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“The Sands' Housekeeping and Customer Service needs help!!!”

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The Sands at Grace Bay
Ranked #21 of 44 Hotels in Providenciales
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 19 November 2005

I just wanted to take a moment to express my dissatisfaction with my honeymoon at the Sands at Grace Bay.

My main criticism is that the housekeeping department was terrible. Our room never got cleaned before 4 p.m. throughout the length of our stay. This despite calling for a manager EVERYDAY to rectify the situation. The front desk knew we were on our honeymoon, yet did nothing to help us. I spoke with other guests during the trip that had similar complaints re: the extremely lax housekeeping.

I also found the front desk staff to be unfriendly, cold, and unhelpful. Several times we called for them to have someone bring up paper towels, a plate, etc., that was missing from the room. I do not know if they never relayed the message to a staff member, but these requests were seldom if ever met. The general unfriendliness of the front desk staff when we would ask about a restaurant recommendation or a miscellaneous question about the island was surprising to say the least.

There are many other good resorts along Grace Bay, and we wished we would have stayed at Royal West Indies and Coral Gardens instead. The facilities themselves were very nice. However, the service problems of the Sands do not contribute to a good vacation.

11  Thank TravelgirlLouisiana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 14 November 2005

Our family of four stayed at the Sands at the end of October 2005. We stayed in building 3. Here is a review of our stay:
1. Sands building is well maintained. Lush landscaping, attractive, well maintained pools. Please note that we were there during a quiet period. I would guess that it was 40% full.
2. We stayed in a 2 bedroom oceanview unit. I would describe the furnishings being of average quality. I was told that this varies considerably between units. It was extremely spacious with a huge balcony. We spent some time in the afternoons in the unit to escape the sun for a few hours. It was nice to have a seperate bedroom from the children, and our own TV. The bed was a king and very comfortable. The second bedroom had a door which opens out directly to the "outside", and important detail if your child is very young.
3. The kitchen appliances were of average quality. Pots and pans showed considerable use.
4. Bathrooms also showed some wear, but they, as well as the rest of the unit were kept clean by the daily housekeeping.
5. Common areas: Activity Center located in building #1 was very well layed out, spacious with a gym and a computer which I used for a short time daily. I only waited once to use it. There is a time limit posted should there be a line up. The computer in the lobby was broken for most of my stay.
6. The gift shop was small and not terribly interesting, likewise the on site food mart. IGA food market had a fantastic choice.
7. Beach was fabulous. Abundance of tiki huts to give you that necessary shade. Water was the nicest I have ever swam in, and at the risk of sounding like a know-it-all trip advisor, we travel alot and were at the Great Barrier Reef last year: Grace Bay is stunning, and I wasn't worried about sharks as I was in Australia!! The island itself is not pretty. It is flat, lacks the lush vegetation that other island have. Its arid nature makes for a very hot sunny week(just what we wanted!!) As many say, all of the beauty is in the water.
8. Drinks service to pool area and beach was prompt and courteous.
9.Hemmingways, the onsite restaurant offered above average food, pleasant service and a location that is tops.
10. By the end of the week we were drinking the tap water. We felt it was safe to drink. No one we spoke to fell ill. We also felt confident to dine off site from both a food hygiene perspective and personally safety. These were two very important points for us.
11. We travelled around by using the "Gecko Shuttle". It proved to be very reliable and economical.
To summarize, we had a very enjoyable 8 days at the Sands. There is a terrible amount of construction going on, but we weren't disturbed by it while on the beach. Road travel is difficult beacuse of all the work. There is very little night life or shopping which suited us as we fell asleep early with the children and rose early. I didn't explore the island enough to get a real "feel" for the local culture. Everyone I met who lived there had come from somewhere else. The cleaning staff were all Haitian, the drinks staff were from the Dominican Republic, so I felt it lacked a distinct culture.
A perfect location to bond with your travelling companion(s) and simply relax in a safe and beautiful setting.

  • Stayed: October 2005
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25  Thank MontrealVoyager
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 November 2005

We flew on Delta from Harrisburg to T and C with a stop in Atlanta. I was surprised that the plane was so small. There were only 2 seats on each side of the aisle – a puddle jumper. When we arrived in the T and C airport, the lights went out. The emergency lights came on. All was well and we didn’t think much of it. We stayed at the Sands and took advantage of their complementary airport transfers.

We loved the Sands and would definitely stay there again. They had beautiful lush landscaping and the pool was large. When the bellhop was taking us up to our room, he said it was the best room in the house. Of course I thought he said that about all the rooms. It was the nicest and largest room that we have had so far in our travels. It even beat out the suite we had for our honeymoon at the Fiesta Americana Condesa in Cancun. At the Sands we had a wrap around screened in porch. It was a one bedroom with 2 bathrooms and a kitchen/living room area. It was bigger than our first apartment – LOL! We unpacked and ate lunch in Hemingway’s, the restaurant at the Sands. They only had fish and chips or chicken and chips due to the blackout, which we found out was island wide. I very glad that I packed a small flashlight. My husband actually laughed at me when I told him I was packing it. Well I had the last laugh! When it was time for dinner, since the blackout was still in effect, we decided to eat at the hotel again. This time they only had salad dishes because they couldn’t do any cooking. Thankfully we had leftovers from lunch in our room. This was not the best way to start a vacation. We hoped that things would get better.

By the next morning, the electricity was fixed. Needless to say, we ate a big breakfast that day. Eating breakfast out is always a treat and Hemingway’s didn’t disappoint us. My favorite selection was their huevos rancheros. My husband liked the french toast with fruit. The electricity stayed on except for two other small outages. Unfortunately one of them was when I was in the shower. At least the water didn’t stop with my hair full of shampoo – LOL!

Some people had posted about poor customer service. We were very satisfied during our stay. It is true that the front desk staff is not overly friendly but when I called to get extra towels or to get our safe unlocked when I got it stuck (oops!), they gave us prompt service. The employees during the day at the restaurant were very nice and friendly. Sondra and Martha were our waitresses on the beach and they were great.

The beach at the Sands is gorgeous. We spent most of our days on the beach. The water is very clear and has stripes of turquoise and royal blue as you look out to the horizon. There were times that I stopped on the beach to make sure I took a mental picture of the stunning view. When I was a teenager I went to Barbados and went on a catamaran. The memory of the color of the ocean there has stayed with me and I haven’t seen the same colors in our travels until T and C. We took walks along the beach almost to the end of both sides to check out the other hotels. There were times on our walks where we took a dip in the ocean and did not see anyone else. The water in front of the Sands so calm it was almost like a bay. There was a breaker farther out that made the water very pleasant for swimming.

The Sands has music twice a week at Hemingway’s on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We were there for 11 nights but because of the blackout and rain, we were only able to go to one of them. They have a fun party for the hotel guests on Tuesdays with music, free rum punch, sodas, beer and appetizers.

We went to the Catholic Church on the island, Our Lady of Divine Providenceboth Sundays we were there. Their mass was very nice. On the second Sunday, one of the parishioners came up and asked us if we moved to the island. They had very friendly people there. The priest even called the travelers up to the altar at the end of mass and bestowed a blessing on us. After mass we took the requisite trip to the IGA. We had heard everyone talk about all the things that you can buy there. When we called the priest for directions to the church, he even used the IGA in reference for directions. We were the typical geeky tourists and posed for pictures outside the store. We didn’t know that they don’t sell alcohol on Sundays so we had to buy our stash later in the week. Let this be a warning to others – Ha Ha!

We had arranged a private island getaway with J and B tours prior to our trip. I didn’t mention this before, but Hurricane Alpha was headed towards us during our stay. We postponed the getaway for a day until we knew the weather would be alright. J and B tours picked us up with a van at the hotel and drove us to their marina. Another couple had also booked a getaway and they took both couples on the same boat but dropped us off at different locations. We were taken to Half Moon Bay. They gave us chairs, an umbrella and a cooler full of food including subs (from the IGA of course), wine, sodas, beer, water, cookies and fruit. We were the only ones on the beach. It felt like a catered Survivor – LOL! We only saw two other couples who ambled over to our beach from the other side of the island but left quickly. We think they came from a private catamaran. I have heard that the private excursions are called hanky panky island. I have to say that the setting was very romantic. I prefer sunbathing topless which is not allowed on the regular beaches in T and C, so this was my chance to partake. The bottom of the ocean floor on the private island was much rougher here and we forgot to bring water shoes, so we didn’t venture very far out. They also gave us snorkeling equipment, but since I’m not a good swimmer we opted not to do that. When they picked us up, the waves were very high out in the ocean. The ride back was frightening for me. I was so afraid that the boat would tip over and I would drown. They dropped us off at the hotel via the boat which was a sight to see. I wanted to kiss the sand when we got ashore.

We always look forward to trying different types of cuisine on vacation. We had traveled to St. Martin the last two years. Grand Case in St. Martin is known as the gourmet capitol of the Caribbean. We had delicious French meals every night in St. Martin. The food in T and C was not quite as good as in St. Martin, but we still thoroughly enjoyed our meals in T and C.

We went to Iguana and I was disappointed not to find Iguana on the menu. Carl had the blackened grouper and I had the mahi mahi, but the side of sautéed mushrooms was the stand out for the meal. I had the Curious George drink which had kahlua in it and was very yummy.

We liked Tiki Hut so much, we went there twice. Our meal choices included Jamaican Pork Chops, Lobster Ravioli and Lobster Pasta, which was spicy and very good.

Next door at Sibonne, we ate at Bay Bistro. We both had snapper. Carl’s desert was Key Lime Pie, which deserves a mention.

We ventured to the conch shack one day for lunch. We drove past it and had to turn around to find it, but it was worth the trouble. It is a very informal, open air, beachy place but the food is above par. We both had the sautéed conch with coconut milk. They have two square shaped holding areas in the ocean where the conch lives until it is time to cook them. After our delicious meal we asked for a demonstration of how they retrieve the conch. We had seen them bring in some conch shells for harvesting while we were eating. The worker tapped on the conch shell with a hammer, cut the conch muscle and pulled the meat out. I wished I would have asked to buy the shell because it was very pretty. They told us that they put the empty shells back in the ocean. We really wanted to return to the Conch Shack, but we ran out of time on the trip.

We ate at Hemingway’s at the hotel twice. We had wahoo and plantain encrusted mahi mahi, which was delicious. On our second visit we had grouper and tuna steak with a shrimp and scallops appetizer. The second time we ate at Hemingway’s we finally got to hear music. There was no blackout or rain that night. I was disappointed that the music wasn’t anything I was familiar with and didn’t have more of a Caribbean feel. The musician did play Cindy Lauper’s Time After Time, which I thought was funny. It was written by the Hooter’s from Philadelphia and I’ve seen them in concert many times.

Our most expensive meal was at Cobaya at Coral Gardens. It cost twice as much as similar meals in other restaurants. The setting was romantic but pretentious. The waiters stood at attention to the side of the restaurant. After we finished our meals, they used those little sweeping things on the table. We have been to many upscale restaurants, but on vacation we like to be casually elegant. The food was on par with Hemingway’s, Iguana, Bay Bistro and Tiki Hut, but the portions were smaller at Cobaya. I had the shrimp in phyllo with conch and linguini. There were only two shrimp in the dish. I would have understood four, but only two! The gnocchi gorgonzola appetizer was fabulous though. It was the best dish of the whole vacation. Carl had a pork dish that was unremarkable.

We decided to try more local food and ate at Hole in the Wall. I like to try unusual types of food on vacation, so I was excited to try their curried goat. It wasn’t exactly bad and I’m glad I tried it, but I probably wouldn’t order it again. Carl had the jerk chicken which was very good and worth the trip.

When we had walked along the beach we thought that the Turks and Caicos Club looked very nice. We decided to try out their restaurant, Simba, to check it out further. This is a very small but intimate and cozy hotel. We don’t like going to hotels where you are there with a thousand of your closest friends. We would consider staying there on subsequent vacations. This was one of our best meals. Carl had the conch chowder for an appetizer and it was served in a conch shell. I wish I would have ordered one also. For dinner I had lobster which was excellent and Carl had the grouper. We had their banana tempura and a warm apple tart for desert.

This trip was primarily for relaxation and rejuvenation. We didn’t go out at night and we didn’t feel like we missed anything by not going out. Turks and Caicos is a great place to go if you want gorgeous beaches, good restaurants and a private vacation.

  • Stayed: October 2005
    • Value
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22  Thank brown_eyed_bella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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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
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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
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Additional Information about The Sands at Grace Bay

Address: Grace Bay | PO Box 681, TKCA 1ZZ, Providenciales
Region: Caribbean > Turks and Caicos > Providenciales
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#12 Top resorts Hotel in Providenciales
#15 Spa Hotel in Providenciales
#19 On the Beach Hotel in Providenciales
#19 Luxury Hotel in Providenciales
Price Range: £162 - £384 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Sands at Grace Bay 4*
Number of rooms: 118
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Perfect harmony on Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales Experience an earthly wonder of sand and sea at our 114-suite luxury resort on Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands, British West Indies. Family-friendly, yet ideally suited for romantic getaways and wedding celebrations, The Sands at Grace Bay offers a harmonious balance of home comforts and sublime Caribbean elegance - as well as a picture perfect location on the sparkling shores of Grace Bay Beach. If you are dreaming of a beach holiday in the Caribbean that gives you the flexibility of having your own fully-equipped suite while enticing you with fine dining, pristine grounds and sigh-inducing vistas, we look forward to welcoming you to The Sands at Grace Bay. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sands At Grace Bay Hotel Providenciales
Sands At Grace Bay Providenciales
Sands Grace Bay
The Sands At Grace Bay Turks And Caicos/Providenciales

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