It isn't always easy to find a vacation spot that the whole family can enjoy. Lots of resorts promise that they are "family-friendly" but don't really deliver. Happily, Turks and Caicos isn't one of those places. This was just about the best vacation our family has taken together.
After spending most of the day flying, we finally arrived at the Turks and Caicos airport at 9:30 PM, and I'm pleased to report that we were instantly met by the Beaches Staff who immediately whisked us (and our plentiful luggage!) off by car to their beautiful resort. It was 10:00 PM by then, but luckily the Reflections Buffet was still open so we were able to get some good, substantial food before going to bed. They were even grilling yummy lamb chops!
Our room was great, right near the "Arizona Pool" and the beach. It was very clean, spacious and our cleaning lady was exceptional. She was constantly organizing our "things". Any problems (which were very few), were responded to immediately by the super-attentive staff. At one point, we broke a glass and they were in our room literally within minutes to sweep it up for us.
For me, one of the most enjoyable aspects of my vacations is the food, and Beaches came through for me big-time on this. For breakfast, I alternated between Schooners where you order from the menu and Reflections which offers a delicious buffet with freshly made omelettes. They even had my favorite (bagels and lox) and chocolate croissants. The buffet includes most of the typical breakfast fare as well as a beautiful assortment of fresh fruit. Lunches were mainly eaten at the Arizona Pool where they are continually bbq'ing hamburgers and hot dogs, and had a variety of pasta stations set up. Inside the restaurant is a salad bar and other luncheon choices such as meatloaf, lasagna, grilled chicken and vegetables, grilled cheese sandwiches and more. The French bakery is terrific too, especially if you want to get a pastry or cookie.
Dinners were my favorite. One night we dined at Schooners and I enjoyed scrumptious crab legs. Another night we went to Kimonos, a Japanese-style restaurant where they cook in front of you. Perfect for the kids -- they loved it. Other nights we chose Reflections (buffet) or Giuseppes which is also a buffet. They always served fresh pasta dishes, as well as having an ample carving station with Turkey or Roast Beef. My absolute favorite restaurant, though, was Le Petit Chateau, the French restaurant. This is an adults only restaurant. The service was impeccable, and the food was so fantastic we went back two nights in a row! The desert was incredible: a chocolate bar with whipped cream and strawberries!! And...they were so accommodating. When we realized we were running late to see my kids in the parade, they said I could come back afterwards to get my desert.
With all of the great food available, I was very pleased to find that they had an excellent fitness room and classes. I took a great kick boxing class and used the gym daily.
As for the children's activities, the kids' camp is wonderful. There are camps for kids in all different age groups. There is a great pool for the kids with slides for them to play on. And there is an entire room with x-box's for the kids to play. They also have a restaurant in the Pirates Cove area for kids with all of the kids favorites. The first night the camp was having a Dora Pinata Party and dance contest. Another day they baked cookies with the Cookie Monster. Every night there is a stage show. The first night was the Sesame Street Live Show followed by a dance show. Another night was a magician. They also have family game night where parents compete to win by doing silly tasks. The kids get to perform on stage as well. There was a fashion show, and my kids loved being in the talent show. Wednesday night is their big Sesame Street Parade with a special festival which includes games and face painting, limbo contest, live music and a fire dancer. Make sure you bring a white t-shirt for tye-dye Tuesday. They also have a number of special events such as Managers' Night or my personal favorite...Chocolate Extravaganza Night! They had tables filled with chocolate covered strawberries and other decadent chocolate candies and deserts. Best of all -- they were even able to make my chocolate raspberry martini!
There are a variety of pools to hang out at, the largest one being in the French Village. The kids loved playing in there, and there is a "swim-up" bar so if they got thirsty they just swam on over to get a drink. The Iguana pool plays music and is more of a party scene and is where they do games and water exercise. They also have a wood burning oven at the pool so you can get great pizza anytime. The Arizona Pool has a great waterfall that the kids loved swimming under. The restaurant at the Arizona Pool is great for lunch. Grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and a full buffet with great selections. We also loved hanging out at the beach. The water is incredible. There are no waves so the kids loved just hanging out in the water. We bought styrofoam noodles for them and they hung onto those quite a bit in the water.
As for other activities, they have a room full of games that you can check out. We also borrowed snorkel gear, and found a great snorkeling spot which is around a 15 minute walk from the resort. There is Kayaking, sailing and pedal boats available as well. They also have someone available to take you on a sailboat from 2:30-4:30 if you need assistance. I took Amber and Jasmine parasailing which was amazing. We actually saw Jo Jo the Dolphin. Amber and I went horseback riding which is a 10 minute drive from the resort. We rode along the beach and it was truly magnificent.
Useful Tips: We purchased a plan on our Cingular/ATT cell phone for $5.99/month (cancel anytime) that allowed us to use our cell phone for $1.60/minute. It was great when I had to track down my husband. We were able to get internet access in our room by using the special cable (etagernet) that plugs into the cable box and your computer. You should bring one from home as it took us a day to find one. Then we just paid $50.00 for the week for internet service and it was very fast. They have washers and dryers that are $1.00 each and they sell detergent for $1.00 as well. Make sure men bring long pants for the nice restaurants. We brought bug spray but never used it. I only got around 5 bites the entire 6 days we were there.
Overall I must say, this was one of the best, most relaxing family vacations I have ever been on, and I highly recommend it.