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Trip Report - Sands 11/16-11/23- hotel & restauant info

Chicago, Illinois
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Trip Report - Sands 11/16-11/23- hotel & restauant info

Well, we just returned from a fabulous trip to Turks & Caicos. Stayed at the Sands, room 6303 2BR oceanview. Loved the view across the courtyard, pools & coconut trees to the ocean.

Weather was pretty good, cloudy most mornings, then cleared mid-day. Evenings were warm enough to wear tank tops & shorts to dinner, with the exception of our last day, but more on that later.

Sands: great hotel. Service was cordial, grounds well maintained, they cleaned the pool every morning. Hot tub was hit or miss. Lots of families had little kids in it at times, so in general I avoided it. My kids 11 & 13 year old, spent time in the swimming pools just about every afternoon.

The beach is beautiful in front of the Sands. No hotels (yet!) on either side, so plenty of room to walk or play catch away from the people. We never had a problem getting an "umbrella" and 4 chairs, we generally got to the beach by 9am.

Food: My son and I took the Sands shuttle to the IGA and bought water ($12 case), soda ($4.00/6 pack), ceral ($5-6/box), bagels ($5), assorted other snacks & breakfast items. Spent $150, but ate almost all the food by the end of the week.

Breakfast: Ate in Hemingways twice. Had the French Toast, which was good, and the Huevos Rancheros, even better! Most of the time, we ate breakfast in our room - well technically out on the balcony! Walked down one day to Salt Mills Cafe (5 min walk from hotel) and got fresh baked croissants - excellent!

Lunches: Ate at Hemingways several times because it was so convenient, and reasonably priced (generally about $50 for the four of us). Very good Conch Fritters, and the shrimp mango salad was fantastic. Kids generally ate cheeseburgers, and said that their fries were really good too.

Also ate lunch at Salt Mills Cafe, great sandwiches. Went to Bambooz once (because they were the only place in Salt Mills or Port of Calls open on Sunday for lunch) Food was pretty average, but we did get to watch the Bears game on their giant TV's which made up for the food.

Dinners: Again, Hemingways was so convenient! We ate dinner there twice, on Thursday and Tuesday, which is their night for live music. Quentin Dean plays mostly reggae & some other stuff mixed in. Very nice atmosphere, and service is efficient and generally friendly. I had the Mahi Mahi with plantain crust, which was really good. We ate fish dishes most of the time, everything was so fresh and well cooked. (generally dinner for 4 ran about $125)

Barefoot Cafe - a sidewalk type cafe in Ports of Call ($10 taxi ride for 4 people from the Sands). Everyone loved their food, I had Chicken with Plantains, husband had Grouper, daughter had mahi mahi, and son had Chicken Parmesan. Dinner & drinks (including wine) was about $150 for the four of us.

Bay Bistro - a 5 minute walk down the beach from Sands. Very good food, one of my favorites during our stay. There were several families there. One had a group of little kids that were getting out of control, and the parents sent them to the beach to run around. We had the curry conch, lobster tail, roasted duck & veggie tart. Plus a very nice bottle of wine. $250 for the four of us, but the wine was $70 of that. Speaking of wine, the wine prices are generally reasonable, both at the stores and restaurants. They are in line, or sometimes even a bit less that what we'd pay at a restaurant back home.

Sharkbite in Turtle Cove- we went on BBQ night (Saturday). ($16 taxi ride for the four of us) The place was not crowded at all, about 5 tables were full. We sat on the deck, right next to the water. We all ordered ribs. As we were waiting for our food, a huge (10 ft) long nurse shark swam by the deck twice! Very cool!

Caicos Cafe - in Ports of Call ($10 taxi ride - or 15 min walk from Sands). We ate here as a recommendation of a local - - Desmond. He was our waiter at Barefoot Cafe and then we saw him again as a bartender at the Somerset. Very friendly & fun to talk to. This was my favorite restaurant, it's got a great atmosphere-sidewalk cafe, good music, and nice lighting. Our waiter was very knowledgeable abou the menu, and made excellent recommendations. We all ate Mahi Mahi or yellowtail snapper, a bottle of wine, plus 1 salad and 4 desserts (wow - great desserts!). $250 for the 4 of us.

Well, that's the update on hotel and restaurants. I'll post more later on the activities - - and the weather!

Washington DC...
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1. Re: Trip Report - Sands 11/16-11/23- hotel & restauant info

I'm hungry!

Can't wait for the rest.

Connecticut
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2. Re: Trip Report - Sands 11/16-11/23- hotel & restauant info

Thanks for the trip report and the details on your food. You made me hungry. Glad you enjoyed The Sands!

Turks and Caicos...
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3. Re: Trip Report - Sands 11/16-11/23- hotel & restauant info

Very Nice. Glad you had a great time at The Sands.

Huntingdon Valley...
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4. Re: Trip Report - Sands 11/16-11/23- hotel & restauant info

ffmom:

Thanks for all of that great information. We will be staying at The Sands over Christmas in a 2 bedroom oceanview. I'd like to hear more about your room, if you get a chance. Also, I'm looking forward to the activities and other information!

The restaurants you talked about were some of the ones I was going to suggest to my husband and son for us. I'm thankful that you gave so much information about them. You helped to take the guesswork out of it for me!

Glad you had such a great trip. Is there anything you would have done differently - if you go back, what you you do different?

We are renting a car for the week. I see that you took the bus. Do you think we need a car? My husband and son are divers, so we thought it might be useful for me to have to "explore" on some of the days when they're diving.

Again, thanks again for any further information you have a chance to provide!

- Karen

Washington DC...
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5. Re: Trip Report - Sands 11/16-11/23- hotel & restauant info

jjsmom: you need a car for the most beautiful sights, especially Chaulk Sound. You need a high clerance vehicle (such as a terios) to get to Malcolm's Beach, one of my personal favorites. Plus you would need a car to drive around and check out the gorgeous houses. It gives freedom to try any restaurant,no waiting around!

You'll have a great Christmas!

Providenciales
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6. Re: Trip Report - Sands 11/16-11/23- hotel & restauant info

Hi ffmom!

Glad you enjoyed your trip and the Sands. We happen to own 6303 and it's always nice to hear good things about the unit as well as the property. Did you notice the print in the master bedroom? We thought it perfectly captured the color of the water. Oddly enough, the artist is from Vermont! We so fell in love with TCI that we are moving there within a year or so (not to the Sands but to a property currently under construction that is larger). Again, glad you enjoyed yourselves!

elizabeth

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: Trip Report - Sands 11/16-11/23- hotel & restauant info

djes - we loved the condo. I thought all the prints were beautiful. Also the big fish on the kitchen counter. I think your view is one of the best, straight on to the ocean, but across the courtyard so you get the depth of the property. We never felt like we were too close to neighbors like some of the other hotels. And we spent hours out on the balcony, just people watching and enjoying the ocean breezes. My only suggestion would be bigger coffee mugs! We ended up buying "travel mugs" from Salt Mills cafe and using those. I would definitely stay there again.

As for renting a car, we did rent a jeep for one day and went to Malcolms & Chaulk Sound. More on that in part 2! We would have rented it for one more day, but don't think the cost would have been worth it for the whole week. There are so many restaurants & activities within walking distance or close taxi to the Sands.

Providenciales
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8. Re: Trip Report - Sands 11/16-11/23- hotel & restauant info

Thanks ffmom!

Although many think that owners have a lot of input on the decorations, in reality, the resort determines furniture, fabrics, kitchen utensils, etc. They don't like owners to customize the units much, for obvious reasons. So our only additions were the 2 prints and the guest book (which I hope you signed!). The fish print you mentioned was done by Anna who has the art gallery at Saltmills. We refer to the the balcony as the "Versailles" view :)

Again, thanks for your nice comments. TCI is really a very special place and we can't wait to make it our home!

elizabeth

Texas
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9. Re: Trip Report - Sands 11/16-11/23- hotel & restauant info

thanks so much for the great post. We are going to the Sands in Jan and will use all your recomendations. Did you use the spa at the Sands at all?

Molly123

Connecticut
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10. Re: Trip Report - Sands 11/16-11/23- hotel & restauant info

dejs, My husband and I looked at your unit when it was for sale. It does have a lovely view across the gardens, pools, and out to the ocean. Is it still on the market?