At the start of this year, as I was busy trying to adjust to post-Christmas life without daily cheeseboards and leftover turkey toastie sandwiches, a very, very exciting brand slid into my Instagram DMs.
And that brand was Beaches.
Now, if you don’t know much about Beaches, they’re the sister brand of Sandals who I’m pretty sure everyone has heard of. Beaches have a portfolio of three resorts in the Caribbean – two in Jamaica and one in Turks and Caicos and where Sandals focuses on once-in-a-lifetime couples holidays, Beaches focuses on once-in-a-lifetime holidays for friends and families alike.
They asked if I’d (along with Chris and Atti) like to go to one of their resorts in exchange for this blog post and some social coverage, and of course, because THE ACTUAL CARIBBEAN, I said yes.
And so, let me declare up front, that this trip was paid for by Beaches – including the flights, accommodation, food and drink (because the resort is all-inclusive).
Let’s get going shall we?
Where? Beaches in the Turks and Caicos islands (which are a British Overseas Territory) in the Caribbean.
The story? After 12-hours on an airplane with a toddler (a real character-building experience if nothing else – more on that here), we touched down in Providenciales airport and then had a short 15-minute drive to the resort, where we were greeted with cool flannels and rum cocktails – divine. Now, the resort itself is perched on the beach and separated into four different ‘villages’ – the Caribbean village, the Italian village, the French village, and the newest village of the lot, Key West village. Each village has a slightly different vibe and houses different restaurants to suit that vibe. There’s also slightly different accommodation options in each village, plus pools and evening entertainment.
It would take you about 10-15 minutes to walk from one end of the resort across to the other side – so it’s expansive but not overwhelming.
Overall the resort has 21 restaurants plus two food trucks, and all of the food and drink (aside from a few premium wines) is included within the all-inclusive price – but I’ll come back to the food in more detail later on in this post.
We were shown to our room for the week in Key West Village – a one bedroom concierge villa, which contains, as the name suggests, one bedroom. It also had a living area with dining table and sofa, as well as a bathroom, small kitchen, large luggage cupboard and a utility room with a washer-dryer which turned out to be incredibly handy.
We had a cot and bedding at the end of our bed for Atti, and enough wardrobe and drawer space to all completely empty our suitcases and make ourselves at home.
Every room also has a fully stocked bar – which means ice cold cans of Diet Coke on tap, as well as house wines and spirits.
Our room was only a few steps away from the Key West pool which is one of the smallest pools on site, but also the one which gets the most shade and is quietest – perfect for a very water-hesitant toddler.
We were also a 60-second walk from one of the buffet restaurants which was incredibly handy on our first night (when we’d been up for close to 24-hours and struggled to remember who we were as people), as well as from the beach and a couple of other restaurants.
Food? As I mentioned, there are a staggering TWENTY ONE restaurants on site, which all completely differ in cuisine and level of service. There’s a handful of big buffet style restaurants which are obviously great if you’ve got fussy kids (these open the earliest for breakfast at 6.30am so also super handy for ‘first breakfast’ if you’re struggling with jet lag).
There’s a cafe in the French village which opens at 6am and does outstanding iced coffees (and teeny tiny cakes as well as cereal and crepes).
Then there’s everything else. Restaurants with smoothie stations and taco stations, restaurants with incredible fresh seafood, sushi restaurants, restaurants with Teppanyaki chefs, diners with popcorn machines, places with takeout pizza.
Some open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and others just for dinner. At any time of day, be it 11pm or 5am, there’s always somewhere available to grab food.
There is something for everyone, and enough choice that you could happily spend a couple of weeks there without
Our faves were Soy (the sushi restaurant which was delish, but the team there was also excellent at creating Chris vegetarian options), Barefoot By The Sea (somewhere in-between buffet and fancy – but you’re basically eating at picnic benches in the sand which creates such a lovely atmosphere and the fish tacos were divine) and Kimonos (which is the Teppantaki restaurant which you need to book before you rock up).
There’s also the two food trucks – a mac and cheese one (highly recommend the deep fried balls) and a milkshake truck.
How much? Beaches resorts are not cheap, but there’s no real cost when you get out there (aside from excursions and anything you fancy from the gift shop, ahem Pringles). Prices for a couple and an infant for a week – including flights – start at just under £6,000, and the best time of year to visit is between November and April, where the temperature happily sits high into the twenties.
How to get there? British Airways operate flights to Turks and Caicos from London Gatwick with a stopover in Antigua (you don’t get off the plane, there’s just a change of crew and passengers), or, depending on your fly dates, there’s also the option of flying to Miami and then getting a second flight to Turks and Caicos.
What’s nearby? Admittedly we didn’t leave the resort or explore the island, mostly because it would have been a little tricky with a toddler in tow – although there are options to do this. Aside from the swimming pools and beach on offer, there’s also scuba diving and water sports on site which are all included within the cost of the trip.
Recommendations? For us the water park was the ultimate base because there were great covered double sun loungers – a bit like little cabins with double beds – in the surrounding area which were great for chilling out in the shade with Atti without fear of him falling off. And he LOVED the lazy river. We all loved the lazy river. The perfect chilled-out family activity. It also meant we were close to the mac and cheese truck which was our go-to easy lunch option.
And the beach, you can’t not recommend it. Beaches is located on Grace Bay which is a 12-mile stretch of coastline which is voted the World’s #1 Best Beach by TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice awards. Stepping into that clear turquoise sea and letting the tranquility engulf you is up there with one of my favourite things I’ve ever experienced, a true happy place where all the niggles in your brain instantly melt into the background.
Best bits? The staff were awesome and so helpful with entertaining Atti and bringing him toast or bread before the rest of the meal to help ease his hanger at mealtimes, which made the whole trip so much easier. There’s also a kids club with free nannies available for babies, but we didn’t end up utilising this.
Beaches is affiliated with Sesame Street so there’s parades and shows for the kids which Atti LOVED.
The food options were also great – we grabbed more than our fair share of frozen strawberry daquiris from the poolside bars too. And then of course, the beach view and the chilled out vibes are hard to beat anywhere else.
Worst bits? I guess the restaurant menus made me truly appreciate how far the UK has come in terms of vegan and vegetarian food – whilst I’m not veggie, my boyfriend is – and most restaurants only offered one veggie-friendly option on the menu (although everywhere did seem very set-up to cater for glucose and lactose allergies – the mac and cheese truck even offered a vegan, gluten-free option).
The other thing I noted was a fair amount of steps to get into restaurants and around the resort – which was fine to navigate with a pushchair, although a little tricky in places – but I can imagine the accessibility might cause problems for wheelchair users.
What would I do differently? I’d have loved to have stayed for longer. The week flew by in a breeze, and I could have easily done 10-days without yearning for home-cooked food or my own bed.
For more info, check out the Beaches website here.