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Oyster Hotel Review
The largest resort in Turks & Caicos by a long shot, Beaches has almost everything -- except for peace and quiet
Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort & Spa
You won’t find romance, exclusivity, or peace and quiet at the sprawling 65-acre Beaches Resort on Grace Bay. You will, however, find just about everything else you can imagine -- from the spectacular (a huge spa, a 45,000-square-foot water park, and ten pools), to the unique (an Xbox Games Garage for kids), to the downright ridiculous (a DJ-spinning academy).
There are really four Beaches resorts on Turks and Caicos: the run-down Caribbean Village, which opened with the resort in 1997; the French Village, which has a Riviera-style atmosphere; the Italian Village, which is the most expensive and has the nicest rooms; and the Key West Village, opened in 2013 and formerly the Verranda Resort. Each village has its own pools, restaurants, and room types, but all of them have one thing in common: crowds. No matter where you go, you "will" be surrounded by other guests -- at the pool, you’ll be splashed by children; at the bar, you’ll be elbowed by guests clamoring for drinks; and even in your room, you’ll see and hear people walking just a yard or two away from your window.
All-inclusive rates are one of the biggest appeals at Beaches. Guests can challenge themselves to eat at all 16 restaurants, drink at all 12 bars, and relax at all seven pools before their vacation is over. Of course, in those 16 restaurants, you might not find one that truly wows with its cuisine, but you will have the opportunity to eat brick-oven pizza, jerk chicken, sushi, and crème brulée all in one day, should you be so inclined.
Of course, you shouldn’t expect personalized service -- at a resort this size you’ll be lucky if you even see the same staff member twice. And a few extra charges here and there tend to stand out when everything else is free (particularly the expensive rate for Wi-Fi, which is a free service at almost every other resort on the island).
Located right on Grace Bay, but very few businesses are within walking distance
Beaches spans over 65 acres, though its portion of beachfront isn’t much larger than that at the much smaller (and more sophisticated) Grace Bay Club. And because the resort’s large expanse of land can take hours just to tour, very few off-site attractions are reachable by foot. Luckily, if you head to the beach, you can find a few nearby restaurants in either direction, but for everything else, be prepared to find a taxi or rent a car.
- 15-minute drive from Providenciales International Airport
- 1- to 5-minute walk to Grace Bay (property is located on the beach, but depending on the location of your room, you might have to walk a few extra minutes)
- 5-minute drive to shops and restaurants at Regent Village and Salt Mills shopping centers
- 7-minute drive to Smith’s Reef for snorkeling
- 10-minute drive to Provo Golf Club
- 10-minute drive to the Caicos Conch Farm, the world’s only conch farm
- 15-minute drive to Da Conch Shack and Rum Bar
Guest rooms range greatly in quality, from the cheap and dingy “Caribbean Village” to the more opulent "French Village," “Italian Village,” and the newly-added "Key West Village" -- but all are generally underwhelming when compared to rooms at other resorts.
Itlalian Village Portofino Family Suite
Spread across its four villages (five if you count Seaside Village, which is really just a way to charge more for the Caribbean Village rooms that are closest to the ocean), there are more than 40 different room types. There are no “standard rooms,” however, the cheapest options in the French and Caribbean Villages are small, with uninspired interiors and unpleasant views (usually of a busy walkway or fence that separates the guest room buildings from the pools). You can get a much nicer and larger room with a better view at any number of the island’s resorts, especially the Veranda, which is also all-inclusive and has comparable rates.
- Flat-screen TVs with satellite cable
- Furnished balconies or patios
- Four-poster king beds
- Red Lane bath products
- CD player/clock radios
- Some rooms have Wi-Fi, while others only have wired Internet; daily fee applies for both
- Due to completion dates that span almost 15 years, features in rooms vary greatly.
- Caribbean Village rooms are dark, dingy, and start at a 398 square feet -- quite small by Turks and Caicos standards.
- The French Village was completed in 2007. Its rooms start at just 378 square feet -- the smallest at the resort – but are located in a quieter area than the other two villages.
- The Italian Village was completed in 2011. Rooms here are supposed to be the most impressive, with 14 different types ranging from 640 square feet to 1,368 square feet.
- Many of the Italian Village units come with personal butler service.
- The Key West Village, formerly the Veranda Resort, was added to the resort in 2013. It features bright, comfortable rooms, starting at 500 square feet.
- All suites feature “suite concierge service,” which is just a fancy way of saying that guests can visit the concierge desk at the Caribbean Village lobby.
- All suites include bathrobes; smaller rooms do not.
- Some units come with mini-fridges stocked only with water, while others come with scotch, gin, vodka, rum, beer, wine, and soft drinks. Still others are missing a refrigerator completely.
- In most Caribbean Village units, there are separate soaking tubs and showers. However, the tubs are located in an area open to the rest of the bedroom, as is the vanity.
- Due to dated furnishings, unpleasant layouts, and patios that face crowded walkways, even the better units in the Caribbean Village are less enticing than the cheapest units in the French Village, which has newer and more secluded rooms.
- The Italian Village units are the largest and newest, but for the price, you’d be better off heading to a nicer resort like Grace Bay Club or The Veranda.
- All Italian Village rooms feature Xbox 360 consoles with video games.
- Beachfront location
- Ten pools, three with swim-up bars, and four whirlpools (including one adult-only Jacuzzi with ocean views)
- The largest resort fitness center on the island with tons of cardio machines, personal trainers, weight machines, free weights, dumbbells, yoga balls, and a fitness pavilion
- Free land sports include volleyball, soccer, tennis, shuffleboard, table tennis, billiards, basketball, and outdoor chess
- Free water sports include kayaks, windsurfers, snorkeling equipment, aqua bikes, and Hobie Cats.
- Free unlimited scuba diving
- A sprawling spa complex featuring Red Lane and Dermalogica products, his and hers saunas and steam rooms, a salon, a tropical nail bar, a relaxation patio with soaking pool, and a treatment menu featuring massages, facials, and body treatments.
- The resort has a strict no-tipping policy.
- All-inclusive rates include all meals and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
- PADI-certified scuba courses for first-timers (for a fee)
- Multiple conference rooms, each around 1,900 square feet, include 42-inch flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, video simulcasts, and projection screens.
- A 7,000-square-foot retail village featuring high-end jewelry, fashion, candies, souvenirs, and art
- Beringer wine and cheese tasting held on Wednesdays
- Daily fee for Internet; some rooms have Wi-Fi, others only wired
- View full list of amenities
The kid-friendliest resort on Turks and Caicos
Pirate's Island Waterpark
Make no mistake, this is a family hotel at heart -- honeymooners and lovebirds should steer clear. Only a few adult-only sections exist -- and even those areas somehow end up with a kid or two in the vicinity. But if you want your little ones to be entertained while you head for a rum punch, you’ll certainly be taken care of with a Sesame Street Camp and nightly performances, a Martha Stewart Crafts Studio, a massive 45,000-square-foot water park, an Xbox games garage, and even a DJ academy.
Sixteen different restaurants and 12 bars, but not exactly the quality a foodie would require
Food is an attraction unto itself at Beaches, where 18 restaurants and 13 bars round out the culinary and libation offerings. Of course, none of them are outstanding -- and none of them feature the celebrity chefs you’d find at similar megaresorts in the Caribbean, like Atlantis Paradise Island -- but volume and variety at least ensure that everyone gets to eat what they want and no one has to eat at the same place more than once.
A few above average options include Kimono’s, a Japanese restaurant with exotic teppanyaki-style dishes that are prepared at the table; and Le Petit Chateau, a European a la carte restaurant that claims authentic French specialties. The gorgeous Café de Paris is also a great spot for coffee and afternoon snacks -- just beware of the always available and extremely addictive free cookies and pastries.
- Eighteen restaurants with cuisines that include Caribbean, French, Italian, Tex-Mex, Japanese, pub fare, brick-oven pizza, and seafood
- Thirteen bars, including three swim-up bars
With ten pools, a sprawling water park, a shopping center, a spa complex, and more restaurants than you can shake a breadstick at, the family-friendly Beaches is clearly the Turks and Caicos resort with the most features. But many of the rooms -- especially in the old Caribbean Village – are downright dingy, and the romance factor is virtually non-existent. Still, an all-inclusive resort with this many amenities is enticing -- unless it's peace and quiet you’re after.
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