Two of the Space In Your Case team recently travelled to Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean to spend a week with their families at Beaches Resort Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa. Both with young families, Katie with children aged 4 and 1 and Alison with a little girl aged 4, it meant that although they were on the same holiday, their experiences and favourite parts may have been totally different.
The resort is huge and there is so much to do for both adults and kids alike, on first arrival it can feel like you won’t ever find your way around, but you soon learn your favourite places and parts to go. However if you are only there for a week you will want to know how to get the best from your trip, therefore we thought it would be good to get some insider tips from two families with two different views…
Favourite Place for Breakfast
Katie: There are 20 restaurants on site and we tried as many as we possibly could. The breakfast selection is mainly buffet based but there are a few menu selection options. We tried a couple of the buffets, at Mario’s in the Italian Village and at Bayside in the Key West Village, both served similar food so it just mainly depends on your location preference. My favourite buffet style would have to be Bayside, only because I preferred the modern, white and grey style outdoor dining. However my absolute favourite for breakfast is Sky Bar. (upstairs below Bayside in the Key West Village) A modern, beautiful rooftop restaurant with views over looking the stunning Grace Bay Beach- this place serves a cooked to order menu style breakfast. I had the trio of pancakes twice- blueberry, chocolate chip and mandarin served with a whisked butter- they were divine. Sky Bar is open to everyone for breakfast but is adult only in the evenings.
Mario’s Restaurant in the Italian Village.
Breakfast at Sky Bar in the Key West Village.
Alison: Like Katie, I love love loved the Sky Bar for breakfast – their pancakes are TO DIE FOR and they also do a pretty mean omelette. There was something so blissful and calm about dining on the rooftop, overlooking the beach. We didn’t try breakfast at Barefoot By The Sea (a restaurant in the Italian Village where you are literally on the sand and can go barefoot) which now, looking back, I regret. Ah well, there’s always a next time, isn’t there!
The pancakes at the Sky Bar
Favourite Place for Lunch
Katie: Again there is so much choice, but I think my favourite for lunch would have to be the Bella Napoli Pizzeria in the Caribbean village. An open air, charming pizzeria, with a distinct Mediterranean feel, and with a wood fired oven- this place is a great place to grab a pizza after a morning at one of the pools. There is a wide range of pizzas available and they are the perfect size for lunch time. A couple of things, you can order to take away so if you are going to sit there, it’s worth going early as they often have a wait while they cook pizzas for guests taking them away to eat in their rooms or by the pool. Another tip is that they are not open for dinner, so make sure you enjoy them at lunch time.
Alison: Without a doubt, my favourite lunch spot was Arizona’s in the Caribbean Village. Funnily enough, we didn’t bother going there until our last day – Katie had overheard another guest describe Arizona’s as “nasty” but when we ate there, we couldn’t believe how wrong that guest had been! It was BRILLIANT. Outside were a few BBQ stations set up, one with jerk chicken and pork, one with regular chicken and steak, one with burgers. Alongside it were treats like sweetcorn fritters, sweet potato fries, salads, gherkins, guacamole, pretty much anything you might want. Inside was a regular buffet with pasta, jacket potatoes, rice, ribs etc. It was all so tasty, we all went back for seconds.
Lunch at Arizona’s
Favourite Place for Dinner
Katie: Again with Beaches you are spoilt for choice, but if I had to say a favourite I would yet again say Bayside in the Key West Village as I just loved the laid back vibe and the gorgeous decor, with the open air views of the ocean and pool. Dinner is a buffet style, but they have a wide choice and we ate there a couple of times and didn’t get bored. My husband would get cross if I didn’t give a mention to the gorgeous restaurant Barefoot by the Sea in the Italian Village– a seafood restaurant serving the most exquisite fish. You choose your fish, chose the way you want it cooked, (eg grilled, baked etc) chose your sauce and your sides. (tip- go for the hand cut chips and the salsa sauce) It is in the most beautiful setting and my husband is a massive sea food lover so was in his element. And yes, as Alison says, you can really go barefoot!
Barefoot by the Sea Restaurant in the Italian Village
Alison: A trip to Beaches in Turks and Caicos wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Teppanyaki restaurant Kimono’s. It’s the one restaurant that you should book and it’s definitely one to take the kids to. 12 of you sit at one table, with the chef preparing the food in front of you – and boy do they put on a show! While he chopped and fried our vegetables, chicken, prawns, steak and rice, our chef sang and entertained us. It was so much fun. And the food was tasty too.
Katie: I loved them all and we went to most of them a few times throughout our stay but if I had to chose a favourite it would be the Key West Pool. There are a couple there and I really liked the small one as each time we went there was no one else there and they had luxurious sun beds. However it is probably best suited for when the kids are at Camp Sesame. For when the girls were with us (which was most of the time!) I would have to say the Caribbean Pool with the waterfall (there are two in the Caribbean Village). I loved the cabanas and the laid back style there. The only pool we didn’t visit was the Italian Village one which was strange as that is where we were staying- it is by far the busiest and nosiest and you struggled to get a sunbed- even though the other pools were just as good and a lot quieter! We also didn’t go to the French Village Pool but that looked lovely as well.
Alison: Our favourite pools were definitely the ones in the Caribbean Village. They were a little bit quieter than the other pools, and we loved to float around on the Beaches lilos and order frozen drinks from the swim up bar. The cabanas are reserved for guests with the butler service, which is a shame, as they’re so pretty and would be great to base yourselves in when you have a family. Like Katie, for a child-free chill out, the small Key West pool was lovely – like something from a 5* honeymoon resort.
One of the Key West Pools at sunset.
The Italian Pool.
Caribbean Village pool
Best thing for Kids
Katie: There is literally so much to do for kids at the resort (read Alison’s post on 50 things for kids to do at Beaches Resort Turks & Caicos) but rather than talk of the obvious things like the Sesame Street activities (the resort has an affiliation with Sesame Street) I wanted to mention a couple of smaller ones. Firstly there is a great playground on sand behind Camp Sesame which was never being used, with lots of slides and swings- our girls loved it. Secondly you have to go to the swim up ‘Octopus Bar’ in the Water Park- my eldest daughter loved going and having a frozen ‘cocktail’- her tip is to get the ‘Superman’ one!
Alison: For us, the Sesame Street activities made the holiday and set it apart from any family holiday we’d been on before. From the characters walking around the resort and the stage shows, to the character breakfast you can book, it was so great to see Cookie Monster and gang up close. My favourite thing from the whole week was something you have to book and pay extra for – the Sesame Street Sail Away Catamaran Cruise. For $35 per child, you can spend an hour and a half sailing the seas with Elmo and Zoe. There’s music, dancing, food and drinks – plus a chance to hang out with the characters. So much fun!
Best thing for Parents-
Katie: Without sounding cheesy the best thing for me was watching my children have such special experiences. I got tears in my eyes on a few occasions watching them enjoying themselves. But other than that, I loved going down to the beach. Grace Bay is absolutely stunningly beautiful and you can see why it has been voted one of the world’s best beaches. The water is crystal clear, the sand is so white and soft, and it quite simple is perfect. Beaches has it’s own pier and I loved walking down there when I had a few minutes to myself to dangle my legs over the edge and spent some time lost in my thoughts or reading my book. I would also recommend going snorkelling, there are lots of watersports available free of charge, snorkelling included and the guys in the watersports hut down there will point you to a great reef further down the beach.
The view from the pier.
Alison: My favourite thing, as a parent, was our room (an Italian Oceanview Concierge Family Suite With Kids’ Room) which had a separate sleeping area – with sliding door – for our four year old. It meant we could put her to bed, at around 8pm each night, and still enjoy the rest of the evening in our room. One of my pet hates is having to sleep in the same hotel room as my child, and trying to get her off to sleep and then having to creep around in the dark while she sleeps – that’s no way to enjoy your holiday! But thanks to the brilliant layout of these rooms, we could watch TV, read, sit on the balcony and drink wine while we listened to the waves down below. Also, we didn’t try any of them out, but there are a few adult only restaurants, which I think is a genius idea for parents who have popped their children into the evening kids’ club or have booked a nanny. The last thing you want is to be surrounded by other people’s kids!
Best spot to grab a cocktail
Katie: Without a doubt my favourite place to grab a cocktail was again at the Bayside restaurant area of the Key West Village. They have two large fire pits, surrounded by big love seats and chairs big enough for the whole family to sit on, and in the evenings they have singers and live music. It was one of my favourite memories of the holiday, watching the sun go down, listening to some really chilled out music and love songs, while the fire flickered away in front of you. We did this most evenings after we had done a bit of the various child entertainment that was available. I loved it.
Alison: I’m with Katie on this one – the Bayside has lovely seating areas towards the beach and we sat there, as a group, at sunset a few times, drinking cocktails and chatting about the day, before heading for dinner. It was lovely.
Best spot to sunbathe
Katie: You are spoilt for choice at Beaches, there are numerous pools, little secluded areas with chairs, verandas, hammocks and little nooks, but my favourite spot has to be the huge four person hammocks in the Key West Village. Overlooking the ocean and within reach of the bar, I could have sat here for ages and watched the world go by. Bliss.
A hammock made for two (or three or four!)
Alison: I’m not a big sunbather – I much prefer to sit in the shade! Luckily, there were plenty of places that had shady spots – lots of umbrellas by the pools and lots of palm trees. We usually looked for a spot that had both sun and shade, to keep both me and Katie happy!
An insider tip
Katie: Take the kids to Bobby D’s – a American style diner in the Water Park area shaped like a pirate ship, inside they will love it. There’s a old fashioned Candy Floss machine and an ice cream parlour serving delicious ice creams and sundaes (try the cookie dough flavour!) that you can have whenever you want. (it opens at 11am) Just be careful not to go crazy- after all it’s all included in the price! Bobby D’s also does tasty burgers, hot dogs and American style kids food- I recommend the Pulled Pork Sandwich with Coleslaw- Yum!
Alison: Go to the kids’ swim up bar! In the water park, it only serves non-alcoholic cocktails and it’s a great way to cool down after running around in the sun and splashing around in the water jets. We went here every day and we even asked the staff inside at the ice cream parlour to pass us our ice creams out to the swim up bar, one day! The best way to eat an ice cream…
Don’t go to Beaches without…
Katie: Going to the family beach party. Held once a week, it’s a laid back affair with a real party atmosphere. There’s loads of BBQ food and different stands serving different meats, salads another bits, and there’s so much for the kids to do- face painting, limbo, a Sesame Street stage show and other fun stuff. All set on the beach with a bonfire, ice sculptures and twinkling light bulbs overhead. I only wish it hadn’t been on our first full night as our girls were so tired we didn’t stay out as long as we would have liked too.
Alison: being ready to have the best family holiday ever! Seriously, we had no clue how amazing it would be until we got there. And now we just want to go back!
NEED TO KNOW
Seven nights at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa for a family of three (two adults and one child) starts from £4,885. Price includes Luxury Included (all-inclusive) accommodation, return flights from London Heathrow and resort transfers. Valid for travel from 30th August – 18th October 2015.
Transfers to and from the airport are included
Check out time is 11am and the bell porter collects your luggage from outside your room, and delivers it to the ‘Departure Lounge’ where the airport shuttles leave from
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER
While staying at Beaches, Turks & Caicos isn’t cheap, you could easily go and not spend a single penny all week. We spent $8 and that was only because Alison wanted to buy a nail file and lip balm from the shop. Beaches describe themselves as ‘luxury included’ and they really mean it – you can drink as many cocktails or glasses of (yummy Californian) wine as you like, and the kids can have as many ice creams as they like. The mini bars are free of charge and restocked every day, and the buffet food in the restaurants is properly delicious.
FIND OUT MORE
The Beaches website has everything you need to know.
- Alison and Katie were invited to stay at Beaches, Turks and Caicos for the purpose of this post – and other posts which will appear here and on their own personal blogs. For information on how Space In Your Case works with brands, see our Work With The Team page.