If the Caribbean provides the ultimate in relaxing retreats, then the Turks and Caicos isles are certainly some of the shiniest diamonds in its crown: perfect, glassy turquoise seas and white sandy beaches as standard. We travelled, via Miami, to Providenciales, capital of Turks and Caicos, to celebrate the grand opening of the new Key West Luxury Village at the sprawling Beaches family resort.
Where we stayed
Located on the award-winning Grace Bay the Village is the latest six star addition to the already three-village strong complex on the same site. Key West is home to 150 villas and suites (some with private pools), a spa, three restaurants (all with sea views), and one of two on-site Sesame Street branded kids’ clubs. All guests are welcome to roam between the easy-to-navigate villages. We would recommend bringing a pram or wagon to keep handy for young kids, whose legs may sometimes tire before yours.
Tip: The golf buggy hitch-a-ride system makes getting between villages and restaurants really easy. Available on request from the concierge.
Beaches all-inclusive resorts are the family-friendly version of the couples-only Sandals all-inclusive resorts, which was founded in the 1990s by Jamaican family man, Gordon Stewart. He and his team discovered that providing couple’s only resorts was all fine and dandy – until their customers (often newlyweds) began to have children themselves. Stewart now has three grandchildren of his own and with his sons (Adam, the CEO, and Bobby, Director at Sandals Resorts) working beside him at the helm, the family-run nature of his business lends itself to creating a very well informed family travel offering.
The Luxury Included package offered at all Beaches resorts means being able to leave your credit card at home, as it does what it says on the tin and literally means everything, (food, drink and most activities) is included in the all-inclusive rate. Beaches makes some rather large claims about being the ‘best all-inclusive resorts’ – but don’t be sceptical. Here, your every whim is considered and catered for, (we know, because we experienced it), and although being able to relax in the knowledge that you know how much you have spent can create a budget image, this is the opposite of a ‘budget’ holiday. You’ll be able to relax in the knowledge that everything at Beaches resorts can be considered six-star-quality. This might be a good time to mention the butler serviced rooms, complimentary mini bars, 19 restaurants each as elegant and mouth-watering as the next spread over the four villages, certified International Nanny Association nannies available for babysitting, and the 45,000 square foot, on site Pirate’s Island waterpark – including three flumes, the Caribbean’s only surf simulator and a relaxing lazy river.
Make no bones about it; this is a well-oiled, family-friendly resort: the owners clearly know how to have a good time. But of course they do, because they are from Jamaica - the home of ‘just say relax’. This is not only evident in the range of activities on offer and the array of dining options (19 restaurants - try a different one each day) but also by the rather large number of happy kids and happy, relaxed, parents, i.e. everyone we saw while at the resort.
The giant waterpark features a kids’ swim up ‘bar’ (best to instill these habits early), which is attached to Bobby D’s – a ‘50s style diner serving the most incredible ice creams and American diner food all day (and night, as we discovered). There are 10 swimming pools to choose from, as well as the waterpark. But don’t forget the beautiful 12-mile stretch of Grace Bay Beach that the resort is located on. As well as all of the entertainment and watersports on tap, sometimes all you need is a bucket and spade – or energy to jump over those waves.
Being on holiday in the Caribbean should mean not needing to plan ahead. And at Beaches you can decide on childcare arrangements on the day – no need to book into Camp Sesame, the on site children’s club. Managed by trained nannies and counsellors the camp caters for children from newborn to four years. Camp Sesame in the Caribbean Village is equipped with cots, swings and rockers, a children’s swimming pool with canopy, separate play area, kids’ playground, arts & craft table and loads more to keep them entertained. All nursery & babysitting staff are trained in child care. There is also a Camp Sesame base at the Key West Village, which may be convenient if this is where you are staying.
For a small extra cost you can also choose to head along, with children of any age, to a hilarious Sesame Street character breakfast featuring all nine characters, (adults dressed as the fun-loving characters) at 8am on Mondays and Thursdays. The tables are decorated with themed bright and bold tableware, banners and helium balloons. And the dance parade is entertainment for the whole family: watching Elmo breakdance and the Cookie monster shake his big blue belly.
Children of all ages are sure to stop in their tracks when they see Big Bird et al wandering around the resort grounds. Even adults won’t be able to resist taking a snap with Elmo, (everyone’s favourite, no?)
* Don’t miss… The Sesame Street Parade takes place on Tuesday evenings – one not to be missed, however old your children.
Luxury as standard
Beaches Turks and Caicos manages to be all things to all ages of children. From babies being looked after at the superb crèche, to younger children loving the Sesame Street character activities, and older siblings heading to the waterpark or Xbox station - not that you have come to the Caribbean to watch your children play on video games, but let’s face it, supply and demand rules and it can provide a welcome break for teens to escape the sun and make like-minded friends.
It could be said that all-inclusive Caribbean resorts sometimes suffer from a somewhat out of date reputation. The ‘low-cost-equals-low-quality’ image conjuring a less than enticing image. But, as with all other types of holiday, there is a sliding scale, and Beaches is certainly at the very pinnacle of luxurious all-inclusive holidaymaking. The Turks & Caicos resort offering the best in family activities, fine dining, luxury accommodation and tropical treats galore, for families seeking the very best kind of relaxing and elegant yet fun-packed getaway.
- The Red Lane® Spa in the Key West Village provides massages and nail treatments. You can even get a nail touched up if your manicure is damaged.
- Don’t miss the late night chocolate buffet, which happens on a weekly basis and serves handmade chocolate and delicious chocolate martinis.
- Organise a date night with your partner, by booking one of the nannies to stay with the children.
- Join in with a Kitty Katt cruise: Board a state of the art 65-foot catamaran for a family cruise. Including snorkeling and a stop off at a beautiful beach. We spotted an iguana on our trip to the island. Other tours to see iguanas in their natural habitat are also available. Book via the Island Routes Tours Desk in the Italian Village. A wide selection of exciting tours are available.
- Watersports (Kayaks, Windsurfing, Snorkeling, Aqua Trikes, Hobie Cats, Paddleboards) at Beaches are included in your package. Scuba diving is included for certified divers, who can take up to two inclusive dives daily. Check terms when booking for non-certified divers.
For those who wish to experience scuba diving for the first time, the PADI Discover Scuba course is offered for a nominal fee. This course will be valid for one year and will allow you to dive at all Sandals and Beaches Resorts. A full PADI or NAUI International Scuba Dive Certification can be done at an additional fee. Children can learn scuba skills too with the Bubblemaker and Seal Team Programme at an additional cost.
- Guests are free to use all facilities on all adjoining properties – the Caribbean, French, Italian and Key West Villages
- There are 10 swimming pools, plus a 45,000 square foot waterpark.
- There are 19 dining options, encouraging guests to ‘savour the world’, including two adult only restaurants. Foodie fare ranges from woodfired pizza, and fresh seafood to teppenyaki grill and Parisian feasts. Our tip would be to book a table at the seafood, beachfront Schooners restaurant for sunset.
- The resort is just 15 minutes from the airport, via a road transfer.
What’s included in the cost…
All Meals, Drinks & Snacks, Premium-Brand Drinks, Accommodation, Scuba Diving & Watersports, Kids Supervised Activities, Tips, gratuities, hotel taxes, Butler Service, Airport transfers
A 7-night package staying at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
Seven nights staying at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa in the brand new Key West Luxury Village, on a Luxury Included® (all-inclusive) basis costs from £2489 per adult and £1225 per child. A family of four costs from £7429. Return flights, resort transfers, tips, gourmet speciality dining, premium branded alcohol and soft drinks, and water sports are all included in the price. For further information or to make a booking, contact your local travel agent, call Beaches Resorts on 0800 597 0002, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.beachesresorts.co.uk. Excursions on the island are bookable through Island Routes Caribbean Adventures (www.islandroutes.co.uk). Price is based on select departure dates between 01 Sep – 16 Oct flying direct with British Airways (Sundays only) from London Heathrow.
For more information, visit www.beachesresorts.co.uk