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-   -   BEACHES beware (https://www.fodors.com/community/caribbean-islands/beaches-beware-331017/)

np Jun 25th, 2003 12:39 PM

BEACHES beware
 
I researched this resort in Turks and Caicos for a long time. First by getting their impressive brochure. Then by purchasing travel books and even interviewing travel agencies. Looked like a great place to go with a high price tag. The travel dates were June 8th 2003 for 8 nights.
Soon after checking in we were given what was supposed to be oceanview room. This room was very dark and dirty. The air-conditioning did not work and there was mold and mildew eveywhere.As for the view we could barely see the ocean. We requested another room and the staff was very nice and gave us another. This time in the French Village a little better but still dark and run down. The grounds of this resort (should not even be in that catagory)were not kept up anywhere. Lots of weeds and ants everywhere. However the actual beach is absolutely beautiful. The ocean and sand are breathtaking, but ruined by the terrible dirty pathway to get there. Now lets talk about food. Everything was watered down from the eggs to the drinks even the sour cream. I must tell you hashbrowns at breakfast at over 500 dollars a night should not be the frozen toaster ones. My daughter was so hungry I had to buy chips and real pop in a vending machine so her stomach would stop hurting. This is no lie. I did not eat for two days I was afraid. The restraints were not air-conditioned and were not very clean. Everything you touched was sticky and dirty. As far as the pools the ones that were opened were not very clean either. The kids always spilled their drinks in it because of the swim up bar. The last straw was the huge rat yes huge. The wild barking dogs at night added a nice touch. We paid for 8 nights and only stayed 3 I am glad we left and enjoyed the rest of our vacation in Florida. This resort does not have half the things its supposed to. Their is no miniature golf for the kids and no casino or night club. I hope I can save people from a disappointing vacation. PLEASE DO NOT GO. Beaches in Turks and Caicos should not be in business.

SandyFeet Jun 25th, 2003 01:14 PM

Did you book thru a TA..if so i would give them a call and soon followed by a letter to the TA and to a higher up at Beaches. Unfortunately, travel agents push these types of vacations due to a higher commission percentage - which is peanuts to begin with. I do not understand this practice pushing someone towards a crappy destination - TA's know these places suck. Rep's from All Inculsives come in and spew their schpeel and give incentives to TA's. I am so sorry about your vacation, at that price tag it's even more upsetting. Please write a letter to someone at Beaches, I'm sure that there is a contact name somewhere on the webpage or the brochure. Try giving them a call and ask to whom you would write to regarding this matter. There is always someone - please try. If you don't get anywhere at least you warned others (many others) about Beaches.

Kath Jun 25th, 2003 01:26 PM

I had really wanted to take my mom and son to this resort. I recently got their brochure and it struck me as really strange. Every page seems so touched up and glossy and phony that it just didn't even seem real at all. It would have taken every penny I had saved for quite a while to get us there so I decided against. However, I will say this, there have been plenty of positive reviews on this board and others about this resort. Has there been a recent downslide at this resort?

DAVECAROL Jun 25th, 2003 07:15 PM

Can't say we're AI fans. It is pretty well known that the Sandals chain(parent chain of Beaches) spends an enormous amount of $ on advertising.

We're subscribers to Conde Nast and Caribbean Travel & Life magazines and the multi-page ads from this company are just screaming with airbrushed enancements and exaggerated colors that are found nowhere in the natural world.

To me, it just looks as fake as can be and a clue as to what you can expect.

BTW, we stayed on Provo last year and saw Beaches from the road as well as from the beach, and I wasn't at all impressed. And $500/night for that is absolutely insane. Let the Traveler Beware.

tamraichle Jun 26th, 2003 06:51 AM

Well, I know people who have stayed at this resort and they loved it! The one family in particular has a lot of money and has been to every island there is and hawaii, europe etc. They thought it was great. I think if you haven't been to the caribbean, you may not know what to expect. Many times the restaurants don't have AC, the rooms can have a musty smell from all the humidity and heat. The food at an AI will never be as good as other restaurants. I agree the brochures by Sandals/Beaches are very glossy, but my husband and I went to Sandals Golf and Spa in St Lucia for a week for our honeymoon and loved it. Our room was clean and nice, the food was good, the grounds were clean, the pools were nice, etc. So unless you've actually been to a Sandals or Beaches, I wouldn't make negative comments just because of the 'fake' looking brochures. I have been to mexico several times, bahamas, st. lucia so I have done these caribbean vacations before. We are going to Beaches for a week in December, will post a trip report when we get back. I pay no attention to the negative comments, every vacation is what you make of it, and we don't have super high, unrealistic expectations.

Callaloo Jun 26th, 2003 07:02 AM

While I agree that a vacation is what you make of it, when you pay $500 a night, I think you are entitled to have high expectations of your resort. (I also agree that regardless of what you pay, if you are not prepared for what the ISLAND itself will be like, you may have issues, but that's a separate issue from the quality of the resort). Mold and mildew (not just a musty smell), weeds, sticky and dirty surfaces, dirty pool water, etc. are simply not the marks of a high-priced resort.

SandyFeet Jun 26th, 2003 07:16 AM

I disagree about the high expectations....for $500.00 a day your expectations should be high, considering that $500.00 get you some pretty wonderful accommodations in the caribbean. Even though meals may be included in that 500.00, great food can be had in the caribbean very affordably. So the money you think you save by going AI isn't really saved at all if you are not enjoying the accommodations/food/drinks being that terrible. Just think of how hard you have to work for $500.00, then multiply that by the number of days you are staying at a miserable resort. There are many resorts in the caribbean where 500.00 and less gets you plenty! So yes I think for your hard earned money your expectations should be high, who goes on vacation looking to be disappointed anyway!?!

You can always budget by getting the least expensive accommodations in a fabulous resort and pay for some meals (getting a "special" ususlly covers some meals in the price) for 500.00 a day! Considering most upscale resorts include breakfast of some kind, lunch and dinner can easily be done on that budget.

LissaJ Jun 26th, 2003 07:31 AM

I am not sure how TA's work in the States, but in Canada we book all hotels through a tour operator say like Air Canada Vacations (that would be who we would sell Beaches T&C) We get the same commision percentage whether it is Beaches or Quality Inn. And besides, I would never sell a hotel to someone to make more money. That would make me a crappy TA. I sell vacations based on the clients needs. I have actually talked people out of going to Sandals in Jamaica to go to a nicer hotel somewhere else that is cheaper for the clients. Acutally in Jamaica, I tend to sell Couples instead because it was a lot nicer. But please stop saying we all sell Sandals or whatever because of commisions or insentives or what ever, because I know a lot of people who care more the customer service and satisfaction, than higher bottom lines.

np Jun 26th, 2003 07:37 AM

After reading comments about my experience at Beaches Turks and Caicos
I am just trying to tell my experince at this resort. I have been to the caribbean many times before. I have also been to Mexico, Hawaii and many other places.Mistake price came to 625 a night without air.Go somewhere else.

SandyFeet Jun 26th, 2003 08:19 AM

Hi LissaJ.
I used to work in a large travel agency. Before I became a TA I used to call the same agent. I have already done my research and knew all the when, where and hows. she always tried to talk me into a cruise or an all inclusive. When I wnet to book Cap Juluca, Anguilla she tried to talk me into Cove Castles. She was relentless in where SHE wanted to send me by mailing me all kinds of brochures and literature, etc. I never took her advice and always went where we wanted to go. One day she told me how excellent I was and would I like to come into and "learn" the business. What an eye opener. I found the reason why she tried to book me on a cruise and All Inculsives (Sandals, Beaches etc.) - higher commission on the trip and money incentives in the form of contests. I also found out why she tried to talk me into Cove Castles, as she owns a time share into it, and therefore makes a much higher commission than booking me at Cap. I would not mind but the difference in her commission is quite small but the price in my vacation is quite significant. Also when she booked me on caribbean vacations she would go thru a wholesaler that paid her more money - costing ME much more. I no longer work there as I could not do that to anyone. I did however open my own travel agency, I have no employees and I book friends and referrals only. I do not do it for the money and I give my clients the best price possible and do not steer them in a direction based on commission. I love being a travel agent for the travel benefits for myself, as my husband and I travel often. It gives me a great feeling of satisfaction that I have the ability to go above and beyond for my clients and not care about $$, as I do this out of an office in my home. I book vacations for my clients as I would for myself and do not care about the commission. It's more of a hobby and a travel discount for me, so anything above and beyond that is a gift. I always send my clients a gift which is waiting for them in their hotel room too. Whenever I can I try to give useful information here to anyone, as there have been fo many lovely people here who have answered my "stupid" questions. Just waanted to give you an idea of my experience in a travel agency was. I'm sure there are plenty of the good, the bad and the ugly to go around, but this is what I experienced.

JMM Jun 26th, 2003 09:36 AM

I have been to T&C many times but I would not stay at Beaches:
1. I think it is over-priced - there are a number of nice resorts on Provo for much less.
2. I think it is over-crowded. The beach in front of Beaches is the ONLY crowded stretch of beach on Grace Bay.
Many years ago before this resort became a Beaches resort I stayed there - then it was nice and cheaper. I really do not know the quality of it now but it still costs more than I would pay.
Just my personal opinion.

TedTurner Jun 26th, 2003 11:00 AM

Very intersting Sandyfeet.
I am not surprised at your expose as I know this is common among TA's, but it's always nice to have an objective source bring this info to light on forums like this.

BTW, I am also not surprised at np's report about Beaches. Just a well-practiced racket IMO.

mjmre2 Jun 29th, 2003 06:11 PM

We went to Beaches three years ago and had a similar disappointing experience. Sorry to hear the place has not improved. However, when we were there the grounds were impeccible. But, the pools were filthy, the so-called "plunge pools" near the spa were a filthy, slimy, mess. They are also tiny- not the large pool shown in the brochure! Food was mediocre at best, the Italian restaurant was supposed to be sit down but was buffet the entire week we were there, no air conditioning in the restaurants (yes, at these prices I expect a/c), bottled water is not considered a beverage under the AI plan, surly service, long lines for the "free scuba" which books out quickly (only 9 to 18 slots daily for a resort that holds 1,000+), broken and dirty snorkeling gear. I have also traveled extensively in the Caribbean (as well as Eurpoe and the good old USA) and am accostomed to the different ways of the islands. This place, however, is the pits- be it anywhere on this planet! I have never spent so much money so foolishly in my life! By the way, I did complain to both my travel agent (who still swears Beaches is the best- I have since changed agents) and to Beaches management in Florida. Beaches offered me a small "discount" on my next stay there. Like I would ever go back. So, I too will post my displeasure about the Beaches resort. I sure wish I had listened to the posts (check out the Rants and Raves section on this site)and booked elsewhere. People, LISTEN to these posters. They are telling you the truth. When it comes to Beaches- BUYER BEWARE!!!!!

Dreamer2 Jun 30th, 2003 04:45 AM

Thanks to all who posted here. Beaches certainly looks like the ideal family vacation spot. I'm so appreciative of these honest, first-hand descriptions. People often hesitate to describe their mistakes!
Sandy Feet, I think what you did is so cool! You have a job you love, and do a great service to others!

davsaz Jul 4th, 2003 06:39 AM

If one had a choice between staying at Beaches or saving money and staying at Allegro (provided they truly wanted an AI) which would you choose and why?

Thanks.

mjmre2 Jul 4th, 2003 06:52 AM

Allegro.

MuyLinda Jul 4th, 2003 04:13 PM

I can recommend the Allegro whole-heartedly. We stayed there a year ago and as long as you go not expecting a 5* resort, you should have a wonderful time.

jaclo Jul 7th, 2003 08:32 AM

You obviously didn't do your research or you would have known a lot more about this resort. First of all, the only casino on the island is in the Allegro resort (which is a nice basic hotel with great beachfront and good pool. The services of the hotel itself are pretty mediocre). If you had done research, you would have known that no rooms except on the very top floor of the older section has real ocean view rooms. No where in the literature does beaches indicate that they have miniature golf and last but not least, if you are traveling to the caribbean in June, you should expect that resorts won't be at their peak. This is the time of year when most resorts use their low season to begin sprucing up for the next season. I'm also sure that you could have made a more nutritious meal for your daughter with fruit that is so plentiful in the islands, than with chips and "pop" from the vending machines. I guess Florida is more appropriate for you.

mjmre2 Jul 7th, 2003 04:55 PM

If you look on the Frommer's website for Beaches Turks and Caicos you will find they do say that there is a casino on the property. In fact, when we booked a few years back we were told the casino was being built and might even be open while we where there. So much for that HYPE. My kids (teenagers who were 16 and 18 at the time) were also hungry because the food was so terrible. Even the "fresh" fruit was limp and tired.

tamraichle Jul 9th, 2003 03:19 PM

I just thought everyone should know that just today at the book store I saw a new publication called something like "connoisseurs guide to the worlds best" and it had the top resorts and hotels in the world for 2003. It was a thick publication in the magazine section for 15 bucks. It included the caribbean islands, the US, europe,etc. For Turks and Caicos it listed Beaches. It also listed The Sands at Grace bay and that was it. So for all the posters who have negative things to say about Beaches, and who try to get people to not book their trips there, I say there are alot of people out there who feel differently! I look forward to my trip in December!


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