An all-inclusive resorts may seem like the easiest idea for busy parents are trying to plan a vacation. It is an ideal vacation idea for families looking to relax and not be worried about daily logistics.
But choosing the right resort and making sure you get what you pay for may not be as easy as you think. After spending a long weekend at Beaches Turks and Caicos here are my thoughts on what you need to think about if you’re considering this resort.
1. It is all-inclusive at its best.
Beaches really does live up to it’s hype about being all inclusive. From the time we got on the Beaches shuttle to the time we left I didn’t have to open my wallet. Typically your booking will include accommodations, meals, drinks, camp type child care, and several water sports and lessons including scuba and wind surfing.
Of course there are upgrades and other amenities like island excursions, spa treatments, buggy carts and one on one nannies ($15/hr during day time and $20/hr after 11pm) you can get for a fee. It is also great not having to tip for the amazing service you receive from Beaches staff. One big downside was not having free wireless especially for those of us who can’t really turn off work during our vacation, but I did hear an announcement during our stay that it would be changing soon at Beaches.
2. There is lots of entertainment for the kids.
At Beaches we didn’t have to rack our brains or come up with a derailed itinerary to entertain our son. One of the highlights of a Beaches experience is their decade long partnership with Sesame Street. As a result of that collaboration, there are several random and staged appearances to dance parties with the Sesame Street characters. Kids can also spend time under the supervision of certified child care providers at a Sesame Street themed camp. It was so much easier to ask our toddler to spend a morning at Elmo’s house than convincing him to spend time with strangers.
On week days you can also catch a ride on a cho cho train that drives around the resort. We asked for a schedule at the front desk and planned our daily outings around the resort accordingly. Though the resort is sprawling the four wings of the resort were well connected and we managed easily without the need for a stroller for our two year old.
Another highlight was the Pirate Island themed water park and lazy river. There were several attractions that even our two year old could try out with his dad. For older kids, there was a Xbox play lounge and equipment was available for a range of land sports such as beach volleyball and table tennis.
The kiddie pools, swim up bars and the most gorgeous beach with soft white sand made Beaches such a memorable trip for us.
3. You don’t have to leave your resort.
If navigating from point A to point B is stressful for you, you can relax as soon as you get to the Providenciales airport in Turks and Caicos. Beaches will transport you to your resort (about a 20 minute ride) and you don’t have to worry about needing to leave your resort if you don’t want to. With the large number of restaurants, water park and the gorgeous beach you have plenty to keep you entertained.
Though this can be an advantage to some, it maybe a downside to others like us, who are eager to explore beyond the resort. But there is not much of a downtown or many local restaurants or businesses you can frequent to get a feel for the island culture. The cab fare to and from the resort will also be about $25 per ride within the town. Unless you’re planning a special excursion I would recommend staying put at the resort.
4. There are a lot of dining options.
One of my concerns about an all inclusive resort is the lack of quality and diverse meal options. But this is perhaps the most outstanding fact about Beaches. There were a range of dining options from buffet to casual to fine dining.
We had hot breakfast by the beach hot dogs for lunch, gourmet Italian for dinner followed by French pasties as a late night snack all in one day. There are a total of 18 restaurants at Beaches Turks and Caicos that you can go by almost 5 days without having to repeat restaurants unless you want to.
We also likes the option of being able to get sandwiches, pizza, ice cream or popcorn in between meals if we needed a snack. Beaches staff are equipped to accommodate families with food allergies so parents can consult with them before or right after arriving and spend the rest of the vacation without having to worry about each meal.
5. Is it worth the money?
When you think of a luxury vacation like Beaches, how affordable it is will definitely determine whether it is right for your family. When I priced out our three night/four day vacation for October 2015, same time of the year as we visited in October 2014, the cheapest accommodation was $2400.
For us, what made Beaches worth it was that it was our first all inclusive experience so it lived upto our expectation of being worry free. As we typically overextend ourselves by packing a lot of activities into our limited vacation, Beaches was a nice respite from that.
But the cost of a vacation at a Beaches resort is a huge part of our travel budget so it would not be something we can afford to indulge in every year. Our time at Beaches was about relaxing and indulgence as opposed to cultural immersion and local exploration.
However if you’re looking to experience a stress free all inclusive vacation that will not disappoint, Beaches Turks and Caicos is an ideal choice for working families.
The author visited Beaches Turks and Caicos at a discounted rate as a part of the Sandals Social Media in the Sand Conference but all opinions are are her own.