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Voted #1 beach in the world. Photo by Marisa MacLean

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It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...at the No. 1 Beach in the World

Winter Break at Beaches Turks & Caicos

Article by Matthew MacLean

Photography by Marisa MacLean and Provided

Originally published in Westport Lifestyle

The morning before our family left on our trip, I stood shivering on the Westport station platform, huddled with my fellow commuters and waiting for the train. Chatting as we usually do about the weather, family life and the approaching holidays, I mentioned our destination. Everyone had either already visited or heard wonderful things. I asked a friend if it really lived up to all the hype. He gave me a knowing look. “We’ll talk when you’re back. You’ll see.”

The Resort

Upon arriving, we were greeted warmly by the staff. Someone handed me a glass of rum and we were immediately made to feel right at home. The resort is gorgeous with some of the best-kept grounds I’ve ever seen. Tall, stately palms sway in the sun and beautiful flowers grow everywhere along the wide paths, verandas and balconies.

There are four distinct areas of the resort. Each one tastefully echoes the regions for which they are named and each has a unique vibe.  The Italian area’s buildings are covered in beautiful tile and surround a large pool that hosts daily activities and a convivial crowd of guests. The French area is quieter but boasts a gorgeous pool with gleaming white colonnades. The Key West area is calmer and has an adults-only pool, while the vibe in the Caribbean section is jovial, sporty and active.

We spent a lot of time at the Water Park, Pirate Island with ten waterslides, a lazy river, a surf simulator and kid-friendly pools all overseen by trained and certified lifeguards. It was the first place the kids wanted to go each morning when they woke up.

Nearby is the Red Lane Spa, where my wife got the best deep tissue massage of her life. The facilities were spotless with an attentive staff, steam room and sauna. There are dozens of options for pampering yourself including massages, facials and skin treatments.

The Beach

The beach has been voted the #1 beach in the world and you can immediately see why. The soft sand slopes down to easy breakers, with water that’s just the right temperature and as clear as an aquarium. Our kids marveled at the schools of fish that darted around their legs. You can snorkel from the beach and in addition to the gorgeous coral and bright fish you can often spot green sea turtles gliding in the current. Kayaks, paddle-boards, and other boats, are all included.

 If you’re a diver or interested in becoming certified, Beaches Turks and Caicos has some of the best Scuba diving in the Caribbean. You can take lessons in the pool before venturing out or sign up for several dives nearby. For the adventurous types, you can sign up with Island Routes tours. Named as the leading adventure tour operator in the Caribbean for 2018, they offer cruises, deep-sea fishing, buggy tours, kayak tours, Scuba and more.

5-Star Global Gourmet

After hurricane Irma, the resort shut down briefly for repairs and a $38 million renovation. Assistant Executive Chef Craig Nazareth took this time to formally train the staff, rotating chefs and servers to each restaurant. It shows as the restaurants exceed expectations. The chefs take pride in their work, bragging to their colleagues when one of their dishes is shared on social media. For those with dietary restrictions, the staff goes to great lengths to ensure there is something delicious for everyone.

I can honestly say I had the best fish of my life at Sapodilla’s, the Caribbean themed restaurant. All of the fish is local and they’ll prepare anything you bring back from a lucky day on the water. People were eager to tell us about their favorite dishes, like the Chicken Liver Pate at the French Le Petit Chateau. For lunch, we indulged in different types of Mac n Cheese from the Mr. Mac food truck. Take it from a born and raised New Yorker, the brick oven pizza is awesome. It’s not on the menu, but ask for the Caribbean delicacy Ackee and Saltfish. You won’t be disappointed.

The Kids

The warmth, professionalism and kindness of the child care team at Beaches Turks and Caicos put me completely at ease. The Sesame Street themed childcare facility is one of the best features of the resort, and the kids spent time playing and actively learning with age-appropriate educational activities.

Group Children’s Activities Manager Fedeline Julian started her career as a baby sitter and worked her way to the top. Her staff remembered the kids’ names, greeted them on sight and clearly cared deeply for their welfare and comfort. Whether your child is three weeks old or thirteen, there is something for everyone. A Nanny can stay in your hotel room while your children nap and you can drop the pre-teens off at a club just for them for video games, pool or air hockey. Every one of her staff has been trained in working with children and adults with autism.

Leaving was hard. After nearly a week, we still had not sampled all that the resort had to offer.  Our three year old sincerely begged us to live there forever. Back at the train station, tanned and relaxed, my commuter friends welcomed me back and asked for the verdict. I told them with confidence that the hype is justified. Find the time, book it and go.      

The Sandals Foundation is dedicated to playing a meaningful role in the lives of the communities where they operate across the Caribbean. Every Thursday the Sandals foundation hosts a reading road trip where guests from the resort volunteer to read to children in local schools. More on how they give back to their communities: sandalsfoundation.org 

To book a trip at Beaches Turks & Caicos, Beaches Ocho Rios or Beaches Negril visit Beaches

For tours visit Island Routes 

Cold weather got you down? Escape the snow and celebrate your holiday break at Beaches Turks and Caicos! They were named the Caribbean's Leading All-Inclusive Family resort for the 11th year in a row. With beautiful facilities and the world's #1 beach, it's easy to see why!

  • Tiny guests living large in a poolside cabana complete with white-glove butler service
  • Voted #1 beach in the world. Photo by Marisa MacLean
  • Beach Yoga
  • Beach Boat
  • Italian Village Veranda View
  • Key West Village Grounds
  • Cricketers Bar
  • Kids train ride
  • Kids train ride
  • The pool at the Italian Village
  • Massage at Red Lane Spa
  • The Jerk Shack
  • Marios Restaurant
  • Sky Restaurant
  • Fun for the whole family at Kimonos Restaurant. The chefs sing and entertain the crowd while preparing 5- Star Global Gourmet
  • Seaside Village
  • The resort has Sesame Street characters on site. Guests can even sign up for a character breakfast and/or a nighttime tuck-in with their favorite character(s).
  • Nanny from Camp Sesame
  • The resort has Sesame Street characters on site. Guests can even sign up for a character breakfast and/or a nighttime tuck-in with their favorite character(s).