There, I said it. When it comes to travel, I totally agonize over and completely over-analyze plane fares, package prices, taxes, and fees. If I find out someone paid less for the same trip as me, I’m irked. So had I not been invited to visit Beaches Resort & Spa in Turks & Caicos, I’d probably never know what I was missing.
Of course I’d heard about the Beaches brand, they were supposedly the be-all and end-all of family travel brands. They tout themselves as “ The Luxury Included Family Vacation “, and that they are unparalleled when it comes to services and amenities for all guests, especially families. Those big claims made me skeptical. And I was happy to be proven wrong. Simply put, I thought Beaches could never live up to the hype, and – in my opinion – they surpassed it.
Their new family suites in the year-old Italian Village, are pretty awesome. They’re spacious and well-appointed, and can connect to house a family as big as 12 people. All the villages are lovely – the Caribbean being the oldest one – but even the most basic room is more than equipped to fit a family of four and all the related gear. The nice thing about Beaches is even though the rates vary (incredibly) wildly depending on your room, all guests are welcome to utilize all the amenities. There are no wristbands saying what you do and don’t qualify for; in fact, there’s no wristband at all. (Nice)
Everything is included at Beaches. Everything. From one scuba dive per day to the excellent baby and kids clubs (from newborn on up), from the delicious lattes to the fantastic teppanyaki restaurant (reservations needed), it’s all included. You don’t have to open your wallet at Beaches unless you want small extras like having your hair braided or a professional family photo. WiFi is reasonable* at under $50 USD for the week (per device).
The resort is spotless. The food was excellent. The people are super-friendly and the beach is spectacular. But the question remains… Is it worth the money?
The answer is, that depends.
Like I said, I’m cheap. And Beaches Turks & Caicos ain’t cheap. A few weeks after my Beaches Turks press trip, I went to Cuba for a week with my family. The cost for our entire vacation to Cuba would have been the cost for one of us to go to Beaches. But is it worth it?
I met a number of families who go to Beaches Turks & Caicos every year, or were there for their 4th or 6th or 8th visit. And I asked why. The resounding response was that they work hard, and they know exactly what they are getting when they go to Beaches Turks and Caicos. They know every member of their family will have a good time. They know the resort is beautiful and clean. They know the food is good, and the water and the island is safe. They can truly relax, because they know everything and everyone is taken care of. And that’s worth something.
Beaches Turks & Caicos spoiled me. Our resort in Cuba was a (Cuban) 3 star in an area that’s still developing tourism-wise. I can attribute some of my initial distress to the fact that I was operating on 1 hour’s sleep, but I thought there was no way we could stay there. Our room was small, with decor that was kind of mid-renovation. The grounds were tidy, but a little on the sparse side. There were 3 restaurants (as opposed to 16 at Beaches). The pool was a little run down. But what was funny was my daughter couldn’t tell the difference. Obviously there was no storytime with Elmo or baking with Cookie Monster (!), but my daughter was as delighted to be at our dilapidated Cuban retreat as she was at the truly luxurious Beaches.
And that’s when I gave my head a shake and realized the whole point of a family vacation. To relax with your family. If the unknown or unusual little things stress you out, you can save your money and splurge on a Beaches vacation knowing all will be taken care of . If you’re cheap like me and not terribly fussy, cheap vacations are where it’s at. I will say this, though. If money were no object, I’d go back to Beaches Turks & Caicos in a heartbeat.
See also: Club Med Ixtapa Pacific.
*I think Wifi should be free wherever you go, but if it’s under $10 per day I won’t complain (too much) about it.