Historical Traveller Reviews of Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort & Spa Hotel
Beaches Not worth the cost
from A TripAdvisor Member
Our family traveled to Beaches President's week. I had read a number of positive and negative reviews, so naturally I was wondering what we would find upon arrival. Our room was nice, however, for the money that Beaches charges it should have been nicer. The sheets were like sleeping on hospital sheets. The pools, beach and grounds were beautiful. The food, however, had little in the way of redeeming qualilities. Sapodillas was awful. Arizonas was the best of all the restaurants for either a steak or baby back ribs. The buffets often contained leftover breakfast food at the lunch buffet. In short, you were charged for gourmet food and recieved mediocre food. I would return to the Island again but never to Beaches.
from A TripAdvisor Member
We were Beaches returning guests, Feb, 2001 and Feb 12-22, 2003. We have two teenagers, a boy 13 and a girl 17. After spending 2 weeks in Maui during August, 2002, we decided that our next vacation would be of the relaxing variety so it was logical to pick Beaches Turks & Caicos for a second time. We wanted to return to somewhere where we could just stroll out of the room and enjoy meals at our choice of 9 restaurants, right on the property no reservations to make, no car to get, no wait at the restaurant and no driving back to the hotel after having a few glasses of wine at dinner. For the moment, Ill leave the travel and transfer segment for last. We chose the presidential 2 room suite again since its well laid-out for 4 adults or near-adults. The room had been repainted since our stay 2 years ago. The air conditioning usually not suited to American tastes in many non-US Caribbean island resorts worked surprisingly well. There are TVs in each room, and best of all, a fully stocked bar in a mini kitchenette all the conveniences of home. Most anything youd want to consume in the room, including microwave popcorn, all included in the air & ground package.The room was located in Salt Kay just steps from one of the most pristine beaches Ive ever seen. Or, located just a few steps in a different direction, there is a huge swimming pool with swim-up bar . The Arizona bar and restaurant and is open for dinner as well as lunch on the pool deck.From this vantage point, the ocean and pool views are spectacular. The weather was the best weve ever had on any vacation 75/85, clear, with cooling trade winds.The Beaches staff were more professional and helpful than we expected; even more so than they were during our stay back in 2000. In commenting on this improvement in service, we were told by some of the middle managers in the restaurants that experienced staffs needed to be brought in from Jamaica to supplement the native island teams. Thats why youll now find more Jamaicans than locals serving you. In either case, the service and attitude were markedly better than 2 years ago. Although there are about 9 themed restaurants on the property, they share staffs and in some cases, kitchens. However, regrettably, the resort food has a sameness about it across all the dining spots. You can recognize the same cuts of meat, whether theyre used in breakfast steak & eggs or beef medallions in the French bistro for dinner. When tenderloin of lamb is offered as a dinner entree at the continental restaurant, youll also see it at the carving station at the lunch buffet the next day.But a Beaches Turks & Caicos vacation is not about fine dining. The food is ample, adequate, mostly fresh and they offer an wide enough selection. Most of the restaurant items are imported from the mainland (greater South Florida) since the island doesnt have the infrastructure to produce and process food on its own. However, they do use some local items, like the breads & rolls, hot dog & hamburger rolls and white bread. It all tastes like cardboard. Like theyve been frozen, re-frozen and then nuked. The dinner rolls and french breads are a tad better. But still nothing like their counterparts at any fine restaurant back home that youd pay real money for.But despite the foods shortcomings (Club Meds is better), the good service and convenience factor goes a long way toward overall satisfaction. But there are those rare times when you happen upon a surly waitress or bus person. But this never happened at higher staff levels. The suite concierge department was nearly flawless.The water sports programs were very well organized and as good as any Ive ever seen maybe better.There are numerous pools throughout the property, each offering different features and benefits. The kids had waterslides, couples and singles had pool volleyball, aquasize class and other poolside activities. Adults had a quiet pool right on the beach with nothing to do but sun, swim, eat, drink and relax. What could be bad about that? On the downside, the person who was the decision maker on the buying of the resort's lounge chairs obviously has never had to sit in one (the lounge chairs are color- coded for each property, pool or beach location). The chairs have pre-formed plastic frames and what seems to be a nylon-like net stretched across the seating area. This is not as comfortable as vinyl webbing. It doesnt have much give when you plunk down on it plus it seems to block the airflow from underneath. Worse, the lounges have no arms a welcome feature for experienced lounge-sitters. The chair back system is so light and flimsy that the back springs up and hits you in the back of the neck when you first sit. This is due to how tight the netting is stretched across the frame. And once you finally sit, and reach for a book, the chair back system disengages and snaps to a different position anywhere but where youve chosen. Since the chair back cant be adjusted while youre sitting, youve got to wrestle your way out of the chair, stand, go around back and readjust the chair back tilt. I finally learned to approach the chair with a running start and distribute my weight very evenly across both the back & seat area.The pools are sparkling, the water temperature is perfect and the chair and deck areas are hosed and neatened-up daily.But a recurring disappointment is this Beaches, like other resorts, is that they have not solved the towel rat problem. This is the ad hoc lounge reservation system where people wake as early as 6 am to reserve lounges in all the choicest locations. By 10 am, there is no place to sit unless youve sent on of the kids down between 6 and 7 am. Whats worse is that the large pool is just steps away from the pristine beach. This is a problem when large families or groups reserve as many as 12 or 14 lounges at both locations. During the course of the day, you never see more than 2 or 3 lounges at either location being used. A real waste. Beaches is the family version of the Sandals Group. This particular Presidents Week, the property was filled with young families, many with pre-school aged children. Parents used the hot tub in the Arizona pool as a kiddie pool. Kids were spilling their drinks into the hot tub and you could see orange juice pulp floating on the surface (there IS an adults only hot tub at a nearby location but the water was only luke warm). We soon discovered that our teenage children now enjoyed more adult tastes and would have enjoyed staying at a property with fewer young children.The travel portion of our vacation was a huge disappointment. Both from the Beaches charter standpoint and an airport security one.On our prior visit, seats were pre-assigned avoiding a crush at check-in. On this trip, seats were assigned on a first come, first served basis and, inexplicably, filled from back to front instead of the reverse.Check-in at Newark was uneventful except that we were early and I questioned the ticket agent when I saw that she had placed us in the back rows rather than the front. After I questioned her, she immediately re- did the boarding passes and sat us in the second row after the bulkhead (row 6). We waited a leisurely two hours at the gate and the aircraft boarded a half hour late due to delays at the originating airport (Boston). As we took our seats on the aircraft, the Continental cabin crew was busily checking boarding passes, helping with carry-ons and admonishing people to take their seats so they can get a head count. That was an ominous sign since there were at least a half dozen passengers that had the same seat assignments. After 15 minutes, families were separated, and empty seats were filled. The announcement came that the door would be closing and our departure would be imminent. But then came another announcement: catering had made a mistake and forgot to deliver our food... and that there would be a 55 minute delay since the caterer had to cook the food first.... The passengers booed and hissed loudly. There was a unanimous ad hoc vote to leave without the food. The stewardess carried that vote to the pilot who agreed (were still at the jetway with the door open). The pilot then announced that departure would be imminent. Five minutes later, another announcement came: we have no choice but to wait. The pilot had contacted the tour operator and was directed to wait for the food. Since the aircraft was picking up a load of passengers on the the return flight and catering facilities were not available at the Turks & Caicos airport the returning passengers would have nothing to eat. We waited the 55 minutes for the beef or chicken. We were soon to learn that other things were not available at our destination airport as well. After the delay, departure was uneventful. We had a tail wind and were ahead of schedule and began our decent into Turks & Caicos. As usual, the landing was flawless except that Turks & Caicos has a short runway and the packed 737 we were on used every last inch of it. As we were turning left off the active runway onto the taxiway, we could see the desert scrub grass of Turks & Caicos at the end of the runway pavement. It is our understanding that an effort is underway to lengthen the runway. Currently, it doesnt seem that they can handle anything larger than a 737. Transfers to the Beaches resort was organized and uneventful. Guest services at the hotel and the suite concierge were extremely professional and organized. It was one of the smoothest check-ins in our traveling experience (except that a Turks & Caicos immigration document was missing from our on-board documents packet and there was pandemonium when we attempted to clear customs at Turks & Caicos arrivals).Conversely, departure was the worst ever of our vacation experiences. Its a san fact that if you are traveling for one week, even within the same time zone, and you are traveling with a family, you can just about write off a day of your vacation for going and a day for the return. But this particular trip, the time expended for travel to and from was excessive. And if you add to that the increased time to clear security, a 7- day vacation is clearly a 5- day vacation in terms of actual down time. And to that, you need to add the very hectic and exhausting days at either ends of the vacation to pack and depart and then for the turn- around.On our return home, In anticipation of additional security and delays, our family decided to leave for the airport a bit early. We avoided the group transfer bus from the hotel and took an earlier one. When we arrived at the Turks & Caicos terminal (about a half hour earlier than we were scheduled to), the picture was ominous as we approached the terminal. There were hordes of families with baggage carts and screaming kids in tow, all converging on a single double door to enter the terminal. We found a sky cap and got on line only to find that three other flights were departing prior to ours. Because of the bottle neck there was a delay caused by increased security and our flight was directed to form a line outside the terminal. We did this and our family was fourth in line. About 20 minutes later, the balance of our fellow Beaches passengers arrived at the airport to find that the lines for our particular flight had now rounded the terminal corner. The passengers already on line were sweating in the mid-afternoon sun (many had already changed into their cold weather clothing). Most of our plane mates were from the Metropolitan New York area and unfortunately, many of them believed that getting on a plane was the same as getting on the subway. You simply push, and you are there. As they broke into a sweat, many of them began jumping the line and pushing into the terminal security area (and this came after an additional one-and-one-half hour-wait). Needless to say,, your average traveler at this point would be out-of-patience and ready for terminal rage. Picture New Yorkers on a subway platform with screaming kids tugging at their coat tails, all trying to get into one subway car. Airport security had to be called and fistfights almost broke out on the terminal floor. To add salt to our already open wounds, we were then told that the aircraft was preparing for a departure to Philadelphia, NOT Newark. A second wave of terminal rage coursed through the hot and sweaty tightly packed crowds. Things were getting uglier.Four and one- half hours after we arrived at the terminal, our aircraft door closed and we departed for what was now an uneventful night flight back to Newark. HHere are my final observations/conclusions: While the Beaches people tried as hard as they possibly could for the price they need to improve on the food. In terms of the charter, we cant fault Continental. It appears as though Beaches was organizing things on th cheap (for example, the Beaches representative that was supposed to travel from Newark to Turks & Caicos with us could not go because he did not have a return flight to Philadelphia as promised by Beaches). I will probably never return to Turks & Caicos again until I can be convinced that the terminal staff can handle the tourist load. On the positive side, the beach is pristine and the water is sparkling Turks & Caicos certainly deserves to be included among the 10 most desirable dive locations in the world.Aaron TollinRidgewood, NJ
a great vacation
I was a bit worried about going to Beaches after having read some negative reviews on this website prior to departure. Fortunately, it was one of the best vacations I have ever had.
Beaches is a beautiful resort. We stayed in a one bedroom suite. We had a fridge stocked with drinks, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic, as well as snack food and a microwave. The rooms were clean, and housekeeping came twice a day.
My husband and I travelled with our 2 children, ages 8 months and 3 years. We put them in the children's program every day and they loved it. My infant was spoiled rotten by the staff. They were always rocking her or carrying her around when I popped in. My 3 year old loved the toddler pool and did art projects.
The beach is one of the nicest I've seen. I do agree (with some other writers) that more chairs are needed in the pool and beach areas. On a nice day, it was sometimes difficult to find a place to park oneself.
I thought the food was very good. We ate at every restaurant. I especially loved the sushi bar, le Petit Chateau, and Sapodillas. Great fish! A word of warning-if you know wine, you will be horrified by their house wines-yeck! They do have some decent bottles available for purchase. Otherwise the drinks are great. They have premium brand liquors but you need to ask.
All the staff were very personable and nice. They truly seemed to care about your satisfaction.
Also-it costs extra, but use the spa-great massages!
I can't say enough about it. I look forward to going again.
from A TripAdvisor Member
WOW! What an over rated resort!!
I`ll start with the good first. The island and the beaches were beautiful! Mybe one of the best we`ve seen. The food was very good also.
OK! now for for the bad news. Great photos in the books but when you get there you have to wonder when they were taken. Most of the rooms are quite run down. We requested adjoining rooms for my wife and I and the two children. They assured us on the phone it would be no problem. They gave a two room about 6 rooms apart when we arrived and said there was nothing they could do about it since we were ROTH. So we spent the whole week with our 2 & 5 yr. old in the room with us. The room was also in dyer need of some work. The AC couldn`t cool a small refrig. and the toilet backed up everytime something more then liquid entered it. Your almost forced to drink the ammonia smelling and tasting water unless you purchase bottled in the store or town. Although they assured us the water was filtered and very safe. They also assured us we would have ajoining room!
They did do a good job with the landscaping. Most of the surroundings were keep very clean and the staff were very nice although the public bathrooms were in need of cleaning and supplies by mid-day everyday. make sure you keep your valuables in the safe. The folks next to us had their camera & a few dollars taken from their room.
The pools were very nice but don`t plan on sitting poolside unless you get there at 7AM to get chairs. Same with the beach. They have one chair for ever 4 guests it seemed. We put or kids in the day camp for afew hours each day and they seemed to like it very much. The attendants seem very good with the kids . We used the babysitting service each nigh for dinner. Make sure you sign up in the beginning of the week for each night you need it so you don`t get shut out. They only have a limited amount of sitters.
Our departure day they had us pack our bags and have them outside our door by 9:00AM even though our flight was leaving a 6:40 PM. We were told we would stay at the resort until mid afternoon when the bus would take us to the airport . At 11:00 they were getting us ready for the bus to the airport. Try to amuse a 2 & 5 yr old in an airport for 5 hour! They couldn`t get us out of the resort fast enough. We should have skipped the bus, stayed at the resort and took a cab to the airport ourselves.
All in all it was a very disapointing vacation although it could have been worse I guess.
If your thinking of planning a trip there, save your money! Stay away from Beaches. VERY VERY over rated If your already booked, GOOD LUCK!!
Beaches - good and not so...
We spent Christmas vacation, through New Years @ Beaches. While the overall convenience for a family with little kids is incomparable, and the experience on the whole was fine, make sure you are not expecting a first-class resort experience. If you do then you will be disappointed. The staff was pleasant, friendly and helpful for the most part with only a few notable exceptions. The condition of the resort varies with the prettiest area being the French section, though that is the longest walk to the beach (10 minutes tops). The main lobby is also kept up very well but other parts of the resort are a little worn and tattered. The restaurant food is all edible but with so much buffet style serving, which from the standpoint of convenience is great and fast, from the standpoint of cleanliness may not be the most germ-free environment. Too many people (children) that tend to touch and not take whatever food is available and then it is left for the next person to consume. The pools are nice but with the exception of the French pool, appear nicer and larger in their brouchures and web-site advertising. The Pirates pool, which is advertised as a main haunt for kids, is tiny. The pools are fairly cold and are unguarded. I had to ask an attendant to clean a pool of a flotilla of floating debris on one occasion. The surrounding ocean is magnificent and definitely the high-point of the trip. For scuba enthusiasts and snorkellers, it's as good as it gets. Make sure you take in a boat trip to partake in either. The beach, while pretty, does not compare in beauty to the 7 mile beach on Grand Cayman Island. The rooms are OK in terms of size but I caution you not to get a room or suite that contains an inside door to another room or suite because if you do, and if that room is occupied, it will be like living with the other party. The noise-proofing between the rooms is otherwise OK, but it is non-existent through this type of door. We had a big problem with it and friends we met down there
o try to change their room for the same reason. Activities abound for kids whether they go into the camp program or not. It is also very safe and we let our 5 and 9 year old girls go without parental supervision with no apprehension whatsoever (which is not how we usually approach such things). For adults the spa is top notch and the gym pretty decent. Lastly, easily over 50% of the quests of the hotel were from the New York City metropolitan area (as we were) and they bring with them their own special ambiance, which can be a plus or a minus depending on one's point of view.
Beautiful Beach, Sit back and relax
from A TripAdvisor Member
Our family just returned from one week at Beaches Turks and Caicos. Jan 1-8, 2003. A wonderful time was had by all. There are a few things we would do differently, but we would definitely return if given the opportunity. The beach is awesome.
I read most of the reviews after booking our trip and had mixed feelings before we left. I had been to Sandals in Negril and had a wonderful time. So reading negative reviews in regards to Beaches was somewhat disconcerting. I chose Turks & Caicos for our family based on the variety of activities that were listed.
Accomodations: Don't spend the extra money for room upgrades unless your budget is unlimited. We chose the honeymoon grand luxe and got two double beds (the matresses were smaller than the frames). We thought we would get a king and a double, but we were wrong, (I have two children, 9 & 7) no privacy in the room. We did have a balcony that looked out toward the ocean, but some of the palms blocked the view (partial view). It was nice to sit out and have a cup of coffee in the mornings though. The grounds are well kept and easy on the eyes.
Activities: The kids program was good and both of my children enjoyed the time that they were there. We only used the program for two days. (It didn't allow the kids much time at the beach.) The activities were well planned and we were provided with schedules where the children would be at various times throughout the day.
For the adults, you could participate in various family activities at the Iguana pool or in the evenings at the French Villiage Stage. If you want to have fun, get involved with the kids at those events. I suggest getting an orientation of the property and a list of the activities, otherwise, you'll have no idea what is going on until well into your vacation.
For those who just want to relax, plenty of chairs on the beach, pools etc. The weather's wonderful, the water beautiful. Just sit back and enjoy. Definitely a stress relief. Also, plenty of chances to parasail, banana boat, jetski etc. from nearby vendors. You also have the Beaches fanfare of catamarans, canoes, etc. for no extra charge.
Snorkeling was great, wish we had taken more trips. We brought our own gear which made it nice. You don't really need the flippers if you don't feel like packing them in the suitcase. You can also snorkel down the beach. There is a protected reef about 1/4 mile to the left (facing water) that allows snorkelers to view reef life without taking a boat. My kids loved this.
Food/Beverages: Great for kids. Agree with prior reviews. Wines--low grade, you can get better for extra charge. Really isn't necessary, as the bar drinks are pretty good. The food is average, but always available.
Overall, we all had a great time and would return in a heartbeat. It was truly a great relaxing vacation. The brochures paint a glossy picture, but we'd assumed as much. Don't get disappointed right away, you'll have a great time here.
Oh yeah, the arcade was fun, but be prepared, the kids have had the run of this place so some of the games have been damaged and have to be rebooted (disc errors) quite often. The kids game room has also been trashed pretty good. There are no decent pool cues, your lucky to find a fooseball (my son found one in the bushes), and the ping pong table is a little wobbly. We didn't spend much time here anyway. The adults can always play at the other tables, the cues were in better shape. The kids love the water slides!
Better than the reviews
from A TripAdvisor Member
I read the reviews only after booking the trip for December 2002. I am happy to say, that although not inaccurate, they really need to be tempered and explained.
The Sandals/Beaches marketting people definately take liberties in their descriptions; so if you expect a ultra luxury resort with gormet food, you will be dissapointed. However, if you expect a carribean family resort with a few extra amenities, you will enjoy yourself. Not gettign hung up on the let-down for first time visitors is key.
Very basic, with cherry furniture, tile floors, and bad mattresses. French Village rooms are smaller, no balcony/patio, and much further from the beach. Not worth the extra expense and not any nicer than anything else. Suites are the same, except bigger; not particualrly nicer, just bigger. Again, not worth the extra expense unless you are a big family.
Not gormet, but not dorm food either. Suisi bar was EXCELLENT! Japanese steak house (Kimonos)was awful, except for those who have never been to a good one. Sopadillas is the resort's only excellent resaurant. The 3 buffet resaurants offer differnt selections, so you have a HUGE selection of food. Soemtimes it was great, sometimes it was just ok, and sometimes we went to a differetn resaurant after getting a bad meal. Expect it and it will not spoil your trip. No good dessert on the resort, but that is a good thing.
No good wine anywhere, so for those who know wine, you will be greatly dissapointed. But everything else is plentiful. Make sure to request the liquor by name, as they always try to use a well brand.
I have a 1 yr old and a 3 yr old. All the nanny's were fine; nothing exceptional, but nothing to worry about. They knew who my children were, and learned their names quickly. My daughter very much enjoyed it and asked to go back. Kids made frineds quicky and hung out together otherwise. I only used the nannys sporadically, but some parents left children there for the entire day, each day. I heard no complaints. When the nursery closes for luch or dinner, you can hire one of hte nanny's to take your child and feed them lunch/dinner while the nusery is closed.
Beautiful! Towels and cabans plentiful.
Surprisingly nice and helpful. Not a single complaint.
This is a fammily resort; don't expect anything else. If you have children and you are not a travel snob, you will love this. although I have never gone anywhere 2 times, I woudl go back!
Great family vacation!!
from A TripAdvisor Member
I just returned from a visit to Beaches, TCI. The kids and I loved it! The facility was beautiful, the food great, and the family atmosphere good too. My kids are 13 & 15. They opted not to participate in the teen activities, but had a very nice time, kayaking, snorkeling, and parasailing. If adults are looking for night life, there really wasn't any, as there were so many families there with younger children, they probably went to bed early! Every employee I met, was helpful, cheerful, and really appeared to enjoy their jobs. I would highly recommend this resort to families that have kids of all ages!
Read Before You Go! Not Good!
from A TripAdvisor Member
This was my third trip to Beaches T&C. I will NEVER return. A virus was going around the resort and MANY MANY people got very ill!! Five out of the eight of the people I went will got it. When we left on the plane, the staff asked how many people got sick. About 80% raised their hands. The worst part is that management did not care. To be fair the general manager was not it, so we spoke to the next in charge. You can not imagine the was he treated us. He all but threw us out of his office, after he told us that for all he knows WE BROUGHT THE ILLNESS WITH US! Can you believe that?! This man was horrible. He said that he didn't care and he was not going to help us in any way. Please, think twice before you go. My 4 year old daughter had to be rushed to the dr and my other friends were too sick to go to the dr. The nurse had to come to our room. Is this what you want from your vacation?? Think twice!
Beaches photoshoot nightmare!!
Just returned from Beaches Turks & Caicos (9/29-10/6/02). They had film crews there shooting for brochures, etc., and it was a nightmare! Every day there were multiple closures of facilities, kiddie pools were closed to kiddies, turned away from pool bars as they prepared shoots, buzzed by helicopters on the beach,and much more. Managment at hotel was sympathetic to our plight, but so far upper management has remained silent when we ( a group of over 50 unhappy vacationers)reported what happened.
The resort IS stunning, the food was great (when the restaurants were opened), service staff very accomodating! Check for photo shoots before you go-- otherwise you'll come home more frustrated than relaxed!