June 4, 2014
Snorkeling in Turks & Caicos
By Allison Tibaldi, Taking the Kids correspondent
I recently visited Beaches Turks and Caicos with my teenage daughter, Madeleine. We had never experienced a Mother-Daughter vacation, and the timing was right. Maddie was about to embark on a summer internship in Paris, followed by a semester in Copenhagen, so spending quality time together was key.
All-inclusive Means All-Inclusive
Beaches Turks and Caicos is the largest resort in the Beaches portfolio. The property is made up of four villages: French, Italian, Caribbean and the newest addition, Key West Village. A stay at Key West Village includes everything you would expect from a Beaches vacation. All-inclusive really does mean all-inclusive. You pay one price and won’t need your credit card for the rest of your stay. Meals, drinks, water sports, kids programs from infants to teens, just about everything is included in the price, with no additions or surprises when you check out.
Key West Village is an Attractive Choice for Multigenerational Families
Though the entire resort is a beauty, Key West Village has a special authenticity. The white picket fences add charm, the landscaping is lush and the color scheme of nautical pastels, like sea green and marine blue, is reminiscent of its namesake. Key West Village is particularly suited to multigenerational families. They offer a multitude of room configurations. For large families, the four-bedroom individual villas with their own plunge pools are laid out on three floors, for the right balance of privacy and togetherness. There are accommodations to suit all sizes of families, including interconnecting rooms for a group of up to 30.
A villa in Key West Village
Maddie and I were staying in a one-bedroom suite at Key West, which gave us plenty of space and privacy. I stayed in the Master bedroom, and Madeleine took the airy living room. Our entire family of four could have fit comfortably, but for just the two of us, it felt positively palatial.
The resort is located on Grace Bay, one of the most breathtaking stretches of the Caribbean. The offshore reef protects the beach and creates calm water that is gentle for even the littlest swimmers. Madeleine is a lifeguard, so she can handle rough surf, but there was hardly a wave in sight, just breathtaking blue-green water that was bathtub warm. We could have windsurfed, sailed, kayaked, as pretty much any water sport you can think of is available. We both enjoy snorkeling, so we took a trip on the beautiful Beaches catamaran out to the reef. We put on fins and masks and swam with a rainbow of fish, have a look at our underwater adventure.
Grand Opening of Key West Village
Our visit coincided with the official grand opening of Key West Village. Visiting dignitaries from around the Caribbean flew in for the festivities. Beaches is a Caribbean family-owned and operated business and key members of the Stewart family, including Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart and CEO Adam Stewart, were also in attendance. Every guest of the resort was invited to attend the party. Food, drinks, jugglers, acrobats, live music and fireworks made this an impressive evening of merriment.
As a passionate foodie, I am always skeptical when it comes to dining at an all-inclusive resort. I was pleasantly surprised by the food at Beaches Turks and Caicos. Now that Maddie is over 18, we were able to dine at the adults-only choices, such as the French and Caribbean restaurants, with delicious results. The buffet eateries were excellent as well, and included lots of fresh seafood and tropical fruits. Special mention goes to the multitude of yummy dessert options.
I had the opportunity to meet with Executive Chef Colin Watson. Chef Watson noted that the kitchen freshly purees their own baby food, so don’t expect the usual stuff from the jar. The kitchen staff takes dietary allergies very seriously. As the property has 18 dining options, those with dietary restrictions are asked to give their desired dining spot a one-meal advance notice. So if your child has a gluten allergy and you plan to have breakfast at Bayside in Key West Village, let them know at dinner the night before. Gluten-free pancakes, French toast or muffins will be waiting.
Stay tuned for Madeleine’s take on the resort tomorrow.
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