A week ago, I was enjoying paradise at Beaches Resorts in Turks and Caicos as part of the Beaches Social Media on the Sand Conference (where I received a discounted stay as part of my conference fee). I had an amazing time while there, but there are also some things I wish I’d known ahead of time to make my stay even more magical.
Personally, I can’t wait to go back for so many reasons, and I know I will. If you’re planning your own Beaches vacation, here are 10 things you need to know about the resort before you fly.
Ten Things To Know About Beaches Turks & Caicos
There are four different villages within the Beaches Resort at Turks & Caicos, with the Key West Village being the newest. Each village has a different feel to it, and they are all within walking distance of each other, but they aren’t nearby. I averaged over 20,000 steps per day at Beaches Resorts. If you are traveling with friends, make sure you’re staying in the same village. Each village has its own front desk concierge for check in, although any of them can assist you with any questions you may have. Given the size of the resort, check out the map provided at check in and gain your bearings before you start walking. Although there are plenty of sign posts throughout the resort, they don’t always include the specific location you may be trying to get to.
Beaches is an all inclusive resort, but there are a few things that aren’t included. All food and beverages are included, with the exception of some bottles of wine at a few restaurants. It is very clear from the menu presented before you order if you are stepping into an “extra” charge. The Red Lane Spa, of course, is not included, nor are the shops within the resort. There is a complimentary snorkeling excursion, but there is also a more extensive excursion for $25 per person. The Island Routes desk also arranges additional excursions for you from submarine tours under water to wildlife preserves and more, with the cost varying per excursion. If you have a C-card, your one and two tank dives are complimentary, but if you are new to diving and getting certified, there is a fee. That said, it is entirely possible to enjoy your stay doing new things nonstop and not spend a dime aside from your room charges.
The resort is cashless. When you check in, you will receive a room key and a second orange card that has your payment information on it. Neither has your name or room number listed on it in case you lose it. Around the resort, if you purchase anything from the shops or use the Red Lane Spa, for example, you present the orange card to pay and then can choose at checkout whether to pay the total amount in cash or via the credit card you left on file. Place your cash and credit cards in your room safe and forget about your money for awhile.
When they say no tipping, they really mean no tipping. You cannot tip waiters or your housekeepers or bartenders or anyone on the resort. It isn’t allowed, and offering to tip them puts them in an awkward position, so please don’t try. If you have received great service, you can instead let the resort management know who was simply outstanding by writing a note with the name of the people who gave you outstanding service and where they work, and that ensures they receive the recognition they deserve.
Bring a pair of pants for men. Although it is warm and tropical, there are some restaurants that require resort evening attire at night that includes pants for men and no t-shirts. We know some people who were turned away from eating there because they hadn’t brought any, but the restaurants that require resort attire are clearly marked within the restaurant information you can pick up when you check in. Currently, those restaurants include Club Liquid, Sopadillas, Turtles Bar, and Le Petit Chateau. There are plenty of other options that are resort casual, however, where you must cover up swimwear and wear shoes.
The only restaurant to require a reservation is Kimonos, a tepanyaki restaurant. You can make reservations only for the current day, but if you forget, they may have openings if you stop by for dinner. All other restaurants are first come, first served. We never had to wait to be seated, but in a more busy time, that is possible. With 20 dining options, you will find somewhere to eat!
You can’t eat everywhere in a four day vacation. But that’s ok, you can try. I hate wasting food, but I also want to try things that I don’t normally eat. Beaches gets that, and I was pleased to see that in general, the portions were fairly small, which meant you could try more foods. I don’t normally eat three or four course dinners, but I was able to order a small appetizer, a small salad, a small main course, and a small dessert and walk away not feeling stuffed. The food portions are designed for tastings. I may or may not have eaten at more than one restaurant in an attempt to experience as much as possible in the time I was there.
Yes, you can eat when you arrive late at night. And speaking of dining… there aren’t many flights into and out of Turks & Caicos. If you are on a later flight – currently the two major arrival times are clustered around 2pm and 8:30pm – you won’t arrive at Beaches until close to 9:30 or later. The airport won’t have any food available, and you will likely arrive hungry. The restaurants at Beaches aren’t open late by Chicago standards. Most close at 9:30pm, and the Cricketeer Pub may be open until 2am, but the kitchen closes at 10pm. Instead, head straight for Bobby Dee’s in the French village. It is open until 6am and serves diner food and makes a mean milkshake, too.
When making your flight reservations, do your best to fly in early in the day (that 2pm-ish flight) and leave later in the day. The 9am flight means a 6:30am shuttle to the airport from Beaches, and that’s not my favorite way to end a vacation. Later flights – those leaving from 2pm to 3:30pm have a shuttle at 12:30, which gives you plenty of time in the morning to have breakfast and enjoy the resort one last little bit before heading home and leaving your paradise.
Part of the fun of Beaches is all the included watersports. In the water park, there is a SurfStream surfing simulator that is fun for both kids and adults (more on that later), but there is also activities on the beach from Aqua Trikes to windsurfing to kayaking and more. If you are interested in doing the free snorkeling tour, you can sign up a day in advance. I would highly recommend you do so, as the snorkeling fills up. Additionally, if the water is rough or there are weather issues, for safety reasons, they may also cancel snorkeling (which they did when we were there) so signing up early in your trip so that you don’t miss out on snorkeling is a good idea.