A Caribbean family paradise, at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort [REVIEW]

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The mention of ‘tropical paradise’ conjures up images of crystal clear waters, palm-fringed white sandy beaches and indescribably beautiful sunsets – all of which can be found in abundance on the isles of Turks and Caicos, in the Caribbean. If you are travelling with a family, you can enjoy all of these natural wonders, packaged up in a hassle free island adventure, and in the lap of luxury, at the Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort. ‘Beaches‘ is the family-friendly chain of all-inclusive resorts, owned by the couples-only Sandals resorts company.

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Flying into the Caribbean islands from Miami…


FACT PACK:

Hotel: Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort
Location: Turks & Caicos, Providenciales, The Caribbean
Address: Lower Bight Rd, Turks & Caicos Islands
Phone: +1 649-946-8000
Nearest airport: Providenciales. A complimentary transfer to and from the resort will be arranged by Beaches.
Rates: Visit the website for the latest deals – and see below for package deals rates
Website: Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort
Pool? Yes – there are ten!
Wi-Fi? Yes, in room and in communal areas
Perfect for: Beaches family-focused brand of all inclusive resorts are suitably fantastic for families, but we also discovered what a haven it is for couples, and would be a fun place for a group of friends, too.
FashCatherine credentials: 19 restaurants, 12 miles of white sandy beach, 10 pools, the Caribbean’s largest waterpark, and an all-night ice cream parlour? This is total indulgence, tropical style.


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The Key West Village at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort, Caribbean

THE HOLIDAY

Don’t think all-inclusive resorts are for you? If you are looking for five-star, laid-back luxury with activities you can dip in and out of, then a Sandals or Beaches holiday, designed to take the sting out of all those months of wedding/honeymoon planning and travelling with children, will change your mind. It opened my eyes to how much all-inclusive resorts had changed from their reputation of ‘premeditated fun’ and ‘chips with everything’ meals. You don’t have to wear a wristband – when Beaches says ‘all-inclusive’, it means ‘all-inclusive’…

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THE JOURNEY

We travelled, via Miami, to Providenciales, capital of Turks and Caicos with British Airways and American Airlines to the Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort. The flight is only one hour and 20 minutes from Miami. Renowned as the ‘last of the true exotics’, we had been scrupulously eyeing up images of the 12-mile, palm tree fringed, pure white sandy stretch of Grace Bay that the Beaches resort is located on.

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Grace Bay – above

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THE HOTEL

The resort is comprised of four villages: Caribbean, French, Italian, and the newest addition, Key West, each with their own pools, restaurants and amenities. So, although there are a lot of families staying here, it never felt crowded and there were always plenty of pool and beach loungers. There is a wide selection of rooms, suites and penthouse apartments, to choose from, across all four villages.

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Our bedroom at Key West Village

We stayed in the Key West Village, home to the Red Lane Spa and one of two on-site Sesame Street branded kids’ clubs – more on that, to come! All guests are welcome to roam between the easy-to-navigate villages. We would recommend using the golf buggy ‘hitch-a-ride’ system, which makes getting between villages and restaurants really easy when legs of any age begin to tire.

It was definitely worth taking a few moments at the start of the holiday to look at everything on offer. You certainly won’t want to miss the weekly chocolate party. You can take children along to indulge in the deliciously wicked buffet, then book a babysitter (all nursery and babysitting staff are members of the International Nanny Association) and head back to the beach to watch the sun set next to a beachside open fire – chocolate martini, anyone?

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THINGS TO DO

It is tempting to spend your days around one of the ten pools, enjoying the inclusive butler service and swim up bars. I loved that the friendly staff remembered my name and my order of a vodka pineapple slushy. You might be keen to try the scuba diving, since the isles of Turks and Caicos are regularly named as one of the top diving locations in the world. If you are already certified, you can enjoy two dives a day as part of the ‘luxury included’ package.

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For a slower pace of holiday, you can build sandcastles with what must be the most powdery white sand in the world. The offshore reefs mean the turquoise water is calm and perfect for paddling.

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At 45,000 square-foot, the Caribbean’s largest water theme park is at Beaches Turks & Caicos

Most afternoons, I (along with lots of kids of all ages…) was keen to head to the resort’s Pirate Island Waterpark. Numerous times, I flew down the three flumes and surf simulator, while other guests got into the laid-back Caribbean spirit, floating around on a rubber ring on the lazy river. Otherwise, of an afternoon, you can take advantage of the many watersports including sea kayaking and snorkeling – all included, of course – or book a family excursion: read more at the bottom of this review.

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Cookies! 

For a small extra cost you can also choose to head along to a hilarious Sesame Street character breakfast. The tables are decorated and the dance parade is entertainment for the whole family: watching Elmo breakdance and the Cookie Monster shake his big blue belly. Children stop in their tracks when they see Big Bird et al wandering around the resort grounds. You can also book a ‘nighttime tuck in’ with in Elmo, who will read children a bedtime story. Well, it will make a nice change from Elsa…

WHAT WE ATE

Forget dried up buffets and endless portions of rice, this is five-star dining at it’s finest. There are 19 restaurants on the resort for you to enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. From Japanese Teppanyaki and Caribbean foodie fare to Italian trattorias, American diners and a French café – every taste is catered for.

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At Barefoot By the Sea, there are even child size benches and cutlery where children can sit at lunchtime with friends they have made at the pool. Make no bones about it, Beaches is a well-oiled, family-friendly resort: and the Caribbean ‘born and raised’ family of owners clearly knows how to have a good time. This isn’t just an all-inclusive resort, it is the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of family holidays: a true island escape, with a world of fun and adventure woven in.

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Beaches knows how to party! Above – the chocolate party, turns into a disco

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EXCURSIONS

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Explore the Caribbean islands

All aboard the Kitty Katt cruise! Take to the open seas with a trip on a state of the art 65-foot catamaran for a family cruise. Including snorkeling, lunch and a stop off at a beautiful beach. We spotted an iguana on our trip to the island! Other tours specifically to see iguanas in their natural habitat are also available. Costs $65.00 per child, $115.00 per adult.

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A highlight of my holiday was taking part on the Reading Road Trip: a visit to a local school to engage with the local community and the chance to read aloud to a group of children. You can take books as a gift to the school library, and read to an attentive group. Part of Beaches’ Community Routes Programme, we found it an enlightening and uplifting experience and a wonderful insight into island life. Costs $25 per person.

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ESSENTIAL INFO

Seven nights staying at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa in the brand new Key West Luxury Village, on a Luxury Included® (all-inclusive) basis costs from £2285 per adult and £999 per child. A family of four costs from £6569.  Return flights, resort transfers, tips, gourmet specialty dining, premium branded alcohol and soft drinks, and water sports are all included in the price. For further information or to make a booking, contact your local travel agent, call Beaches Resorts on 0800 597 0002, email sales@beachesresorts.co.uk or visit www.beachesresorts.co.uk. Excursions on the island are bookable through Island Routes Caribbean Adventures (www.islandroutes.co.uk). Price is based on flying with British Airways (Sundays only) from London Gatwick.

For more information, for the latest rates, and to book, visit www.beachesresorts.co.uk

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The stay reviewed in this article, in May 2014, was supported by Beaches Resorts.

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