Family-friendly with multiple rooms, kid menus, and kids' club
Free breakfast, bottled water, parking, and Wi-Fi Internet (reaches to the beach)
Large property is hard to navigate, especially at night
Slightly removed location is not as walkable as other Grace Bay resorts
If you are looking for a luxury hotel with access to one of the Caribbean's most beautiful beaches, a lively (yet relaxing) pool area, award-winning spa, and a nice selection of on-site activities -- without the zoo-like atmosphere found at some larger resorts -- the 72-condo Palms may be just what the vacation doctor ordered. Located in the Grace Bay area, this is a residential property offers large, sophisticated suites and penthouses with kitchens and luxurious bathrooms. Families will likely appreciate the suites' size (up to three bedrooms) as well as activities such as water sports. The swim-up pool bar, multiple shops, and popular Parallel 23 restaurant attract couples and groups, too.
Relaxing and luxurious feel with a fun and communal vibe, even for solo travelers
Although Princess Drive may seem unremarkable and plain, once you enter the stone-walled and white iron gates of The Palms the vibe is decidedly different. Guests are greeted by a long, lushly landscaped driveway flanked by tennis courts and the award-winning spa as they head toward a classically styled lobby, where tall columns stretch from the marble floors to the vaulted ceilings. Guests are checked in at large dark finished wooden tables, and then led through a beautiful courtyard with a gurgling fountain in the middle.
Everything feels luxurious -- very ancient Greece -- from the slightly off-white classic look of the buildings, to the gardens of ivy, palms, and flowers, to the porous cement walkways. Ceilings are tall and space is ample, giving the grounds a very open vibe. While building numbers are clearly marked, the winding pathways can be confusing, especially in the dark when the lighting is dim. The spa complex is large and decadent.
However, the majority of the public spaces have a more updated and contemporary vibe, especially the lively and large pool area, fiery Plunge dinner dining space, and the relaxed and modest beach bar. This contrast of style and space gives guests both a feeling of luxury and relaxation; it's an upscale place where they can also sip a cocktail in their bikini without any pretense. Perhaps the residential nature of the property along with its village-like vibe -- inclusive of shops, activities, restaurants, and bars -- helps inspire a community spirit among both the guests and staff, especially for longer-stay guests and repeat visitors.
Quiet location on beach within 10 minutes of entertainment, food, shopping, and essentials.
Somewhat centrally located in the popular Grace Bay area, The Palms is positioned off of a quiet turn-off (Princess Drive) just around the corner from Kingstown. The hotel's backyard spills onto the powder-soft sands of Grace Bay Beach, looking out into the island’s famous turquoise waters. The hotel is within a five- to 10-minute drive to a handful of the island’s most popular local eateries (Mr. Grouper, Crackpot Kitchen, and Fresh Catch), and plethora of shops (Regent Village Shops, The Saltmills), restaurants, bars, and cafes found on the Grace Bay Road strip. The closest bank and grocery store are about seven minutes away by car. Providenciales International Airport is just 15 minutes by car.
Large luxury suites and penthouses with classic decor and high-end appliances -- plus some wear and tear
Rooms at The Palms ditch the popular island-style decor found in many Provo hotels, instead opting for a classic and sophisticated look. Suites are beautifully spacious, giving enough room to move about without restriction. The marbled tile echoes the pseudo-Grecian style of the hotel lobby and spa; the Colonial-inspired wood furniture and comfortable beds with thick, fluffy pillows and bedding fill the bedrooms; and darker wood furniture and cream-colored sofas and chairs populate the lounge space. The bathrooms have polished stainless steel fixtures, separate toilets, deep shower/tub combos, and Plantation London toiletries.
Rooms -- which come as either penthouses or suites -- can have up to three bedrooms; some have extras such as full kitchens (with Viking appliances) and washer/dryer combos. All units have personal balconies or terraces, although the terraces, while slightly higher in square footage, tend to lack privacy as they are exposed to public pathways. Units without full kitchens still have mini-fridges, microwaves, Nespresso machines, and shelves stocked with dishes. Other room features include flat-screen TVs, Blu-Ray players, Wi-Fi, bug spray for the island's incessant mosquitoes, ironing facilities, and comfy bathrobes and slippers. There is also 24-hour room service, although the menu differs from what is offered at Parallel 23.
Village-like features and a few convenient freebies
The Palms may not have as many rooms as nearby all-inclusive resorts like Beaches or Club Med, but that doesn't stop this boutique from giving its guests a wide selection of property features. Inside the spa, guests have access to a spacious, modern and clean fitness room. Multiple cardio machines, free weights, exercise balls and yoga mats, and weight machines fill the space. Polished wood floors and a full mirror wall add a sleek feel, while free apples and bottled water are thoughtful touches.
If business is calling, there is a small business center located behind Parallel 23 equipped with Internet and a few computers. And while the property may not be walking distance to the collection of shops found in Regent Village or The Saltmills, there are a handful of shops on-site. Spice market mimics a convenience store, selling items from alcohol to sunblock to Bambarra rum cakes, but other shops cover everything from branded T-shirts, to real estate, to fine art. A hair salon and post service are also on-site.
For more active guests, tennis courts (including lessons), a croquet pitch, and bike rental are up for grabs. The hotel has free Wi-Fi (that reaches all the way to the Grace Bay waves), free parking, and free bottled water. Breakfast is also free, and served via a buffet inside Parallel 23. Families can also take advantage of the Conch Kritter Kids Club and kid menus available at Plunge Bar and Restaurant.
Massive, award-winning spa facility in tranquil and luxe garden setting
Considered one of the best spas in the Caribbean, The Spa at The Palms offers a decadent experience. Located in the eastern block of the property, it is enclosed by a tall gate which opens up into a meditative courtyard pond. The rectangular pond is outlined with tall columns, palms, and a white, flower-bearing arbor. The reception area, fitness room, salon, and locker rooms lie behind doors surrounding the lily pad-infused waters.
Locker rooms are spacious and upscale with marble counter tops and classic furniture, but the large, tranquil relaxation lounge is even more impressive, with "aged" white cement, padded loungers with personal marble-topped side tables, and sweeping privacy curtains. Free water, tea, and coffee is available. The center piece of the spa is the shallow, reverse T-shaped reflecting pool surrounded in lush greenery. Individual treatment cabanas line the sides of the pool, and have private views of hidden canals. At the farthest end of the spa, there is a sitting area, and open green space. Although you do not technically have to have a spa appointment to enjoy the lounge (or locker room), access to the steam room and sauna are via treatment bookings only.
Relaxing pool with fun, social vibe, hot tub, and a swim-up bar
The hotel pool is the centerpiece of the property, and rightfully so. This is where many guests gather during the day, either in plush wicker cabanas, along the perimeter in loungers, or soaking in the adults-only, half-moon-shaped hot tub -- located within the uniquely shaped infinity pool. However, the most popular area of the pool is its swim-up bar, Plunge Bar & Restaurant -- which also has "banquettes", in-water booths where guests can enjoy a cocktail or bite without ever leaving the pool. Towels and bottled water are freely handed out at a white hut near the pool bar. The pool is a very social area where guests mingle in the hot tub or at the bar (both in and out of the water). Cabanas are on a first-come, first-served basis, and they go quick.
Without a doubt, the hotel's biggest selling point is its direct access to the beautiful and renowned Grace Bay Beach. Guest can reach the hotel's dedicated section of fine powdery sand via a wooden walkway off the pool's Plunge Bar and Restaurant. An adults-only sun deck stretches between the hotel and beach. Shoes and flip-flops can be stashed in a casual shoe rack just before the ramp exits into the sand. Snorkeling, sailing, and kayaking are available to all guests (with accompanying life jackets), and a hut-style beach bar serves up frozen drinks and other libations. Service extends to under the umbrella-covered loungers, which are at a first-come, first-served basis. Drinks can be billed to the room or paid at time of purchase. While guests can access all day and night, there is no lifeguard on duty and the bar usually shuts down around dusk. Although this beach is public, The Palms' location, just off the tourist track, gives the beach a quiet, relaxed -- but more importantly -- private feel that is harder to find at larger properties.
The Palms can keep your stomach happy from your room all the way to the beach. The hotel's popular on-site restaurant, Parallel 23, is a casually elegant affair (with no beach attire permitted during dinner) serving twists on traditional cuisines from India, Europe, and the Caribbean. Expect items such as conch chowder, butter poached prawns, seafood risotto, and thick, juicy steaks. This is also where a breakfast buffet consisting of hot items like eggs and meats, and cold items such as yogurt and cereal, is served. Guests can also order omelets (free), or pay extra for dishes from an a la carte menu. Indoor and outdoor seating is available, and the adjacent bar, L'Attitude, mixes up spirits and pours wine with a classy, but relaxed vibe. The room service menu, although slightly different from the main dining room menu, originates from these two spots.
The fully outdoor Plunge Bar & Restaurant is a casual al fresco experience with both a poolside bar serving lunch and dinner. An adjacent sunken sun lounge provides tables and chairs for lunch, while a contemporary deck, complete with glassed-in fire pits, offers dinner set between the shimmering pool and ocean waves. Plunge also encourages swimsuit dining with its fun and social swim-up bar, and unique "banquettes", in-water booths where swimmers don't have to leave the water to enjoy a snack or cocktail. The beach bar also mixes up drinks for guests hanging by the sea.
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