**Be My Travel Agent to Turks**

Old Mar 30th, 2012, 09:53 AM
  #1  
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**Be My Travel Agent to Turks**

Hello Fodor's community,

Long time lurker here with a few questions. My wife and I are looking to visit Turks sometime in July. I wanted to get some insight from the pros on this site. It’s been a while since our last tropical vacation due to the birth of our first child and we are looking forward to a romantic getaway for 5 days and 4 nights.

1. As far as hotel accommodations, ideally we wanted to work with a budget of $3000 to $3500 including air fare; but after doing some more research it’s pretty clear that you can’t get away with a Cancun type budget here if you want top notch luxury. Knowing this now, we are willing to pony up an additional grand if the hotel experience is going to be that much more enjoyable, but would like to know which resort to go with based on the variables below:

a. Proximity to restaurants and grocery store
b. An adult driven resort w/out a lot of younger children
c. Luxurious rooms/newer facilities with possibility of kitchen (stove would be
nice but not necessary, microwave)
d. Ocean front room feasible with this budget?

2. Which restaurants are must visits? We’re going to try and cut costs by eating food bought from the market during lunch, so I would say name me your top 5-6 favorites casual and formal.

3. How many days minimum should we rent a car for? Cheapest and best option of rental companies?

4. What outside excursions are the best to participate in, companies recommended? How much should we look to budget on these if we decide to choose 3? It doesn’t have to be action packed, it can be visiting other parts of Turks and enjoying can’t miss storybook scenery.

5. Has anyone used the local turksandcaicos.tc travel agents to book their entire trip? I have been using my family travel agent for the past couple of years, however I’ve heard that booking with the local company is more cost effective w/ possibilities of extra perks being thrown in.

6. How do the beaches on Turks compare to those at Bora Bora and Fiji? We are saving Bora Bora for something like our 5 year or 10 year wedding anniversary, however we wanted to know how the beach in Provo compares to ones we’ve visited on the Mayan Riviera, Negril, and Maui. It’s hard for me to convince my wife that we will be exceeding our budget by an additional $1500 if the differences are very minimal and she’s not floored. Other destination suggestions are appreciated too as the quality of beach is so important.

Thanks guys for all of your help!! My wife and I sincerely appreciate it =)
MeRikey2Travel is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2012, 11:03 AM
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First off, what time of year? Makes a huge difference. The run serious specials that can/won't affect budget.

After knowing that, for best prices in airfare check out

Www.matrix.itasoftware.com
Click on continue to matrix. You can't buy them here but you can see which airline is cheapest for your dates.

1. It's a long main beach. To do different things and different restaurants you eventually need a car.
Within easy walking distance: seven Stars, Grace Bay Club, Villa Renaissance, Regent Grand, Somerset. As for oceanfront, might not be in budget. As for stove, you need 1 bedroom for full kitchen, studios have only dorm size fridges an some microwaves.

2. My top restaurants: Coco Bistro, Bay Bistro, Caicos Cafe. I also like Vix, Hemingways and TikiHut.

3. Car rentals are cheaper than most 1 trip taxi rides. You need one for exploring Chalk Sound, Tqylor Bay, Sapadilla Bay, Da Conch Shack, and depending where you stay off the beach snorkeling. Definitely for most nightlife.

4. Excellent excursion companies and are do not miss, Caicos Dream Tours and Island Vibes.

5. I personally have not used them but know them personally. (I sound like a Spongebob episode). They are terrific for most properties. They are local, they do add extra perks. They are the direct link if you choose Villa Renaossance, Venitian, Regent Grand. Fr other properties they are the same or more, so basically you have to do some homework and compare, or decide where you want to stay and see which does best. Sometimes they can match the price and at least throw in a car rental day, or something else. This is the case for many properties on Grace Bay, but they don't have agreements with some of them. They are local so if something happens they can work on your behalf in a bind, which gives piece of mind.

6. Beaches are far superior to Mexico. Not even close. As for bora bora and Fiji, they are completely different. Pacific beaches are very tropical drenched in palms. More turquoise in bora bora not so much in Fiji. The beaches the are rocky though, and you need water shoes for them to swim, but gorgeous scenery. Beaches in Turks are smooth clean and no rocks. The turquoise hues of Turks are hard to beat.

So with your price range, the best luxury for your buck is West Bay Club. You get luxury, oceanfront, full kitchen, gorgeous. Only thing is you need a car for almost everything. The car part would still be in your budget. If you like this one, I have lately seen the best deals on expedia, especially when you combine air with it. Except for walking to places, this would be the most luxury in your price budget with everything else in your list. Not many kids, basically a quiet resort.

If you choose something else, turksandcaicosreservations.tc can help. You'll probably have to give up oceanfront, but you might be able to get something else. Villa Renaissance and Regent Grand would have fewer kids. Grace Bay Club has no kids sections, but may be above your budget.

While not on the beach, villa Del Mar is ultra luxurious! It's right behind Grace Bay Club, walkable to numerous restaurants, shops, supermarket. Tommy Bahama furniture, upscale fixtures. You get a lot for the money that you can splurge on other things. They still have attendants on the beach and lounges and umbrellas. (actually share with the much more expensive GBC). If you choose this one Turksand caicosreservations.tc is the way to go.
blamona is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2012, 11:05 AM
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We visited Turks last November and now we're hooked. We've been to all the places mentioned on your list, ( big fan in particular of Negril's amazing beach) but Grace Bay Beach wins hands down. We've also visited Fiji and the Great Barrier Reef, both of which have amazing beaches, but still Grace Bay Beach compares well.

You should wait to hear from the Turks experts, especially Blamona for help with hotels. We stayed at West Bay Club, which we loved, but it's at the quieter end of the beach, and not really within easy walking distance of most restaurants.

However, for comparison sake, I think it's hard to beat the value and luxury at West Bay. More importantly, the beach in front of West Bay was much wider and less crowded than some of the beaches we saw at other resorts.

We liked it so much we're going back in the fall. Good luck with your choice!
Weadles is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2012, 11:45 AM
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Thanks Blamona and Weadles for your insight. To answer your question Blamona, we are looking to travel in July. Out of all the choices you mentioned, if ocean front and having a full kitchen wasn't an issue which resort offers the most Wow/jaw dropping luxury and rooms? I noticed that Gansevoort wasn't listed, is that due to the whole child population or is it just "so,so" in your opinion? Thanks for bringing up West Bay, we'll definitely have to consider it now as it wasn't really on my radar before. Thanks again guys!
MeRikey2Travel is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2012, 12:04 PM
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Check out The Somerset www.thesomerset.com if you want wow! Many restaurants within walking distance, beautiful suites with full kitchens, they will stock your condo for you ( a charge of course) PLUS they are running specials now for travel before the end of the year. Beautiful beach with no "chair game" to reserve a chair . Fantastic staff.
Caribzack is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2012, 12:07 PM
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Gansevoort is ultra-trendy and ultra-expensive. It's next door to West Bay. Definitely has that "wow" factor if you like uber-modern and sleek design. Lots of young families at the pool though, and since July is prime vacation time, I imagine there will be plenty more.

West Bay has that "wow" factor, too, but in a more "this is your friend's insanely luxurious condo" kind of way. Our one bedroom oceanfront unit looked like something out of a major design magazine, but seemed more homelike/comfortable (to me!) than the Gansevoort. Lots fewer families/kids, too.
Weadles is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2012, 01:05 PM
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I can help answer a few of these, but all others are the real pros. We visited for the first time, a couple of months ago.

2. Our favorite restaurant was Coco Bistro. It's everything everyone says.

3. We were there five nights, and had a car for one day. Driving was much easier than I thought it would be. Next time we visit, I'll probably rent a car for a few days, and plan to see more.

5. We used Turks and Caicos Reservations, and thought they were very good. The lady we spoke to on the phone was patient with my wife and me, and took time to answer a lot of questions we had. I also read about them while lurking the forum websites. Their website address is www.turksandcaicosreservations.tc I don't remember the phone number, but calling was our best way to make the right decision. They also gave us a free rental car.

We looked at many resorts one morning, and I agree with caribzack that The Somerset is very nice. We also thought The Palms next door was nice, although both are a little above our budget. We were overwhelmed by all the nice hotels they have on the island.

I can't compare it to the other places you mentioned, but you're going to love Turks and Caicos. It's the nicest beach and water we've ever seen.
tarpontony75 is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2012, 04:39 PM
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You can likely afford with ease the Somerset and the Palms but lovely places. I personally think that for sight seeing yoyu only need a car for 1 day. One of the disadvantages to a 5 day vacation is you loose a day getting there unless you live i n the Southeast near Miami/Atlanta or possibly Houston. We wouldleave at 8-9 AM but not be in our room until 3PM at the earliest if the flight is on time. Often on the day of departure we had to be out of the roome by 11-12 AM so that day is shot. If your airfare is not too expensive you might be able to make it 5 nights so you really have 4 full days. We make our own reservations because we often, but not always, found that hotels if we email them directly especially for a summer stay will quote us a better rate than the posted rate and AAA often gives you 10% off.
StanKase is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2012, 05:24 PM
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That's right. We flew from Orlando, Florida, then did our connection in Miami. We were on the ground in Turks for lunch. Taking an early flight from Orlando, we had time to eat breakfast at the Miami Airport, and that was nice. I hate having to run through airports.

Five nights wasn't enough for us either, mostly because we didn't want to leave. I'm already asking my company for a full week vacation this summer.

My wife spent a long time trying to read all the hotel websites, but Turks and Caicos Reservations helped her make the best choice for us. We'll probably use them again.
tarpontony75 is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2012, 08:01 PM
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We will be flying in from Dallas, from the available flights I've researched it looks like if we depart at around 8 am, we will be arriving around 2 to 3 pm at Turks. We may have to add on an extra night to make up for lost time. Decisions, decisions. I ran into a couple of reviews in regards to the service and breakfast at West Bay that concerned me (decline in service/poor treatment from GM)& (limited breakfast selection which is overpriced). How would you rate the service/amenities as compared to the other resorts?
MeRikey2Travel is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2012, 08:05 PM
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Also almost forgot, how is the water and weather in July? What months are considered the best months to travel to Turks....our schedule is flexible, so going closer to October or November is not an issue.
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Old Mar 31st, 2012, 05:46 AM
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Hi again,

About West Bay: You're paying for luxurious accommodations and a huge section of uncrowded beach. Those same accommodations more centrally located would cost much more.

The reviews are right about the breakfast and some of the staff. Breakfast is not very good, but there's a huge supermarket that you can drive/taxi to. We stocked up and had breakfast most mornings in our room. You can also walk over to the Gansevoort for breakfast, but I think it's probably ridiculously expensive. And, I've heard that there's a breakfast place within biking distance of West Bay, too.

The staff is uneven. The beach staff is wonderful, but the front desk staff run the gamut from really helpful ( shout out to Renee, their concierge) to abrupt and unhelpful. The GM was helpful and available during our stay.

If you think of this as more of a self-catering kind of place, you will definitely NOT be disappointed. It was one of our best vacations ever, despite some so-so staff members. Guess it depends how important that it is to you??
Weadles is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2012, 06:17 AM
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Don't read reviews, you really know nothing about the person that writes them...July is beautiful, warm air , warm water. We always book through the resort directly..best rates.
Caribzack is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 08:31 AM
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Thanks to all for your feedback, I have one last question prior to going back to my travel agent for quotes...out of these 3 the Regent Grand, Seven Stars, and West Bay club...which one would you consider to have the nicest combination of ocean front rooms/facility in general and beach property? I think I'm leaning towards West Bay based ont he feedback, but depending on the price quotes I get back; I may choose another resort if I'm able to strike a deal that I'm comfortable with. Thanks again guys!
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 08:56 AM
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I'm considering Turks in July as well. Spoke with www.turksandcaicosreservations.tc and they recommended Le Vele Resort. Is anyone familiar with this --- i haven't heard of this resort before.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 10:49 AM
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All 3 properties are stunning, can't help you narrow down.
blamona is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 11:19 AM
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Having visited them all I would say the Regent Grand but I am surprised you passed on the Somerset. The weather in July/Aug. as you know is hurricane/tropical depression season (June-Nov.) but we traveled the Bahamas and Cartibbean 15 times and only has 2 days of of wipe out on one trip though we had a number of cloudy days becaue the system was 100 miles or more away so all we got was clouds. But that is why the rates from June-Dec. are lower by 20-40% based on the hotel.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 12:30 PM
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Thanks Stan, I was starting to lean towards the Regent if it fit within the budget. Hmm...I didn't get the July/August hurricane season memo. Thanks for letting me know, this surely will effect my planning. Would you say the risk of saving 20-40% outweigh going during peak time and spending more?
MeRikey2Travel is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 02:32 PM
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I love July in Turks, water is still like glass, crystal clear and bright neon.
Turks is one of the driest islands in Caribbean.
If snorkeling is important, west bay club is the winner
If not other 2 are great.

All 3 are gorgeous, WBC gives most luxury vs money, other 2 you pay for more luxury.

Seven Stars is in middle of hub, easy walk to everything but snorkeling and other terrific beaches.

Le Vele is nice but feels more residential. Very modern, definitely self catering.
blamona is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 07:10 PM
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Based on what we saw, West Bay has a much nicer beach than Seven Stars. Also the rooms at West Bay are practically ON the beach, whereas Seven Stars is set back a bit from the beach and the main hotel is in back of the pool.

Downside of West Bay is the distance from restaurants/hotels/town, and the in-house restaurant which is mediocre at best.
Weadles is offline  

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