Resort Report

Something for Everyone: Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort & Spa

bchairBy Kathy Borsuk ~ Photo courtesy Beaches Resorts

One resort has single-handedly made a dramatic difference in the number of visitors enjoying what it describes as “the last of the true exotics.” As the shining star in the Sandals chain of ultra all-inclusives, Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort and Spa has been voted “World’s Best Family All-Inclusive.” As the largest resort in the Turks & Caicos Islands, this 462-room, four-star resort hosts approximately 1,200 guests nightly on its sprawling 42-acre property on world-renowned Grace Bay Beach.

Aerial view of Beaches Resort

What makes this Beaches on Providenciales so special? General Manager Jeremy Jones says, “Our facilities are unmatched anywhere in the world. We provide first-class quality service to our guests. As a destination, the Turks & Caicos still has a certain mystique, along with one of the region’s lowest crime rates. It certainly helps that our property is on what is considered the best beach in the Caribbean!”

As all-inclusives grow in popularity in every vacation destination, Jones says, “It is the easy nature of a Beaches holiday that keeps our guests coming back for more.” (At least 20% of Beaches Turks & Caicos guests are returning patrons.) He adds, “A Beaches vacation is a trouble-free holiday, with all of the details taken care of prior to arrival. Our guests don’t have to worry about running low on cash, because their vacation is already paid for. This is especially appealing to families with children.”

There is no wondering why Beaches Turks & Caicos is the most popular of the Sandals properties. Welcoming families along with singles and couples, Beaches invites their guests to indulge in every imaginable whim as freely as they choose. Offering no less than nine restaurants, eight bars, four swimming pools, two children’s wading pools, a full service European spa and fitness center, four night-lit tennis courts, scuba diving, watersports activities and a children’s SEGA Center, the phrase “I’m bored” has yet to be uttered here. Yet thanks to the property’s expanse and abundant, well planned landscaping, an atmosphere of tropical tranquility manages to prevail.

Originally Providenciales’ Royal Bay Resort when purchased by Sandals mogul Jamaican “Butch” Stewart in 1996, the property was rapidly renovated to the Sandals/Beaches chains’ high standards. Today you will find–tucked away in the heart of the resort–luxurious rooms and suites with breathtaking views, as well as quaint bungalow villas. Honeymoon suites with wraparound balconies open onto the alabaster sands.

Beaches’ newest addition is the sumptuous French Village, opened in December 1999 to “lend a touch of European charm to a tropical paradise.” Jones says, “The French Village showcases a unique mood and ambience. Flaunting chic rooms and suites with French doors and wrought iron railings overlooking formal gardens, these accommodations are second to none. Its Parisian-style edifice surrounds a 4,000 sq. ft. swimming pool.” Village restaurants include a French bistro and Cafe de Paris, both with open air seating in a garden courtyard, and Giuseppe’s Italian restaurant.

The French Village is part of a $100 million development program here which includes the Pirate’s Island children’s center, a true monument to ensuring a happy holiday for younger members of the family! Rarely without the sound of laughter in the air, the water park features a huge wooden pirate’s ship surrounded by a water slide and its very own moat with swim-up soda bar. Blipping and beeping nearby is the SEGA Center, the ultimate video arcade where no coins are needed. Bobby D’s 1950s-style diner serves meals kid’s style, including burgers, French fries, nachos, pizza and ice cream. In the evening, the area becomes a teen’s-only disco.

Besides well-supervised Pirate’s Island, other child-care amenities include nanny service and day care facilities, all with organized activities led by “Fun Pals” and having the purpose, Jones points out, “of letting parents relax and enjoy their vacation, knowing that their children are in good hands.”

Beaches’ Ultra-Spa ensures that adults are in good hands as well. Nestled in a quiet corner, the signature spa is inviting and elegant, with a distinctive Eastern aura. The main building envelops a steam room and dry sauna, as well as shower and locker rooms with robes and towels that are complimentary for use by all guests. Spa Manager Paulette Clarke says many visitors use their vacation as an excuse to partake in one or more of the many indulgences the certified therapists offer in the eight, private, marble-tiled treatment rooms. Personalized services consist of massages, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, body scrubs/wraps and facials. There is also a full service beauty salon. (While on this dream vacation, you must be advised that the scrumptious meals may necessitate at least one visit to the high-tech Cybex Fitness Center or an aerobics class or two during your stay!)

Fare is bountiful and of excellent quality, available day and night thanks to the efforts of a food and beverage staff of more than 200 persons. Dining selections range from elegant to casual, buffet to a-la-carte, and include such diverse cuisines as Oriental Teppanyaki stir-frys, Southwestern grilled fare and native seafood dishes. Especially popular are weekly theme nights, including the seafood buffet at which 500 pounds of grilled lobster is typically served! Evening entertainment often showcases top local talent and takes place in several venues, including intimate lounges, outdoor stages and disco dance floors.

In spite of all there is to do, many Beaches guests end up on the beach, simply enjoying the sun, sand and glorious sea. There are plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas to put to task, chilly tropical drinks a short walk away and miles of pristine sand in either direction on which to stroll. Beaches’ SCUBA program caters to 130 divers daily, with three dive boats making trips to all the popular sites. PADI or NAUI instruction and certification are available. There are also daily snorkeling trips and sailboats, windsurfers, kayaks and water toys to use from the beach.

Getting married on the beach is a common fantasy and Jeremy Jones says the resort is a popular venue for exchanging nuptials, especially for second weddings and older couples. He explains, “We have a wedding coordinator on staff to assist with arrangements and assure that the day is extra-special. To accentuate the ceremony, there is a seaside wedding gazebo and, of course, we have romantic honeymooner’s suites.”

With weekly non-stop Beaches Champagne Express charters transporting travelers in style from New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston, the majority of guests hail from North America. Jones expects that the number of European visitors will steadily increase now that British Airways is servicing the country. “However,” he adds, “the 700+ employees who keep Beaches running smoothly more closely represent the United Nations! Although about 1/3 of our employees are indigenous Turks & Caicos Islanders, the others are from around the globe.” Jones said he likes this multi-cultural mix because “Beaches Resort has always catered to guests from all walks of life, and having staff members who can speak different languages makes our international guests feel right at home.”

There is no doubt that the presence of Beaches Turks & Caicos has made an impact on the country, and with this in mind, policies were in place since its inception to ensure that the resort remains a good corporate citizen. Jones outlines some of the community-based programs in which Beaches is involved. “As part of the Adopt-A-School project, we’ve been ‘godfather’ to the Enid Capron Primary School in Five Cays for three years, sponsoring special programs and awards to encourage students to strive for excellence. We also host activities such as the National Heroes Day History Quiz and National Spelling Bee, and provide meeting space for local organizations.”

In order to protect the beautiful yet fragile island environment, Beaches is working to become Green Globe Certified by the end of November 2001. Jones explains the industry plan to minimize environmental impacts. “It involves implementing energy and water consumption conservation measures, such as re-using ‘gray water’; eliminating excessive use of styrofoam and plastics; proper disposal of petroleum-based products and using recycling units and compost heaps. With these steps, we hope to set an example for the rest of the country.”

The Sandals/Beaches organization has long been lauded for its extensive staff training programs and the resort here is no exception. With awareness of their need to draw from the local workforce, Beaches utilizes the charismatic personality of Islander Lloyd Stubbs, who visits local classrooms to extol the benefits of working in the hospitality industry. Michael Abraham is the on-site training manager who ensures that education remains an everyday event. The resort also offers a number of employee scholarships to help provide the best in service to its guests.

Jeremy Jones says that the presence of Beaches in the Turks & Caicos Islands has more benefits than some might realize. “We spend thousands of dollars annually advertising and marketing Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort and Spa, as well as this beautiful destination. This is exposure it wouldn’t otherwise receive. The Turks & Caicos is now associated with a quality, name-brand product whose demand is steadily rising. And, we’re attracting the type of guests who bring prestige to the country–NBA star Grant Hill of the Orlando Magic recently vacationed here with his family. He is the latest of many celebrities who have come to experience the World’s Best Family All-Inclusive Resort.”

Jones adds that as these islands continue to grow and develop, Beaches Resort will grow along with them. Pricing specials keep occupancy high during the slow summer season and aggressive marketing is attracting the business sector to the resort’s state-of-the-art conference facilities. “We’ve hosted many prestigious events and groups such as the Celebrity Sports Invitational and the Pfizer Pharmaceutical Group, and we’re looking forward to hosting the Diver’s Alert Network (DAN) International Convention this summer. As you can see, Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort and Spa offers “something for everyone.”

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On the Cover

Aysha Stephen is Grand Turk’s newest artistic sensation, renowned for her iconic “Cool Donkeys” paintings. Her creations are quite the hit with visitors to TDB Fine Arts Gallery. It recently opened within the Turks & Caicos National Museum on Grand Turk and is dedicated to showcasing art “Made in TCI.

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