Why Beaches is Better than Most All-Inclusives - My Family Travels
Pool at Beaches Turks & Caicos French Village wing.
Italian Village kids' bunkbed guestroom at Beaches Turks & Caicos
Winding lazy river at Beaches Turks & Caicos resort in the Caribbean.
Abby Cadabby & Grover from Sesame Street visit kids at Beaches Turks & Caicos.
Three generations share the warmth of a beachside fire pit at Beaches Turks & Caicos.

While Turks & Caicos is known for its clear turquoise water, Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa offers more than just sun, sand and surf; thanks to a menu of activities, eateries and amenities that ratchet the resort above the usual all-inclusive experience.

EDITORS NOTE:  Beaches Turks & Caicos will be closed from September to December 14, 2017 to repair damage suffered in Hurricane Irma. Please contact the hotel to verify reopening date.

My recent stay in the company of my young-adult daughter, Chloe, and several other writers — one of whom brought along an infant and another a young school-age child — was my first visit to the island, and I learned a few things right off the bat. For one thing, Providenciales (Provo for short) is just one of a cluster of 40 islands, located east of Cuba and the Dominican Republic, and the Beaches resort complex is situated near Grace Bay on the north shore of the island.

I also learned that it’s surprisingly easy to get to the resort from the East Coast. We flew on Jet Blue from New York’s JFK in just about three hours direct, and our transfer to the property took under 15 minutes. Most important, I learned that families with children of all ages will be happy here.

The resort itself is massive, and because it’s comprised of four semi-themed villages — Italy, France, the Caribbean and Key West — the spaces seem intimate and offer enough variety to keep guests from becoming bored.

A Resort Styled for Every Vacation Appetite

Love oversized, high-energy pools teeming with kids, colored lights, optional butler cabanas and a swim-up bar? The main pool in the Italian village is for you, although the Caribbean and French villages also offer their own versions of the main pool experience.

Do you prefer a smaller, quieter swim? Try the Infinity pool at Key West or go even smaller at the West Village pool, which Chloe and I stumbled on the second day and made our own. At any given time, we were almost the only ones there, despite the fact that the property was almost fully booked. And the fact that we were almost alone didn’t stop staff from stopping by to offer us refreshments.

Hate Flop and Drop Vacations? Plentiful Activities for All Ages

There are six swimming pools in all at the resort, as well as a dedicated toddler pool, a lazy river and a surf-simulator pool. For the ultimate exclusive pool experience, some of the Key West accommodations even offer private plunge pools.

Family-friendly offerings are plentiful and include a 45,000 square-foot Pirates Island waterpark with waterslides, water cannons and swim-up soda bars; evening live entertainment, including a new musical production of “Alice and Wonderland” on the French Village main stage; and a complimentary kids’ club with age-appropriate activities for five age groups, ranging from infants to teens, staffed by certified nannies. The kids clubs also are equipped to welcome children with autism and other special needs, and private babysitting is available for an additional fee.

Sesame Street characters wander the resort, stopping for hugs and selfies. They entertain families during Beach Party nights, featuring a buffet dinner and dance performances.

Older kids are not forgotten with the Xbox Play Lounge, the Trench Town teen-only game room, and Club Liquid, a teen-only disco.

My daughter and I also took advantage of a Reading Roadtrip experience offered by the resort, during which we were transported to a local school to read to the students. I suspect we got at least as much out of the experience as the children did, and the $25 fee to participate goes directly to helping fund the project.

Beaches Delivers on Beach and Watersports

Of course, the key draw is the beach, and it’s no exaggeration that the resort is located steps from 12 miles of white, sugar sand beach with water as clear as any you’ll find in the Caribbean. Chairs are first-come first-served, but there are plenty to choose from, including many with pop-up shades. We liked that the property dispenses with the annoying protocol of having to sign out for beach and pool towels. Guests are free to take them and drop them off at will.

Water activities include catamaran snorkel outings — ours, which also included a stop at Iguana Island, was a highlight of the trip — from-the-beach snorkeling, and scuba diving.

Tip: Some popular activities, like snorkeling and catamaran excursions, sell out, so it’s a good idea to book online before you arrive.

After all that sun, it was nice to enjoy a 60-minute In Good Spirits massage at the Red Lane Spa, priced at about $152 and featuring a choice of body milk or shea butter.

An All Inclusive with Food Worth Writing About

As to dining, we were happy to discover that there are 20 specialty eateries on property. This is a boon to travelers like myself who are sometimes reluctant to stay at all-inclusives because by the third day you can’t look at the same menu one more time.

Our dining highlights included Mediterranean-style seafood at Neptunes, located in Key West Village right on the water; an open-terrace dinner at Sky overlooking the ocean at sunset; Italian fare at Mario’s in the Italian Village; and an elegant dinner — we dressed up for this one — at Le Petit Chateau in the French Village. Our final dinner at the oceanside Schooners Seafood Grill in the Caribbean Village also made the list of highlights.

Lunches are usually served buffet style and are available at many of the restaurants across the resort. In short, you won’t go hungry, whether your tastes run to sushi and duck confit or pizza and jerk chicken.

At the restaurants and bars, non-premium wines are complimentary, but there is a separate wine list for those who want to order something special for a fee. One minor quibble is that rose wine, increasingly fashionable among Americans in warm weather destinations, is only available by bottle for a pricey $50 each. For a resort looking to establish a luxury profile, complimentary rose by the glass might make a nice addition.

Non-premium whites and reds are complimentary by the glass, however, as are sodas, beer and specialty cocktails, like mojitos and the local favorite Dirty Bananas.

Family Accommodations to Suit Different Needs

Accommodations vary by village, but our suite in the Italian Village offered a generous-sized king bedroom with a small, private balcony and a bathroom with twin sinks, separate shower and jetted tub. A second bedroom was equipped with twin bunk beds, separate sink and closets.

In addition, because we had opted for concierge service, our complimentary minibar was stocked daily with sodas, bottled water, house wines and champagne.

On departure day, we appreciated the streamlined check-out experience, which entails being driven via golf cart to the departure lounge for a complimentary, pre-arranged shuttle service to the airport.

Beaches Turks & Caicos Trip Planning Details

Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa is located on Lower Bight Road, Providenciales TKCA 1ZZ, Turks & Caicos Islands; the two other and smaller Beaches resorts are in Negril and Ocho Rios on Jamaica. For bookings and information, visit the Beaches site or call their helpful agents at 649/946-8000. All-inclusive prices range from $333 per person, per night in the Caribbean Village to $2,111 per person per night in the Key West Village depending on your travel dates, room size and amenities offered. The summer season and off weeks around the major school holidays usually offer the deepest discounts.


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