Welcome to our new format for family-friendly hotel reviews! Here we are giving you the family-friendly basics—why, where, what, how much and a few other essential bits of info. We'll be compiling as many of these as we can, but we'd also love for YOU, yes, you to submit your own reviews. So drop us a line. We can't wait to read your stuff! Love, T+G.
In this issue, we've got the low-down on what it's like to experience Beaches Turks & Caicos through the eyes of a Sesame Street-obsessed toddler and his mama, Michelle Abril.
WHY WE CHOSE IT
We never experienced Beaches Resorts before but for my milestone birthday (turned the big 4-0) all I wanted was a Caribbean getaway as I love the beach and was in desperate need of a tan. I had to be strategic in choosing the right resort as it was going to be my two-year old son’s first Caribbean vacation as well as his first time on an airplane, so it had to be a non-stop short flight, maximum three hours. All moms know that kids are the determining factor when planning a family vacation so the destination and the resort had to really cater to what Julian liked and would have fun at so that I, in fact, would enjoy the vacation. My son LOVES Sesame Street so Beaches was the natural choice and they offer two Caribbean options (Jamaica and Turks & Caicos) and since Turks & Caicos is one of my favorite islands it was a no-brainer.
Turks & Caicos is a quick three-hour non-stop flight from NYC that thankfully JetBlue offered, my preferred airline. From the Providenciales airport, Beaches is a quick 15-minute ride via complimentary airport shuttle. The resort is located on the best stretch of Grace Bay Beach, which was voted the World’s #1 best beach by TripAdvisor, and is surrounded by the calmest and clearest turquoise waters perfect for every type of water sport, lounging around on a float or for taking an Instagrammable moment!
Beaches is an all-inclusive property so everything from F&B, roundtrip airport transfers, water sports (snorkeling, scuba diving, Hobie cats, paddle boards, kayaks), WiFi, day and night live shows and the Sesame Kids Camp with daily activities including Sesame Street characters is included. The Sesame Camp alone is worth the investment as children can do full-day, half-day or even pop in and out for special fun with furry friends like Baking Cookies with Cookie Monster. My mom guilt set in so I didn’t have Julian in the camp by himself but we did go daily for fun activities as he loved to interact with his Sesame Street friends and it was a nice air-conditioned break from the sun.
All-inclusive chains tend to get a bad rap regarding food and service, but we were never disappointed with a meal at any of the restaurants on property as from breakfast to dinner we were all satisfied as the options truly due to cater to families of all ages.
There are various complimentary services the resort offers which you should definitely take advantage of like the 20-minute professional photo shoot on the beach. You can select day/time that works with your schedule and the photographer guides you to capture some amazing shots that truly serve as the best souvenir from your vacation. While the photo shoot is complimentary the images are pretty pricey as you won’t be able to deny purchasing your little ones in picturesque poses so get the credit card ready! One amenity we didn’t get to enjoy was the free glass-bottom boat ride as we heard it was a lot of fun so be sure to plan your trip accordingly and allocate time for that fun water adventure.
THE REST OF THE RESORT
The resort is massive as it features five villages throughout the property each with different amenities. We stayed in the Caribbean & Seaside Villages which is the closest to the beach and also where Sesame Camp is situated so for us it was the prime location. The Pirate Island Waterpark is near the French Village and that truly is a water mecca for kids of all ages. From the lazy river to toddler park to surf simulator to tube rides it is the perfect way to stay cool from the sun.
Unfortunately, during my visit the toddler park area was only open one day and was closed the rest of the days for repairs so it was a bit of a downer for my little guy, but he loved it the one day we got to spend there. There are some fun food trucks also in that area as the ice cream truck served as a sweet treat in the day. The nightly live shows, approximately 30 minutes, were amazing as they were Sesame Place quality (I’ve sat through endless shows) and were at 6pm so perfect pre-dinner activity. There’s even a weekly parade that all the Sesame Street characters participate in which is not as elaborate as the Sesame Place parade but still as entertaining and colorful.
The resort truly has everything on property so there’s really no need to leave but if needed, taxis are available. For those with teens, there is an entire teen center and club to keep them busy day or night.
Once you book your vacation you will start to get emails about additional activities you can add on during your stay. A MUST for all families is the Sesame Street Character Breakfast as it’s $49.99 for two adults and one child and is truly a fun way to spend the morning. All the characters make their way through the venue to take individual and family shots with each table and spend quality team with each child so you definitely get your money’s worth. They also do some fun group dances and get everyone involved. Truly a highlight of our trip!
We booked the Sesame Sail Away Catamaran Cruise and was a little disappointed about the experience as Elmo and Zoe were not consistently out interacting with the kids they took turns but did take pictures with every child on the boat. Being on a catamaran was an overall fun experience for Julian and it was a gorgeous morning to be on the water but it’s a little pricey ($55 per child and $80 per adult) so if you’re on a budget the character dining is the way to go. You can also be on the water by going on the complimentary glass-bottom boat!
Another tip is to reserve the VIP Sesame Street All Access Photo Session ($50). It’s the opportunity to get your picture taken with all the Sesame Street characters beachfront and get priority over those that did not make advance reservations. You don’t have to pay for the image and it comes in a beautiful frame so makes for another great souvenir
As the saying goes “you get what you pay for” and Beaches is definitely a prime example of that as you truly get stellar service, incredible amenities and an overall memorable experience. There are no third party outfitters that offer “deals” so you have to book directly through the site but depending on time of year you will be able to score some value adds such as 55% off rack rate, $150 instant credit and $25 credit for booking online. Average price for party of three is around $3,000.
Beaches really knows how to cater to families of all ages, no wonder it’s an award-winning brand! While it was my milestone birthday, seeing Julian’s smile every day (all day and night!) was the best present I could ever receive. Everyone kept asking if it was his birthday or mine lol You definitely get your money’s worth and never have to shell out a dime for anything, aside from personal incidentals. I can’t recommend it enough as Turks & Caicos is pure paradise and good to see they have family-friendly options for sun-loving moms!
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