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The Sands or VDM?

Chicago, Illinois
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33 posts
9 reviews
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The Sands or VDM?

Hello Everyone!

Long time lurker here. My husband and I (leaving our son at home with his grandparents!) will be visiting TCI for the first time this December to celebrate my 30th, his cancer remission, and surviving our first couple years as new parents! We have been in contact with Val at T&C Reservations and want to book our accommodations soon. We (and by 'we' I mean 'I') are torn between The Sands and Villa Del Mar. My husband could care less as long as we are in paradise together. These resorts fit best within our budget (I'd like to have the ability to splurge in other areas....food, drinks, rental car), but I have a few very minor questions/concerns I was hoping you could help me with:

-Is parking readily available at both resorts? What about at the restaurants and grocery stores?

-How long of a walk is it from The Sands to VDM?

-Is beach service more readily available at The Sands? I feel like it might be due to Hemingways being on-site. This is pure speculation on my part.

-I keep reading that The Sands is a 'family friendly' option. Do you think we will regret staying there, as we are hoping for general peace and quiet (mainly at night)? We are going early December, so hopefully the amount of children will not negatively affect our relaxation :-)

I think I like the overall location of VDM better, but I like The Sands' pool area, beach views from the pool, and overall beach-like ambiance more. I also like having the ability to be extremely lazy and stroll on over to Hemingways for 3 meals a day (we will NOT be doing this, I promise, but i like to know the option is there!) versus knowing we have to plan for some type of trek to a restaurant OR cook for ourselves (gasp!). As you can probably tell....I'm leaning towards The Sands, just hesitant that it may not be as serene as VDM.

I look forward to everyone's advice; and please, be as blunt as possible. I respond surprisngly well to harshness!

Detroit, Michigan
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9,765 posts
1 review
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1. Re: The Sands or VDM?

The answer to your question is Sands. Because it is the embellishment of Grace Bay and the Sands immerses you in the "Happy" Island mode. You want to be as close to the water/beach as you can. DR. JIM

Lubbock, Texas
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1,508 posts
83 reviews
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2. Re: The Sands or VDM?

I have never been to VDM but stayed at The Sands twice; and we are big fans of The Sands. Love the location on the beach, love the resort itself and really enjoy Hemingway's. The location is great for us for walking to the IGA, Salt Mills Plaza, etc, long beach walks, and to Somewhere's, etc as well. There is beach service at The Sands thru Hemingway's, which not only has good food, but great drinks. Breakfast is probably my least favorite meal there, but we usually have that in room anyway. It is "next door" to Bay Bistro which is also good and a favorite of the TA foodies. Altho The Sands is a family-friendly place, we never felt overwhelmed w. kids or noise (we are mid-50's!!); there were always plenty of beach chairs and palapas. The pool/gardens/grounds are immaculately maintained; after an anniversary dinner at Hemingway's last year we sat out by pool enjoying the peace and quiet!! The pool is one where you can actually be at the pool and appreciate the ocean view as well. We did not rent a car when we stayed at Sands so can't answer about parking; there is a small grocery on-site, but you will save much $$ by going to the IGA. They provide shuttle or you can walk to IGA and cab it back. The Sands is not what I would call luxurious but certainly comfortable; they were progressing thru remodeling the bathrooms when we were there last year. No noise issues. Feel free to PM me for specifics about rooms, etc if you like. Sounds like you have a lot to celebrate; enjoy your stay!!

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4,641 posts
8 reviews
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3. Re: The Sands or VDM?

The beach service is fantastic at VDM, the "beach boys"(Larone and Karone, twins) are out out all day. They bring you drinks and food from Seaside Cafe(right next door at OCW). They set up your umbrella with towel and have water tank right on the beach. Actually better beach service than OCW(where we stay). The location for grocery, shopping and restuarants is excellent.

Canandaigua, New...
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7,074 posts
22 reviews
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4. Re: The Sands or VDM?

The Sands is a great option for you.

Right on the beach,beautiful grounds, ocean facing pool,nice beach frontage and undeveloped lots on both sides of the resort.

And a dining option right on site.

Just like the vibe of this property.


Vidor, Texas
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467 posts
43 reviews
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5. Re: The Sands or VDM?

We stayed at The Sands in October and will be returning shortly. We never had a problem with parking, was able to park close to the building we were in. They were doing the bathroom reno's on the building closest to us, they show up early and liked to hang around and chat, sometimes loudly, before starting work. Wasn't an issue for us, they were actually kinda funny, but surely those reno's are done by now. I loved our balcony and spent most of our room time there. Had an ocean view, screened in, and the most comfortable chairs I've ever sat in at a resort. I am hoping they have these on all balconies and it wasn't just this particular one (might have been a unit owned by someone who rents it out). Loved that they had a washer/dryer unit in the bathroom. And the secret hammock spot was right behind our building. Having Hemingway's on site came in real handy after flying in and being tired, we just went to the beach and were too tired to leave. Hemingway's was very good and cheaper than I had thought after reading how expensive everything was before going. Walked 2 minutes next door to Bay Bistro for breakfast one morning and it was very good, great view. I don't know a thing about VDM though, sorry.

Halifax, Canada
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4,480 posts
3 reviews
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6. Re: The Sands or VDM?

If you don't mind not being right on the beach, but a short 1 1/2 min walk, then my vote goes to VDM. Easy walk to some great restaurants, shops and grocery store.

The rooms are upscale for the money compared to the Sands. Pool area is smaller but it's also a small hotel so it never feels crowded.

We stayed there last fall and loved it!

As TweksMaryland said, the beach service is outstanding! The two guys are super friendly and very accommodating!

While there is no restaurant on site, you're next door to GBC and OCW ( Seaside Cafe) - where the guys will also get you food if you decide you don't want to leave the beach for lunch!

Never been a fan of Hemmingway's, so personally, I don't find that to be a plus.

Personally, VDM is a better fit for us vs. The Sands.

Edited: 19 June 2013, 13:14
Chicago, Illinois
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33 posts
9 reviews
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7. Re: The Sands or VDM?

It sounds like we can't go wrong no matter which place we choose. Thank you for the replies so far! I did think of one more question: is there a difference in the water between these 2 areas? I am not a fan of seaweed or coral, so that might deter me from wandering into the beautiful ocean water!

New York City, New...
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515 posts
2 reviews
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8. Re: The Sands or VDM?

Never stayed at VDM, but am currently enjoying my second stay at the Sands.

We love the uncrowded beach, the pools and the people. The rooms are very beachy and mostly updated.

Beach service is great and Hemmingway's is a nice option for lunch.

As for children, there are some here now - including my own - but it's certainly not overrun with kids. Since you're going in December, I imagine there will be even less children because they'll be in school.

Property is very quiet at night.

Feel free to pm me!

Destination Expert
for Turks and Caicos
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7,680 posts
5 reviews
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9. Re: The Sands or VDM?

What unit are you getting at the Sands ? Studio Court yard, Garden View, Ocean front1 bdrm. Could make a difference. I would not stay in the Studio Court yard room at the Sands...not worth it.

I have stayed at both resorts. I love the rooms at the VDM very comfortable beds, loungers ....I also like the location by the pool studio's ,..1 bedrooms Ocean Front at the Sands screened in balcony's

Chicago, Illinois
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33 posts
9 reviews
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10. Re: The Sands or VDM?

We are planning a Studio Garden View if we book The Sands. We were told those rooms have screened in balconies...is this correct? I was originally drawn to VDM due to their lovely rooms, however I am starting to realize that since we are only on island for 5 days/4 nights we likely won't spend much time in our room, as I want to eat and explore as much as possible. I do plan to enjoy the beauty of Grace Bay beach as much as possible, but when it comes to cooling off I prefer a pool (goes back to the coral/seaweed/slimy plant life experiences I've had in oceans and the questionable bodies of water in the Chicagoland area ha!). The pool area at The Sands seems to have a nicer ambiance with the ocean/beach right there in the background. I am slowly realizing this is a big deal to me for some reason, which is why I'm leaning towards The Sands. I appreciate everyone's input and find TA extremely helpful. I haven't read anything bad about either resort, which is why I'm sure no matter which we choose we will be very happy!