Traveling anywhere with toddlers or infants is challenging and requires a lot of extra gear and, well, stuff, especially when you’re staying at a hotel, not a relative’s home. Luckily, Beaches Resorts makes staying internationally like you’re going to grandma’s house… if she lived on a beach looking at the most brilliantly turquoise water you’ve ever seen!
The included amenities at Beaches, like a kid’s camp for infants and toddlers, and their focus on families allowed us to truly be on vacation while on vacation. During Social Media on the Sand, I got a close-up look at the resort and discovered some tips and lessons learned regarding traveling to Beaches Turks and Caicos infants & toddlers, which I’m happy to share.
We made the mistake of taking our big, durable double stroller, which we had flown with many times domestically. However, when flying internationally, strollers must weigh less than 20lbs. Otherwise, TSA will make you check the stroller before you go through security instead of at the gate. This added lots of additional stress to our trip as we then had to corral and entertain two mobile toddlers in the airport until our flight started boarding. Thus, travel with an umbrella stroller to be safe and leave the fancy one at home.
Once at the resort, we didn’t end up using our stroller at all anyway. Instead, we rented one of Beaches’ many double seated wagons for $10 a day. The boys enjoyed the freedom of the wagon instead of our stroller and would willingly climb in the seats whenever we were ready to head someplace. Over a dozen wagons are available for rent from the Sesame Kids Camp area and can be signed out on a 24 hour basis or for the duration of your stay.
Included Kids Camp
I don’t know about you, but this sealed the deal for us. Beaches Resorts includes supervised kids programs for five different age levels including infants! “Camp Sesame” Kids Camp has five different rooms filled with toys, Sesame Street Playskool dolls, books, play houses, ride-on toys and more. There is also a toddler pool in the back, a big playground and sand area for some fun in the sun too. One room has cribs for nap time too, but we decided to check the boys out during their regular nap time to sleep quietly in our room with us.
All nannies and Kids Camp staffers at Beaches Resorts are members of the International Nanny Association, America’s oldest and largest in-home child care association. They are also dubbed “Super Nannies.” To become accredited, each nanny must meet the minimum requirement of 2,000 hours of child-care services. Additionally, they have been trained in safety, nutrition and child development.
The Beaches Turks and Caicos camp is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Hours vary at each resort). My boys would attend the morning session from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day. This included joining the rest of the kids for lunch at noon at Reflections restaurant where they had vegetables, fruit, nuggets and fries. The rest of the day was well spent family time together, which included sand castles on the beach.
I was nervous and excited about them going to camp, because at 22m they have yet to attend day care or pre-school. I didn’t know how it would go. Each morning I would dress the boys in SPF swim shirts and trunks for the day. We also bought little back packs for each of our twins just for this trip and would filled each with diapers, swim diapers, change of clothes, wipes, diaper cream and filled sippy cups.
When dropping off your kids for the first time you need to fill out a document with information on your child (allergies, passport number, if you are allowing them to go in the kids pool or not, etc.) and assign a password for picking them up after. In addition, they provide you with a basic cell phone so they can call you if they should need you for anything. We never got a call, but it was nice knowing we could be reached if needed.
Tip: Don’t visit, unless you are picking up. My boys were OK when we dropped them off, no crying, but I couldn’t help myself and went to visit them two hours after. They were perfectly fine as I knew they would be, but now when I tried to sneak away, they both started crying, thus making it harder on all of us. The next day, my husband simply called using the phone in our room to ask for an update and to hear what they were doing. The second day they complained when we left as it was no longer new to them, but when we called later they said all was well. So, be prepared to let go, so you can also let go for a bit too.
More Kids Activities
Beaches Resorts is also celebrating 10 years with Sesame Street®. There is a fun Sesame Street Parade that’s great for all kids to see and a beach party with performances from Sesame Street characters. At an additional cost, kids can Go Bird Watching with Big Bird, partake in character breakfasts, nighttime tuck-ins and more.
M-F there is also a fun and free choo choo train that runs from each village entrance on the resort. It’s too cute and a great photo opp as well. My sons rode on it twice and were looking for it on the weekend too. They kept pointing to the road where it had picked them up. Check the schedule when you arrive for times
For older kids there is also Pirate Island Waterpark, an XBOX® Play Lounge & arcade, Junior Golf Club and even a Kids Scuba Program with lessons out in the pool.
Through the Kids Camp, we reserved a babysitter to come to our room for two hours from 9-11 p.m. when the boys were asleep, so that mommy and daddy could check out the nightlife. The staff at the camp kindly assigned the same nanny who was with our boys that morning, so that she was already familiar with them. Our boys were asleep the whole time she was watching them, but I did appreciate that extra thought and consideration. It’s reasonably priced at $15/hr. After 11 p.m., it’s $20/hr.
Rooms & Sleeping
We stayed in the Italian Village, which was perfectly central to everything on the resort, near the beach and very close to the kids camp and playground in the Caribbean Village. For older kids the Caribbean Village and French Villages are close to the waterpark and stage area, but further from the ocean. Key West Village meanwhile is the newest on the resort and offers the most space for large families with multi-floor suites and full kitchens. However, not all have views and the area overall is more quiet that the others, which may be a plus depending on what you are looking for.
If available, ask for a room on the ground floor. It will make getting in and out so much easier with little ones and better for strollers too. We had a walk out pool room with a patio, which was wonderful. At first, I thought it might be too loud facing the pool, but the windows must really be sound proof, because all was quiet once we closed the slider door.
Our room was at the Concierge level and had a separate kids room with bunk beds and shelves made of beautiful mahogany wood. The lowest bunk had a trundle bed that pulled out too. An Xbox 360 was also included in their room and a flat screen TV and sink. The bunk beds looked so inviting and beautiful that I had to climb up and test it out, lol.
My boys are still too little to be in beds, so we had requested two cribs to be brought in, which was done almost immediately. I had packed spare Pack N Play sheets and padding for both of my boys not knowing what the resort cribs would look like, but to my surprise and relief they were legitimate wooden cribs with mattresses. I would have been better off packing real crib sheets, but sheets provided were nice enough.
The big Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom was also great for bath time and multiples. Overall, my kids loved our room; they were running around it and giggling as if they were at a theme park.
When dining with kids, stick to the buffets and pizza shops for quick but yummy food. For dinner, Marios is especially kid-friendly, just be sure to ask to be seated in the kids areas, which has little tables near big tables, crayons, coloring pages, balloons and Sesame Street character statues. Bobby D’s ice cream shop and diner is also a great place for kids with quick food and Nick Jr. playing on TVs and lots of other kids. Kimono Hibachi restaurant is great for date night and older kids, thanks to the fun chefs doing tricks, singing and interacting with guests. It’s one of the only restaurants that requires a reservation though, so call ahead.
My husband and I have been “sandalized” and can’t wait to come back again as a family. We were talking about every other year. So, are you a Beaches Mom? For more tips read my post at When Tara Met Blog.