Caribtraveler's "Hot Date" in Turks & Caicos

Oct 3rd, 2006, 11:34 AM
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Caribtraveler's "Hot Date" in Turks & Caicos

Now, now, what were you thinking?

My husband and I just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary at the Grace Bay Club Resort ( ) in Providenciales (9/28-10/2/06). All we were looking for on this trip were great beaches, great restaurants, but most importantly TOTAL RELAXATION (as an ALL ABOUT US type of thing) since we were leaving our very active 4.5-year-old son with family (hence the "hot date" reference ). We're very happy to report that we are back totally relaxed. 8-)

THANK YOU to Blamona (who I've decided is the Queen of T&C) and HowardC who were so kind answering my many questions. And thank you to the many Fodorites who took the time to post trip reports: Ikemerson, Kristen, Virginia, KVR, VegasM... I know I forgot somebody but believe me when I say "you wrote it, I read it!"

GRACE BAY CLUB: We it! It is a classy property with beautiful grounds and a staff that truly cares about customer service.

ROOM: We were in a lovely junior suite located on the 4th floor with a beautiful view of Grace Bay beach.

BEACH: Beau-ti-ful.

POOLS: There are 2.
One has a swim-up bar.

The other one was empty.

FOOD: There's really just one restaurant on the property, housed under a big palapa. There's also sitting on the outside of the palapa, closer to the beach. For breakfast and dinner, the restaurant is called Anacaona. For lunch, it's called The Grill.
The room rate includes continental breakfast which was fine. You can order other breakfast food (like eggs) but you'd have to pay for that. Lunch and dinner at the restaurant were very good (I'll detail our meals later). There's a 10% service charge added to the bills.

SPA: I had a one-hour therapeutic massage at the Anani Spa. Sonia was my masseuse and she was wonderful. ( )

STAFF: Truly oustanding. My husband and I can't think of a place we've been to where the staff was this friendly, this attentive and this courteous. =D>






MINOR NEGATIVES: Very MINOR in the grand scheme of things.
--Enough bugs in the pool that made us wonder how often they cleaned it and whether the filter was working.
--Construction on the property. The original building is being renovated (expected to be completed by February) but you wouldn't know unless you walked right next to it. The restaurant is being extended. Once in awhile, we could hear a saw. The good news is that it looks like it will be done very soon.
--The resort doesn't respond well to e-mails. I e-mailed them mid-August to see if they offered romantic dining on the beach (for our anniversary dinner). I didn't get an answer until the start of September. The reply e-mail said they did and I was asked what time we'd like to make the reservation for. I replied, but never got a confirmation e-mail back (the reservation was there when we arrived). My husband also e-mailed them to book a spa massage for me. He never got a reply. He ended up calling them the week before the trip to book it.

--Complimentary continental breakfast and airport transfers.
--Complimentary bottled water and sorbets on the beach.
--Complimentary car ride to anywhere in the Grace Bay area (we used it once to go to dinner on our first night).
--Free internet access (husband used it once).
--CD/DVD player in room (we brought our own CDs to enjoy some music while sitting on the terrace late at night... we also brought movies that had been sitting on top of our DVD player, waiting to be watched... they're still waiting ).

CONCLUSION: It's a GREAT resort that we'd HIGHLY recommend.
caribtraveler is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 11:34 AM
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We flew out of LaGuardia at 6am, had a 2 1/2 hour layover in Miami and landed on time in Provo around 1pm. We cleared immigration/customs by 1:30pm. A Grace Bay Club employee was there, ready to take us to our resort some 15 minutes away.

Upon our arrival at the resort, we were greeted with a wet towel and a drink. We sat in the beautiful lobby while an employee checked us in.

He then proceeded to show us around the resort before taking us to our room. That room view!
We quickly unpacked and changed into our swimwear. Beautiful Grace Bay beach was beckoning... but our stomachs were growling!

LUNCH: We decided to have lunch at THE GRILL, Grace Bay Club's casual poolside restaurant. I had the grilled shrimp with green mango and papaya salad accompanied with gazpacho vinaigrette ($12). It was DELICIOUS.
My husband had the grilled cajun chicken sandwich with fries ($15). He said it wasn't worth the price. With a bottled water ($7), total for lunch came to $40.80.

We spent the rest of our afternoon at the beach, marveling at how blue, calm and clear the water is and how soft the sand is. Could this possibly be the perfect beach?

DINNER: Our first dinner date took place at GRACE'S COTTAGE, located at the Point Grace hotel. The cottage actually houses the bar.
The tables are in the backyard, set around the garden. Music from Frank Sinatra to Norah Jones can be heard through speakers placed around the garden. What a LOVELY, ROMANTIC restaurant. Our waiter, Lesly, was great (friendly, courteous, etc...).

--No appetizers for us that night. Lesly did bring us marinated conch on a slice of lemon, compliments of the chef. We're not conch fans so it was just okay to us.
--I had the red snapper with mashed potatoes and peas ($36).
My husband had the pan seared grouper filler with risotto ($36). Both our fish were VERY GOOD and the presentation of the food was TOP NOTCH. After our entrees, Lesly brought us strawberry sorbet to cleanse our palette.
--For dessert, I had the warm cheesecake with vanilla bean ice cream ($15.50). It was EXCELLENT!
My husband had the chocolate souffle with vanilla beach creme anglaise ($14.50). He LOVED it!
With our drinks, dinner came to $145 (not including tip). We'd recommend Grace's Cottage.
caribtraveler is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 11:35 AM
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We had planned on eating breakfast at 9am but we overslept. Thank goodness for a 10am incoming phone call or we might have slept till noon and wasted an entire morning!

It was a glorious day. Not for my husband though. He woke up with one of his rare but debilitating migraines and had to stay in the room all day . Being the good wife that I am, I stayed with him. Ok. I'm lying. I didn't. After I got him what he needed, I left him to sleep it off in the dark.

I spent what was left of the morning reading in the pool.

RENTAL CAR: I had arranged to be picked up at noon by our rental car agency so I could get our jeep. We rented a Terio SUV from SCOOTER BOB'S ( ) for 2 days for $79/day. It all went without a hitch.

LUNCH: I drove back to the hotel where I had lunch at THE GRILL. I ordered the Grace Bay Club traditional club sandwich ($16) and a fruit punch ($7). It was a very good lunch in a very relaxing setting.
View from where I was sitting:

I spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach reading and swimming. I kept thinking: Life is good.
View from my beach chair:

Around 4:30pm, I remembered that I had a husband and went back to our room. He was doing much better and said that he could definitely go to dinner tonight. Yes!

DINNER: Our 2nd dinner date was at HEMINGWAY'S. This is a casual outdoor restaurant located at the Sands at Grace Bay hotel. We sat on the wooden deck which is closest to the beach. It's a nice setting.
--My husband had a caesar salad as an appetizer ($5.75).
--I had the grouper in a creole sauce with rice ($18.95). My husband had the lobster tail with rice ($32.50). Our entrees were disappointing. The rice was dry and the fish/lobster were just okay.
--For dessert, I had a creme brulee ($7.50) and my husband had a brownie with ice cream ($7.50). My creme brulee was not good. With our drinks, dinner came to $92.62 (tip not included). May I add that as we were eating our desserts, we saw a big cockroach scurrying across the deck?! Let's just say we're not recommending this restaurant.

Back at the hotel, there was a 3-men band playing songs by reggae artists, Louis Armstrong, etc... We had a couple of drinks while listening to them. They were really cool.
caribtraveler is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 11:35 AM
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We woke up early today (7am!) because we had a private charter booked for the morning.

BREAKFAST: Today was our first day trying the complimentary continental breakfast. It consists of fruit, bread, croissants, cereal, muffins, yogurt, juices, etc... It was fine.

PRIVATE CHARTER: We drove to the Leeward Marina to catch our 9am-noon private charter with J&B Tours ( ). Our boat captain was Phillip. We liked him.

We first headed to to HALF MOON BAY/BIG WATER CAY. We walked along the beautiful beach while Phillip followed us with the boat.


Then on to FORT GEORGE CAY which we just LOVED. We were at the sandbar for about 30 minutes, laying in the water, walking around looking for sand dollars and shells.

We saw DELLIS CAY but didn't stop.

We snorkeled at PALM REEF CAY for about 30 minutes. We saw some nice fish but it still didn't rival our Cozumel experience.

Afterward, Phillip took us by the CAICOS CONCH FARM before returning to the Leeward Marina.

The beaches we saw on this tour were simply GORGEOUS. This tour was FANTASTIC and we'd HIGHLY recommend doing one like this if you're a beach lover. =D>

LUNCH: We went to TIKI HUT which is located in the Turtle Cove Marina. This is another restaurant with a nice casual atmosphere. My husband had the turkey club panini with fries ($9) and I had the Jamaican jerked chicken wings ($9) with fries ($3). With 2 cokes, our lunch came to $27.50 (tip not included). We thought the food was just okay. Our waitress was not the friendliest and SLOW (she had one other table besides ours). Ugh.

MORE BEACHES! After lunch, we made a quick stop at CHALK SOUND NATIONAL PARK.
People are pigs. This is the mess all around a viewing area for Chalk Sound. What a shame.

We headed to SAPODILLA BAY where we enjoyed a 30-minute swim.

Now on to MALCOLM BEACH. You absolutely do need a high clearance vehicle to get to it. The road is pretty scary at one point but what a reward when you get there. We had it all to ourselves. I think this beach has the softest sand of all the beaches we went to. Our feet were sinking in it. Maybe this one is the perfect beach...?

DINNER: Our 3rd dinner date was at COCO BISTRO which is located near the Grace Bay Club. This was not on our list of restaurants. While waiting for our ride back to our hotel after having our first dinner at Grace's Cottage, we started chatting with one of the Point Grace employees. He raved and raved about Coco Bistro and suggested we go there. So we did. And boy was he right! We this place and the food was EXCELLENT! Definitely our best dinner on the island.

The dining is outdoor underneath coconut palms. All is beautifully lit to create an intimate and romantic atmosphere. Just perfect.
--Appetizers: I had the beef carpaccio ($13) and my husband had the caesar salad ($9).
--Entrees: I had the grilled lobster ($39) and my husband and the veal chop ($38).
--Desserts: My husband had ice cream ($9) and I had some kind of fried banana and mango with a scoop of ice cream ($9).

With our drinks, our dinner total came to $158.41 (tip not included). The food was SOOOOO GOOD (I'm salivating just writing this). The presentation was TOP NOTCH and the service was VERY GOOD. We can't say enough about this place. This is a MUST DO restaurant in Provo. =D> =D>
caribtraveler is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 11:36 AM
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7 years with my WONDERFUL husband.

BREAKFAST: We once again did the continental breakfast at the Grace Bay Club.

SNORKELING AT CORAL GARDENS: We did that all morning. It was really nice. We saw quite a few beautiful fish.

LUNCH: This time we ate at the BAREFOOT CAFE located in Ports of Call on Grace Bay road. We both had BLTs with fries ($9/each) + cokes ($2/each). It was good.

We returned to the Grace Bay Club and left the key to the rental car with the concierge. Since Scooter Bob's is not open on Sundays, they todl us we could do that. The rest of the afternoon was spent between the pool and the beach. This is also when I had my one-hour massage at the Anani Spa, a bribe from my husband so he could watch the Cowboys game at a local bar. . Well he didn't go watch the game. I think he felt guilty for migraine day. So he just went on the internet while I had my massage.

DINNER: I always wanted to have dinner on the beach. So I arranged for the Grace Bay Club's ANACAONA restaurant to do that for us on our anniversary night. Well, it didn't work out that way. There had been some lightning in the afternoon and the forecast called for rain, so that couldn't be done for fear our dinner would end up being ruined. So we had to have dinner at the restaurant. It never rained, by the way.

--Appetizers: My husband had romaine hearts with caesar dressing and croutons ($10) and I had the mixed green lettuce in a plantain ring with herb and honey vinaigrette ($9). Good.
--Entrees: My husband had the seared filet of red snapper ($32) and I had the grilled filet of beef tenderloin ($33). Both the fish and the beef were VERY GOOD.
--Dessert: My husband and I shared the warm chocolate gourmandise ($10). Too much chocolate for me but my husband loved it.
With our drinks, our dinner came to $142.80.
caribtraveler is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 11:36 AM
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DAY 5 - GOODBYE #39;(

BREAKFAST: This time we skipped the continental breakfast and went for a 'real' breakfast at ANACAONA since it would be a long travel day with airport/airline food as the only option. I had 3-egg omelette with cheese and ham ($8) and my husband and 2 eggs sunny side up with bacon and potatoes ($10). It was good.

PROVO AIRPORT: I have to share this story. Our luggage was picked for a random security check. My husband was taken to the back so he could watch as they went through the bag. In the back he found one of the security women styling the other's hair. After a few minutes, they told him he could go because they couldn't find our bags. My husband told them he could point the bags out to them if they wanted. They said okay. So he did. He asked them if they needed to see his i.d. to confirm that it's his bag. They said no. Oh my. What great random security check.


WEATHER/WATER TEMP: It was beautiful and hot. It looked like it was going to pour the afternoon of Day 4, but it did not. The water temperature was perfect.

MOSQUITOES: I got bitten (maybe 10 bites or so). As usual. My husband did not. As usual.

CONSTRUCTION: Before our trip, I was really worried about the construction since I had read so much about it. You do notice it as you drive around the island, but it was never an issue while we were doing our own thing. NOTE: There's an empty lot between Coral Gardens and Turks and Caicos Club with a sign saying that a new building will go up soon. Groundbreaking has not begun but when it does, I can't imagine staying at either of those 2 places will be a pleasant experience.

ADVICE: Pick up 2 magazines (free) at the airport. One is a dining guide to the island. The other is the "Where When How" magazine and you'll find a map of the island in it.

WHAT WE WANTED TO DO BUT DIDNT: We wanted to snorkel at Smith Reef but we just didn't have the time. We wanted to eat at the COYABA and MAGNOLIA restaurants. Unfortunately they were closed during our time on the island.

CONCLUSION: The beauty of Provo is really in its beaches. We didn't find the island itself particularly attractive. We truly enjoyed our long weekend there. People always talk about how Grand Cayman's restaurants are expensive. Well we think Provo's are more expensive. Did you notice the prices for Grace's Cottage?! Anyway, iIf you're looking for what we were looking for, it would be a great destination for you. If you need other activities besides the beachy ones, then you might get bored. I don't know that I could do a week or more there, I think I'd get bored. My husband says he could. Hmmm...maybe we should test that soon, this time with our son . Prov is also a great destination if you have little ones. Our son is a water baby and would have just loved all those beaches. I kind of felt guilty that we didn't take him. Okay. Maybe not. .

Happy travels everyone!
caribtraveler is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 12:19 PM
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I just wanted to say I thoroughly enjoyed your trip report along with the gorgeous pictures. That water! I also enjoyed your comment regarding the mosquitos. I am headed to St. John the end of next week and this just helps me get through the countdown!

Thank you for the enjoyable report! - Susan
SSypniewski is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 12:29 PM
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What an awesome report!!!!!
Your pictures are fantastic-what camera do you use? I'll admit, the food pictures made me drool.
Funny how experiences can be different for different people-Hemmingways is always good to us, and Coco Bistro has always been "difficult". I heard they changed owners, so we'll try it again in December-I'll tell you how it went.
Malcolm's Beach is one of my favorite. Grace Bay is gorgeous, so you can't imagine how the water could be prettier, but it does!!!!
If you go back with your son, let me know, I have an active 4.5 year old too! (She love's Provo by the way, and already snorkels around the reef at Coral Gardens.)
Thanks for the fantastic report, with pictures and prices.
Did you check out Somerset, Palms or Point Grace? What did you think?
blamona is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 12:47 PM
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Thanks for the wonderful trip report and pictures! The pictures so enhance the report, kind of took me away from reality for a few. I too was getting hungry looking at your food. Got me hyped for some of the places that we will return to on St John next month. Lime Inn for Caribbean lobster and their mussels in a butter sauce, LaTapa for outstanding escargot. Thanks for "tiding me over". You really do a nice report
brenandg is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 01:13 PM
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Another great trip report, and again in record time! I wish I could access your photos, but with my SLOW dial-up internet it takes forever, so I just picked a few. I'll have to wait until another time to see them all.

Glad you had a great time. So tell me: are you now counting down the time until your Anguilla trip?
ejcrowe is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 01:33 PM
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what a great report! I love malcolms too!!

thanks for the great pics, they take me back to last may!!
ElaineF is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 02:00 PM
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What a great trip report. So enriched with all those pics too!

I have two silly questions:
Where are all the people? Even the bar shows nobody around...were you the only guests?
What happens to all that gorgeous white cotton furniture in the outdoor lounge areas when it rains? I have always wondered about this when I see those fantasy resort pictures with loads of cozy pillows and outdoor lounging beds.

joan is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 06:57 PM
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Glad you had such a good trip. We enjoyed T & C when we went in May, but agree with your comment that the Island is too water related and not enough entertainment. We also agree that the resturants are more expensive than Grand Cayman.

Thanks for the fabulous trip report and pictures. We're off to Jamaica next month. Got docs in the mail today Woo Hoo!
KVR is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 04:11 AM
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Glad everyone is enjoying the trip report!

Blamona: Please let me know about Coco Bistro after you go. I think the guy who recommended it to us mentioned the new chef. I hope you enjoy as much as we did.
We did not check out the other hotels. I thought about doing it but migraine day set us back and our time was already so short...
By the way, I'm sure you know which resort is at the end of Malcolm Beach...? Just curious. Thanks!

ejcrowe: You know me well! I'm ALWAYS counting down to the next vacation . Actually, we're sneaking in a long weekend in Culebra in mid-January (with Patrick) before Anguilla in April. A birthday present from my husband. How good is he to me??

Joan: I think there were maybe 5 to 6 other couples at the resort. It was so quiet due to low season I guess. We loved that!
re: white cushions. I know! I thought the same thing and wondered what they use to keep them so white. I assume they bring the cushions inside during bad weather. The entire look sure is beautiful.

KVR: Have a FANTASTIC time in Jamaica!
caribtraveler is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 04:36 AM
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The resort at Malcolm's is Amanyara.
The weather there is generally so dry, that they can probably keep the cushions white longer! (They've always been white, and always clean-maybe I'll ask their secret)
Even at peak season, the beaches never seem crowded there.
Caribtraveler- I love Anguilla! Been there tons of times. Wait until you try the food there-best restaurants in the Caribbean! and those beaches are to die for too. I've been to Anguilla about 6 or 7 seven times.
I have not been to Culebra-so I'll have to ask you all about it.
At some point, it would be great to hear a comparison report of your thoughts on all the places!
Once again, excellent report.
blamona is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 04:37 AM
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Thanks, caribtraveler.

Wow, Culebra and Anguilla...have a wonderful time - we're all looking forward to those reports too
joan is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 05:19 AM
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Culebra, eh? Do you know where you're staying yet? Your DH is very sweet to surprise you with that. You're lucky to have each other!
ejcrowe is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 06:32 AM
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Awesome report!!!

I am so jealous at how calm the water was on Grace was rough when we were there in April. But isn't it just gorgeous!

GBC looks wonderful. We'll have to splurge on one of our trips. I had the creme brulee too at Hemingways and it wasn't great, but Ellie enjoyed it. Too bad Magnolia's wasn't open. It was wonderful.

You will love Anguilla just as much!!
Kristen1206 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 07:03 AM
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ejcrowe: We'll be staying at the Costa Bonita Resort.

Kristen: It's so hard to believe that Grace Bay's water can get rough. That must have been a bummer for you. We're definitely looking forward to Anguilla.
caribtraveler is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 07:07 AM
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caribtraveler, awesome trip report. Thanks for posting all those pics. Grace bay looks lovely. Looking at those amazing pics from your day trip with JB tours really makes me regret not doing one when we went last year but we were with our toddler...maybe next time. Gracebay club looks beautiful also. Glad you had a good time.
mnag is offline  

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