In September 2010 Laura Slater, Travel Consultant in our Guildford Branch visited the Beaches property on the Caribbean Islands of Turks & Caicos. Here is her educational report
Time to Check in Procedures and Attitude of staff
We used the Virgin Atlantic self service check-in kiosks at Heathrow’s Terminal 3, which were very easy to use.
Once we had checked in and got our boarding passes, we proceeded to the bag drop then continued through to the departure lounge.
Departure Facilities- Restaurants/Shops/Lounges/information etc
Terminal 3 was very busy and we had to queue in every shop and in the pub where we went for breakfast.
Providenciales airport was very small with 3 souvenir shops, a duty free shop and 1 refreshment stall. The departure lounge at Miami was spacious and airy with more food outlets than shops!
General Facilities for disabled/children
I didn’t notice any facilities for children or disabled people at any of the 3 airports we travelled through. However, I know there was nothing at Providenciales due to it being so small.
Type of Aircraft and configuration
Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow to Miami return on an A340-600
Economy configuration was 2-4-2
American Airlines from Miami to Providenciales return on an B757
Economy configuration was 3-3
Information Given And Length Of Journey
Outbound flight from London Heathrow to Miami was 8 hours 59 minutes
Inbound flight from Miami to London Heathrow was 7 hours 55 minutes (but we landed 30 minutes early)
Internal flight between Miami and Providenciales was 1 hour 15 minutes
The captain on the flight between Miami and Providenciales pointed out the Bahamas for us which looked stunning from the sky!
We waited approximately 30 minutes upon our arrival into Miami.
When we landed into Providenciales, we were the last and only flight in, so the wait was literally a few minutes to pass through immigration.
Very quick when collecting our luggage off all 4 flights!
By the time we had gotten through immigration at Miami on our outbound flight, our bags had been taken off the carrousel and where waiting on the floor for us!
In Miami, the signposts to find our connecting flights where very clear and simple.
Names of Hotel
Beaches Turks and Caicos
Getting from Airport to HotelThe transfer between Providenciales airport and the Beaches resort was approx 20 minutes, and our minibus was ready and waiting for us upon our arrival!
Accommodation/Check in service
It was approximately 10pm by the time we got the resort. However the reception staff were still very efficient.
As soon as we got out of the minibus, we were each handed an ice cold towel to freshen up with.
The check-in process took about 15 minutes where we had to fill out a form, and we were given a nice cold fruit cocktail.
One of the reception staff escorted me to my room, and gave me some hotel information en-route.
She came into my room and showed me how to use the door key, the air conditioning and how to activate the power.
My bag was bought up to my room by a porter.
Room Size And Facilities
I stayed in a Medici Ocean View 2 Bedroom Imperial Family Suite with is located in the new Italian Village and sleeps up to 7 people. The facilities of the room included a king size 4 poster bed, 42” flat screen TV with satellite TV, minibar, fridge, microwave, coffee maker, safe, iron and ironing board, umbrellas, i-Pod docking station, telephone, desk, trundle which converts into a bed and a chair which also converts into a bed. Large bathroom which has 2 sinks, a Jacuzzi bath and a shower. Along with ample amounts of soft white towels, amenity kit and a hairdryer.
The children’s room had bunk beds with a pull out bed for a 3rd child, a 22” flat screen TV with an X-BOX computer console, books, a wardrobe and their own bathroom sink.
My balcony was very spacious with amazing views of the beach and the pool area. It had a table with 4 chairs and a double sun lounger
Accommodation Facilities (taking grade into Consideration)- Restaurant/Bar/Pool/Gym Facilities for Disabled and Children
The resort has a total of 16 restaurants with a variety of cuisines. There are also 2 restaurants for children to get snacks and where they can pull their own ice creams!
There are a total of 5 pools, 2 children pools, 3 swim-up bars and the Pirate Island water park complete with a lazy river!! There is also an adult’s only Jacuzzi deck which is located overlooking the beach.
For children there are fully supervised kids clubs and nursery, Sesame Street characters who do a weekly parade through the resort, X-box game garage, the Scratch DJ Academy where kids can learn to be DJ’s and the kids nightclub! In all restaurants there are special kid’s menus.
All non-motorised water sports and land sports are included. There is a Red Lane Spa on resort (treatments bookable and payable locally) and a fitness centre which is free for guests to use and is open 24 hours a day.
There is also an Island Routes excursion desk, located in the Caribbean Village area of the resort, where guests can book and pay for any local excursions.
There are a few shops onsite, including a souvenir shop and a sweetie shop!!!
The resort is flat therefore will be fine for any disabled guests. In the Italian Village there are lifts, as there are 6 floors. In the other resorts they are 2 storey buildings so do not have lifts.
What have you learned on the trip?
I’ve learnt that Beaches is exactly the same standard as Sandals, with the only difference being that children are permitted at Beaches!
The beach area of Providenciales is quite built up with a lot of hotels.
I would recommend that customers use the direct BA service departing on a Sunday, especially if travelling with children. We used the in-direct service via Miami, and even though the flight connection where smooth, the total journey time was 19 hours door to door.
I would recommend guests to do the Kitty Cat Catamaran cruise which takes you to an uninhabited island with the most beautiful beaches, so you get to see the natural and unspoiled Turks and Caicos! The cruise also stops off at a reef where you can go snorkeling.
Overall impression of the Journey and Destination
Overall the Beaches resort was absolutely stunning and I couldn’t fault the staff or the resort atall!
I was slightly disappointed with the Virgin flight. The seat pitch in economy felt small complared to other airlines, and on the return flight the cabin crew weren’t’ particularly helpful and came across as rather rude.
The cabin crew and aircraft was better with American Airlines on the 1 hour internal flight between Miami and Providenciales!
For more information about Beaches properties in the Caribbean, including some great deals, please give us a call on 0800 458 342