If this year’s family vacation in the Caribbean is pointing toward a Beaches Resorts getaway, you’ve probably reached the stage where you might be thinking “which Beaches Resort is right for my family?” After Indulgent TravelingMom Andrea Traynor’s recent visit to Beaches Negril and an earlier stay at Beaches Turks and Caicos, she offers a comparison of both properties to help you decide.
Beaches Negril vs Beaches Turks and Caicos
With three all-inclusive properties in the Caribbean, you may be wondering which Beaches Resorts is right for your family. Now that I’ve been to two of them, a comparison is in order. So it’s Beaches Negril versus Beaches Turks & Caicos.
They both sit on glorious, powder-white sand beaches that’ll take your breath away. They both look out into the salty perfection that is the Caribbean Sea. They both boast Sesame Street character sightings and experiences. And they both carry the solid Beaches brand name.
But here’s the thing — I know you, Type A vacation planners. You’re never done researching. I know you because I am you.
No amount of Google research can come close to on-the-ground intel, though. And when you’re about to drop somewhere in the neighbourhood of 10 grand for a weeklong family vacation, that’s what you really need.
Which Beaches Resort is Right for Your Family?
Ultimately, everyone’s different and only you can make that decision.
But to help, I’m going to break down this comparison in terms of footprint, villages, rooms, food, activities, staff and overall cost. Because — make no mistake — even though they have a lot in common, Beaches Negril and Beaches Turks & Caicos are very different properties.
Beaches Negril vs. Beaches Turks and Caicos FOOTPRINT
Beaches Turks and Caicos is huge. It takes 20 to 30 minutes to walk its entire footprint — and that’s without stopping to smell the lilies. It feels like a miniature city and I love the bustling energy that’s palpable at every corner.
There aren’t golf carts toting guests around, so plan to do a lot of walking while you’re there. This means there’s someplace new to explore every day. And it also means that if you lose track of your kids it could be tougher to find them.
More space means more of, well, everything. More pools, more restaurants, more people.
Meanwhile, Beaches Negril has that quintessential tropical resort feel. It’s significantly smaller, too, taking a mere five minutes to walk from end to end. We enjoyed the slower pace and tranquility. And we felt comfortable letting our littles run off with their new friends — because we knew no matter how far they got, they really weren’t far at all.
The Jamaican property is cozier. More intimate. It has an almost familial feeling. But you’ll continue to see the same guests over and over again, so if you want to escape a particular group (or your teens want to escape you), it would be more of a challenge here. There are only so many swim-up bars at Beaches Negril, after all!
Beaches Resorts VILLAGES
If you enjoy distinct theming at your tropical resort, you’re in luck at Beaches Turks and Caicos. With four villages (Key West, French, Caribbean and Italian) — each with their own authentic vibe — you know when you’ve left one village for another. With the exception of Key West, we found that we could easily spend all of our time in a single village and never need to leave (though, with so much to explore, we never wanted to).
Stepping into the French quarter, we always felt transported to Paris. From the architecture to the statues to the Café de Paris that’s modeled after a classic patisserie, this is but one example of how well Beaches created its authentic mini-villages in Turks and Caicos.
Although they’re called “villages” at Beaches Negril, the three designated areas at this resort are nothing like the villages at its sister property. The buildings are different colors, but they’re essentially the same but for location. As a result, the place feels holistic from front to back and left to right.
Beaches Resorts ROOMS
We had concierge-level rooms at both resorts, and while our upgrade in Turks & Caicos got us a separate master bedroom, it wasn’t as beautifully appointed nor did it feel as contemporary as our room in Negril.
Overall, there are obviously fewer rooms at the Negril property. And the entry-level “deluxe” rooms are generally smaller, too.
Beaches Resorts FOOD
Here’s where Beaches Turks & Caicos comes out on top — starting with sheer quantity. We’re talking 21 restaurants (compared to Negril’s nine), including Bobby D’s, which serves kid-friendly food and awesome milkshakes nearly around-the-clock. The buffets offer far more selection than they do in Negril, and there are simply more choices for a la carte meals at all hours of the day.
And while the buffet reigns supreme in Turks, I found the a la carte meals of pretty equal quality between the two resorts, with Negril falling only slightly behind for die-hard foodies.
Although there’s no Jerk Hut at Beaches Negril like there is at Turks & Caicos, it does have BBQ Park with seriously delicious jerk chicken. And, dare I say, done with Jamaican flair that simply can’t be duplicated elsewhere.
ACTIVITIES + AMENITIES
Despite its vast size difference, there are still just as many activities to do at Beaches Negril as there are at Beaches Turks & Caicos. Our kids never felt hard-done-by or that they were missing out during our recent visit to Negril.
Whether it’s the XBOX Lounge, Scratch DJ Academy, Kids’ Club, waterpark, water sports, Red Lane Spa, land activities or nightly entertainment, there were really only four discernable differences we felt between the two resorts:
- It was easier to get to activities — especially those scheduled back-to-back — in the smaller Negril location.
- Only the Turks property has a Flowrider wave simulator.
- Beaches Negril offers something that hasn’t yet arrived at the Turks property yet: SNUBA! It’s a sort of hybrid water activity that blends snorkeling with SCUBA diving, offered for the 8+ set — at least for the time being. It earned rave reviews from the families who participated, giving kids a glimpse into what real diving would be like.
- The character breakfast with Sesame Street friends is vastly better in Turks & Caicos. It’s held privately in a restaurant closed to other guests, offers more character interaction (like a conga line and dance party) and no one scooped our food out from under us like they did in Negril.
Beaches Resorts STAFF
Negril wins hands down when it comes to staff. Not to say that we didn’t encounter many wonderful staffers at Beaches Turks & Caicos, but it didn’t come close to the genuine warmth we felt among the Jamaicans.
We could barely get from A to B without being greeted by someone. Every person who worked at Beaches Negril went out of their way to engage our kids — even those who didn’t work at the Kids’ Club. And, at the end of the day, we’re there to help our kids create lasting memories, so this goes a long way.
The Kids’ Club in particular was significantly superior in Negril. And that’s because of its staff, with whom my kids were much more comfortable and happy.
Beaches Resorts COST
In the grand scheme of a Beaches vacation, the savings may not seem like a lot, but they do need to be noted. On average, the Negril property usually offers consistently more savings year-round. Even a few hundred dollars for my family would help pay for extra activities that aren’t included with our stay or, say, a family photo package.