PROVIDENCIALES – BEACHES RESORT
Ramona & Family (baby 15mos)
This was our 2nd trip to this resort, but our first stay in the Italian Village. My husband and I traveled with our two daughters (7 and 14 months) and my Mother-In-Law. We stayed in the Venetian Family Suite with separate kid’s room. There was plenty of room for everyone and we were fortunate enough to get a room at the end of the building. The staff was excellent and went out of their way to interact and keep the girls happy.
We did both the Character Breakfast and Night Night Tuck In (Abby). Both were well worth the money and provided great pictures. I wasn’t sure if my littlest one would react well to the characters, but she absolutely loved them.
We enjoyed the breakfast at Barefoot by the Sea and Giuseppe’s. The buffet at Arizona’s was great as well as the buffet we had at Mario’s. My baby threw a fit and we had to leave Kimono’s, but they were really sweet and sent a plate home with my husband so I wouldn’t miss out. The wonderful ladies at Bobby D’s deserve a special shout out. They saw us numerous times because I could let the baby run around. They knew us by name and go out of their way to make everyone happy. This is where they have the Bake with Cookie Monster.
The Character Parade is another wonderful event. They do so much for the kids and I always get a day at the spa. We have had a geat experience both of the times we went to Beaches and have reserved another trip for 2013 when my baby is a little bigger.
PROVIDENCIALES – BEACHES RESORT
Jes & Family (baby 11mos)
This was our second trip to the resort. We stayed in a Tuscan Suite with separate kids room. It was a little disappointing that you enter the suite through the kids room, and there is no common space, but otherwise the room was lovely. Two years ago we stayed in the Parrot Cay 1 bedroom Honeymoon suite in the Caribbean Village, and to be completely honest if we ever go back, I might choose to stay in the Parrot Cay suite versus the Italian village. In our old Parrot Cay suite( #606) , you entered the suite through the master bedroom which was much nicer if you have young children. The Living room (which we used as the bedroom for our son) in the Parrot Cay room is about twice as large as the kids’ room in the Italian Village suites. The Balcony in the Parrot Cay suite is at least 3 times the size of the standard Italian Village suites. And finally, the hot tub in the Parrot Cay suite is about twice the size of the hot tub in the Italian Village suites. Oh, and in the Parrot Cay suite we had a true wet bar, while in our Italian village suite the bar, fridge and microwave were just in a cabinet in the master bedroom. That said, it’s tough to beat the location and the view from the Italian Village Suites. One final note about the Italian Village Suites – They are all pretty much exactly the same inside until you get to the penthouse suites. So if you pay for a higher category suite in the IV, you are paying for view and location, but the room will be pretty much exactly like the lowest level IV room.
I saw someone post a negative review of Camp Sesame recently and I’d like to say that we had the complete opposite experience. I thought the women at camp sesame did a great job. They had some scheduled times when they showed videos or movies (usually in the evening), but they also had some really nice activities, and I never found my kids glued to the boob-tube when we picked them up. I also witnessed the camp teachers handle some tantrum-throwing kids really well. I was particularly impressed with the way one of the women handled a particularly upset child who was kicking and screaming. She was so calm and within about 1 minute she had soothed the little girl and she was perfectly calm and ready to play. I thought the teacher did a fantastic job dealing with a difficult situation. They also made me feel like they really adored my kids and one of the women remembered our older son from two years ago even though we had only brought him to camp a few times! We also spied over the hedges one day and watched the kids do a nature-walk with the teachers and Abby-kadabby and it was so charming and endearing and I think the kids actually learned a little something.
I found the food to be very good at most restaurants and it was by far the best at Le Petit Chataux. The shortrib was so delicious and the truffle risotto was perfect. I think the sushi bar has really improved since our last visit. I loved the pieces. They were very fresh and delicious. I also think they made a huge improvement at the Arizona lunch grill. The jerk chicken and pork are really wonderful, and there are a lot more grill options than I remember there being 2 years ago.
Another big improvement is that most (if not all) of the pools are heated now, but they are not so hot that it is not refreshing.
We never had any problem getting cabanas on the beach, although, is virtually impossible to get a cabana by the pool at the Italian village unless you have a butler, but we had no problem getting chairs in the sun or shade. Of course take this with a grain of salt b/c we went slightly before their high season really picks up. I did notice some people getting up and saving chairs at 6:30am which I thought was pretty ridiculous since, like I said, we had no problem finding chairs whenever we wanted them. I also noticed signs up that said that items that remained on chairs untouched for more than 2 hours would be removed and report to a certain area to retrieve your stuff. I think that ought to make a lot of people happy since I recall a major gripe in a lot of the reviews was seeing people put towels out on chairs and then never return (or return 4 hours later).
Our kids are still a little too young for snorkelling so we arranged a trip through the concierge to go on a sub-submarine ride. It was fun. My older son (3.5-years-old) liked it a lot, our 15-month-old was a little claustrophobic. The boat is very small and it can get a little stuffy. We did see some neat stuff (turtles, sea cucumbers, parrot fish), but nothing we hadn’t seen snorkelling, so I don’t think I’d recommend it, unless you can’t snorkel/dive or if you have young kids who are dying to see some underwater life. I think it was a little overpriced.
Oh, both of my kids LOVED the Sesame Street Parade. We didn’t bother going to the parade on our last trip b/c I thought, ‘big deal… a bunch of characters walking around.’ But, our older son wanted to go this year. Oh my goodness, it was actually a really neat parade with Bahamian musicians. Even my 15-month-old jumped up and started dancing and clapping. Very neat.
For the most part, the staff were really friendly and helpful. I found the concierge service to be much better this time around (although for whatever reason, the concierge over at the Caribbean village definitely seemed to know what they were doing more so than the concierge in the Italian village.) One highlight: I recently had this keratin protein treatment done to my hair. Any woman who has had it done knows that it is AWESOME, but it’s expensive and the one enemy of the protein treatment is salt water. Gah! So my hairdresser told me that if I planned to be in the ocean for more than 15 minutes or so, I should consider using a bathing cap. This of course horrified my husband, but I really didn’t want to ruin my hair and we wanted to go snorkling. The problem was, I searched high and low and could not find a bathing cap to buy. We called the concierge and they actually left the resort and found a shop to buy one for me within the hour and I just reimbursed her in cash.
Okay, so here is one little unfortunate part of the story. When I booked the trip, it came with a $250 spa credit if we booked an Italian Village room. It was very clearly on my email confirmation (which I foolishly had not printed out and brought with me). At check-out they told me that not only did they have no record of a spa credit, but that there was no way that I could have one since my arrival date was one of their black-out dates for spa credits. I told them that the email confirmation that they sent me very clearly stated that a $250 spa credit was indeed included. So they asked to see the email confirmation. I told them that if they could let me use one of their computers to log onto my email, I’d be more than happy to show it to them, but they told me that they could not allow me to use their computers. At this point I only had a few minutes before our shuttle left for the airport and I certainly wasn’t going to pay to activate the internet so that I could use it for 5 minutes to pull up an email that THEY sent to ME. I felt that one of the managers was being pretty obnoxious and flat out told me that there was nothing he could do for me. Another manager standing close by slipped me her card and told me to find the email at home and forward it to her. Unsurprisingly, I ran into two other guests having the exact same problem.
So of course as soon as we got home, I pulled up the email confirmation and just as I remembered, it was as clear as day that it included a $250 spa credit and there was NO fine print about any blackout dates.
I forwarded the email to the two managers with a short note telling them that there was some confusion about the credit and I was forwarding the confirmation as requested. I didn’t hear back from either one of them. So then I tracked down the email addresses for Adrian Whitehead (the hotel manager) and Donald Dagenais (the General Manager). I sent them a longer email basically letting them know that I was disappointed with the way this was handled. There is a little bit more to the story, but this review is probably long enough. In the end Adrian Whitehead personally called me to apologize and the $250 spa charge was reversed.
The situation left a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth and initially I felt that I would not be returning to Beaches again, but now that a little time has gone by I think I can appreciate that customer service on a whole is pretty fantastic there and I shouldn’t let the attitude of one or two people spoil my memory of the resort.
PROVIDENCIALES – BEACHES RESORT
Dave & Family (Baby 12mos)
We had an excellent family vacation at Beaches Turks and Caicos with the help of Dream Makers Vacation Services! We loved our vacation. The food was what was expected at an all-inclusive…some meals were great and some were not so great but in general pretty good! Because we went at the beginning of Feb it was pretty quiet and very relaxing. Our 12 month old loved the baby pools and the staff was WONDERFUL with him.
PROVIDENCIALES – BEACHES RESORT
Jes & Family (baby 21mos)
This is a very long and detailed review. The summary is that Beaches exceeded my expectations. We had a wonderful time and we will definitely go back. My husband and I were traveling with our 21-month-old son. We arrived the evening of Saturday November 29th and stayed through December 6th. The airport is very small and it was pretty painless going through customs and getting our bags. When we went outside there were representatives from Beaches waiting at the curb. We told them our names and they found us on the list. They told us that we had “concierge service” since we were staying in a suite. They told us what our room number would be and loaded our luggage onto the van. The drive to the resort only took about 10 minutes. When we arrived, we were greeted with a cold citrus-scented towel and a rum punch. A concierge met us at the door and ushered us past the normal check in and back to the concierge office. We were checked in within a matter of moments and then the concierge gave us a walking tour of the property. When we got to our room, our bags were there waiting for us.
OUR ROOM: We had a one-bedroom suite in the Parrot Cay villas. I think it is the oldest part of the resort, but it is also very close to the beach. I would definitely stay in this section again. Our room was lovely (#606). The layout was absolutely perfect for us. When you walk through the door, you enter into the master bedroom. Immediately to the left is the entrance to the bathroom (which had a Jacuzzi tub), and then there is a door to the right, which opens into the living room. This was a great set up for us as we had our son’s crib set up in the living room so he could sleep and nap undisturbed if one of us wanted to go out. We had a huge wrap-around balcony. There were sliding glass doors from both the livingroom (our son’s room) and from the master bedroom. We had a partial ocean-view. If we go back I might try to get a room that had a better ocean view, but frankly, I’d be just as happy to be in the exact same room.
In the living room there was a small refrigerator that was stocked with all different kinds of juices, beers and wines. There was also a full bar (vodka, rum, gin & scotch) and a basket of snacks (chips, pretzels & cookies). Every day a guy came to restock the fridge, bar & snacks). They were really accomodating and stocked the fridge with everything we requested.
FOOD: I had read a lot of reviews where people said the food was average or bad so I was pleasantly surprised. About the food and restaurants in general, they tried really hard to make sure that every restaurant had something to make everybody happy, be it the adventurous or the finicky. I loved the fact that just about every restaurant had fresh fruit and yogurt and kid friendly dishes. And if something wasn’t on the menu at a particular restaurant (like something your child might want), they were more than happy to run over to another restaurant to get it for you. Don’t expect Michele Richard or Emerill Lagasse to be back in the kitchen, but I personally thought that as a whole the food was very good.
Reflections. (Buffet in the main building) I’m not a big fan of buffets, but the food was actually pretty good and there was a large assortment of dishes to choose from. They had chicken curry, jambolaya, jerk chicken, leg of lamb and grilled grouper to name a few, and then they also had ravioli and chicken nuggets & French fries. There was also a salad bar with plenty of extras like chicken salad and fresh fruit. Everything I tried was at least good and some of the dishes were very good. I was not, however, impressed with the desserts.
Schooners: (Seafood – Ocean Front) I had the scallop risotto which was very good. My husband got the ribeye and it was WAY too thin. Another night he got a fish dish that was much better. So I would advise to avoid the steak at Schooners. The service at Schooners was hit or miss. Some days the service was very slow and other days the service was excellent. I think it depended on who was working. We also went to Schooners for breakfast and it was very good. They served mimosas and bloody marys if you wanted them and you simply can’t beat the view. Gorgeous!
Sapodillas: (Continental – Adults Only – Next to Reflections) The food here looked better than it tasted and I don’t mean that to insult the chef. They really did an amazing job plating the dishes. They looked like little works of art. Everything we ordered was very good, but not excellent enough to make us want to go back twice. The atmosphere is very nice though and it was nice to be out without kids. Oh, I will say that the desserts were indeed as good as they looked. We had the bread pudding and a tropical fruit dish and they were both amazing.
Le Petite Chatau: (French – Adults Only except Fri & Sun – French Village). We went here twice and both times it was wonderful. The steak was cooked to perfection, the sides were delicious and the French onion soup alone made we want to go back. They have “family night” on Fridays and Sundays, so you can bring your kids.
Guiseppes: (Itailian – Buffet – French Village) They had a wonderful breakfast buffet. They offered everything you would expect and then they also had an egg station where you could get an omelet — or eggs over easy –or how ever you like them, made to order. This was the one place that I was not impressed with for dinner though. I didn’t think the food was particularly good. The salad bar was actually very good, but I was disappointed that they only had two dressing choices (thousand island or ceasar). With so many wonderful gormet items available (like procutto and artisan cheeses) it’s a shame that they didn’t have a vinegrette or just plane oil and vinegar. They did have made to order pasta, but I thought it was very bland. The one real bright spot was the carving station. They had rack of lamb and I did try one piece and it was wonderful. I wish I had tried that before diving into the bland pasta.
Café de Paris: (coffee/pastries – French Village) The espresso/lattes/ cappuccios were very good. My only complaint is that they don’t use fresh milk, they use parmalat (or an equivalent of that). The pastries were decent but seem more appropriate for dessert rather than breakfast. They did have crepes with fresh fruit and toppings at breakfast time. The fruit and toppings were wonderful — the crepes were ok.
Arizona’s: (TexMex & Grill – By the Pool & Beach) We never went there for dinner so I can’t give a review on that, but we went there just about every day for lunch and it was WONDERFUL. Outside they have a grill where you can order up a hamburger or hotdog and they have really tasty jerk chicken wings. Inside they have a full buffet with things like ribs or fajitas. They also have a kids buffet with kid friendly food like chicken nuggets/ pasta etc. And of course lots of fresh fruit.
Kimonos: Don’t expect it to be like Bennihana or a similar Japanese Steak House. That said, everything was still good. I just didn’t think the food tasted necessarily Japanese per se. It tasted more Chinese with a carribean flare. Our chef was very funny and entertaining. They give you a taste of everything. Surprisingly, I thought the vegetables were by far the tastiest dish. Yum. My husband liked the fish the best. Steak and chicken were also very good.
Sushi Bar: I’m a little bit of a sushi snob so I went in with very low expectations. I was not impressed with the maki rolls. Some were decent at best and others were below average, but the pieces were fantastic. We had yellow tail, fresh salmon and tuna and all three were delicious and fresh. We went back twice, but the second time we only ordered piece and didn’t mess around with the rolls.
Bella Napolis: (Brick Oven Pizza by the Iguana Pool). I commented to my husband that there was no chance that there was going to be good pizza in the carribean, but I was proved wrong. They made small personal sized pies (though they are big enough to split between two people). They were so good. We tried the pepperoni, the margherita and the bacon cheeseburger (I know… sounds gross, but it was so good). They make your pizza fresh so you have to give them 15-20 minutes to cook.
Bobby D’s: (Diner – by the pirate ship pool) I never went. My husband went late-night one night for pizza and said it wasn’t very good. But I guess it’s nice to have something that is open all night long just in case…
ACTIVITIES: There was so much to do that I almost felt like a week wasn’t enough time. We signed out snorkel gear and snorkled right off the beach one day and saw amazing things. The yellow tail are huge and we saw parrot fish and a turtle. Another day we took a boat out to the reef to snorkel again and we saw everything we had seen close to shore as well as barracuda, bigger turtles, halibut and other beautiful fish. We didn’t scuba dive, but people we talked to raved about it so maybe I’d do that when we go back. We signed out a double kayaks one day and that was fun. They also have little hobie sailboats that you can sign out. My husband went out on one with a guy who is an experienced sailor and he said that he was impressed with what good shape the boats were in.
There is a free water aerobics class midmorning every weekday. It wasn’t a killer work-out, but it was enough to get the blood moving and burn a few calories (plus it was fun). They had power-walking groups who would meet up every morning early, but I never got up in time for that. They offered a couple of classes at the gym every day but there was an extra charge for those classes (they had boxing, step aerobic, yoga, etc).
Every evening they had shows. The early show (5:30pm) had the sesame characters singing and dancing. Our son was in 7th heaven. All the young kids REALLY seemed to enjoy it. We watched one other show more geared to adults which was an audience participation show and it was very funny.
Their was a Reggae party one night with live music. Our son jumped out on the dance floor and had a blast!
On our last night they had a big beach party in the evening. They had bonefires and every kind of food you could imagine. They had some stage shows and entertainers walking around. They also had a moon bounce for the kids. It was a good time.
CAMP SESAME: This was our first real family vacation that didn’t take place at one of our parents homes since our son was born 21 months ago. Camp Sesame was a HUGE bonus. They open at 9am. They close for an hour around lunch and an hour around dinner, but otherwise are open until 9pm. Once your child is registered, you can drop them off or pick them up whenever you want. They have an infant area and a toddler area and the camp is adgacent to the baby pool which is shaded and heated. You can check the day’s schedule of activities, but every day different characters visit the camp. One day there was story time with Elmo, another day there was making cookies with cookie monster. Our son had fun there and played well with other kids his own age. They had a little area were the kids could lie down and take a nap and they had a whole room with cribs for infants. The staff was really pleasant and they all knew our son by name after the first day. There are also camps for older children, tweeners and teenagers, but since we don’t have any older children, I can’t comment on that. But did take a stroll through the x-box game room and it looked like a tweener’s paradise.
POOLS: Our room was closest to the Iguana pool which was lovely, but my husband found it to be a little too loud so we split up our pool time between the Arizona pool and the Riviera pool in the French village. The Arizona pool had a bit more of a fun feel to it and I found the Riviera pool to be more relaxing. We had NO trouble getting chairs at the pools.
There is an adults only hot tub right by the beach which is a nice bonus.
BEACH: The beach is lovely (pristine even) although it is a little bit narrow. They rake away any seaweed that might have washed up every morning. The sand is white and soft on your feet and the water is crystal clear. Again, we had no trouble getting loungers in the shade or in the sun. We asked a few people if it was a slow week (because I had heard that you had to be out early to claim a chair), and we were told that they were over 90% occupancy, but it didn’t feel crowded at all.
SPA: I didn’t really use the spa facilities (hot tub/ sauna/ steam room), but I did have a body scrub and a massage and I can easily say that it was hands down the best massage I’ve ever had. My therapist was Carrence. She was fantastic.
STAFF: I had read a lot of reviews that talked about how friendly the staff was and how they went out of their way to talk to you and your kids etc., but I didn’t realize how much of an effect that can have on your experience. Everyone was so friendly and people always stopped to talk to my son, give him a high-five or a fist bump. The landscapers were out in the golf-cart like truck and stopped to talk to my son and let him beep the horn (that made his morning). Both managers at Schooners were particularly wonderful. I can’t remember the man’s name, but the woman was Mercedes and she always made a point to talk to our son and she knew him by name. She also remembered that he liked apples and so she’d always go fetch him an apple whenever she saw him. It was just amazing how extraordinarly friendly everyone was. They had photographers who walked around and they’d ask if you wanted your picture taken. The prints are pretty expensive so we only allowed them to take our picture a handful of time. At the end of the trip, we only bought two pictures which I suppose was good for the budget, but those two pictures are so excellent that I sort of wish we had allowed them to take more shots of us.
CHECKOUT: As instructed, we packed our bags and left them outside our door and someone came to pick them up. When we walked to the departure lounge, we felt like we were on the farewell tour. We ran into a number of staff including the housekeeper who had made up our room every day and the guy who stocked our bar. They all sent us well wishes on our travels. Then we ran into one of the women from camp sesame (I wish I could remember her name). When she saw us she yelled out our son’s name and came running over and gave him a big hug and told him to come back and visit again. It was so sweet that I’m a little embarrassed to say that I started to get choked up.
Anyhow, we checked out in the concierge office and it was very painless. We were all settled up and checked out within a minute or two and then we proceeded to the departure lounge. They had cold drinks and snacks and comfortable couches. They called out your room number when your van was ready and asked you to confirm that all your luggage was present and then the van takes you to the airport. Boo hoo