Hotels, Resorts & Villas Where to Stay in the Turks and Caicos Islands
Where When How Turks & Caicos Islands Summer 2012
WHERE TO STAY
Resorts and Villas in the Turks and Caicos Islands
What is it that makes The Turks and Caicos Islands so special? Part of the charm is that even our most developed islands are still small towns, so it is easy to get to know the people who work and live here. You’ll bump into the same folks over and over, within a few days you’ll start to feel as though you are part of a regular community... but with much better weather, and probably far more umbrella drinks than your own neighbourhood. Our beaches with their impossibly white sand and spectacular turquoise water don’t hurt, and the nearly constant coconut scented trade winds provide a perfectly cooling breeze. Island vibe aside, there exist some very tangible factors that make the Turks and Caicos a desirable vacation destination. For example, our use of the US dollar, English speaking population, and a unique geographical location that keeps us safe from most extreme weather systems in the region. The Turks and Caicos Islands enjoy about 320 sunny days per year. We have become the adopted home of several very talented chefs, which means we have a number of truly wonderful restaurants to choose from. For the practical minded, we have modern healthcare facilities and our little slice of paradise has attracted many skilled and knowledgeable medical professionals, should there be any doubt we are just a little over an hour by air to Florida.
Located at the western side of Grace Bay Beach is the Gansevoort Turks + Caicos Resort
A holiday hot spot for less than thirty years, we maintain an unspoiled beauty. Because we can see into the future through a lens trained on our island neighbours, we have an opportunity to see the best practices of others and adapt them to our needs. This is most easily noted within our islands’ resorts, hotels and villas.
Where To Stay: So Many Choices
Our many and varied options for accommodation have avoided a cookie cutter approach; each is unique and beautiful in its own way. The vast majority of our resort properties do have something in common though, they are almost all fully outfitted luxury condominiums rather than traditional hotels. In fact, many of our resorts, hotels and villas have been created for those guests who find themselves more concerned with value than with the overall cost. While we don’t have traditional chain hotels, we do have several boutique hotels. In a small and intimate hotel you are very likely dealing with a small and friendly staff, whose only goal is to make sure your stay as stress free and enjoyable as possible. A happy guest is, after all, a much easier guest to attend to.
High on the hill overlooking Turtle Cove is La Vista Azul Resort
We also have fantastic choices for the budget minded traveller, so if you plan to spend the majority of your time in the Turks and Caicos Islands enjoying the out of doors, you don’t have to overspend on accommodations.
Last, but certainly not least, the many villas available for short term guests cover a wide range of services and amenities, from decadent to barefoot simplicity. A Villa Holiday may sound extravagant, especially when combined with the sought after Caribbean Vacation. The word Villa itself is a trifle intimidating, I’ll admit. It tends to cause dollar signs to swirl in one’s head and calls up images of celebrities lounging poolside while being catered to by a staff of dozens. What many people don’t realize, is that Villa Vacations can be economical. If you are planning a holiday for your family or for a group of friends, it is possible to find a Villa Vacation that will work out to be far more reasonable per person than a hotel room. With the added benefit of being able to cook and eat at home, those savings can mean a moderately priced traditional hotel suddenly out paces a Villa in terms of cost. Of course, if you want to, you can easily find a luxurious villa to suit a Hollywood star, some of the biggest are regulars here, after all. With furnishings, fixtures and appliances chosen to complement jaw dropping views, plenty of amenities are available to up the already substantial wow factor proffered by our naturally stunning beaches. Should you wish to experience the height of luxury and decadence, you will find a place to meet, and perhaps exceed, your expectations. Everything from state of the art electronics, gourmet kitchens complete with chefs and butlers, to exotic textiles, one of a kind art pieces and custom linens can be found.
Ocean Clubs distinctive pink umbrellas are found on Grace Bay Beach
In addition to looking after all your physical needs, one of the ways the brilliant and creative minds that designed properties here have taken advantage of the Turks and Caicos’ unique attributes, is by creating beautiful outdoor spaces, then complementing those, with interiors meant to draw in the natural beauty found here. Of course, our fabulous weather means you are likely to spend much of your holiday time outside, enjoying our gorgeous beaches, taking part in some of the world’s most exciting water sports, playing a round on our award winning golf course, or maybe simply lounging by a spectacularly designed swimming pool.
The focal point of social life for many homes and resorts, the pool areas are as unique as the property to which they belong. Infinity edge pools are a feat of engineering, geometry and art, as the pool area is made to look as though it drifts off into the unmistakable turquoise waters of the Caicos shelf. Mosaic tile are sometimes used to match the colour of sky or sea. At hotels and resorts, a bar or poolside café make the pool area a comfortable place to spend the day.
Guests often enjoy taking advantage of outdoor kitchens, which are a popular feature of many villas, and some resorts. You can prepare an entire meal in these well equipped spaces, and enjoy dining al fresco with the entire family.
Meridian Club on Pine Cay offers peace, solitude and miles of untouched beaches
With our selection of truly gorgeous accommodations, you will have no trouble finding a property to fit neatly within your budget, whether you are struggling newlyweds or trust fund socialites.
Once the choice of type of accommodation has been made, you have to then decide on its location! The Turks and Caicos, like so many Caribbean island nations, is fortunate to have a variety of destinations to choose from, right within the country. If you are looking for some advice on choosing the perfect island home for your Caribbean holiday, we are here to help!
Providenciales is our most developed and populous island, it is also the island many of our stay over visitors choose for their holidays. At 38 square miles and with a population of about 20,000 people, it is still very possible to have a quiet island experience. There are a few distinct neighbourhoods on the island of Providenciales, and indeed throughout the islands.
Point Grace Resort sits literally on the point of Grace Bay Beach
The Leeward Community is at the eastern end of Providenciales and can be accessed from Governor’s Road or via Leeward Highway. The community is an upscale, Caribbean version of a suburb. Leeward consists of large landscaped lots, and many homes feature beach frontage or canal frontage. This makes it ideal for boaters, and Providenciales is home to more than a few people for whom sailing or power boating is a very important part of island life. Leeward Beach, a personal favourite, is a nice quiet beach, and is home to a few resident Pelicans who seem to love having their photo taken! There are just two resorts within Leeward, and currently only one night spot to enjoy, though the restaurants and bars of Grace Bay are a mere five minutes away. Guests who decide to stay in Leeward often take advantage of the many private villas available for rent, and enjoy being within a gated community. If you are interested in boating, would like to spend your days kayaking the mangroves that can be found off the Eastern tip of Providenciales, or if you simply desire a nice relaxing holiday and wish to feel as though you are a part of a community, Leeward is an ideal location for you.
The Regent Palms features the islands largest and most elegant Spa experience
If any area on peaceful Providenciales can be referred to as a tourist district, it would be Grace Bay. Many of our resorts and restaurants, as well as the bulk of the island’s shopping, are found along this stretch of beautiful Grace Bay Beach and Grace Bay Road. Aside from a wealth of dining options, thanks to our modern and well-stocked Graceway Gourmet Supermarket and the equally well-equipped Grace Bay Pharmacy, if you are staying ’on the strip’ there’s no need to rent a car, unless you’d like to do some exploring on your own for a day or two.
Providenciales is a relatively low-key island (You can’t even buy alcohol from stores on Sunday!) but there is always a party somewhere! In addition to the fantastic lounges and restaurants at your resort, there are a few other choices in Grace Bay for a night out with the adults. Some of the neighbourhood bars and restaurants even offer live entertainment, or special events.
Royal West Indies is a popular resort with two pools and a restaurant
In Grace Bay, you will find villas and hotels as well as the bulk of our high-end condominium resorts. Because the resort condos are fully equipped, you’ll likely spend some time at a nearby grocery store gathering everything needed to take advantage of the gourmet kitchen and accoutrements provided to create your own spectacular Caribbean dining experience. If cooking isn’t your idea of a dream holiday, never fear, in nearly every case you are mere steps from one of several restaurants. A spa is practically a given at each resort, and at virtually all properties you will find a state of the art fitness centre. Resorts make living easy while still giving you a chance to travel within the local economy.
If you plan to spend every waking moment taking advantage of the beach, the diving, the restaurants and the nightlife available all over the island, you may be content with a more reasonably priced hotel. These can be found on the beach and a few steps off the beach, and in close proximity to dining and shopping. These hotels provide for all their guests’ needs, while maintaining a price-point that can be very attractive.
The seven story tall Seven Stars Resort is within walking to many restaurants and groceries
The Bight is slightly further west than Grace Bay proper, along the North coast of the island. This neighbourhood is home of several resorts, each with restaurants and bars that are open to guests as well as to the public. Although you are likely to need a taxi, rental car or resort transport to get groceries or do any exploring, if you enjoy walking on the beach you are still within possible walking distance of the more developed section of Grace Bay. The benefit of being in this area is that you are on a quieter section of beach, but near one of the most popular clubs for weekend nightlife. While the Turks and Caicos Islands are still a sleepy outpost in many ways, in The Bight it is possible to find an urban party atmosphere, enhanced by the resorts’ faithful New York clientele. Within the area of The Bight you can also find great snorkelling just off the beach, including opportunities to see turtles, rays and docile nurse sharks.
At the quiet eastern end of Grace Bay Beach is The Tuscany Resort
Turtle Cove, home of Turtle Cove Marina, is well known to yachties in the Caribbean; Providenciales is a popular stopping point with both crews and owners. The fully serviced marina and surrounding neighbourhood offer a variety of restaurants, bars, a coffee shop, a newly opened casino and convenience shopping. If you are planning to stay in Turtle Cove you would need transportation to reach Grace Bay, a full service grocery store, or to do a little exploring. That being said, if you are content to ramble around Turtle Cove on foot, the area can meet all your needs while on holiday. There’s always a lively spot to be found on Friday night, and everything from fine dining to a salad bar is within a few steps. If you are mindful of boating lanes and are cautious, Smith’s Reef also provides some great snorkelling within steps of any of the accommodation options, which run the gamut from resort and hotel, to luxury villa.
Chalk Sound and Area
Although removed from Grace Bay, Chalk Sound and area has a lot going for it. Two of the most placid and beautiful beaches, Taylor Bay and Sapodilla Bay, are side by side and offer the very best beach experiences for families. Warm, calm and shallow, it is possible to wile away an afternoon with your little ones without having to worry about wave action. There’s a small but well-stocked convenience store, a wonderful restaurant/bar, what is possibly the most inconceivably beautiful turquoise water ever seen on Earth, in the Sound itself. A whole host of excursion possibilities exist in the area and range from power boating to kayaking, and from beach walks to hiking. Unless you would prefer to use a taxi, you are wise to plan for the expense of a rental car if you want to take advantage of other neighbourhoods and do any exploring outside of Chalk Sound.
If you want to be comfortable, relaxed, and simply enjoy island life, you won’t find a better spot. There are many villas to rent in this area, from relaxed beach houses to very high-end luxury homes.
There are several distinct neighbourhoods on the Southern side of the island, each with its own special charm. While differing slightly from one another, all are cherished for the privacy and solitude they offer. Though you are never more than a few minutes drive from the bustle of Grace Bay, the comparative remoteness of places such as Long Bay, Discovery Bay, Cooper Jack and Turtle Tail are prized among those who return year after year to villas overlooking the Caicos Bank. Here you can lounge undisturbed on virtually private beaches, you can reconnect with family and friends, read a book or maybe even write one! The Southern side of the island is all about relaxing and regrouping.
West Bay Club features a restaurant and is close to the islands best snorkelling
At approximately 2 square miles, little Pine Cay is one of the smallest islands in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Pine Cay’s beautiful beaches are a big draw among those who visit each year, but guests are also attracted by the island’s low key, low tech, laid-back lifestyle. The island has become a pristine example, and the resort a leading advocate, in the battle to protect our eco-systems and natural beauty. The island’s lone resort aims to, “set an example in the conservation of natural resources.” Automobiles are not permitted on the island, instead guests and staff travel on electric golf carts or on bicycles. Fresh water lakes are another unique feature of Pine Cay, and play a part in the island’s history as a stopping point for ships, including WW II submarines, to take on fresh water. This is an especially great destination for guests looking to shrug off the cares of modern civilisation, and truly escape to an undisturbed paradise.
As we travel east along the island chain that makes up The Turks and Caicos Islands, it is as though you are travelling slowly back in time. North Caicos is in a state of development Providenciales occupied just a couple of decades ago. There are plenty of wide-open spaces on our Northernmost island, and beautiful beaches with the characteristic white sand and turquoise sea of the Turks and Caicos Islands. North Caicos is called The Garden Island and is home to virtually all of the agricultural cultivation in the country. Big leafy trees, which are rare on the other islands, are common on North. As are several varieties of fruit trees, including papaya and banana. Slightly more rustic than Providenciales, North Caicos still has much to offer the holidaymaker; there are a few restaurants, several small grocery stores, and plenty of friendly people who will do anything they can to help make your trip to North Caicos a memorable one. If you are not sure the quiet pace that one of the outer islands offers is what you want from your vacation, easy ferry service with multiple departure times, mean spending a portion or your holiday on North is simple to do.
Beautiful Middle Caicos is often thought to be the jewel of these islands. With her dramatic cliff top hikes, crashing cerulean waves and tiny population of around 200 year-round inhabitants, Middle certainly possesses a singular charm. Although life on Middle can be logistically difficult, holidays really are not. A causeway drive from North Caicos allows you to stock up on any items you can’t source on Middle and there are one or two good places to eat hearty Caribbean fare, if you choose to eschew home cooking. Personally, I have always felt Middle Caicos is the kind of holiday that allows you to make life’s difficult decisions, or that could mark a significant change in your life. One thing is certain, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the island and all the history it has to offer, or to sign up for one of several eco-excursions that take place on Middle.
Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort Villages and Spa by Sandals on Providenciales
Our Nation’s capital lies on the island of Grand Turk, as does our shiny new Cruise Ship Centre. On days when there are no ships in dock, the island is quiet and soothing. When there does happen to be a Cruise Ship or two in town, things can get a bit more exciting! This means Grand Turk has it all; head over to Margaritaville and enjoy the crowds of tourists for a few hours, and then the island reverts to its normal state and you can relax and breathe in that sweet Caribbean breeze. Restaurants are in abundance, and like all our islands, the food is generally amazing.
If you are looking for a party, there can nearly always be one found, and residents will be happy to point you in the right direction. Grand Turk is also home to the Turks and Caicos National Museum, which is definitely worth the time to visit. The island’s narrow wall-lined streets and historic buildings possess a charm that is missing from more developed islands. Many believe Columbus first made landfall on Grand Turk when he sailed here in 1492, and the history of the place is palpable; as you explore Grand Turk you get a sense of how important the island was to the political and economic landscape of the region, back when salt was King. Nearly from the dawn of time, salt was critical to development of civilisation; it was needed to preserve food for periods of seasonal shortage and to provide for long voyages.
Along with South Caicos and Salt Cay, Grand Turk enjoyed a time of prosperity and all three islands were world famous for producing salt.
Speaking of Salt... Sweet, funny little Salt Cay at just 2.5 square miles has a personality all its own. Self-admittedly, it is not the holiday destination for everyone, but certainly holds a unique appeal. Featuring simple accommodations as well as luxury villas, home cooking and fine-dining, Salt Cay has it all. With between 80 and 100 residents, and nearly that many wild donkeys, Salt Cay has a remarkable number of distractions; this is mostly thanks to the ingenuity of residents and their ability to entertain one another. Wing nights, poker nights, karaoke competitions, dance classes, toga parties... the list goes on. Getting around the island is accomplished either on foot or via rented golf-cart, your kids are welcome to attend classes at the elementary school while you are on island. If you need something from the convenience store, there’s a good chance you’ll have to go looking for the owner to open up the shop for you. You will depart Salt Cay having made a number of new friends, and you’ll have enjoyed a truly Caribbean experience on the island that time forgot.
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