Historical Traveller Reviews of Sands At Grace Bay Hotel
from A TripAdvisor Member
The Sands at Grace Bay was absolutely beautiful. The accommodations were perfect, the property is landscaped to a "t", and is extremely clean. The condo personnel are very friendly and helpful. The pools and the beach are breathtaking. There is no "hawking" of goods on the beach like a lot of other islands. Hemingway's, Bella Luna, Simba and Grecko's Restaurants were great - higly recommend. If you want a massage, go to Alexandra's and ask for Georgette - excellent massage therapist. It is a safe, friendly, clean island with very little to do but relax - perfect! Highly recommend the Sands.
My husband and I had the most incredible vacation this past week at The Sands Resort, Turks and Caicos. Words are inadequate to describe the natural beauty of the Grace Bay area. The beaches are magnificient and the treatment at The Sands was first class all the way. From the moment we arrived and were greeted by the front desk staff,our vacation was on a roll that never declined. The one bedroom unit with water view was extremely clean and very well-appointed. It seemed as if all the members of The Sand's staff couldn't do enough to make our stay a wonderful one. Everyone on the premises was always pleasant and so upbeat. There is a terriffic restaurant on the property - Hemingway's. The meals we ate there rivaled any of those on the island. I do have to say the $10 Wednesday chicken and rib special at Tiki Hut is a real bargain. There are several other restaurants such as Sharkbite, Caicos Cafe and Coco Bistro that are also quite good. Perhaps the best thing about our visit is that we could simply lay on the beach or on one of the many beautiful lagoon lilke pools at The Sands and never feel crowded. We have been to countless places in the Carribean but I would have to say, none compared with our stay at The Sands. You can be sure we will come back again soon.
Great change of pace!
from A TripAdvisor Member
I have been going to the Cayman Islands since 1978 and have always enjoyed their 7 mile Beach area. After approximately 25 trips to the Caymans, I noticed that the cruise ships have taken over and the large chains have moved in, including their own Hard Rock Cafe. This to me is not relaxing.
Many of my Caymanian friends advised me to try the Turks & Caicos. They said that if I liked the Caymans 20 years ago, I would love T&C. They were correct.
We stayed at the Sands in May 2003 and will be going back April 2004.
Being in the hospitality business for 30 years, I sometimes find myself more critical of restaurants and hotels than the normal visitor would.
I found the accomodations at the Sands to be excellant and the staff to be friendly and accomodating. I have read many of these reviews about how the prices at Hemingways were through the roof. I disagree. I found their prices and the quality of product very reasonable. In fact, we only at 2 meals off of the premises because we were content with their bill of fare, pricing and menu.
Pools and beach are great. Not overcrowded. Looking forward to going back again.
This island knows how to treat visitors
I will certainly go back to this island. It was the most relaxing vacation ever!!! We stayed at the Sands in a 1 bedroom ocean view on the third floor. The view was gorgeous, the condo spacious, the beach magnificent, the staff courteous and helpful. Our dining experiences are as follows, 1) Hemingways good food, owners and locals at the bar are very friendly, 2) Carters Cafe so so local joint, we went for the live music at 9:30 pm, barefoot cafe low end good food very low key, 3) Cuyoba wonderful food, but we felt rushed, 4) the beach bar at the coral garden had a great burger. At Hemingways on Tuesday night we met a couple of locals that took us on Friday night to the banana boat for drinks (fun local crowd) then on to 3 queens for dinner. At 3 queens the chef presented himself and asked what we would like to eat. We asked for the menu and were told there isn't one just tell the chef what you would like to eat and he will fix it. We ordered the steak and lobster tails, it was the best meal we had on the island! Our new friends Joy and Algernon (captain and owner of a charter fishing boat called gwod phrienz) made our last meal on the island a true pleasure.
We will see them again.....soon
Be careful in Provo
from A TripAdvisor Member
I traveled to Provo on 10/22/03 with a friend. We got attacked by a man in a hooded sweatshirt after we left Calico Jacks on a Friday night. We were told how safe the island is and that you can walk around. Not true. This man was hiding in the bushes and threw me to the ground and stole my pocketbook. We were walking on the main street outside of our hotel, the Sands at Grace Bay. The police did respond but I was told how this never happens. I think the locals are covering up the violence on the island. BE CAREFUL AND TAKE CABS. Needless to say, this ruined the vacation and I will never go back.
from A TripAdvisor Member
The Sands was great. We stayed Oct. 5-12 on our honeymoon. One bedroom suite was fine. Not fancy. About the same you would find in any condo in Destin-Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.( If you wan't fancy go to Grace Bay Club.) Room was clean had no problems. One bedroom was really more than we needed. This was the most relaxed I have ever been. No one on the beach exept for the same three couples we saw every day. Kind of humid in the courtyard/pool area. No big deal, we were used to it. The beach felt about 10-15 degrees cooler with the breeze. Fell asleep almost every day on the beach. Water was like pool water clear as could be. Took the Hobi cat out every day. Could have had stronger wind, still had enough to have fun. We were going to do the private island get away but the beech is so not crowded didn't feel the need. Have friends who did the full day private getaway and said a half day would be better. Did go on one excursion snorkel/shell and Iguana island. Had a great time. That was about the only time we left the hotel grounds. Hemingways food was good prices not bad at all. Ate at Sibone' one night. More expensive than Hemingway's but not any better. Took one trip to Iga for bread snacks and drinks. Miller Lite 12 pack $24.00. Still cheaper than buying a drink at a Bar. Don't waste your time bringing food from home. Not worth the hassel. Prices are not that bad. Plenty of mosquitos but not as bad as Brainerd, Minnisota. Just use deet and you will be fine. We are plannig another trip for April and October.
Loved the Sands
from A TripAdvisor Member
We just got back from Sands!!! We were there 4 nights 1-4 - 1-8. We loved Turks & Caicos and loved The Sands. Hemingways is the restraunt at the Sands and we at two meals a day, everyday! The food is excellent. Breakfast was $20-26. Juice is $3.00 a glass. Eggs Benedict was excellent with hasbrowns and sausage for $8.50. Lunch was excellent. Conch chowder $7.50 big dish. Hamburger with fries $8.50.
Dessert $7.50 creme brulee or brownie with icecream. Dinner $42.00 surf & turf. Carribean lobster and 7 oz. steak potatoe and salad. Chicken stir fry 15.50 and pasta dish 13.95. Dinner for two with dessert $77.00. Average lunch $40-50. This was our first visit to Turks & Caicos and our favorite island so far. It's very quiet and relaxing so if your looking to party...go to Cancun, also an excellent place to visit! We would go back to TC and stay at the Sands again and again.
Every Tuesday they offer rum swizzle with d'oeuvres at the pool for one hour. Complimentary bicycle use and non-motorized watersport ( kayaks, snorkel gear and hobie cat(sailing catamaran). We spent two days snorkeling on Grace bay by Coral Gardens/White House. Saw sting ray, crab and starfish. Took catamaran out, went for bike ride and did the snorkel/conch dive excursion. It was an excellent excursion and cost 120.00 for 3 1/2 hrs. Loved TC!!
Sands is Wonderful, Hammerhead story below is true
After two nights at the Comfort Suites, we moved to the Sands at Grace Bay. What a difference! Originally reserved in a courtyard studio, we paid to upgrade to an oceanfront studio (building 3). The courtyard studio was dark with no patio or large windows. It had a queen bed in one small room with an attached sitting room holding a Murphy bed. Same with the oceanfront studio, but it had a beautiful lanai (screened patio) with nice furniture. I snore, so it was nice to have the two separate rooms for my wifes peaceful evenings. And I cracked the sliding door open an inch to sleep to the sounds of gentle waves rolling onto the beach. Ahhhh! Snoooooore!The Sands has gorgeous gardens, a river pool, Jacuzzis, and a main pool, all with very luxurious padded furniture surrounding. The beach is wide and well kept with plenty of huts to shade under. Free Hobie Cats and kayaks were available from 9-4 daily. They also have a nice exercise room and full service spa. Didnt use it, though.Hemmingways Restaurant sits pool/beachside offering glorious views of both. The food is very good, and priced moderately. We enjoyed three meals here. And the service was very attentive. Definitely recommend.On Monday, October 13, we went out with Fifi, owner of Caicos Adventures to French Cay. Beautiful day, flat water, four good divers in my group with Asa, our DM.1st dive: G-Spot. Beautiful sponges with colors I've never seen before (blue, purple, teal, orange, red) in the same area. Huge barrel sponges, too. A few turtles and reef sharks buzzed us making the dive fun.2nd dive: Double D. Supposed to have been a drift dive. No current, so we just did a one way swim & the boat picked us up where we surfaced. More pretty sponges and sea life. But that is not the end of it.The five of us (including review posted after this one) were hanging out around 15-20 feet for our safety stop when I noticed something cruising the edge of the nearby wall. Looked like a HUGE reef shark, maybe a bull shark. No, it was a 14+ foot HAMMERHEAD!!!!!! I gave the two fist to the head signal to my dive buddy who thought I was kidding. Then I looked again & the "Grim Reaper" was circling back to check us out. He went right under me & turned away. Our DM, Asa, was frantically pointing at Grim Reaper. I nodded calmly, awestruck.The other two in our group excitedly floated up to the surface (yes, you wjames!). Asa thought they would be dead meat there, so he waved for them to come down. They didn't. Grim Reaper now buzzed by Asa's right leg, then on towards my dive buddy. He looked hungry! One more pass between us three, and he was gone! Just like that!We stayed still for another minute expecting Grim to circle back again. Didn't happen, so we surfaced & waved to Fifi (about 150 yards away) to pick us up FAST! All of us were talking with incredible excitement for the next five minutes while floating at the surface. I kept looking under for another sign of Grim. Nowhere to be seen, but Im sure he was still watching us!Back on the boat, wjames showed a shot of Grim he snapped on his digital camera. Nobody believed us until he produced the photo.Asa said, "I quit! I've seen it all! The Grim Reaper was coming for me!" But somehow I think he'll be back soon looking for Grim, or the other way around.We'll be back to stay at the Sands & search for Grim.
Sands Great Place to Stay
Stayed at the Sands from Oct 9-16. The trip was outstanding and the Sands is a beautiful place to stay. I read some reports that noted that the Sands was aging a bit but we did not feel that way. We stayed in a one-bedroom ocean view suite with a great view of the ocean. Woke up every morning and sat on the screened porch and listened to the birds and the ocean. Very relaxing. The grounds were well kept and the resort is well managed. Had one problem with a party in the apartment above our suite that went well into the early hours and kept us awake. We talked to the manager the next morning and he apologized and told us that the Sand's security had to escort them out of the room. Apparently the room had been rented for that one night for the express purpose of having the party. We found the employees to be friendly and helpful. The months of September and October are the slowest in the islands and we found that the beach was not crowed at all. We had no problem getting a palapa on the beach. We also found that even though the air temperature was in the high 80's, the trade breezes made you feel like the temperature was in the 70's. It was very comfortable. The humidity was in the high 60's to low 70's. High but with the breeze it was very comfortable. There were biting insects so bring your insect repellent along. They really attacked one member of our party but I did not have much of a problem. Others have said, and I will reiterate, that you need to bring your sunscreen. The sun can be brutal if you are not prepared. We tried the parasailing (arranged through the tour desk by the restaurant) and it was great. I expected an adrenalin rush but found it to be incredibly peaceful and quiet in the air. There was little wind while you were up and you felt like you were floating on air. We also tried the Hobie Cats and they were a lot of fun. You don't need to know how to sail to take them out. They are very easy to control.I read all about the high cost of food but had no idea of what that meant so I thought I would provide some information that would help people in their food planning. The Sands restaurant, Hemmingway's, is very good. Breakfast will cost approximately $8.00, lunch will run from 8-13 dollars, and dinner will cost 11-17 dollars with the most expensive meal costing $24. The most reasonably priced meal we had was at Calico Jacks where we had a large pizza that fed four of us for $14. Another reasonably priced restaurant was the Tiki Hut where we had the Wed special of ribs and chicken for $10 (highly recommended). In general you will find that dinner prices start at around $12 and top out at $24 unless you go to one of the upscale restaurants where the cost per person can double. We also ate at the Shark Bite and found the food to reasonably priced and good. We especially enjoyed the ambiance. Our table was right over the water overlooking the marina at Turtle's Cove. The prices cited above are for entrees only and do not reflect beverages or tips. Tea and sodas are around $1.75 and alcoholic drinks will run $4-5.The water is also drinkable and the electric current is the same as in the US. If you are diving you need to be aware that the Sands restaurant does not open until 8 AM and the dive shop we dove with (Caicos Adventures) picks you up at 8:15 so you will want to pick up something at the IGA grocery store for breakfast. I won't bore anyone with a description of my diving experience except to say that it was great. I will put a detailed report on the Rodales scuba diving website under their Community link. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would go back to TCI in a heartbeat and would stay at the Sands again.
Loved the Sands, but not Provo
from A TripAdvisor Member
The Sands at Grace Bay is a lovely spot!! Relaxing, plenty of room and beautiful landscaping. We stayed in a one bedroom suite-ocean view and special thanks to Teresa for getting us the room we really wanted with an unobstructed view of the ocean. Our Suite was large and fabulous and clean. The grounds are lush and tropical and the beach and service are terrific. We stayed at the Sands from Sept.18th to the 23rd. Be aware that alot, if not most, restaurants and some tour operators close until mid October, due to off season. We did eat a Baci's one night and it was superb! I have read other reviews and agree that this is not a place for young children-not much to do at the hotel, but for us adults that want to relax and unwind, it is the perfect place. The staff was friendly and helpful at all times. Thanks to the ladies who took care of our room (1206), they were great - thanks to Ben for rescuing us on the Hobie Cat when the wind disappeared- and thanks to Stacey for setting up our tour to North Caicos. This tour however was not worth the time or money- there is nothing to see or do that you can't see or do on Provo- and the roads are unmarked and look like dirt driveways so you can't find anything anyway. As for Provo and Taxi's and shopping--forget it!! Everything is so expensive - bring as much of your own food as you can if staying in a suite with a kitchen. The cost of transportation to and from shopping or dining is very high for such a small Island. We could not helmet dive because of the visibility at the time we were there, we could not eco-kayak because the tour operator was closed until October - If I went there again I would probably snorkel on the other side of the island and maybe take a short tour there as well. There are no shopping areas or a real center of town- perhaps because the cruise ships do not dock here (which is good in one way and bad in another) Provo seems to want to be the next Cayman Islands with banking as the Islands 2nd largest industry after tourism. As such, real estate is sky high. It is a great "escape to" place close to the U.S.,but pricey and in a state of "under construction". We have been traveling the Islands for 25 years now and have seen many nicer places than Provo - Grenada, Belize, Barbados and Dominica to name a few. If you go expecting to just relax in a beautiful setting-- go to the Sands at Grace Bay. If you are looking for nightlife or kids activities, this is not the place for you. We usually rent a car for a day or 2 to explore the island we're visiting, but the driving on Provo looked too crazy and fast on roads not yet finished, so we really did not get to see all of the Island, although I suspect that the rest of the place was like what we did see.
Top Local Tips for Providenciales
If you arrive/leave on a Saturday, be prepared for long lines in the airport.
J & B Tours
Contact Crissy at the J & B Tours desk and get signed up for the Cave Safari Tour. Excellent tour, Kevin the Captain is fun, knowledgeable and a safe person to travel on the water with!!!!!!!!!!!
The bus has to be called and does not make regular rounds.