We went to the Sands from August 23rd to September 1st. This was a last minute change in plans due to Hurricane Dean and his arrival in Cancun. I was not entirely upset about it since Turks is a place I've always wanted to visit.
Our flights went from Boston to Charlotte and then Charlotte to Provo. The air was not cheap, but was not crazy expensive either considering we booked on the 22nd. We took US Air. Flights were on time, no issues. Only bad thing was we had a 4 hour layover in Charlotte both directions. It's a nice airport, we did alot of walking around and I bought a NAP pillow at Brookstone which I made good use of.
Our arrival into Turks was smooth. Lines for immigration were not bad. I was shocked at the size of the airport there compared to places like St. Maarten and Aruba. They will most definitely need to update the airport to accomodate the loads of people that are now flocking to this island. We had a scare with the luggage. The attendant told us all bags were off the plane for us and we were missing our big bag with all of my clothes. I panicked and began walking around the room and found it leaning up against the wall. PHEW is all I can say. Don't let the airport thing frazzle you, just remember you are on vacation and once you get to your resort you won't think twice about it (until it's time to go home).
We took a taxi to the Sands that ran us $20. The driver was very informative and helpful pointing out areas of interest along the way.
When we checked in we were told they had no higher level gardenview 1 bed suites which is what we requested. We agreed to at least take a look at the unit they had for us and we weren't thrilled. They accomodated us by putting us in an oceanview suite for a nominal fee each night. I felt we got a good deal and the concierge, Jason, went out of his way to help us. He even sent a complimentary bottle of wine to our room for the inconvenience. The rooms are nice. Our room was very large and had great furnishings with a wraparound balcony that I napped on more than once. The only disappointment was the bathroom. They are small and not in the best shape. If they upgrade the tubs, I wouldn't have a bad thing to say.
As far as the resort itself and the grounds, well I can't say enough good. Keep in mind this was low season. We had no crowds to fight with over beach space, pool space, restaurant seating. The atmosphere was so relaxing , the beach amazing and the water the best we have ever seen. We had a daily visit from a school of fish and a barracuda who seemed to travel wtih them. Never bothered any people , he just kept to himself. We also had a visit from JoJo the dolphin on day 7 which was great.
The people who work there are fabulous from the maid to the maintenance guy to the front desk staff. We had an issue with our tub draining on day one and they sent someone up in 5 minutes to repair it. Very pleased. They are closed now until October to renovate all of the rooms and do some work to the pool area and Hemmingways. We can't wait to go back and see the changes.
Food: Hemmingway's - we did alot of our lunches and one dinner here just because it was on property. The food was decent, nothing to rave about but it filled us up and was yummy enough. Waitresses were very nice. I teamed up with them to feed a litter of 6 kittens that took up residence under the deck. ASPCA never showed up, I hope they make it. Adorable.
Magnolia - We enjoyed our meal here. The gnocchi appetizer was good. Husband enjoyed his filet. The bugs come out and start biting once the sun sets though so I advise you either wear or bring bug spray.
Coco Bistro - This was way overpriced in my opinion. Husband and I are not picky and we don't send food back. His steak came out way over done and since we were paying $48 for it I demanded he send it back. Came out the second time still overdone. My lobster was very good, huge portions. We had a little cat visitor during dinner who ate like a king between our leftovers.
We had reservations at Parallel 23 but never made it. We did eat at Plunge one night. Atmosphere is nice but the food is just ok. They had a limited menu due to rain in the area so we just had apps. The cheesecake was not great , definitely not worth the $11.
Other than that, we did food shopping at the IGA. We took the Sands shuttle there and spent about $200 for the 9 days. Be prepared for sticker shock. A large container of cranberry juice is 11.99. Deli meats are same as home. Milk was 5.99 for a gallon!
We ended up not renting a car. We got really lazy by day 7 and were just happy chililng out.
We did take the sunset cruise by Sail Provo which was nice. They had wine, cheese, crackers and rum punch. Be prepared to leave that catamaran with a buzz. :)
We did the all day Middle Caicos tour excursion with J&B Tours. That was a great day, a little bit of everything. We encountered a shark while on the boat cruising along so that was neat. I also found myself a very nice conch shell in the water and it made it home in one piece. Someone had already removed the conch animal.
Other than that we used the resort water stuff, a hobie cat, the kayaks and our friend even tried wind surfing. The attendants at the towel hut keep a close eye on you and will rescue you if you go too far or seem to be struggling.
We will definitely be back. It rained almost every day for a bit either in the morning or the afternoon. And when it rains, it is torrential. But we still had more than enough great weather and we have tans to prove it.
Lots of people ask Aruba or Turks. I have to say you can't really compare the two , it depends on what you are looking for. If you desire a place where you can stay out til 3am gambling or drinking and you want to have access to Taco Bell and Dunkin Donuts, then Aruba is it. If you want total relaxation, nothing but local restaurants and bedtime by 11pm then Turks is the right place. (for now at least)
I say overall we liked Turks more. My only drawback is the food. In my opinion it's much better in aruba and it's cheaper for what you get. With that said, we didn't get to eat out as much as we wanted to because alot of places had closed for the season already. We will be sure to sample more when we go back.
Any questions feel free to email me. I will post pictures at a later time, they aren't ready yet.
- 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
- Sands At Grace Bay Turks And Caicos/Providenciales