So I have to caveat this review with some background information. I think that the style of travel you are used to will greatly impact on your overall impression of a Beaches holiday, and thus it’s pretty important when considering a trip there. I have been to two all-inclusives in the past, including a Sandals property on St Lucia – so we were fairly aware of what the general experience would be. But in the past few years we have upped the game a bit and now we are used to staying in more high end properties like a Four Seasons. So we got used to what that had to offer. To me that is what real “luxury” and “five star” is. And no, I don’t think that is what Beaches really offers.
So if you are used to really high end stuff, please don’t expect that at Beaches. Despite the claims, this is not truly luxury. The food is not amazing or gourmet. The service is not five star. Etc... etc...
Does this mean it sucks? Not at all. In fact the majority of the lovely people we met while on holiday absolutely loved the property and many of them were repeat visitors.
The food was decent, if a bit bland and average. I would rate it as a equivalent to a mid to high end chain restaurant in the US. I would not rate it like a truly metropolitan gourmet restaurant, and sorry but Sopadillas is not even close to Michelin star quality.
The service is of course spotty (as reported in many reviews). It’s not a huge problem to deal with slow and unenthusiastic servers at restaurants, but its rather funny sometimes as you witness the “island time” epidemic in full force. Shout out to the very tall lady server at Schooners who seems to make an art form over moving very very slowly and never ever being cheerful. Overall we were “ok” with the service, and our concierge was extremely helpful and friendly. We were there during the infamous virus outbreak, so we had some moments with the front desk that were rather amusing – such as when they claimed they had closed the kids camp due to routine maintenance and naturally we should have been told this when we booked (patently a lie and disabused by our travel agent AND other staff members). Pretty much what I expected from Sandals though, as they are fairly notorious for taking the money and trying not to give it back. We did ask for a free cabana and free babysitting to make up for what we were missing and we got it – thanks to our above mentioned concierge. The final experience of the departure lounge leaves many things to be desired as the lady who runs the place obviously wishes she had a cattle prod to really drive home her theories on service.
The kids camp...hmmm....well I developed a feeling that the babies are fine with it, and the older toddlers (3+) like it, but the 1-3 range seem to hate it. We took our daughter (who loves her nursery at home and is very outgoing and comfortable with strangers) there for two days and she was pretty miserable. It just seemed really chaotic and I am not convinced that they actually do follow the ratios of 3 children under age 2 to every care worker. There were definitely a lot of sobbing toddlers there, including my own. We didn’t feel right bringing her back, so we kept her with us the rest of the holiday. And every time we walked near Camp Sesame she got upset and said “no play!”. Not a super great sign. Seriously though, I am sure you can leave your child there and they will be safe and entertained at times, but I think you are fooling yourself if you think they really like it there and are not going to be unhappy about it. All our babysitters were great except the first one (!) who could barely speak English and who comforted our toddler when she fussed and woke up by sitting up with her and watching TV for two hours. Hmmm....
We stayed in the Italian Village. We booked the Venetian suit, but were upgraded to a Roman Penthouse (more on the upgrade later) with an ocean view. The room was fine...not as nice as 5-star resorts, but pretty much what I expected. Housekeeping was consistent and good. The bed was great, and the full size crib for our daughter was nice. Water pressure leaves something to be desired, and of course as well the water is treated at the resort it often has this sulphery smell to it (even better for drinking!). From what we saw, we thought the Caribbean village was frankly a bit grim and like some kind of holdover from the 80s spring break era, the French village was o.k., and the Italian village was the only one that had a true hint of luxury.
We had wanted to upgrade to a butler suite, but supposedly none were available, even though we would have paid for it. Strangely, we met some other people on holiday who were offered an upgrade to a Butler suite. Perhaps something to do with the fact that they were professional Premier League footballers? Having a butler definitely would have made this better overall...especially as we would have preferred to have a cabana everyday. We had a butler when we stayed at Sandals, so I knew what we were missing out on.
So overall a mixed experience. We kind of knew what to expect, but wanted to give it a try to see if this was the kind of holiday that worked for us now that we had a family. Sadly, we have learned that it doesn’t, and that will be our last trip to a Sandals resort.
For the same price, we could stay somewhere nicer. Dunno, maybe our expectations have just changed. Perhaps we stayed at too many true five star resorts and now we can’t go back. Certainly our experiences at Four Seasons, Cappella, and Mandarin Oriental properties were a world above the Sandals/Beaches offering...and in many cases for equivalent or less money.
But I do think that what Beaches offers is exactly what a lot of people are after, so I am not trying to discourage people from going there. Just make sure your expectations are right, and if you are used to the fancy fancy stuff then you should probably steer clear.
Finally, I want to thank Mike from Dream Makers Vacations. He truly is “the man” when it comes to booking at a Beaches or Sandals, and our upgraded room was definitely a result of his reputation there. He was also responsive and helpful during the “viral shenanigans” even though he was probably going mad dealing with all the guests who were meant to arrive that week and instead were shuttled off to other places. I hope I haven’t reflected poorly on him with my less than stellar review of Beaches. If you do want to go to this resort, I highly suggest you book via him.
P.S. Turks and Caicos is gorgeous and the beach and water was definitely one of the prettiest I have ever been on...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dive into a one-of-a-kind, unbelievably exciting Beaches all-inclusive Turks & Caicos vacation for the whole family. A 45,000 square-foot waterpark; four magnificent villages, boasting the architecture and ambiance of Italy, France, the Caribbean and Key West; a 12-mile beach lapped by clear turquoise waters; endless fun activities for everyone, from tots to tweens and teens, featuring Sesame Street(R) characters, the new Xbox(R) Play Lounge and a sizzlin' teen disco, Liquid at Beaches-all located on one of the world's best beaches.19 Specialty dining options with everything from Caribbean to Japanese, Italian to French, Seafood to Sushi•7000-sq-ft retail village offering guests" high-end jewelry, fashion, candies, souvenirs•Our very own Pirates Island themed aqua-playground hosting one of the Caribbean"s most comprehensive water parks featuring nine slides, lazy river, surf simulator, water cannons, cranks and spray features•Kids of all ages can enjoy fun and games with Elmo and friends in our Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street(R)•X-BOX(R) Play Lounge with plasma screens and the latest games on the market •Voted Beaches Resorts "World"s Leading Family All-Inclusive" 14 years in a row•Voted Beaches Turks & Caicos "Turks & Caicos Leading Resort" for the 4th year in a row•Voted Beaches Turks & Caicos "The Caribbean"s Leading Family All- Inclusive" for the 2nd year in a row•Six Star Diamond Award- Beaches Resorts "Keeping it Green", American Academy of Hospitality Sciences•Six Star Diamond Award- Beaches Turks & Caicos for the Italian Village•Five Star Diamond Award- The Resort, Le Petit Chateau Restaurant and Mario's Restaurant ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Beaches Turks Caicos Providenciales
- Beaches Turks And Caicos
- Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa Turks And Caicos/Providenciales