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The Sands at Grace Bay
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Reviewed 21 September 2005

We just returned from 7 nights at The Sands at Grace Bay and can't wait to tell others about how wonderful and relaxing it was. The off season down there was a great value for us and we stayed in a coutyard room with a king sixe bed ( nice mattress!) with a small kitchette with all you need to fix yourselves a little something if you like. The hotel runs a shuttle twice a day to the IGA grocery store ($8.00 pp r/t) to get provisions. The water was good to drink--as in the states--everyone seems to carry/use bottled water. The screened in patio has large comfortable wicker chairs and a glass table. We sat out there with a wonderful view of the courtyard ( nice clean colorful pools and palm trees, flowering plants) and the ocean in the background--it was beautiful. the trade winds helped keep it cooler, and while it was very warm there during the day, it felt wonderful! The only restaurant on site was very good. Served 3 meals a day, and was just a short walk from our room or the pools or the beach. Everything was wonderful, the waiters and waitresses were very good. The guys at the beach towel stand were the most fun and helpful--letting us in on island customs and who what where and when. We felt like we were leaving old friends after only a week!! Go to Provo and tell the guys( John, Delroy and Kenold) we said HI and we're coming back!! There is construction going on everywhere, right next door to the Sands, construction is just starting on a large new complex. The roads around the area are bumpy and dusty--I wouldn't want to try walking off the property, but some of the folks did. The GEKO --a local bus--comes around every 30 min or so, the fare is $4.00 p/p for one stop or all day for $11.00 p/p. You can go to the Grocery store or just shop around, but shopping isn't the thing to go for. If you are going to relax during the off season, you found the right place!! American dollars are used--the airport is easy in and out. Have a great time!!!

18  Thank goodgirlIllinois
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 August 2005

My family and I just returned from the Sands. This place was amazing. When we first arrived our check-in process was very fast and we were off to our rooms. Once in our room, we did not have a bath tub just a stand up shower. We have a 2 and 5 year olds so we needed a tub. We called and within 10 minutes we were moved to a different room which turned out to be bigger and more accommodating. The staff at the Sands was awesome and made sure you felt like you were on vacation from the moment you arrived. The water and beach were breathtaking. Towels were always waiting to be signed out never a shortage. The grounds were gorgeous and the pools were great. The only complaint was the pools could have been a little cleaner. People should use the hoses to wash the sand off instead of the pool. Our kids loved the pools especially our 2 year old loved the kiddie pool. Hemingways was really good, fish & chips for lunch are great. The conch chowder was the best I've ever had. We have no complaints other than the pools could have been cleaner. The ocean water was to die for and the beaches with the tiki huts were awesome.
Some places we ate off the Sands were the Tiki Hut, Magnolias, Bay Bistro, Aqua, and Iguana's. We enjoyed each of them very much. We went to the Gracebay IGA supermarket to get breakfast and snack foods for our room. We had a full kitchen so it really helped to save money to eat in our room for at least one meal a day. We rented a car from Hertz and they were very accommodating. I totally suggest you to rent a car and drive out to Chalk Sound, this is a really rough sandy road, but by far the most beautiful place I have ever seen with my own two eyes. We shopped at Salt Mills and Port of Calls. Our favorite was Port of Calls, very nice people every where we went. We always felt safe and were never begged for anything.
We just loved this place and will definitely be returning.

  • Stayed: August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
26  Thank jrae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2005

We booked our vacation to the Turks & Caicos Islands just four days before our departure and were still able to get a beautiful room at the Sands. The van picked us right on time at the airport and we received a rum punch drink while checking in. Our room was ocean view and it was really nice with two bedrooms, two full baths, a living room and full size kitchen. They had a washer/dryer in the room which came in very handy with two teenage boys. Each bedroom and the livingroom had a television (the reception wasn't to good, but we weren't there to watch TV) and they also supplied a hairdryer, iron/ironing board, and safe. All the appliances in the kitchen worked fine and they provided plenty of cookware. One review mentioned an ant problem, but if you keep the counters clean and don't leave dirty dishes/food out there is no problem. Besides, these are harmless sugar ants and when you're from Texas and deal with fireants these don't count as real ants !! They also have a screened-in porch that was nice for drying bathing suits and dive equipment. (We recommend Dive Provo for a great diving experience) You can get bottled water from the maids/front desk and ice at the bar, both free of charge. There's a convenience store right at the entrance to the property, but you really pay for the convenience. They also have a shuttle that takes you to the local grocery store, but the charge is $8.00/person, so send one person and make a good list. We were able to bring food with us in coolers (anything except fruits, veg. and raw meat)and this saved us lots of money as food is very expensive on the island. The resort has a great pool with an area that's shallow for the smaller kids and several "coves" for adults who want to sun in a quieter area. We never had a problem getting lounge chairs at the pool or beach and they have a waitress who keeps the drinks coming. They have a service at the pool that provides towels and activities such as windsurfing, kyaking, hobicats (all free) and parasailing, sunset cruises, etc.. for an additional charge. There is also a gym on the property that my boys really enjoyed using. We only ate out once and that was at "Hemingways" which was beachfront dining at the resort. The prices were very reasonable and the food was delicious. The staff at the Sands were always friendly and helpful. Overall it was a great vacation.

  • Stayed: July 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
20  Thank Elizabeth1482
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 August 2005

My wife and I just returned from a trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands and found our stay at The Sands to be a relaxing and layed-back experience. This condominium is a collection of 6 buildings each housing a variety of units ranging from 1 bedroom studios to 3 bedroom, fully equipped apartments. There are 3 swimming pools scattered throughout the property. Our studio was perfect for the 2 of us as it contained a kitchenette which included a refrigerator, microwave and coffee-maker. The bathroom closet has a washer-dryer combo. Each unit has a screened- in porch overlooking either the well-maintained gardens or the ocean. The Sands is centrally located on a beautiful 12 mile white powder beach that surpasses any that we've seen in the Caribbean and the clearest and warmest of water. We made use of the complimentary Hobie-Cats and kayaks which are signed out for 45 minute time slots. The Sands on-property restaurant (Hemmingways) was very convenient, reasonably priced and served up some very appetizing meals (the Mahi-Mahi was excellent). Two other restaurants within walking distance that were also very good, although somewhat pricier, were the Bay Biistro and Bella Luna. For those people visiting with children, I recommend "Beaches" as it is a more family oriented condo.
Be warned - there is a lot of construction going on in Provo, and as a result the secondary roads are in very poor condition. There is really not much to see on the island so a car rental isn't a necessity. Taxis are readilly available. If a layed-back vacation is your preferrence then plan on visiting this island within the next 3 years as it will soon be showcasing many more hotels, condos and casinos.

27  Thank dodger16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 August 2005

I just arrived back home last week after spending a rejuvenating and restful 8-day, 7-night vacation from July 25 - August 1st at the Sands at Grace Bay with my mom. I researched long and hard with the assistance of TripAdvisor's prior reviews and destination forum to choose where to book and the Sands didn't let me down during my visit. Helpful hint: make sure to scoop up the "WhenWhereHow" brochure once you're done with the luggage collecting...lots of valuable tips and it's FREE!

Once through with customs, we were picked up at Provo International by the hotel's shuttle van along with 2 other families. From the moment we arrived at the resort, we were warmly greeted by the concierge and front desk staff. Check-in was a breeze as no waiting was necessary. The information was confirmed in no time and Kimberly went over excursions available on site and through tours adjacent to the shoreline. Our bags were promptly whisked up to our room (#3206) afterwards and the bellboy smiled, "welcome home" once we arrived at our door. This sort of immediate rapport set the tone for an enjoyable time on the islands.

The Room: We booked a 1-bedroom deluxe oceanfront suite that wound up being on the 2nd floor of Building #3 and we were both blown away by the impeccable decor and sheer size of the accommodations. I've been in Manhattan studio apartments a quarter of the square footage! The wraparound screened-in balcony alone had a wicker sitting area, additional dining area, 2 chaise lounges with 2 more recliners facing the master bedroom. Our bathroom was quite roomy as well with shower, dual sinks, jacuzzi tub and bidet – included within our room was a half-bathroom right near the entryway (made quick pit stops before walking out the door convenient instead of running back through the bedroom) that stored the washer/dryer. We were also equipped with a full, spacious kitchen right down to the cutlery and china. The king-sized bed was incredibly soft and comfortable. You couldn't ask for more amenities that made you feel like this was a home away from home.

Food: On almost every review I read prior to my stay, the beachfront restaurant on site — Hemingway's — was mentioned as if not THE best, certainly right up there as a solid choice for dining out. The afternoon we landed in Provo, we decided to stop in for lunch as our unit was situated right up the stairs from the walk-in entrance and we immediately saw what the buzz was about. The dishes were reasonably priced and incredibly tasty. Even the salads tasted more organic and fresh than the sterile airport food we stomached on the way in. It doesn't matter if you're looking for something casual or with a bit more panache, there's something for everyone on the menu. We ventured out to other spots such as Iguana's, Danny Buoy's and Tiki Hut, but Hemingway's kept us coming back daily for lunch and dinner. Our favorites included the island specialty - conch fritters, fish & chips, soft grouper tacos, hot shrimp pasta and créme brulee. The service was also very courteous and quick, no lulls in waiting on your order at all. While we relied on Hemingway's to refuel from midday on, we took advantage of the stove, toaster, coffeemaker & microwave and stocked up at the Graceway IGA supermarket with a couple items (cereal, juice, milk, bread, fruit, etc.) to keep handy in the fridge to make our own breakfast and for munchies to snack on. Due to the tariffs on imports, many of the items available there were marked up to eye-opening prices (ex. a bottle of Ocean Spray cranberry juice was $5.89!), however a fair share of others ran at comparable rates to what I'm used to in NYC. There was always a steady supply of Fiji water bottles left on our doorstep every day, so it wasn't really necessary to stock up on H20 in abundance.

Beach: If you're curious as to why Condé Nast lavished praise on Grace Bay, it will quickly make sense once you come face to face with the spectacular turquoise seas and feel the sugar-fine sands between your toes. Words alone cannot do it justice, but I'll try in vain anyway. The water is incredibly warm, crystal clear and not racked with heavy waves in the least. Every day I felt as if I was walking onto a postcard, it was so beautifully picturesque. Hiding out under the tiki huts for a bit can be a necessity as the sun is blazing from 10:00 onwards, and I delighted in relaxing on my beach chair just staring out into the ocean or curling up with a good book and my mango margarita handy.
Towels and assorted accessories like inflatable rafts, inner tubes, hobie cats, life jackets and kayaks were available for complimentary usage from the tour desk once signed out. We never had any difficulties checking out whatever was needed while there and there were always a stream of fresh towels provided. Planning excursions were simplified since a rep from Turkoise Excursions had a booth set up right next to the main pool. We did a sunset cruise and just cooled out enjoying as the sun's kaleidoscope of colors reflected onto the atmosphere at sea.

Pools: The main pool as with all the other adjacent "river-like" courtyard pools were very nice with lots of plants & foliage that adds a sense of privacy in a sense since views are a bit obscured from passersby on the smaller ones. My only gripe here is with the cleaning of the main pool which faces Hemingway's after the early AM rush...I'm not sure if they use filters, but many guests have a bad habit of using the pool water to rinse themselves off instead of the hose provided at the beach walkway and by 3:00 or so, debris begins to collect and is visibly floating on the surface.

Entertainment: There's a nice little manager's party held every Tuesday night with a one-man band providing some lilting Carib instrumentation, rum punch, draft beers and salsa & chips poolside. Overall, TCI is still in rapid development, so there isn't a palpable sense of nightlife in place yet. As a native New Yorker, it was kind of weird being someplace where almost everything shut down at 10:00 p.m. However, we were there specifically for the music and cultural festival, so Turtle Cove Marina was bustling nightly with summer concerts and local vendors supplying delicacies for the masses. We caught the Miss Turks & Caicos pageant, along with Shaggy and Ashanti and had a ball under a midnight ocean breeze with throngs of people out to have a good time.

Weather: I was a bit nervous after checking out the forecast at The Weather Channel which predicted thunderstorms all week, but it was pretty much picture perfect the entire time at highs just above the 90's° with minor showers smattered here and there. The rains always seemed to end almost as quickly as they began. An hour tops and you were back to being out and about and soaking up the sun.

Transportation: The best way to get around as a visitor is with a rental car, but as this was our first trip to Provo, we opted for using the Gecko shuttle for running errands, touring beyond the resort confines at Ports of Call & Salt Mills and commuting to the marina for the festival events. The fare for a one-way trip runs a bit steep at $4 per person, but we were able to purchase tokens at day passes as needed from the guest services desk. The Gecko runs about every half hour with pickups in front of many of the major resorts along the Grace Bay and schedules are available in the Sands lobby.

Grounds: It's well apparent that the resort on the whole is well manicured. The palm trees, tropical gardens and koi pond near the hospitality lounge are all lovely components of a perfect getaway setting. Looking for even more relaxation? Well, I found myself catching some serious Z's on the hammocks in the mini-"Coconut Grove" behind building 1.

Staff: Incredibly professional and pleasant to a fault. Every request was greeted with a smile and they worked extra hard to make sure that we felt at ease at all times. Housekeeping was frequent and efficient - not a day went by without a refill of fresh towels, bed turndowns and trash removal. A minor mishap occurred when the fire alarm in our suite kept going off in the middle of the night for some reason. After contacting security to report the problem, the manager was quickly called in to investigate the matter and it was rectified within 30 minutes of our initial complaint. The cashier at the gift shop was a doll and incredibly helpful in her recommendations of where to find things that WEREN'T available at her store. Go figure, huh? LOL

Make sure to pack away in your tote:
OFF bug spray (an absolute must, especially after a rainfall)
A plastic poncho for those sporadic storms
LOTS of sunscreen
A swim cap - IF you use one, they're almost impossible to find for sale there

In conclusion, I had a fantastic time unwinding in a naturally gorgeous locale. It's a pricey choice for a vacation, but who ever said pampering in style comes cheap? I haven't felt so relaxed in years and enjoyed all aspects for our first foray at Turks & Caicos.

Thank you's have to bestowed on Bloneva, Marie, Eliezar, Kimberly, Tyrell, Korna & Monique for treating us with such warmth and hospitality. By the end of the week we went from tourists to a "belonger." You helped make our first travel to T&C an across-the-board success and we wouldn't even dream of considering anywhere else but the Sands for our return next year.

  • Stayed: July 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
47  Thank GothamDiva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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