Mayhem wear herself out.
As for the pools, there is definitely something for everyone. But I never once took a dip in one, and even Mayhem’s ‘pool time’ was brief, since we all seemed to be happier at the beach. Having been to all-inclusive resorts in the past, I was aware that there are usually louder/rowdier/party pools, and usually at least one ‘quiet’ pool. This was part of my strategic planning on which section of the resort to book our room. I had read that the Key West Village is the newest section of the resort, but also the quietest. That was the hook for me. Outside of the infinity pool in the Key West Village, Mayhem only ever swam in the pool in the French Village. And that happened to be because we were walking through, and it wasn’t busy (or loud). Passing through the Caribbean and Italian villages, I can confidently tell you that they were geared towards partying. Lots of loud music, lots of people, lots of drinking in the pool. We slipped back to the Key West side and left the noise and the crowds behind…
Food & Drink/Restaurants:
I didn’t choose this all-inclusive resort because I thought the food would be spectacular, I chose it because there were SO many restaurants to choose from on site. I thought that having lots of options would make dealing with Mayhem’s allergies easier, but I also thought that we’d have a lot more options given our recent change to a mainly plant based diet. I’m going to be honest with you, we struggled with the food. And while we didn’t try (even close to) every restaurant, we found ourselves reading the menus at some of the restaurants, and turning away, heading for the buffet so that we’d hopefully find more ‘non meat’ options. The buffets generally did have a decent selection of salads and veggies, and cooked dishes with veggies, rice or pasta, but for the most part, the buffet items lacked flavor. We tried to keep Mayhem’s diet in check, but she was thrilled to be able to find a cheeseburger or pizza anytime she was hungry. Keith and I were successful at staying away from meat, but did have a few dishes with fish or seafood. Finding breakfast items that were non-meat, non-dairy, non-egg or non-sugar filled, was also crazy hard. Again, we didn’t try all the restaurants (so I can’t judge them all), but I can say that while my kid was thrilled with the junk available 24/7, Keith and I were ready to get home so we could fix our own meals.
THIS IS WHAT WE CAME FOR!!! And it is by far, the most spectacular beach I’ve ever seen. One look at that water and I knew I’d be spending some time in it, and that is exactly how we spent the bulk of our time. Floating in that perfectly clear water and watching the sun make diamonds dance across it. Grace Bay beach is a public beach and is approximately 12 miles long, so we took advantage one day, and headed east. I’m not sure how far we made it before Mayhem began her incessant whining about going back, but the beach and water were simply stunning as far as we walked (and could see)!
Keith and I would have spent an entire day walking on the beach, but Mayhem wondered why anyone would walk on a beach when you could be playing in the water. We also spent plenty of time lounging under a cabana while Mayhem built sand castles and played with other kids on the beach.
Wonderful! That pretty much sums it up. Anything we could have wanted or needed, we were told to “just ask”, but we’re pretty low maintenance people, so we didn’t have many needs. All of the staff we encountered were friendly, welcoming and very accommodating.
First, know this – Turks and Caicos isn’t a cheap place to visit. Across the board, regardless of what resorts I looked into, Turks and Caicos was going to be more expensive than any of the other Caribbean destinations where I could find all-inclusive resorts. In fact, we could have gone to to just about any resort Mexico (Cancun/Riviera Maya area) for the same dates, for half the price. BUT, we did time our trip pretty well, and got a break on the rates with it being after spring break and before summer break rolled around. Which also meant that the resort was nowhere near maximum occupancy …. which is precisely how we hoped it would be.
Final thoughts/Would we go back …
We’d go back to Turks and Caicos in a heartbeat. In fact, I’ll just go ahead and say we WILL be back! And if we go back with the sole intention of relaxing (like we did for this vacation), I’ll be looking at other resorts. Don’t get me wrong, Beaches resort is a very family friendly, beautiful resort, with LOTS of activities to participate in. That being said, I won’t feel the need to pay for all of those activities that we didn’t take advantage of (watersports, kids club, etc.) on our next trip. I now know that my kid is perfectly content to hang out on the beach, and I know the beach is spectacular, so a smaller resort with a nice pool feels like it could definitely meet our needs.
I think Beaches resort would be an excellent choice for a multi-generational trip or if you’re traveling with several kids and have to keep everyone happy, as there is no shortage of options for activities or food. It was an excellent ‘safe’ choice for first timers to Turks and Caicos, and allowed us to experience the island with minimal risk. But I think we’re ready to see more of Providenciales.
Oh, and just in case it looks like Mayhem went on vacation by herself …
Keith and I actually were there, with her 🙂