Family vacations can serve many purposes. They can be the perfect way to reconnect as a family as a break from busy, hectic schedules. They can be a conduit to learning about different cultures and meeting new people. They can be a way to have an exciting adventure. And, they can be a way to just have a fabulous time together. At Beaches Turks and Caicos, an all-inclusive resort located on the Caribbean island of Providenciales, families can enjoy a little bit of all of these things.
Over the past year, I’ve visited Beaches Turks and Caicos twice – once solo, and once with my family. This resort is truly the model for what a family resort can be, with activities and amenities that appeal to everyone from toddlers to adults.
Disclosure: My first three night stay at Beaches was complimentary as part of an event. Our second seven-night stay was at our own expense. All opinions are my own.
A Guide to Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort
Recovery of Beaches Turks and Caicos
Many readers may know that in September 2017, Hurricane Irma devastated parts of the Caribbean. While Turks and Caicos, including Beaches Resort, was hit by the hurricane, the resort has made a fantastic recovery and is welcoming families back. If I didn’t know about the hurricane, I never would have known about it based upon the appearance of the resort. It’s definitely ready for families to enjoy again.
Arriving At Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos
Upon landing at the tiny Providenciales airport, you’ll deplane through an outdoor ramp that is wheeled over to your plane. Once you go through immigration and customs and claim your luggage, you’ll walk out of the small airport to the outdoors. Head to the left, and you’ll see a Beaches welcome area. There, you’ll be guided to your transfer to the airport. The total trip is about 15 minutes, and I only waited a few minutes to board a van. These are small vans, not buses, so they are constantly running. The vans make stops at each village, so you’ll be exactly where you need to be when you arrive.
Checking in was simple. I was offered a complimentary beverage when I arrived (alcoholic and non-alcoholic are options), and after filling out a little bit of information, I received my key.
On our second trip, we arrived pretty early in the morning and our room wasn’t ready. We were guided towards a changing facility, where we shed our winter garb and changed into something more beach appropriate. We were able to go for lunch, and then our room was ready when we were finished. If you may arrive earlier than check in time, it’s a good idea to put some clothes in an easily accessible spot so you can quickly find them and change.
Butler Service and Concierge Service
As you book your stay at Beaches Turks and Caicos, you’ll see that butler or concierge service is included with some of the rooms These services are absolutely not necessary, but do add some additional services to your stay. For instance, those with butler service may have reserved areas at the pools and beach, can access room service, and get private transfers to the airport and luggage packing and unpacking services, in addition to many other luxury services. Note that while tipping isn’t expected throughout the resort, butlers are one of the few exceptions (spa employees are another exception).
My room had concierge service added, and while I didn’t really take advantage of it, there were definitely some great benefits. These include access to the concierges to book the reservation-only restaurant, daily snorkeling trips, a Dad and Me basketball shootout, a concierge lounge, and restocking of in-room bars. Upon arrival, I received a menu with different wine options. I could choose as many of those as I wanted, and they were delivered a few minutes later. Guests without concierge also get the option for two bottles of wine, but they aren’t generally restocked.
Beaches Turks and Caicos Rooms
Booking a room at Beaches may seem a bit complicated, because there are so many options. In fact, there are 44 room categories offered. A number of “villages” comprise the resort, including Key West, Italian Village, French Village, Seaside Villas, and Caribbean Village. These areas all have décor matching their theme. It’s very easy to move among the villages, however, so think more about where you want to stay and less about where you think you’ll be spending the night. The walk throughout the villages is very easy.
Room types include villas, family suites, and individual rooms. You may not be spending too much time in your room, so keep that in mind as you decide what type of room to book. If you are traveling with grandparents, a villa is a great option. These accommodations, located in the Key West section, include kitchens and washer/dryer facilities. While you won’t need the kitchen, since the resort is an all-inclusive, it’s so nice to have the washer/dryer. I was able to wash all of my clothes on my last night and returned home with a suitcase full of clean clothes.
Room amenities do vary based upon the room type and village area, but include complimentary WiFi (higher speed WiFi is available at an additional cost), coffee maker, clock radios, televisions, satellite television, and air conditioning. I was able to use the complimentary WiFi with no issues, but if you have to work during your vacation, it may be worthwhile to pay for the upgrade.
For our second stay, we booked a French Village Luxury Walkout Double. This room contained two double beds as well as a chair that pulled out into a single bed. As a “walkout”, we also had a small patio with two chairs and a table. Room amenities for this particular room included a coffee maker, safe, television (with some, but not all US stations), small table, chair, and stocked refrigerator. Daily, the refrigerator was restocked with soda, water, juices, and beer. This is one of the least expensive room categories, but was still very comfortable for our family.
Things to Do at Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos: Activities and Amenities
I could do an entirely separate article about things to do at Beaches, because there truly is so much. Of course, as you’d expect, the beach is a big part of the draw here. Located on Grace Bay, the beach is filled with lounge chairs and umbrellas so you could really spend a full day there. While the January water was a bit chilly, even for this Bostonian, I did still cool off a bit in the sea. If you don’t want to swim, it’s nice to even just sit and read a book as you enjoy the gorgeous turquoise waters.
Beverage service is sometimes available at the beach, but food generally isn’t. It’s pretty easy to head back up to one of the restaurants for a quick break before enjoying an afternoon on the water. We especially enjoyed setting up at the far end of the beach by the Jerk Shack. Then, we’d head up for a quick lunch.
Water sports are also available, including scuba diving (for certified divers), snorkeling, aquatrikes, paddle boarding, kayaks, and much more. Unlike other all-inclusive resorts, motorized water sports are included at Beaches. All of this is dependent upon beach conditions – if it’s a red or yellow flag day, options will be limited. If your family enjoys water sports, this is definitely a huge benefit.
On one day, my husband and daughter got a kayak and paddled around in the water. Another day, we got snorkels and walked a short distance to the reef. We saw turtles, rays, and so many fish during our brief snorkeling excursion.
If you’d prefer to do a longer water excursion or other water sports that aren’t included in your stay, there are several desks where you can book a trip. These are offered at an additional fee.
Prefer to explore the waterpark? You’ll find three large water slides, two medium slides, several small slides, a lazy river, a surf simulator, as well as other water activities. There’s also a fun little kids’ swim up bar. Everything is right there and included in your stay. Regardless of where you are staying, it’s just a short walk. Staying in the French Village, we were so close to the water park. We never spent the whole day at the park, preferring to spend an hour daily.
There are also a whole bunch of pools on property. We counted five, including four large pools (French Village, Italian Village, Iguana’s bar, and the Caribbean Village), and two smaller ones in the Key West Village. The water in the pools was so warm, and we enjoyed spending so much time in them. Some of the pools had swim up bars and other activities, like water volleyball.
Kids ages 0-17 years can spend some time in the kids camps. Little ones (up to 4 years) can enjoy Camp Sesame, which is open from 9am to 9pm (with 2 hour long breaks). The regular kids camp is available for kids 5-10 from 9am to 9pm. There’s also a tween and teen club for older kids. If you need babysitting outside of the scope and/or hours of the kids’ clubs, sitters are offered at an additional price.
There’s plenty of entertainment each day and night. Little kids will especially love all of the Sesame Street characters and events that are offered as part of the Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street. A schedule was placed in my room each evening with a listing of the next day’s events.
Some of the offerings over the week included a Turks and Caicos culture night (complete with a Fire Dance spectacle), a Sesame Street parade, live musical entertainment, shows, poolside activities, a Beach Party, and a Fish Fry event. Each week, there are four themed musical theater shows performed on property, and twice a week, local artists and merchants set up booths with their wares for you to purchase. Several days per week, they offer tie dye. You can purchase a white shirt in the gift shop, or bring your own from home.
We attended the fish fry event and loved the food. It’s set up by the Caribbean Village lobby, and included a full buffet of food as well as a bar. The Friday night beach party is also lots of fun, with Sesame Street entertainment, a buffet, bars, activities, music, and vendors.
Beaches also includes lots of other activities and amenities, including the Red Lane Spa (services offered at an additional fee), fitness centers, tennis, volleyball, lawn chess, basketball, and more. You can also borrow games from the resort.
In addition to the vendor fairs, there’s lots of other shopping to be done at the resort. There are boutiques, gift shops, a jewelry shop, and a candy store with some Build a Bear products.
Family photos are offered at the resort, and lots of families take advantage of that opportunity. There’s an additional fee to purchase them, but the sitting is free. If you want to do this, you may want to pack outfits for the pictures.
The highlight of my trip was the Reading Road Trip. We had the opportunity to bring some of our favorite books to read to local school children. I brought along Make Way for Ducklings, a book that takes place in Boston. As I read to them, I answered some questions about Boston and the US (they were fascinated by the idea of snow), and learned about their lives. It’s absolutely a worthwhile detour on your family vacation – learn more about it here. (Note – if you go, the kids were especially interested in getting coloring books, so bring some along to give them).
During our second trip, we were unable to do the reading road trip because the schools were closed for midterms. We still wanted to give back, so we decided to Pack for a Purpose. After reading the wish list, we purchased school supplies like construction paper, scissors, and crayons, and packed them in our suitcase. Upon arriving at the resort, we dropped them off at the front desk.
Restaurants At Beaches
As an all-inclusive resort, Beaches makes sure that you’ll never go hungry. There are 22 specialty dining concepts scattered throughout the resort, all with different cuisines and themes. Several of them are slightly more upscale, and a few offer adult-only dining experiences. A few require resort evening apparel – so pack long pants and nice shirts if you want to be able to eat at these spots. In most cases, you can just walk up to the restaurant you’ll want to dine at, although Kimonos, the teppanyaki restaurant, requires reservations (and is definitely worthwhile). If you want to eat at Kimonos, make your reservations when you arrive for the greatest availability.
There are enough restaurants that you could easily try something different each night. Cuisines include Japanese, Caribbean, Italy, and Indian. It’s fun to wake up in the morning and think about the various cuisines you can try throughout the day. Our favorite restaurants were the following:
Barefoot by the Sea: This outdoor restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a casual (and sandy) environment. My favorite dish was the fish tacos at lunch.
Arizona’s: We loved lunch here, with a built your own taco grill located right by the beach.
Mario’s: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner with an Italian buffet for dinner on the weekends.
Soy: Delicious sushi for dinner (we went there twice, and could have returned another time!)
The Jerk Shack: This casual, open air shack serves fish, pork, and chicken. This was my favorite lunch on property, and the perfect stop if you are spending the day at the beach.
Neptunes: Our favorite breakfast – my kids loved the vanilla bean pancakes, and I loved the avocado toast.
Schooners: This beautiful beach front restaurant serves breakfast and dinner. Dinner is mostly seafood specialities, although my kids loved the chicken.
We also loved Cafe de Paris for coffee in the morning and desserts during the day, Bobby Dees for ice cream, popcorn, and cotton candy, and the Mr. Mac food truck in the water park for deep fried mac bites.
One thing I did notice is the lack of quick healthy snacks. There’s popcorn, ice cream, and desserts, but in general, finding healthy snacks was a little difficult.
As the mom of a child with food allergies, I’m always concerned with how resorts handle dietary restrictions. I was impressed with how well Beaches handles food allergies. The servers always asked about allergies before taking orders, and we able to accommodate requests. There’s also a culinary concierge who can assist with special requests – especially if your allergies make it challenging to order off the menu.
What Else to Know for a Stay at Beaches
You won’t need to tip employees at Beaches Turks and Caicos (they simply don’t accept tips), so you really won’t need to bring too much cash along with you for tips (note that spa staff and butlers do accept tips). The currency in Turks and Caicos is US dollars, and you may want to have cash if you plan to purchase from the local vendors who set up for the craft show, the Beach Party, and the Fish Fry. There are no ATMs on property. Electrical outlets are the same as those in the United States, (120 volts, 60 cycle) so converters aren’t necessary if you are American. A nurse if available from 8am-10pm, if necessary.
When it’s time to return back to the Providenciales Airport, Beaches Resort will arrange for your complimentary transportation. The day before my departure, I had a form in my room listing all of the departures from the Providenciales Airport. Next to each flight was a time that your shuttle would be. Since there aren’t too many flights per day, it was easy to see the time I needed to depart. Your time will be pretty early, since you’ll need to arrive well in advance for your international flight. Keep in mind that there’s only one place to eat at the small airport, so eat before your departure if you can.
Guests staying in Key West Village are picked up at that lobby, while guests of the other villages are picked up at the departure lounge. Late check outs can sometimes be arranged for an additional fee. Otherwise, there are facilities available at the departure lounge so you can change. Lockers are available in the departure lounge, but you’ll want to bring along your own lock if you plan to use them.
Check out our video here:
Closure of Beaches Turks and Caicos
You may have heard rumors/news about Beaches Turks and Caicos closing indefinitely. I received the following statement from Beaches:
“Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort recently announced several intermittent date closures in 2019, 2020 and for an indefinite period in 2021. It is important to note that this decision has been one of the most difficult we have had to ever make, as we care deeply for this island and hold great affection for the people of Turks and Caicos. We felt it our duty and responsibility to circulate accurate data in regard to this complex issue. It is important to note that we do not owe any money in unpaid taxes. We have always fully observed, complied and met our tax obligations on time and to the letter. We punctually and properly pay taxes according to the law and our track record is exceptional. Much to the contrary, as it stands, we are currently owed monies in over paid taxes. We are heartened that the government is trying to resolve this issue on a fast track basis to which they have our full and complete cooperation.”