In my life, travel is very important. I am not happy unless I am planning my next trip. My husband and I have been on a lot of adventures – walking through the ruins in Pompeii, leaving my wallet somewhere in Switzerland and having a man from a cuckoo clock shop drive me back to try find it, walking through an Austrian mountainside on a Sunday looking for lunch, and only to find a hotel that would only serve ice cream (because it was Sunday?) while watching a party take place in the lobby with everyone dressed in lederhosen…. We have been on some great and crazy adventures!
When we decided to have a family, I spent the last few months before trying telling my hubby “we need to do this before we have a baby because we will never have the chance again”. My poor husband – we laugh at that statement now, because if anything we have been travelling even more since we had our son!
Our son is two and so far he has been to the Bahamas, Bermuda, Lake Placid NY, and all kinds of different resorts in our province, and now on our latest adventure, Turks & Caicos.
Our travel has not slowed down at all, but it has been chosen much more carefully now that we have a son. We can’t drag him through the transit system of Greece until he’s at least 6 or 7 (so he can understand the craziness of the busses arriving on “ish” time which means whenever they feel like, and to see the bus driver not sitting on a seat but a milk carton), so until then we look for safe and fun adventures for him to experience with us now.
Our latest adventure was at Beaches Turks & Caicos. I have been so excited to write this post because we truly loved this trip!
We had been to Sandals Antigua a few years ago, and it was an excellent resort with amazing service, so we knew that a Beaches resort would have high standards as well.
Our arrival was very smooth – we walked right to the Beaches arrival desk at the Turks and Caicos airport, and after waiting less than five minutes we found ourselves on an air conditioned transfer to the resort. The transfer took 15 minutes, and we arrived at the resort greeted by Beaches staff who offered us each a cool clean washcloth and a drink! We were seated in the lobby where we were brought the paperwork to check in. It took us a total of 10 minutes before having our room key in our hands. I can’t imagine anywhere else that has an easier check in process.
Our room was amazing! We tried to explain to our son that this would be our “home” for the week, and he was had no problem calling it that by the end of our trip. It was such a large and comfortable space! We had a separate bedroom with a T.V., two bathrooms (how amazing is that?), two separate patio’s, a kitchen, and a large main room with a table, couch/trundle bed, and another T.V.
Not only was having two bathrooms amazing, but having a separate bedroom meant we could put our son down for naps and then have the freedom to hang out on the patio, watch T.V., or just generally make a bit of noise! We could also put him to bed and then stay up late watching movies and eating food.
Having a stocked fridge was very convenient as well so we could keep milk, juice and fruit ready to go for him. This was the first room I had been in on a trip that had a washer and dryer!
When we arrived to the room we were met with fruit and cheese platters which we greatly appreciated since we were all starving, and minutes later welcome letters arrived along with fresh chocolate treats. Our room had 24 hour concierge service, and that meant we could call to get help with anything we needed on our trip.
The resort was divided into four Villages – Key West, which is where we stayed, Italian, Caribbean, and the French Village.
The Key West Village was beautiful. This section of the resort opened only 5 years ago so everything was very fresh and new. I have to say I really liked the French Village as well with their cute Parisian cafe and vine-covered buildings. Each Village had restaurants and pools themed to suit the Village. It was like having four mini-resorts to choose from.
When it came to food, we had 19 different dining choices on the resort. It was overwhelming to decide where to go when we first arrived because there was so much to choose from. Each restaurant had a separate children’s menu we could order from, and they often even had children’s appetizers to go with their entrees! The chef’s served up everything from grilled swordfish, seafood risotto, to chicken fajitas and Caribbean jerk chicken. There were all kinds of choices every night, which wasn’t a bad problem to have.
We enjoyed Kimono’s restaurant the most. It was a hibachi restaurant with entertaining chef’s that had us all singing along with them while we ate. We also loved Neptunes restaurant which was seafood focused, and was surrounded by sand dunes near the ocean.
Beaches Turks & Caicos actually has an office where any dietary or allergy concerns can be addressed and managed throughout a guests trip. All concerns are documented, and when a guest is going to visit a restaurant they would just need to make a quick call to this office, and the completed paperwork is sent to the restaurant so food may be prepared to suit the guest’s needs.
The best part of all-inclusive resorts is the steady availability of drinks and snacks! For a treat there was a little Parisian cafe with different goods each day like mini blueberry cheesecakes and chocolate dipped merengue. They also served hot and cold coffee drinks as well.
There was also a 24 hour diner which served popcorn, cotton candy and ice cream! I visited this spot every day obviously.
Not only was there a large stretch of beach (12 miles long), but there were pools spaced all over the resort, and there was even a waterpark. The Pirates Island Waterpark (45,000 square feet!) had water slides, a surf simulator (the only one in the Carribean), a lazy river, and a children’s pirate play ship and splash deck. The water slides ranged from large and fast for the adults, to much smaller ones for children. We spent a lot of time at the waterpark because there was so much to do! There was a pool just for kids that had a swim up bar that served cute kids drinks like my son’s favourite The Mickey Mouse (banana, milk and strawberry).
At The Pirate’s Island Waterpark there was a 50’s style diner (this is where I was going for my ice cream/pop corn/cotton candy runs), a games room, and Scratch DJ Academy where kids can learn how to mix, blend and scratch music. There was also an XBOX Play Lounge with dozens of consoles with games pre-loaded and free to play.
The big draw for us at this resort was the relationship Beaches has with Sesame Street. For 10 years Beaches has had Sesame Street characters at the resort, and they interact with the children in so many ways! There was a character show each night at 6:30pm which we were not allowed to miss according to our son London, there were two Sesame Street Carnival Celebration Parade’s while we were there which was pretty impressive. The Seasame character’s can be found throughout the day just walking around to meet the children, or for scheduled events like baking cookies with Cookie Monster, bird watching with Big Bird, and story time with Elmo.
We attended a Sesame Street Character Breakfast, and this was lot’s of fun! The tables were decorated with all things Sesame Street, and all of the character’s made an appearance at the event to take photo’s with the children, and there was a hilarious dance party. Each child had lots of opportunity to spend time with their favourite characters – Elmo, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Bert and Ernie, Abby Cadabby, Grover and The Count.
The Kids Camp at Beaches offers programs for infants, toddlers, pre-teens and teens. I toured the Kids Camp locations at the resort, and they were very impressive! They were bright, full of toys and activities, and the nap rooms looked very comfortable. I met the staff that worked there and everyone was very professional, and seemed to be having a great time with the children. The Kids Camp is complementary, and is a great idea if you want to go on a snorkelling trip, or need to have a romantic dinner which doesn’t include a high chair!
After the Kids Camp closes, there is an aftercare program where professional nanny care is offered to guests for a charge. There is also a Special Needs Program where any child with special needs can have assistance from a nanny one-on-one so the child doesn’t miss out on participating on all of the activities at Beaches (there is also a fee for this service).
Our trip was amazing. The beach was beautiful, the water was a gorgeous turquoise color with fish swimming around us every time we stepped into it, and the resort was immaculate. None of the Beaches staff would pass us by without saying hello, and our concierge would call to check in on us to make sure everything was going smoothly.
The shops on the resort had everything we could have forgotten – sunscreen, toys, diapers, wipes and of course there was a store dedicated to Sesame Street. The lobbies in each village had a T.V. playing cartoons with child-size furniture, and when we were lucky we could round a corner and see Oscar the Grouch or the Cookie Monster.
It felt so easy to be able to dine anywhere no matter how posh the restaurant was, and to be accepted with a toddler! Stroller parking was outside of every restaurant, and there were always enough high chairs and crayons to go around.
We saw many couples on the trip without children, and it would be easy to have an adult trip at this resort with the layout they have. There were two specific restaurant for adults only, and there were so many pools you could easily find one that was quiet to read at, or one with a swim up bar and loud music to party at.
Beaches Turks & Caicos does not allow tipping to it’s staff, so there is no worry to pay any extra costs while there to thank the staff for their service.
My tips? Attend all of the special events listed in the daily newsletter each day. We went to the Managers Cocktail Party and had fresh appetizers we hadn’t had at any restaurant, and Sesame characters were on sale at the party. They had themed cocktails, and free massages by the pool.
The Friday night beach party was our favourite event. We sat casually outside where we were served drinks at our picnic table, we had a great cookout, and we were entertained with a Sesame Street show, and there were fireworks at the end of the night.
If you have small children you should bring a stroller because of how large the resort is, or if you somehow forgot or don’t take my advice you can rent a wagon from the Kids Club.
I knew this trip was a success when I watched my husband pick up a Beaches magazine and he started taking about the other locations we should visit next, and I watched my son tell all of our family when we returned home about his island trip. He is still excited to talk about it a week later, and it’s easy to tell we made some great memories for him.
For more details on a Beaches Turks and Caicos visit www.beaches.com/turksandcaicos.
You can also ask me questions in the comments!