There are so many things we planned for that should have happened in 2020. And then there were a few doors that opened that we never saw coming. A prime example was the invitation to attend the reopening of Beaches Turks & Caicos over the Christmas holidays.
When my Mom reluctantly cancelled our family Christmas in the Bahamas, we’d resigned ourselves to a quiet holiday at home. As we’re big believers in experiences over things, there was no last-minute holiday shopping that needed to be done, or marathon gift wrapping sessions planned. I didn’t even have a ham or turkey in the freezer for the big day. Christmas 2020 was going to be the epitome of low-key. And then one email changed everything!
Though it requires a bit of research and effort, it is possible to travel safely and responsibly during COVID. I highly recommend using a trusted travel advisor like myself to guide you through the process.
Although Turks & Caicos reopened its borders on July 22, Beaches Turks & Caicos did not reopen until December 21. The islands’ entry requirements include:
- Negative COVID test within five days of travel
- Medical/travel insurance that covers medevac, any costs related to quarantine, ambulance transfer, or care at a local hospital
- Travel Authorization from TCI Assured
As part of my complimentary service to my clients, I keep them apprised of destination protocols and advise them on the necessary paperwork involved.
Flying During COVID
As I wrote last month, the major takeaways here are that in-flight service looks dramatically different. Upon boarding, you receive a single-use sanitizing wipe to disinfect your immediate area. Once the airplane reaches cruising altitude, passengers receive a Ziploc bag with snacks and water.
Masks are required and enforced for the duration of the flight, except when actively eating. Please keep this in mind if wearing a mask presents a challenge for you.
We flew Delta, which is blocking middle seats through March 2021. Our flights seemed to hover around 60-75% capacity. It’s a little amusing that after the safety video plays, a cabin attendant has to add, “In the event of an emergency, please remove your face mask before putting your oxygen mask on.”
Cabin air filters are hospital grade and the air is recirculated every two minutes. Immediately following deplaning, crews board with fogging machines to thoroughly sanitize high touch areas.
Beaches Turks & Caicos
The Turks & Caicos Islands are a reasonable distance from the southeastern United States. With an early morning flight, you can be sipping mojitos poolside by lunch.
Fun fact: this archipelago nation was once a part of the Bahamas.
All-inclusive Beaches Resorts is the family-friendly version of Sandals. There are three Beaches Resorts in the Caribbean (two are in Jamaica: Beaches Ochi and Beaches Negril), but the premiere destination is in Turks & Caicos.
Much like Sandals Grande St. Lucian, the indoor/outdoor design concept of Beaches Turks & Caicos is ideal for people craving fresh air and open spaces. While masks are required in enclosed spaces (think gift shop, concierge lobby, departures lounge, etc.), guests can easily walk to the pool, beach, or select dining venues without one.
At the time of our visit, resort capacity was approximately 30%. There was no shortage of pool chairs, cabanas, dining or excursion reservations. Though most guests seemed to congregate at the Italian Village Pool for the live entertainment, the crowd was still manageable for social distancing.
Things got a little wild when Santa…uh…dropped in!
Beaches Turks & Caicos sits on Grace Bay Beach. Even from the air, the crystal-clear, turquoise water is breathtaking!
The grounds were lush and immaculately maintained. The DH and I enjoyed many leisurely strolls admiring the views.
Italian Penthouse Oceanview Concierge Family Suite with Kids’ Room
We had the privilege of staying in an Italian Penthouse Oceanview Concierge Family Suite with Kids’ Room. The room’s master area features a balcony with pool and ocean views, four poster king size mahogany bed, 42″ flat screen TV, stocked mini bar, mini fridge and microwave, plush robes, and a lounge sleeping chair. The kids’ room features mahogany bunk beds with a trundle, a 27″ flat screen TV, a multi-function game table, a built-in nautical mahogany storage wall unit, and a separate vanity with basin and mirror. The bath has a private water closet, whirlpool tub, and a separate rainhead shower.
These suites can accommodate six guests.
Note: Concierge at Beaches Resorts is equivalent to Club Sandals at Sandals Resorts, with one major exception. Concierge does not include room service, where Club Sandals does. At Beaches Resorts, room service is reserved for guests in Butler rooms.
French Village Luxury Walkout Room King
These ground floor rooms accommodate a family of four. Room features include a mahogany king size bed and twin daybed with trundle, a large full bath and a patio. This is an excellent option for families with toddlers who need the additional room for them to run around.
Key West Four Bedroom Butler Villa Residence
This spacious villa features four bedrooms / four bathrooms, full kitchen, breakfast nook and dining room, on three levels. With four king beds, a sleeper chair, and a twin daybed with trundle, it sleeps a total of 10 guests. This option is perfect for large families, or two families vacationing together.
Seaside Honeymoon One Bedroom Concierge Villa Suite
These newly renovated suites are seriously glam. They feature an in-room bar, wet bar, microwave, and HD smart TV. The master boasts a king size bed and HD smart TV, and the bath has a freestanding soaking tub, dual control walk in rain shower, and dual vanities with back lit mirrors. Ground floor units have a patio, and are steps away from the beach, while second floor units have balconies.
These suites sleep five guests.
Caribbean Premium Walkout Room King and Caribbean Premium Walkout Room Double
This room option either features a mahogany king bed and a twin day bed with trundle, or two mahogany double beds with a single sleeper chair. It can accommodate four guests, and is a fantastic, budget-friendly option.
Beaches Turks & Caicos is a 5-Star Global Gourmet Dining feast! There are 21 fantastic options to choose from, and the variety and quality of the meals are outstanding. We loved everything, so I’ll try to narrow down our favorites.
Adults: Neptunes – elegant but casual al fresco seaside restaurant
Kids: Reflections – buffet-style breakfast featuring international fare
Adults: The Jerk Shack – Flavorful Jamaican Jerk chicken and pork
Kids: Dino’s Pizzeria Italiana – delicious gourmet pizzas baked in a wood-fired brick oven
Adults: Barefoot by the Sea – fresh seafood served mere steps from the beach
Kids: Kimonos – Teppanyaki-style eatery
Adults & Stinky: Mr. Mac – food truck with every permutation of gourmet mac and cheese imaginable
Blinky: Bobby Dee’s – retro diner located within the magical Jolly Roger ship on Pirate’s Island, complete with cotton candy, shakes, and cool drinks at a kid-only, swim-up pool bar
It was honestly a toss up between Barefoot by the Sea and Schooner’s for dinner. The dining experience at both were stellar. I think what ultimately tipped the scale is while Schooner’s is steps from the beach, Barefoot is on the beach. You literally remove your shoes to walk to your table, and wiggle your toes in the sand while you eat. Kinda hard to beat that!
Curls ‘n Swirls
We enjoyed the most delicious shakes from Curls ‘n Swirls, some of us more than others. Looking at you Blinky! Our method was water slide, lazy river, shake, repeat.
All-inclusive means Beaches Resorts offer Unlimited Fun for all guests.
There are a number of activities guests can enjoy from PADI-certified scuba diving and non-motorized water sports, to golf and tennis. The nightlife is vibrant with themed nights, and adult lounges.
Beaches Resorts is proud to be the first resort company in the world to achieve International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) Autism Certification! Further, camp leaders are certified nannies.
Beaches Resorts are the only Caribbean resorts where kids can play with their favorite Sesame Street characters. Some modifications have been made to the Beaches Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street experience to help kids and families stay safe and healthy while still enjoying all the furry fun.
The rooms and equipment are sanitized regularly, and the center is closed from noon to 2:00 pm every day for a deep cleaning.
In speaking with the center’s director, she explained that masks are preferred, but they do make accommodations for younger children who aren’t accustomed to wearing them, or have sensory issues.
Pirate’s Island Waterpark
Pirate’s Island Waterpark fun includes a lazy river, splash pad, slides for big kids, slides for little kids, and a Surf Simulator.
XBox Play Lounge
Kids (and kids at heart) can enjoy unlimited play on Kinect with Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. Let me tell you, Stinky logged major hours in here! Blinky joined the fun on a stormy afternoon.
Masks are required. Further, guests are temperature screened before entering, and must sanitize their hands. Every other station is closed to maintain social distancing., and there is a staff member on hand to disinfect controls between players.
Shadow Lounge and Club Liquid
Teen and Tween hangouts. Club Liquid transforms into an adult-only lounge at 10:30 pm. As both are enclosed, masks are required.
Rainy Day Fun
Within Pirate’s Island is a covered gaming area. When a torrential downpour changed our snorkel plans, the DH and I played air hockey and pool with Blinky. You’ll notice that masks are optional in this semi-enclosed area.
Spa Services are not a part of the luxury included program. There are two spas on property: French Village and Key West Village. The gym and hot tubs are open. The spa is also performing facials along with its other services.
There are hair braiding kiosks around the resort, which are offered by the spa. Blinky couldn’t wait to don braids! We spoke at length to this lady, who expressed her heartfelt gratitude for having resort guests again. She had been out of work since March when the resort closed.
Professional Photo Shoots are offered at the resort. The session is approximately 20 minutes. There is no session fee, but there are photo packages for sale. We opted for pictures at sunset and loved how they turned out!
Weddings & Renewals
At Beaches Resorts, select stays earn a complimentary wedding and reception. This is ideal for blended family unions. And to top it off, you honeymoon in place!
The wedding team can execute whatever the bride can envision. Below are a few samples.
Beaches Platinum Protocol of Cleanliness
Rest assured that the resort is doing everything possible to enhance guest safety. The new Platinum Protocol of Cleanliness includes:
- Certified Beaches sanitized guest rooms
- Triple-Check Guarantee
- Restaurants and bars feature adjusted layouts to increase social distancing
- Pristine pool and beach areas
- Increased protocols in the Red Lane Spa & Fitness Centers
- Team Member Promise to wear face masks at all times and carry out necessary precautions when assisting guests
Book with Confidence
To make your visit as worry-free as possible, Beaches is offering free room cancellations for reservations cancelled 31 days or more prior to check-in date (with the exception of the Over-The-Water Suites). Please note this applies only to the land portion of the reservation. Flights are subject to the airlines’ terms and conditions. I work with preferred airlines that truly have my client’s best interest at heart, and take care of any rescheduling that may occur.
Like Sandals, Beaches was a gracious host! We are so thankful to have spent our Christmas vacation at Beaches Turks & Caicos. Our stay was perfect in every way.
As a full-service travel agent, I would love to be of assistance to you. I am passionate about what I do and pour that energy into crafting perfectly planned itineraries for you. Email email@example.com to learn more.