Thursday, February 14, 2013

February 2013 - week 1 - BEACHES resort in Turks and Caicos

                                           Italian village pool at Beaches
                                          French village pool
                                           French village
                                            French village restaurant

Not many people get to enjoy a holiday within a holiday.  But that’s exactly what we did this week when we left our winter holidaying place in the Abacos for a week of pampering at “Beaches Turks & Caicos”.  Despite being only about 350 miles away as the crow flies, it was a long day getting there.  We had to be up before 6:00am to catch the Bahamasair flight from Marsh Harbour to Nassau where we had breakfast followed by a 4 hour wait at the airport before boarding “Air Turks & Caicos” for the flight into Providentiales, the capital.  From there it was a short taxi ride to the “Caribbean Paradise Inn” where we had reservations for the first night.  Our arrangements with “Beaches” was for a week from Sat--Sat., but since there were no flights to/from Nassau over weekends, we had to make bookings at an alternate hotel for nights on each end of the week.  Bummer.  But it DID mean a longer holiday in a new place away from the boat--so it was all good.

On Saturday morning after enjoying a good breakfast at the Caribbean Paradise Inn, we      took a taxi over to Beaches.  This place is indescribably gorgeous!!  Pictures can never do it justice--although we have included a few at the end of this blog to give just a taste of what we experienced.  The resort is comprised of three integrated “villages’’--French, Italian, and Caribbean--each with it’s own distinctive architecture and restaurants.  The landscaping, which ties it all together with lush greenery, masses of flowers and cobblestoned walkways is absolutely incredible.  Three luxurious swimming pools form centrepieces in each village (see photos) and there is a beautiful crescent shaped beach of thick white sand dotted with thatched palapas, and  comfortable loungers facing out towards clear turquoise water.

The Beaches Resort is all-inclusive which means that after you pay the very hefty price-tag which comes with staying there, you need never open your wallet again. Gourmet meals (your choice of 10 themed restaurants), drinks, snorkelling, scuba, sailing, kayaking, water slides, surfboarding (plus lessons) floor shows, nightclub, games, childrens day-camp, you name it--it’s all included!

Last year when we stayed here with Julie, Dan and the grandchildren, we all booked into separate rooms at one of the large complexes.  But after seeing the oceanside “villas” complete with round the clock butlering service available to a “select few,” Dan & Julie decided to “do it in style” this year and reserved one for their family.  (You only live once).  We were invited to join them--and were given our own massive room featuring a kingsized 4 poster bed and sunken tub--within the villa, and asked only to contribute the cost of what we would’ve paid had we reserved the same room as last year.  So it was win/win for us all.  Dan got the villa subsidized by us and we got to stay in accommodations we could only dream about.

Our butler provided us with cell phones and was only a “call” away at all times.  He anticipated our every need, stocking our refrigerator with our favourite soft drinks, wines and spirits and surprising us with platters of shrimp, hot lobsters with drawn butter, fruit and cheese trays, and plates of assorted pastries at all hours of the day!  He also arranged for us to have our own private covered cabana poolside, complete with loungers, dining area, and a cooler stocked with ice and drinks.  Similar arrangements were made when we wished to lounge around the beach and we felt like royalty being pampered within these luxurious “set-ups” while everyone else walked the beach looking for empty loungers on which to sit. The butler also made all of our dinner reservations, and actually accompanied us to the restaurants of our choice, taking us right into the dining room and seating us at special tables that he had “set up” with floral arrangements in advance of our arrival so we never had to “wait.”

When we weren’t being pampered by butler service we spent a lot of quality time with our little family.  There were long walks on the beach, snorkelling along the reef, sailing with the kids in small boats, swimming the pools and off the beach, building sandcastles, geo-cashing, looking for shells, watching the evening “shows” together, as well as quiet times with just the two of us enjoying a fabulous dinner together or curled up with books on one of the “beach beds”. Matthew even got to parasailing and deep sea fishing with Dan.  This was a really unbelieveable week and we all had so much fun together that we booked it again for next year.

But all good things must eventually come to an end and on Saturday morning Feb. 9th we said goodbye to our family--the Saryas--as they headed off by taxi to the airport.  We spent the rest of the day enjoying the delights of “Beaches” and then left in our own taxi for another 2 nights at the Caribbean Paradise Inn.  When we arrived we were so exhausted from having too much to eat, drink and “do” the previous week that Vince opted to take a nap while I lounged out on the terrace with my novel and a glass of champagne.  I had just settled comfortably into my chaise when I heard voices shouting “surprise!!” which I thought was coming from the room next to ours.  It wasn’t.  It was coming from OUR room.  And when the faces of Julie and Lilly suddenly appeared outside our sliding glass door, I really WAS surprised!!  Apparently their flight had been cancelled due to mechanical problems and everyone on board was given a free nights stay at a hotel plus meals.  Luckily Dan had remembered the name of the Inn where we were staying and requested to go there to join us.  (And we had thought we were in for a relatively boring 2 more days!)  Instead, we joined them as they settled into their room and then we all walked the relatively short distance to “downtown” where we bought ice cream, and browsed through the boutiques and island grocery store.  Then it was back to the Inn for a leisurely dinner a good visit and finally, into bed.  

We saw them off early the next morning for a second time and spent the rest of the day walking along the beach and reading our novels.  On Monday morning we finally headed back to the Bahamas, leaving the hotel at 7:00am and arriving back at Boat Harbour just before 5:00.  Another very long travelling day!  But this one too had a surprise ending when Fran and Tony welcomed us back with an invitation to join them along with Margaret and Ben from “Diva” for dinner aboard their yacht “Tourelou”--the perfect ending to a perfect holiday.

                                                                  Carrabean village pool
                                                                 Our villa in the Carabean village

                                                                  Some of the toys along the beach
                                                                  The family at lunch

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