Turks & Caicos has been a hot travel destination for years, but more recently, family-friendly resorts – those with activities for parents and kids to enjoy separately – have been popping up along its beautiful beaches, making the locale more popular than ever.
If you are not familiar with Turks and Caicos, they are an archipelago of 40 low-lying coral islands in the Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Bahamas. Known for pristine white sand beaches and turquoise water, the islands are also each surrounded by a continuous coral reef similar to Grand Cayman’s “Walls,” making it a premier diving destination. While a number of the islands in Turks and Caicos have great resorts, including Parrot Cay (part of Como Hotels and Resorts and frequented by celebrities) the most popular destination is Providenciales, known locally as “Provo.” Provo’s 44 square miles are the most developed in the Turks and Caicos and also home to Grace Bay — declared by Conde Nast Traveler as one the World’s #1 Beaches. What’s more, Provo is only a short 3 1/2 flight from New York’s JFK with JetBlue offering direct flights to the Providenciales International Airport (PLS)—an immediate plus when traveling with kids.
First up is Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort and Spa, specifically designed for families. Situated right in the middle of pristine Grace Bay, Beaches offers a wide range of activities for all age groups, from babies and toddlers, to kids, tweens and teens!
Babies and toddlers are looked after by resort nannies (all certified in accordance with an accredited U.S. university) and there is also a nurse on site 24 hours a day. Your little ones will have a blast with their best friends: the world-famous characters from Sesame Street who visit and play with kids all day and night.
Kids and tweens, meanwhile, will have a blast at the beach, water park and in the X-box arcades. Teens will love the organized social activities that the resort sets up for their age group, as well as the teen-only night club. They’ll never feel so cool!
Mom and Dad, on the other hand, will be busy relaxing. They can start the day with massages at Red Lane Spa, spend the afternoon sipping cocktails at the pool bar and then dress up for an elegant dinner for two at the adults-only French fine-dining restaurant, Le Petit Chateau. Not feeling quite so fancy? There are plenty of other places, such as Mario’s Italian Restaurant or the beachfront Barefoot by the Sea, that welcome casual dressers.
Next is Grace Bay Club, which bridges the gap between family fun and luxury. Opened in 1993, it is considered to be the first hotel to introduce five-star luxury to Turks & Caicos. In 2001, the resort was revitalized with exciting new additions and renovations, including the construction of thirty-eight new, family-friendly residences. This side of the hotel also has its own pool, restaurant and swim-up bar.
Long known as one of the most family-friendly resorts in the Caribbean, Grace Bay Club offers separate activities for parents and kids. During the day, kids go on exciting field trips outside of the resort to tour nearby ruins and go on snorkeling excursions. Several night time activities and social events are also planned for kids, with camping on the beach (complete with tents and s’mores!) being the most popular.
Parents are encouraged to explore their athletic side, with activities such as golf, fishing, diving, sailing and yoga all being offered. Alternately, they could relax on one of the canopied daybeds on the hotel’s beach or schedule a couple’s treatment at the renowned Anani Spa. A memorable open-air dining experience is offered at Anacaona, which serves European-Caribbean fusion fare. For adults who wants to meet back up with the kids for dinner, there is also Krave, which serves comfort food classics. There is no better place among the islands for an after dinner drink than Infinity Bar, which holds the title of longest bar in the Caribbean.
Last but not least is Seven Stars Resort. As the highest rated resort on Conde Nast Traveler’s 2012 Readers Choice Award, this relative newbie to Grace Bay—opened in 2008—does not have to cater to kids to attract guests to their beautiful hotel. But they do. Seven Stars has a full range of supervised activities and experiences for youngsters. “Whether they’re hunting for lizards, building sandcastles, exploring our adventure playground or collecting shells along our beachfront, children make new friends while parents enjoy some playtime of their own. Their trained Club Team is on hand with daily supervised activities, including sailing lessons, snorkeling and eco-educational experiences.”
Meanwhile, adults can enjoy one of the most tranquil stretches of Grace Bay, arguably the nicest pool on the island (and the only saltwater one), and an array of ammeneties that are on par with the best hotels in the Turks. From lunch poolside to cocktails at sunset, Seven Stars offers a wide range of island-inspired gourmet dining experiences. As does their world-class spa, with an extensive menu of services to soothe the mind and body including multiple massage therapies, facials, full-body treatments (including hot stone therapy) and spa manicures and pedicures.