Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
What the Sands has going for it is supersized rooms that can comfortably fit a family or other group. They certainly aren't fancy -- expect to see old tube TVs and Golden Girls-style wicker furniture -- but you'd be hard-pressed to find other units on the beach that can sleep so many for such a low price. For instance, for the price of the standard two-person room at Grace Bay Club, you could book a 1,644-square-foot Two-Bedroom Ocean View or 1,800-square-foot Three-Bedroom Garden View at the Sands instead.
Of course, the Sands’ amenities are in no way the nicest on the island. The beachfront is pretty -- all Grace Bay beachfront is -- but the lounge chairs are old and plastic. A basement-level building houses additional features like a hospitality lounge (a bit dark, but comfy), a fitness center (sufficient, though the Cyber multi-station was on the fritz when I stayed), and a single spa treatment room (for use by off-site Spa Tropique). Two large pools -- one with beach views, another with grottoes and waterfalls -- have plenty of space for guests to spread out, which helps keep the crowds down. And free water sports along the beach are a great bonus.
All of that aside, the biggest problem with the resort is its layout. The property is longer than it is wide, and only two of the property’s six buildings face the ocean, making for a lot of parking lot, garden, and -- if you’re lucky -- pool view balconies. If an expansive ocean view is important to you, be careful not to book an “ocean view” unit, as you will be greatly disappointed. Opt instead for one of the “oceanfront” units -- the only rooms that have views of more than a sliver of beach.
At the heart of Grace Bay, near great shops, restaurants, and golf
The Sands at Grace Bay is located in the approximate center of Providenciales’ greatest attraction, the pristine Grace Bay. Despite being surrounded on both sides by other resorts, the beach here is wide and long, so guests won’t feel crowded. And though the nearby attractions aren’t quite within easy walking distance, all of them are close enough to reach via the resort’s free bicycles or a short drive.
Spacious rooms are dated but have tons of extras
Though neither modern or stylish, the Sands at Grace Bay’s rooms are big and almost all of them (except for the 615-square-foot Studio Courtyard) feature furnished balconies or terraces. Technology is seriously dated though, with tiny flat-screen TVs (or, in some units, tube TVs) and old wall-mounted hairdryers. Still, full kitchens (kitchenettes in the studios), dual washer/dryers, and tons of patio furniture make for a steal of a deal, especially when it comes to families and groups.
More than a few extras are a welcome surprise for the cost.
A respectable poolside bar and grill with an ocean-view deck
Hemingway’s is a typical island restaurant -- wraps and sandwiches for lunch, surf and turf and pasta dishes for dinner. Its breezy main dining room is small and feels cramped when full, and its bar can handle no more than a dozen or so patrons at any time. The poolside patio and beachfront deck, however, are great sunset spots, and the menu is very reasonably priced compared to most other resort restaurants. There is also a kid’s menu with especially cheap options.
Located at the center of Grace Bay, the 114-room Sands at Grace Bay offers solid, if not spectacular, amenities -- a fitness center, a nice restaurant, two pools, and a long stretch of oceanfront -- at attractive rates. While its pools and lush grounds aren't quite as impressive as those at pricier resorts, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value, especially when factoring in the generous size of the rooms, almost all of which feature furnished balconies.