Pre-Christmas Fun in the Sun at Beaches, Turks & Caicos

Pre-Christmas Fun in the Sun at Beaches, Turks & Caicos

If you’re looking for an all-inclusive, family-friendly resort look no further than Beaches Turks & Caicos.  Situated on one of the world’s consistently rated top beaches, Grace Bay, powdery white sand and clear turquoise water stretch in either direction directly in front of the resort. 

Grace Bay Beach

You’ll have your choice of five distinct villages to stay in:  Key West, Italian, French, Caribbean, and Seaside.  Each village mills into the next, each with nice theming.  Well-maintained paved walkways meander throughout the resort and as large as the resort is, it’s not easy to get lost.  There are signs posted throughout and everything flows well. 

The beautiful resort grounds

The lighting at night sets a beautiful ambiance and we loved wandering about once the sun set.  We grabbed a coffee at Café de Paris, gelato from Bobby Dee’s, and caught the evening’s entertainment offerings.

About the Turks & Caicos Islands

The Turks & Caicos Islands are in the far east of the Caribbean.  The islands are situated in the north Atlantic Ocean, approximately 600 miles southeast of Miami, Florida. 

Map of the Caribbean, including the Turks & Caicos Islands

The Turks & Caicos Islands are a British overseas territory with a population of approximately 44,000 people living on nine of the inhabited islands.  Turks and Caicos, as the name suggests, are a group of two islands, the Turks and the Caicos Islands.  The deep Turks Islands Passage separates the Turks from the Caicos.  Even though it is a British territory, the US Dollar is the currency.  Consistently pleasant weather and low annual rainfall makes these islands great to visit any time of year. 

The islands got their name as a sort of warning of the prevalence of pirate presence in the 1600s and 1700s.  The word “turk” was slang for pirate while “caicos” comes from Cayo Hico, a Taino term meaning island chain.  So essentially pirates in the island chain = Turks & Caicos!

An aerial view of Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

About Beaches, Turks & Caicos

Beaches is an all-inclusive family-friendly resort located in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos.  Boasting 5 distinct villages, 21 restaurants, multiple pools, a waterpark, and an incredible location on Grace Bay, it packs in a lot to offer families for a fun and relaxing getaway.  Being an all-inclusive resort, all dining, entertainment, and water activities are included.  You can lock up your wallet upon arrival and not take it out of the safe until departure.  All-inclusive is a wonderful feature when traveling as a family!

It is a quick 15 minute ride from the Providenciales International Airport to the resort.  Upon check in, our bags were unloaded from the shuttle and brought directly to our room.  We were offered rum punch (sans rum for the under 18 crowd) and a cold towel as soon as we got out of our shuttle.  Vacation time begins immediately!

We were escorted to our room and given a brief overview of the resort.  Once we got to our room we checked out the beautiful view of the resort grounds with a partial ocean view. 

The lovely view from our room

We stayed concierge (which I’ll get into below) so we had a fully stocked fridge, replenished daily.  We were able to choose from a few Robert Mondavi wines to have on hand as well as plenty of water bottles and sodas. 

A daily entertainment guide is brought to the room every day during housekeeping.  The evening entertainment was ever changing so we were sure to check out its offerings.  Times for kids and teen clubs were listed as well as any special events going on in either of those locations. 

Also in the room is a restaurant guide with a QR code to download the menus, the hours of each restaurant, as well as the dress code.  Most restaurants were “resort casual” with a few being “resort evening”.  There is only one restaurant where you need a reservation, Kimono’s.  We contacted our concierge and had reservations on our final night there. 

How to Pick a Village

With five distinct villages it’s hard to know which one to pick, so we will break it down below.

The Seaside and Caribbean villages are situated right next to each other.  Seaside sits directly in front of the beach and Caribbean sits back a bit further.  Both are very quick walks to the beach with many rooms having an ocean view.  The location is great with easy access to the beach, pool, and restaurants as well as the Kids Camp.  Shuffleboard and a basketball court are located here as well.  This is the oldest part of the resort, so the rooms are a little more tired than the newer parts.

The Italian village was impressive.  It was new and beautiful with some of the rooms having ocean views.  This is the best area for evening ambiance.  Strolling through the shops next to beautiful fountains, give guests an enchanting Italian evening vibe.

The French village, set back behind the Italian Village, has a garden-like feel.  It was a very happening place during the day with the Pirate’s Island Waterpark located here.  The evening entertainment is also located here so if you are one to get to bed early you might want to stay in a different area.  We found it a lot of fun to grab some coffee and dessert at Cafe de Paris and catch the evening entertainment. 

Lastly, the Key West village is the newest and most luxurious of villages, with some villas having their own private pool.  It is located close to the beach.  Table mates at one of our dinners said it seemed further away from a lot of the action, however.  If you’re looking for the quietest area, this may be for you.  If you want to be closer to the kids and teen clubs and the waterpark, you might want to choose either the French or Italian Village.

So a quick breakdown:

  • Caribbean & Seaside – close to the beach and several restaurants, shuffleboard and basketball; Kids Camp located here; older part of the resort
  • Italian – close to the beach; massive pool; close to the waterpark shopping; great evening ambiance
  • French – garden-like setting contains the most action with the waterpark and evening entertainment
  • Key West – the most luxurious of the villages with options for private pool.  Quieter, set back further from the action and restaurants

Hopefully this will help you decide which village is for you!

The Italian Village

Importantly, How is the Food?

Probably one of the most important aspects of an all-inclusive stay is where to dine!  Beaches boasts 21 restaurants, many bars, two food trucks, and middle shelf liquor along with Robert Mondavi wines.

Dining al fresco, with palm trees and a sea breeze

Dining at beaches was very easy for our family with dietary restrictions.  As our server approached our table the very first thing we were asked was whether or not any of us had food allergies.  No matter the restaurant, everyone was able to find something.  Very thankful for the ease of this!

Reviews of the Restaurants We Dined At:

  • Arizonas – Some in our party had the steak which they said was excellent, Braden and I had the BBQ chicken which was also good.  It is marketed as Tex-Mex but there weren’t any fajitas or tacos on the menu.  Still, sitting outside near the lit tiki torches for dinner was welcomed.
  • Sopadillas – we ate a late lunch here on arrival day as well as well as the breakfast buffet a few times and both were good.  There were plenty of options to choose from such as a made-to-order omelet, French toast, pancakes, a variety of pastries, fresh fruit, and plenty of breakfast meats.  We actually really prefer this to any sit down restaurants for breakfast due to how quickly you can assemble your meal.  We ate here on departure day which was a good and quick last meal.
  • Marios – our favorite meal!  This restaurant is gorgeous with soaring ceilings, timber beams, and a lovely raised patio for dining al fresco.  The antipasto buffet had a delicious variety and we coupled this with pasta dishes from the menu.  All in all this was one of the best meals we had while dining at Beaches.
  • Dinos Pizzeria – good for a personal pizza.  Getting a pizza here took anywhere from 30 – 120 minutes depending on time of day.  It’s very popular so note when they open and place your order accordingly.
  • Barefoot by the Sea – Feet in the sand and a drink in hand – this is the experience at Barefoot by the Sea.  We ate breakfast here one day and while we enjoyed the ambiance of sitting at a picnic table with our feet in the sand while dining, the food took over an hour once ordered and it was just decent.  We much preferred the buffet at Sopadillas.  Barefoot by the Sea is fine if you don’t mind your breakfast taking up two hours of your morning. 
  • Schooners – We ate here for breakfast and if you have time to spare it’s fine.  The food took about an hour, similar to Barefoot by the Sea, and we were in a bit of a rush this day.  We had our COVID departure tests scheduled at 11:00 a.m. thus being seated at 9:30 and not getting the food til 10:40 felt like a waste of time.  Our recommendation would be skip the sit-down breakfast and enjoy the buffets so you can spend your day where you should – the beach!
  • Kimonos – This was an excellent dining experience.  This is the only restaurant you need a reservation for at Beaches.  It’s fun, lively, and with delicious hibachi.  We had great table mates, two other families, and our chef was a lot of fun and highly entertaining.  We each got the opportunity to catch food that our chef tossed into our mouths and Ava even had a fun time tossing food into the chef’s mouth!  Lots of singing and a lively atmosphere is what you’ll find here.  Dinner took about an hour and half but we feel this was worth getting a reservation for.  Dessert was offered after the hibachi dinner of rice, steak, mahi-mahi, and chicken.  This is a great meal and we highly recommend snagging a reservation here if you can!
  • The Cricketer’s Pub – we enjoyed dining here on our first night, sitting outdoors.  Again, the food took a while to come but was good.  A few of us had the fish and chips which we enjoyed along with a pint!
  • The beachside grill – We had yummy burgers and fries here for lunch while spending the day at the beach.  We took our plates down to some picnic tables near the Jerk Shack.  This is probably the quickest lunch you’ll get and we really liked the burgers.

Kids sized picnic tables next to the regular sized ones at Barefoot by the Sea restaurant

Our Thoughts on the Food

We thought the food was good at a few places and just fine at others.  Keeping in mind that this is a small island and almost everything needs to get shipped in, it’s understandable.  

The alcohol was middle shelf with Robert Mondavi wines offered.  

We were overall happy due to the amount of selection and especially how they handled dietary restrictions.

One of the many restaurants with a beautiful ocean view

How’s the Service?

Service for the amount of money you pay to stay at Beaches Turks & Caicos is for the most part excellent.  We had a lovely lady doing turndown service each day and an efficient staff cleaning our room every morning.  Almost everyone we encountered was wonderful and really hard workers.  We were very happy with the service for the most part.  One thing to keep in mind is the concept of island time.  The servers in the sit-down restaurants move slowly, the attitudes a bit more complacent, however none of this takes away from your vacation as you’re probably not in a rush to get anywhere.

Happenings For Kids and Teens

The Kids Camp looked like a great place to send little ones to enjoy some kid-free time.  There was a lovely sandy playground in the back of the camp building and we saw a train cruising around the resort with the kids.  A safe, enjoyable experience for the kids gives parents a much needed break.

There is a special place for teens with Club Liquid.  Cub Liquid is a teen-only club with music and dancing and fun drinks.  

An X-Box Play Lounge allows unlimited play for the entire family.

A few restaurants had special seating for kids which we thought was such a fabulous concept!  Mario’s has kids-sized tables while parents dine nearby.  Barefoot by the Sea also has kids-sized picnic tables next to the parents regular sized ones.  These extra touches really seals the deal on the family-friendliness of the resort.

The Entertainment

A daily entertainment guide is provided and you’ll definitely want to head over to the French Village in the evening if you want to catch the entertainment. It’s lively but in a good, family-friendly way.  It was a great vacation evening vibe.

We caught Caribbean Culture Night one night and we loved it!  Flags of various surrounding Caribbean nations were on display and we stood while listening to a beautiful rendition of the Turks & Caicos Islands national anthem.   Traditional island dress were modeled and the meaning behind the bands of colored ribbon adorning the white cotton outfits was explained.  The best part of the evening was the Junkanoo Band.  Loud, raucous, yet entrancing it was a fabulous intro into the music of the islands. 

The entrancing Junkanoo Band

A few different style dances were performed and the night ended with the much anticipated fire dancer/breather. 

The fire eater was very entertaining!

All in all it was an entertaining peek into Caribbean culture.

Water Activities

The resort’s dive shop offers guests free snorkel gear, rides on glass bottom boats, hydrobikes, hobiecats, and paddleboards.

Mike and Ava tried out the hydrobikes one day and after three minutes turned around.  They said it was not as fun as it looked and it was really hard to manage!

We found the snorkeling to be great close to the roped off area as that is where the tropical fish were hiding.  Mike and I also saw a stingray slowly cruising low on the ocean floor!  I’d recommend bringing your own snorkel gear, especially in the current climate.  We each have one of these sets.

There are vendors not affiliated with the resort offering various activities throughout the day.  They were not pushy so we didn’t mind.  Some ladies walked the beach and offered hair braiding throughout the day while men were offering parasailing by the stairs to get down to the beach.  Mike, Braden, and Ava went parasailing one day and loved it!  They each had about 8-10 min in the air and said it was an epic experience.  The bobbed along in the air at a slow speed and could see the entire island.  We felt very safe and comfortable and recommend using one of the vendors to do so as the resort does not offer parasailing.

Braden and Ava parasailing

Concierge or Butler Service, it is worth it?

Beaches offers concierge and butler service when booking the room.  What exactly does that mean, though?  We break it down below.

Concierge

This is an amenity that is included if you book a concierge room.  What this means is you get a few extra perks such as a dedicated concierge lounge and personal check-in and handling of any requests or complaints.  In your room, basic WiFi is included as well as bathrobes and the fully stocked mini fridge and your choice of white or red wines on hand.

Butler

Butler service is a step up from concierge and much more personalized.  For example, the butler will offer to unpack your clothing and escort you to dinner where you get preferential seating.  Reservations for dinner, spa services, and activities can be arranged through your butler.  You’ll be served drinks and lunch at the beach or pool and a cooler will be stocked with your requested drinks.

So is it worth it?  We ended up with concierge because only a concierge room was available when we booked our trip.  It was handy having the fridge stocked with water and soda although we could also easily grab water bottles and sodas during the day when out and about.  We never used the bathrobes and the WiFi was painfully slow.  In our opinion we would not pay extra for either of the services but would consider butler if only a very special occasion.

What we Didn’t Like

In order to give a proper review, it’s necessary to share a few thing we didn’t like.  As mentioned, the service at some sit down restaurants could be painfully slow.  If dining with little ones the wait times would be especially long.  We figured out that quick service or buffets were the way to go for breakfast and lunch as we preferred to spend our sunny hours of the day at the beach rather than waiting for food.

The Activity Center where you can borrow shuffleboard equipment as well as board games, closed at 5 pm each day.  We would have loved to check out games to play after dinner as the sun set quite early, but alas it was closed.   

The WiFi was also pretty much unusable.  We received “free WiFi” for having a concierge room but we really never used it.  We had to connect to our hot spots on our phones when needing to get online.  Mike had a couple of meetings while here and needed a good connection.

The TV did not have great options and many channels were in Spanish.  This wasn’t too bad because we were really only back in our room at night but it would have been nice to have some better options as we like to wind down with a show in the evenings.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, Beaches Turks & Caicos was a fabulous family getaway.  Having essentially pre-paid for everything, it was very welcomed to get drinks and food as one wanted throughout the day.  While our teens didn’t go to Club Liquid, the fact that the resort had something geared toward teens was much appreciated.  Often, teens are in the overlooked group – too old to participate in the activities geared towards young children yet not old enough to participate in some of the adult activities.  So the fact that there is a space for just them was much appreciated.

The snorkeling at Grace Bay Beach was fantastic.  We saw pufferfish, blue tang, clownfish, a variety of other tropical fish, as well as a sting ray!  We enjoyed swimming in the crystal clear, turquoise blue water and relaxing with our feet in the powdery white sand.  Having the option to dine at a multitude of different restaurants as a family was very welcomed.  In the evenings, basketball and shuffleboard were fun to play under the cozy lighting.   And of course catching the evening entertainment line up was a lot of fun.  All in all we highly recommend a visit here if looking for a laid-back vacation where you only need to ask yourself – beach or pool?!

Read More!

We traveled to Turks & Caicos in December 2021.  Traveling during this time meant a lot of pre-trip preparation and protocols.  In our post on Traveling to Turks & Caicos in the Current Climate, we share what the protocols were and how we prepared for international travel.  There was quite a bit of legwork beforehand, so we hope our guide will help you in planning during these crazy times.

We also have a post on another wonderful Caribbean island for families, Grand Cayman, up on the website – Starfish, Stingrays, Sand, and Sea:  Beach Time in Grand Cayman.

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