If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I might have made you just the teensiest bit jealous over the last several days. You probably guessed that the azure blue waters and white sandy beaches were not sights from our home here in the desert. You were right; my main squeeze and I escaped to the Caribbean for three blissfully uninterrupted days at Beaches Turks and Caicos for the invitation-only Social Media on the Sand conference. Prior to this trip, neither Jeff nor I had stayed at an all-inclusive and didn’t have a good grasp of the concept. But, like any good traveler, I did my homework and I’m here to share a glimpse at what is included in a stay at Beaches Turks and Caicos. Come along with me and have a look.
This, my friends, is an aerial view of the island of Providenciales, one of a string of Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean. Beaches is located on the north side of Providenciales, alongside the pristine beaches of Grace Bay.
So what exactly does it mean when Beaches declares itself an all inclusive family resort? It means that when you pay to be a guest at Beaches, you’re getting not only accommodations, but also food, alcoholic beverages and activities included in the price of your stay. Here’s a closer look at each of those categories.
Beaches Turks & Caicos resort is made up of four villages: Caribbean, French, Italian and Key West. Our room was located on the fourth floor in the Italian village.
Upon entering the room, we found a kids alcove with bunk beds (including a trundle that can sleep a third child). In addition to the shelving and ample storage in this part of our suite, the space included an xBox, and a child-height sink and mirror. Had our children joined us for this trip, I know that Jayce would have claimed this as his own vacation haven because it featured:
- its own window and window coverings that could only be manipulated from the top bunk
- a cubby space near the head of the bed where treasures could be hidden away
- both an Xbox and a chess board
Given all of the reasons why Jayce would have loved the alcove, the space almost made me wish I brought the kids along. Almost.
Walking through the alcove, we came to a luxurious bathroom complete with double sinks and a sunken jacuzzi tub stocked with products from the resort’s Red Lane Spa. My favorite feature in the bathroom, though, was the backlit makeup mirror; it spoiled me and now I’m insisting that Jeff install one for me at home. Just beyond the bathroom was the master bedroom with a four-post king bed.
Isn’t it dreamy? The room is flooded with cheery sunshine by day, but when the shades are drawn during nightly turn-down service, it becomes a cozy and comfortable nook. There is even a sliding door that can be shut between the alcove and the master bedroom for privacy, if that’s the sort of thing you’re looking for ;)
My grade for accommodations at Beaches: A+
Our room was ideal in every way. It was clean, comfortable and convenient to restaurants, bars, the pool and the beach. Housekeeping did an excellent job of keeping us stocked with fluffy towels and sweeping our floors to get rid of sand tracked in from the beach. We also enjoyed the use of plush robes and slippers. Oh, and indulging in drinks from the in-suite dry bar. Each day, it was replenished with soda, bottled water, red and white wine and a bottle of bubbly. There was also a bottle of rum and whiskey. And that, of course, leads me to another category of Beaches inclusions: alcohol.
Premium Alcoholic Beverages
Premium alcoholic beverages are included (on an all-you-care-to-enjoy basis) with every stay at Beaches. As you might imagine, I felt compelled to research that aspect thoroughly. My findings revealed that, indeed, adult beverages are included–every mimosa at breakfast, every mojito from the swim-up bar, and every glass of wine with dinner–all of it is included. If you ask for another mimosa with your freshly-made omelet, your server will simply smile and say, “no problem.” Take my word for it.
- A stay at Beaches includes all the cocktails, house wine and beer you care to enjoy.
- There are 12 bars at Beaches, and I can honestly say that you’re never far from one of them.
- Bartenders are both knowledgeable and friendly and happy to mix up whatever it is you’re craving.
- Bartenders are entertaining. Don’t be surprised if you see them flipping, spinning and/or tossing cocktail components as they prepare your drink.
- Bartenders aim to please. Jeff and I managed to get our hands on freshly-fallen coconuts. Once we’d sipped the coconut water from them, the bartenders went to a lot of trouble to fill Jeff’s coconut with a rum/pineapple juice mixture. Above and beyond, I’m telling you!
- Beringer bottles wines for Beaches resorts and those are included. Other wines are available for purchase should you opt to upgrade your experience.
- In my experience, the bartenders were not stingy when it came to pouring. Drinks were served strong across the board. If you prefer something sweeter, just ask and they can make it happen.
My grade for the alcoholic beverages at Beaches: A-
During my stay, I ordered several cocktails: a mai tai, a couple of mojitos, and a coconut rum and pineapple juice. The mai tai was not good-it was made with some sort of sour mix whereas I like my cocktails prepared with freshly-squeezed juices. The mojito, though, was quite tasty (made with fresh mint) as was the rum and pineapple. Wines were just okay. Beringer is not one of my go-to’s. I did notice that the resort offers Matua Sauvignon blanc, at an additional cost. The only problem, of course, was that they priced it at $40 per bottle and I pay $7 for the same bottle at Costco. I couldn’t bring myself to pay the upcharge. Still, based on the availability and overall quality of the beverages, I give it an A-.
With 18 restaurants to choose from (and all of them included in the price of your stay), there is no shortage of opportunity to tempt your taste buds at Beaches. While we were there, we dined at several of them and came away with our own favorites.
Barefoot by the Sea was our favorite restaurant for ambiance. Nestled close to the shore, this restaurant features picnic tables with white tablecloths, flickering candles, and a floor that isn’t really a floor at all but rather just a sandy place to nestle your toes while you eat.
If eating barefoot with your toes buried in fluffy white sand doesn’t make you feel like you’re on vacation, well, I don’t know what will. We ate lunch at Barefoot on our first day. I had the jerk chicken, served with red beans and rice and cole slaw.
In preparing for our Beaches trip, dining was my biggest concern. I’m an admitted food snob and have very high expectations when it comes to eating out. I was concerned about staying at an all-inclusive and only having access to the food provided there. As it turned out, the food quality was similar to what I expected it would be: average. As much as I had hoped otherwise, the food at Beaches strikes me as being dumbed down. Sauces are too sweet. Seafood tastes frozen and defrosted. Meats are bland. Vegetables are slightly soggy. Deserts all taste the same. This, I fear, is a result of trying to please the masses. I did not find the textures or flavors I was craving while I was there. Menus offer promising descriptions, but the meals fall short of meeting expectations.
My grade for Beaches dining: C
I’d be hesitant to rate the food so low had I only dined in one or two restaurants. Jeff and I made a point of dining in several locations (11 of the 18) so as to experience as many of the menus as possible. Across the board, the food was disappointing while the service was excellent.
With all of that said, I suspect that if you, like me, are an elitist foodie, then the dining options at Beaches will likely disappoint. The good news is that dining at Beaches had its high points. Here are my thoughts in that regard:
- Several of the restaurants offer charming ambiance. Diners are given the opportunity to enjoy dinner by the shore with the sound of waves crashing just feet away or in a charming, temperature-controlled, Tuscan-inspired dining room. Options are plentiful.
- Service is top-notch. Drinks are promptly refilled, courses are served in a timely manner, and guests are respectfully attended to without fail.
- There is a huge selection when it comes to menu items. Guests can choose from Caribbean fare, sushi, burgers, pizza, fine French cuisine, pub food, Italian, or Tex-Mex.
- Plates are artfully presented.
- Portions are just right–not too much or too little.
Beaches includes all variety of watersport activities in the price of a vacation. Paddle boarding, kayaking, scuba diving and snorkeling (plus many more) are all included. That, of course, is in addition to the pools, on-site waterpark, swim-up bars and beach. If you find yourself bored at Beaches, you really have nobody to blame but yourself. During our stay, I really wanted to do some stand-up paddle boarding. We first tried the sport in Hawaii last month and I was looking forward to getting back up on the board for some more fun. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do so because the seas were too rough. Beaches only rents out certain equipment when the sea conditions warrant a green flag. Not once during our three night stay did we ever see a green flag; it was always yellow or red. So, sadly, we weren’t able to partake in any of the included watersport activities. That didn’t stop us, though, from enjoying the beach. Would you just look at this view?!
If the pool is more your thing, you’ll be happy to note that there are several, many with swim-up bars where you can grab a mojito or the kids can swim up for a smoothie. The 45,000 square foot water park is another option. It features several slides, a wave simulator and a lazy river.
The kids are also welcome to hang out at the Kids Camp, or have fun with Sesame Street characters (who make appearances in a parade, stage shows and parties). There’s also an option to upgrade to interactive character experiences (for an additional charge).
Since the kids weren’t with us for this trip, we skipped the characters, in favor of sipping from coconuts…
My grade for Beaches activities: A+
As you can see, a vacation at Beaches Turks and Caicos offers a little something for every member of the family. Accommodations, beverages and activities all are top-notch, while the dining options fall slightly below expectations. Overall, I was impressed with the quality of the the accommodations and the attention to detail put forth by Beaches employees. I have no doubt that my kids would adore a vacation at Beaches and I hope to return with them someday soon.
**As a guest of Beaches Resorts and part of the #BeachesMoms Social Media on the Sand event, my stay at Beaches was significantly discounted. The thoughts I’m sharing with you in this (and every) post are not swayed by discounts. This review is genuine and authentic and fully represents my experience.**