Hotels, Resorts & Villas Where to Stay in the Turks and Caicos Islands

Where When How - Turks & Caicos Islands - Summer 2017 magazine cover.Where When How Turks & Caicos Islands Summer 2017

The Search for Your Perfect View and Comfort Level in Paradise

Story By Sophie Newstead

The Turks and Caicos Islands, particularly Providenciales, has two things rarely on offer in today’s holiday saturated market: a world-class beach (and collection of dive sites) and seclusion. What more of a fitting pre-requisite is that - quietness and a first-rate shoreline - for ultimate relaxation? A multitude of well-designed accommodations are built around the island with this shoreline in mind, utilising stellar vantage points and luxury amenities. Want your periodic fix of ivory sands and turquoise water? Here’s a general guide to where to start.

A photograph of the Gansevoort T+C Resort, Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.Gansevoort Turks + Caicos Resort on Grace Bay Beach

The Six Golden Criteria

There are six immediate considerations that pop into the minds of any budding holidaymaker seeking a lush abode away. Where and when to start looking, how far the abode-in-question is from the beach, proximity to the central area including local restaurants, and price. And then the all-important question… Villa, guesthouse, resort or boutique hotel? Everyone needs a comforting base to venture out from and return to. What constitutes this comfort, varies from person to person, and falls on the priority placed on doorstep amenities, independence and privacy, or casual family living space.

Why Vacation Here?

In the past 30 years the TCI has undergone a rapid rate of development of both tourist accommodation and real estate. The growth has yielded more jobs internally, and more visitors externally, reaffirming TCI’s foothold in the luxury destination market. Despite development, TCI compared to its Caribbean counterparts is still relatively young, and very much off the beaten track when placed alongside the neighbouring Bahamas or Bajan hotspot Barbados. The result is, TCI is blessed with one of the best beaches in the world, and a deserted stretch of sand to recline on (or a deserted patch of land to build on, should you want to uproot). Striking this balance between world-class quality and quietness, is what renders TCI a prominent fixture within the holiday market.

A photograph of the Point Grace Boutique Resort, Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.Point Grace Resort on Grace Bay Beach

Where and When To Start Looking

Finding the right place for you is wildly subjective, so take time in curating when you’d like to come, where you’d like to stay, and what type of accommodation provides the setting most conducive to your R&R. Our list of accommodation websites is a good place to start looking, as are websites like AirBnB and VRBO, and property management companies on the island. We’d advise, as a general rule of thumb, to start looking a year in advance due to tendencies for accommodations to book up fast, and early booking discounts sometimes becoming available. For specials and prices, visit the individual accommodation’s website. Note that a 12% government tax is charged on all accommodations, and an additional 10% service charge is added to resort and hotel stays.

Providenciales By Area

Providenciales is split into five main areas, each with a different appeal. The most centralised area is Grace Bay, housing a collection of resorts, colonial houses and villas, and boutique hotels. Proximity to a vast range of amenities is the main appeal of Grace Bay with a great range of shops, spas and quality restaurants.

Situated in the north east of Providenciales, Leeward is a picturesque residential community surrounded by the beach, home to Blue Haven Marina and numerous watersport operators.

A photograph of the Royal West Indies Resort on Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.Royal West Indies Resort on Grace Bay Beach

Turtle Cove is home to a boutique hotel, a few resorts and a host of beachfront rental villas. The marina here is well known to yachters in the Caribbean who have been stopping here since the seventies, and makes a nice spot for strolling around the dock. Many restaurants and bars overlook the marina and make excellent spots to watch the sunset. Smith’s Reef is a great snorkelling spot nearby, and Grace Bay stretches for miles to the east.

Long Bay is a tranquil area occupied by ridge top and beachfront villas, as well as the luxury Shore Club resort that houses a spa, restaurant and bar open to the public. Long Bay is a quieter area than Grace Bay, ideal for watching the moon rise in the evening and sun rise every morning. The three-mile Long Bay Beach is a good spot to watch kiteboarders on a windy day. A five minute drive from Grace Bay.

Chalk Sound, Sapodilla Bay and Turtle Tail are suburbs located on the south side of the island. The peaceful Chalk Sound National Park is a stunning lagoon of shallow turquoise water lined with luxury vacation villas and picturesque places to relax by the water’s edge. The lagoon is ideal for stand up paddle-boarding, kayaking, canoeing and pontoon boat excursions. Sapodilla Bay Beach benefits from warm, shallow water perfect for little ones. All three areas are approximately 20 minutes drive from Grace Bay.

A photograph of the Seven Stars Resort and Spa on Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.Seven Stars Resort and Spa on Grace Bay Beach

Villas and Guesthouses

Accommodation is abundant in the Turks and Caicos Islands, with short-term rental development harnessing not only an impressive roster of R&R amenities, but rapid development of an entirely different rental sector; private villas and guesthouses. Such exclusive accommodation is attracting a much wider demographic in recent years, with families, friends and couples alike realising the appeal of going private in greater numbers.

The benefits are clear, and enhanced by one unassuming fact: they’re not as costly as you may think. Vacation villas can work out a cost-effective option for groups of friends or family booking together. Even then, the rise in the number of villas and guesthouses -whether it’s via AirBnB or other means- leaves price ranges competitive and malleable to an array of requirements and budgets.

Indulging in bespoke requests is not a luxury just confined to bigger resorts either: a chef, concierge, maid, butler, masseuse, personal trainer, even arriving to a fully stocked fridge, are all well within remit. Choose to use the service providers recommended by the villa’s owner or property manager, or contact one of the private concierges on the island.

Many, if not most, of the villas available for rent in the Turks and Caicos Islands, share common characteristics: salt-treated swimming pools, beachfront location or proximity to a beach access, air-conditioning, Wi-Fi and security.

If you choose to rent a car, finding a grocery store or other amenities usually covered by resorts is no trouble. Our islands are small and easy to navigate, and if you prefer to use a taxi, one of many reliable drivers are at hand to pick you up, take you anywhere you wish and return you to your villa safe and sound.

A photograph of The Palms Resort, Grace Bay, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.The Palms Turks and Caicos Resort and Spa

Simply stated, private villas and guesthouses put you in control of your own time and space. By combining communal and private space under one roof; villas adopt a casual family-style affair. Autonomous flexibility allows you to tailor your timetable 24/7 to suit your needs, as well as relish home comforts like cooking and playing games. You may be located on a secluded section of beach, hidden up top in a hillside villa, at a local’s luxurious home, or one of their holiday properties. Due to the nature of residing in the local environment there’s an authenticity that fulfills the ‘home away from home’ many seek when abroad.

Resorts and Boutique Hotels

Resorts take logistics and planning out of your holiday agenda. They combine comfort and convenience into what many visitors deem necessary criteria for that precious holiday wind down. The ‘ready-made’ R&R is achieved by doorstep amenities like swimming pools, poolside bars, restaurants, a gym, spa, 24-hour concierge and taxi service. Providenciales resort market is seeing an increase in all-inclusive packages, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds; hassle-free service should you want to stay in, and an informative free advice 24 hour concierge should you want to go out.

At the time of writing, Beaches Resort & Spa is currently the largest all-inclusive resort on the island, offering an impressive range of facilities spanning the award-winning Red Lane spa, 20 gourmet restaurants, fitness centres, and retails shops. Stores include the popular Columbian Emeralds International, apparel and souvenir boutiques, and candy stores for the kids. If you’re a dive enthusiast, Beaches Resort & Spa is home to the Caribbean’s largest PADI certification programme, as well as providing access to a wealth of land and watersports, from Hobie Cat sailing to beach volleyball, kayaks and paddleboards.

A photograph of The Tuscany, on Grace Bay, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.The Tuscany on Grace Bay Beach

Architecturally, every resort has their own style and atmosphere, and opting to stay in one has two instant benefits: height, with multi-levels allowing stunning views of the ocean, and spacious grounds, which max out the beauty of TCI’s natural surroundings using luxury amenities like beachside restaurants, romantic pavilions overlooking the ocean at sunset, and secluded spas in private cottages by the sea. A popular draw to resorts is the large sense of security, generated by enclosed grounds and knowledgeable concierge at hand 24-hours a day.

Boutique hotels offer varying amounts of the same kind of service offered by resorts. Small and stylish, they are made up of around 10-100 rooms and generally comprise a small collection of buildings centred by a swimming pool, poolside bar and picturesque dining area, often overlooking the beach. They’re quaint and a plenty on Providenciales, and suit those looking for the convenience of a concierge, room cleaning and doorstep amenities, while residing in a smaller, more intimate complex.

A photograph of The Venetian, Providenciales (Provo), Turks and Caicos Islands.The Venetian on Grace Bay Beach

Investing In A Holiday Home

Investing in real estate has two main benefits: being able to make your money back over a period of time through rentals, and enjoying extended stays in your own condo or home. If you’re new to investing in the Turks and Caicos, we recommend spending time researching with an attorney and real estate agent about how to become an investor. A good place to start looking is for home and condo sales.

Where To Stay?

The six golden criteria of finding your perfect holiday abode: where to start, when to book, proximity to the beach, proximity to local restaurants, type of accommodation, and price. In sum, resorts take the prep and planning out of your holiday experience with ready-made experiences and 24-hour concierge, boutique hotels offer the same but within a quaint smaller setting, and villas and guesthouses suit those prioritising independence or casual communal space for families or large groups. Where to stay is varied and dependent on your priorities, so take plenty of time to scout out the right holiday abode for you.

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