Beaches on "Top Resorts 2003" List

Jul 9th, 2003, 03:17 PM
Posts: n/a
Beaches on "Top Resorts 2003" List

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!
Jul 9th, 2003, 05:11 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 718

**Please note**

These books/magazines are simply paid advetisements. The hotel pays or they're not listed.

Notice how often you'll find a world class Four Seasons listed? (Almost never). Think FS needs to pay those people to attract business?

There is no voting or ranking or selection process, except that in order to maintain a certain minimum standard, they aren't going to accept an application from the Albuquerque Motel 6.

They offer no measure of quality assurance above what you'll find in a travel magazine's ad section.

I've stayed at more than 150 of the places typically listed in those books and I can tell you from experience that an appearance on their pages guarantees nothing in the way of quality.
TedTurner is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 05:17 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 83
Hi Tamraichle,

Congrats on your upcoming trip. YOu will love Provo! The beach is AMAZING...So blue and clear.

I know you are already booked at Beaches, but it may benefit you to read some of the threads on this site. Punch in "Beaches" in the search block and see what you find.

I am telling you this because while many travelers may have enjoyed their vacation, more of them didn't.

And hopefully what I am about to say doesn't sound rude, because I promise it isn't meant to be. But, you posted this very same thread in four different posts on this board. Which is fine, but it seems as though you are trying to convince yourself a bit.

If you are having second thoughts and your heart is telling you not to go to Beaches, perhaps you should look elsewhere?

I really hope you don't take this as rude. But as I posted in another thread, we just returned from our 2nd trip to Provo, and each year walked by Beaches several times, and were so very thankful we didn't stay there. It was MOBBED! There is no other place on Grace Bay beach that gets crowded like this; no where.

Coral Gardens, the resort with the great off beach snorkeling, often gets people form different resorts but even this place with fabulous snorkeling doesn't get crowded like Beaches.

If you seeking a relaxing vacation, look elsewhere. If you are going with kids, and don't expect privacy or quiet, maybe Beaches is appropriate. I just feel like I should emphasize that even the beach itself in front of Beaches didn't look like the rest of Grace Bay beach....all of the resorts have gorgeous beach front with clear waters...Beaches is murky and there is litter everywhere; in the sand and in the water.

Like I said, this is my opinion and what I have observed on many occasions. I truley hope you enjoy whatever avenue you pursue.

Good luck!

Love2Travel is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 08:51 AM
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I think when people have a negative experience, they tend to be more vocal then people who had a normal and good time. I have read some negative posts on this board, but I've noticed over time they seem to be from the same people over and over. I have good friends who have 2 children who went to Beaches themselves and loved it. Since this family is high income and goes on 'big' trips 4x a year, most of the islands, Europe etc, I respect their opinion more then anyones. Besides, all I hear is good things about Beaches except from this board!! I have to say, a non-AI this is quiet and private is NOT what I want with a toddler. You obviously didn't go with small children to your quiet private place. I am so excited for this trip and have not once thought of backing out. By the way, we payed for the type of insurance that we can cancel this trip anytime with no loss of money (except for the small ins fee) and I have to say I never have thought of switching!! Also, a crowded beach means it's quite popular obviously... but truthfully I'm sure that's more of a problem during high time. As we are going during off season, I'm not worried. And we only spent 4k for 3 of us, which I think is reasonable considering all food, drinks, activities included AND a kids club that will watch my toddler so we can be alone!! That in itself is priceless!
Jul 10th, 2003, 09:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,658
I second Love2Travel's impression of Beaches.
We were on Provo last October for two weeks.
We had the lovely pristine beaches, the funky restaurants, the little shops and the reefs on our snorkels and dives all to ourselves.
We stayed at the Sands, and the resort was about 35% full. I thought the entire island was like that until we strolled down along the sand past Beaches.
It was a mob scene with a bunch of screaming kids running around, no chairs left to be had on the beach, people waiting in line for kayaks and various other activities.
We just stood there with our mouths open and then skedaddled back to the Sands.
People here are giving you this information to try to HELP you, not scare you off.
If you want a lot of hustle and bustle on your vacation, that is fine, and you will be happy at Beaches.
Best of luck to you.
Diana is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 10:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 327
Hi tamraichle!

I have never been to Beaches, but I can comment on the honesty of the people that post here on Fodors. Yes, I do believe its true that when someone is unhappy regarding anything actually, you tell more people than if you were satisfied. That is a proven fact and is known thoroghout sales and customer service positions of all kinds. That is the reason why you read more "complaints" than raves regarding certain resorts. You almost never read anything negative about a Four Seasons, for instance. I have found Fodors to be a very useful tool in its honsty and right on details. After all, you do not know who anyone is and since there is absolutely nothing to gain or lose, the truth comes out. There are certain "hot topic" destinations which cause huge debates. Hey not every place is for everybody, as there is a lid for every pot. If you feel good about your vacation and you are happy with your decision that is all that counts. IMHO I think you could do better for your money. People put all this emphasis on the cost of "food" and watersports and feel they get more for their money at an AI. This is not true, as with a little research here and some other sites, you can find great food (the food quality at AI's are not very good) for less money and take in a bit of the island in which you are visiting.

The magazine you are referring to is one big combined Paid Advertisement magazine. A publisher starts a magazine and solicits resorts for a fee to showcase their place. A front page, back page costs more than other pages etc.. There are magazines like that for everything, cars, restaurants..
SandyFeet is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 10:24 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 36
Thanks for your comments Sandyfeet. You re so right when you say us posters have nothing to lose when warning people about Beaches. Just for the record, my family is also pretty "high income" ($350-400,000) range) and are quite well travelled. However, we work darn hard for our $$ and don't appreciate being ripped off. Considering that a toddler is usually free at resorts, including A/I's, I think $3000 for a week at Beaches for 2 adults is a crime. There are lots of true 5 star resorts that can accomodate people for that kind of money. Again, I don't mind spending the money-- I just don't like being ripped off. Beaches charges Grey Goose prices for Absolute quality. If that's okay with you- go for it.
mjmre2 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 05:23 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 83
HI again, Tamraichle,

I just wanted to clarify something. IN your post you stated that Beaches was no doubt crowded because I was there in "high season". July in Turks isn't high season.

Last year we went the 3rd week in July, and this year it was the first week of July. While this isn't totally "off season" it certainly isn't "high season". If I remember correctly, March through June is considered high season, while July through October is off season. NOt 100% sure of the dates, but I'm sure that I am close. Not sure about the winter months, because I know the temps are chillier in Provo at this time so I don't know if these months are low season.

Anyway, please don't take offense to people who are just trying to give advice and share opinions. A few people have said the following "we have nothing to gain by telling you this". This is very true. On the contrary, it has been my experience that 8 times out of 10, the people here really hate to see others go into a situation only to be disappointed. This is what the board is for. It's nice to be prepared for things so you wont be disappointed. Last year we stayed AI and went to Allegro. I read some negative things such as poor food, slow service, etc and expected this. I was pleasantly suprised (food was poor but service was fine) and had a wonderful time!

Again, I wish you the best of luck!

Love2Travel is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 06:10 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 389
Nice thoughts Love2Travel.
Most people here are either researching trips or offering insights to others to help them prepare for their own travels.
Forewarned is forearmed. I find that even if a destination has a number of shortcomings, if I know what to expect going in I can accept them more easily.
I have a big problem with negative surprises.
Since the internet's advent, I don't think I've had a major disappointment on any trip I've taken since adequate research usually provides reliable insight.
gplimpton is offline  
Jul 11th, 2003, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 178
Since Tamaichle previously posted that she honeymooned at the Sandals St.Lucia and loved it, I do think this is an indication, she will be just fine at Beaches T & C. She, no doubt has the scoop on the quality she is up for good or bad with a Sandals/Beaches vacation.

Tamaichle have a wonderful time, ultimately that is what any of us are looking for on vacation.

That being said, for all others out there that maybe contemplating were to stay, are looking into getting great quality for your budget, please read the rants and raves carefully. It can be very confusing when the reports on some resorts have such extremes in reviews. This to me is the first indication you must really look carefully into the reports and try to look beyond the "We had a great time!" Remember you can have a great time in your own back yard if need be.

Over the last two years since our vacation to St.Lucia and the Sandals Halcyon (first and last Sandals experience), Ladera and the Jalousie Hilton, I've had a the utmost fascination, with the whole Sandals/Beaches Phenomena? It is truly the most intriguing, incredible marketing campaign/strategy that I have every been a privy to. It is almost like, tell them whatever, they will come and they will ... believe and they will pay! Some of them, that is! Where the crowd goes ... you too shall follow? Lets face it, Sandals/Beaches can fill there resorts, no problem! It just amazes me. Popular? Is it because they are the Best? The Power of advertising/marketing cannot be underestimated! Wow!
Simply put out the most flashy of colorful adds, worded so incredibly well, gaudy bill boards every few miles on the highways, and the music on the TV and... Bingo!

As for the rants on these resorts, I'd listen up. This is not an easy thing to do, admit after traveling to some of the best of the best resorts around the world for 28 years with my husband and 4 children, that, at 45years old, I fell hook line and sinker for the subliminal and the very not so subliminal. I still haven't gotten over it! Truly, there will be very few of us out there that are willing to admit the mistake! For every one of us that will speak there are 100s that have tucked there tails, in embarrassment and humiliation and chocked it off as experience. Can be a very expensive one, I might add!

My story and problem with this company does not come with a warning not to go, just an extreme BUYER BEWARE. As we are all looking for different things and expecting differently, when we go on vacation. After the last two years of very carefully reading the reports, I do respect and understand. more now, the attraction to these resorts for some people. I would never want to discourage anyone from going and enjoying any resort. Truly you can go anywhere and have a great time. And if the price is right for you, go and have the time of your life.

My sadness, dismay and concern is for the young couples or anybody for that matter going to these resorts, that do have expectations, for the extreme prices that some pay. From our own experience and the honeymoon couples (bumped from Sandals to the resort we moved to) also honeymooners at the airport in Jamaica that were in tears. The families that where at Beaches T&C, that said if it wasn't for there kids having a great time, they wanted to scream!!! We spent 6 hr. (delay)on the way home in the airport. Was it odd that all complaints were about Sandals/Beaches? I thought it was? But then again not after our experience. Six hours in the airport with disgruntled Sandals/Beaches guests! This was a bit, way ... over the top! Yes, you always find the complainer here or there when traveling, but you can always tell that this is somewhat there personality to find something wrong in anything. This was not the case here, this was not a matter of the crabby guest. Something was definitely wrong with this picture, one way or another!

I defiantly think that the Sandals/Beaches resorts do fill the needs and style of vacation many are looking for and can be the greatest of trips for some. I also think that so many people have the tunnel vision that Sandals/Beaches resorts are the only way to go, settling for the (I don't even know what to call it?) and miss out on a truly fabulous, incredible vacation of a life time. For less to boot!!!

Don't let anyone tell you your expectations are to high, or that no vacation is ever perfect, or you must make the best of it! For the prices Sandals/Beaches gets away with charging many of their guests, you should and can expect the best of the best. No one is doing any one a favor but Sandals by, priding themselves on the well ... we always make the best of bad situations and have a good time!

Happy vacations

sailor is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 08:59 AM
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Sailor, we honeymooned at Sandals St.Lucia Golf and Spa, not the Halycon as you did. We stayed 6 nights there and then 3 nights at Ladera. We loved both of them for different reasons. We loved Sandals for the ease of vacation and we loved Ladera for the uniqueness. As for Sandals, althought it was AI we did take 3 tours during our stay and saw all parts of St. Lucia and tried the food. So we are not the type to just lay on the beach. We liked the ease of AI so much, that we went to Playa del Carmen, Mexico a the next year and also did an AI. The resort was nice and the beach was amazing. But it offered only a few restaurants/bar/pools and although we had fun, we did get a bit bored of the food. It cost quite a bit less then Sandals and it was obvious! It just didn't offer all that Sandals/Beaches does. Now that we have a toddler, we would not pick anything but AI. ( In my 20's I traveled to many parts of the caribbean, central america, europe etc and didn't do AI) Having to plan out where to eat all your meals, taking a taxi and all that with a baby/car seat sounds so unrelaxing and unenjoyable to me. I also like the fact Beaches has the kids klub, so my husband and I can have time to ourselves. I think many families pick Beaches for the ease of it. So many restaurants, pools, activities, kid stuff, right on the grounds! And I think some people are willing to pay more for that convenience. Yes their brochures are glossy and perfect, but what resorts isn't?! I have to say, when in St. Lucia we did go to Halycon one day and had dinner there and were SO happy we hadn't picked that Sandals. The golf and spa was much nicer, our villa was clean and nice, the grounds were nice, the service good and food good. No delays at airports, no problems with our room. So I guess you just never know. Our very good friends went to Beaches for a week and loved it, and as they are well traveled, we do trust their opinion. Sorry you had a bad experience at Sandals, but I know so many people who honeymooned at Sandals (same one as us) and loved it! As for some of the Sandals in Jamaica, I've heard some negative things. Either way, the T & C Beaches is supposed to be the best of the Beaches resorts and T & C beautiful itself, so I'm sure we'll have a wonderful time.
Good luck to all with their trips!
Jul 12th, 2003, 09:50 AM
Posts: n/a
Hum.....I am confused. I booked at Beches and I can still back out (air done separately). However, most of the negatives on this board re: Beaches T&C is because people are paying alot...and getting "Seaside Heights New Jersey" if you know what I mean. question is this....since we are a family of five, then the cost between what I would need to pay to stay at Beaches in a Honeymoon 1-bedroom, and the price I would have to pay for at least a two-bedroom unit say at Sands or Ocean Club plus almost the same. The three kids I am traveling with are 13, 15 and a matter where I go, the cost factor is almost the same (just a few $$ more for Beaches). That being said...I'd be interested in knowing where most people with kids that age and with the money not being an issue, would pick to stay. If I am truyly headed for disaster at Beaches, I can easily change.

Would love to hear your opinions.

One last thing....regarding someone's post. Yes, July is the off season in the is the HIGH season for most people with kids. Even though I have three...I am traveling in November...I can't imagine Beaches would be as crowded in Nov as it is in July.

anyway, would love to hear your thoughts.
Jul 12th, 2003, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 105
For what it is worth - I had fallen inlove with the Beaches ads online a couple years ago and did make reservations. I too have a family of five. It looked and sounded perfect. For some reason I started looking up reviews about 6 weeks after I had made the reservations. They were so mixed - some people loved it and some people had a really awful time. I felt like it was too much money to take a crap shoot on our family vacation. At the rates they charge I expected a fabulous vacation. I ended up switching our reservations to Ocean Club, and yes we probably will pay about as much. But I have read consistenly good reviews of this property and I am doing research on restaurants. I think had I decided to wish for the best at Beaches I would be pretty nervous right now. Instead I am counting the days in anticipation. It's not how much you pay, but what you get for it.
actran is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 04:41 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 54
I have 2 boys ages 16 and 14. Last Feburary we went to the T & C islands and stayed at Point Grace. We walked by Beaches and my boys said they would die if we stayed there. There we many young children running around, the grounds were disguting and all the chairs we lined up on the beach on top of each other. Not exactly on top of each other but so close together you were sitting on top of each other. The property just looked bad. The doors to the individual units we these big steel doors. My teenagers were glad to get back to the solitude od Point Grace where everyone who worked there knew your name. My boys said it was like camp, not a place they are fond of. Beaches reminded me of a cheap cruise ship. I'm not a fan of all inclusives just because you've paid for everything and it doesn't give the hotel any incentive to give great service. And yes you can travel with toddlers to quiet, exclusive resorts because i"ve done it and found a most relaxing vacation. Beaches is just too big, too loud and too much trouble to sign up for the activities. so to davsaz, I think the kids in your group will be bored because Beaches has sooo many little kids.
travel_gal is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 06:16 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,870
It's been my experience traveling with children in my immediate family and extended family that once they hit their teens, a place like Beaches isn't so hot. Let's face it--toddlers and young kids are going to love Beaches regardless of the parents' experience. They've got beach, sand, pool, and lots of kids to play with, not to mention unlimited sodas (a novelty in my family). What's not to love for the 2-11 age set? However, start putting older kids into the mix and they don't often like the idea of vacationing with a bunch of babies/toddlers/small fry around.

I imagine that the kids who are 13, 15, 16 may well prefer a more grownup atmosphere that will still afford them plenty of activities--snorkeling, windsurfing, work out room, accessible evening entertainment that isn't cheesy, etc.
ejcrowe is offline  
Jul 13th, 2003, 10:26 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 37
I would choose Sands over Ocean Club. Hemmingways at the Sands has great food & prices not bad.Free use of hobies,bikes & snorkel gear.I think Sands is probably a much better value all around.Not impressed with Ocean Club.
Ted is offline  
Jul 13th, 2003, 03:17 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 426

Beaches caters to families with younger kids. But the activities included (scuba, snorkeling, non motorized water sports) are good for your aged children. There are several pools as well. Does the Ocean Club offer these activities? Just a note, I think a honeymoon one bedroom suite is too small for your size group, I would look into a presidential one bedroom, or two connecting rooms.
ellene is offline  
Jul 14th, 2003, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 81
This is a great discussion! I find the opinions posted here to be really honest and accurate, albeit from different perspectives. I've never been to T&C, but I've been to a fair number of other Caribbean destinations. It seems that no matter what the hotel/resort, it is wrong for some people and usually right for others. For example, I love Petit St. Vincent, Peter Island, Cap Juluca, and Biras Creek (St. Vincent and the Grenadines, BVI, Anguilla, and BVI, respectively). I know some who would call all those places boring and poor value. Yet, I was pretty unimpressed with the Westin on Grand Cayman and nearly all of Jamaica, places that are absolute favorites for others. Same goes for Maui. What is needed is a way to match people to the perfect hotel/resort based on what they've liked or disliked in the past.

Speaking of that, if any of you T&Cers are familiar with the places I've enjoyed, I'd be interested in reading what you think the perfect place in T&C would be for me for my first trip there some time next year maybe.
SteveL is offline  
Jul 14th, 2003, 11:56 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 178

For what it's worth, even after my post to you on the Beaches beware thread on the vendor posters? Tackiness of a Sandals/Beaches.
As a kinda blue Mom right now, for my children 24,23,19 and 15 are, the (three older ones), moving on with there own lives as should be. Time together now as a complete family is harder and harder to come by much less finding any vacation time for all of us together. It goes by so quickly.
In all honesty, would like to give my opinion to you about your situation, vacationing with 13,15, and 16 year old on T&C. Beaches versus other.

Only you know the type of vacation you are looking for, for yourself and your family. There are a great many styles of vacationing with children/teens. You know your children best, what they may like and also what you want to offer them in this vacation at this time in your lives.

As Beaches T&C does offer the most in way of the extra entertainment options (provided they are open, and running at the time of your stay) for teens the disco, saga game room, TV's, large pool with water slide, etc., this may be just what you and your family are looking in your vacation at this time. Yes, there will be more toddlers then teens, but there will probably be some kids there age, that they can get together with if this is what they would like to do. Many people want and need to have these extras available to the children as they feel they will be bored otherwise. Some people and kids thrive and feel comfortable at a place that they feel is hopping with people and things to do 24/7. You may be looking for time away from them, and for a place that will have these things to keep them busy. You are now armed with the info. of possible problems that can and do go wrong at a Beaches/Sandals properties. As even with a Disney vacation you can be met with bad food and long lines and we know this is true, but we go and have great vacations there, because this is what we want at the time. If your feeling this place Beaches T&C is right for your family at this time and you don't think your price is unreasonable, go for it! You might come back pleasantly surprised. At least you won't be caught totally off guard.

That being said...

Our (including my children's) favorite, and most rewarding and remembered vacations have been of a different style.
We were a bit selfish at times, and to my children/teens utmost appreciation as they said then and now. We didn't want to compete or share our precious vacation time we had with them with video games, TV's, disco's, etc., or with many peers of there own age. This is what they have at home and to much of anyway. It was our time to get away from all that and connect as a family. Renting a jeep with the top down and exploring an island to its most hidden places, learning to sail, snorkel and scuba dive together at are leisure. Endless days, nights talking and walking the beaches, hiking and biking until you can't walk, talk or laugh once more its seems, but you do it again the next day. Discovering a bit of another culture and its people, the stand by the side of the road with the conch fritters that we still talk of today. It is the simple things we always found the best. Did it matter what resort, hotel or camp ground it was that we stayed. No, as long as we were together as a family. The teen years can be a bit rough at times when they are testing out there wings and want to fly, although I have found more times then not, when we think they are bored, no fancy pool, resort, video game or peer can fulfill them more then some good "time," with Mom and Dad.

I wish you a lot of luck, fun and happiness with your family on this trip, no matter what your choices are. Let us know how it goes when you get back.


sailor is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,268
Donna, your post really resonated with me...we too are "selfish" parents that want to be with our kids on vacation (maybe take a night or two for ourselves but basically be with them). "Renting a jeep with the top down", hiking and swimming in waterfalls, walking a beach together, taking a boat out to a deserted island to snorkel, an adventurous day swimming with manatees in a remote river...that's us.

Our kids have been happy when younger just playing in the sand and swimming, as they've gotten older they've wanted more to do but the video games, TV and all that we have plenty of at home, I like them taking a vacation from that also.

For a completely different sort of vacation, you might want to read this article I came across a couple of years ago written by a mom that took her family to a private villa in Treasure Beach, Jamaica. She talks of boat rides up a river (just the family and a guide), seashell hunting on the beach, playing with local kids and not having to clean or cook:
liza is offline  

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