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!