Where to stay:
I personally stayed at, toured or dined at each property on this list.
Ports Of Call Resort
Formerly a Comfort Suites, Ports of Call is a simple hotel with a budget-friendly price tag. Rooms surround a landscaped courtyard pool and there is a small bar but no restaurant. While not located on the beach, the hotel does offer a dedicated beach area with lounge chairs, towels and a beach shuttle for the use if its’ guests. With free Wifi and free continental breakfast, it’s one of the most economical lodging options on the island.
The Alexandra offers one of the best values on the island, especially for studio units that sleep two. Breakfast isn’t included, but the onsite Mango Reef restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Mango Reef is super-popular with locals, first-timers to Provo and has a large following of regulars who come for the fish tacos and other island specialties. Our two-bedroom beachfront suite was spacious and recently refurbished with bright and interesting linens, fabrics and funky furnishings. Rooms could be a bit cleaner and there were some slight maintenance issues (blistering paint, missing electrical boxes), but we’d stay there again in a heartbeat. It’s in a great location within walking distance to many of the islands favorite restaurants, bars and shopping. Full beach service is provided to guests.
Seven Stars Resort
On a beautiful stretch of Grace Bay, Seven Stars offers luxury accommodations, fine and casual dining and outstanding service. My visit coincided with the arrival of Tropical Storm Cristobal and I wouldn’t have wanted to be staying anywhere else during the storm that dumped nearly 12 inches of rain on the island. The staff, even though many of them were dealing with personal storm-related issues, never wavered from unfailingly polite, warm and thoughtful service. The comfort and safety of the guests remained of utmost importance.
Beach House Turks and Caicos
When you want to totally chill out and get away from it all, Beach House is where you’ll want to stay. The rooms have no numbers so you never feel like a number. Beach House is located on one of the nicest, quietest and most low key stretches of Grace Bay Beach. Second floor beachfront suites have the best unobstructed views of Grace Bay. Suites offer massive living, kitchen and dining space in an open floor plan. Daybeds on balconies/terraces are the place to catch a nap or listen to the waves. Rooms are decorated to mimic the sand, sea and sky.
As soon as your taxi drops you off in front of the pastel sherbet colored buildings, you see that view. It’s a view you’ll never forget. Cold towels and a rum punch welcome you. Rooms and suites are luxurious, invoking the feeling of being on a luxury yacht with infinitely more space. If this hotel isn’t on your radar it should be.
Beaches Turks and Caicos
A day pass to Beaches Turks and Caicos gives you access to all the facilities from 10am to 6pm. All the restaurants, bars, non-motorized watersports and activities are yours for the day. Frankly, you won’t know where to begin! 19 restaurants and 12 bars is fabulously overwhelming. You’d better get started!
Arriving mid-morning, the resort is just waking up. Families linger over breakfast. Couples claim their spot by the beach or pool. Parents are dropping their kids off at the kids club so they can have some alone time. It’s not long before you’ll notice someone having their first cocktail of the day. Beaches has an ebb and a flow that doesn’t take long to get used to.
We made it our mission to embark on a cuisine sampling mission around the massive resort starting with delicious cookies, cakes and iced coffee drinks from Café de Paris.
Lunch was at Bobby Dee’s, a 50’s-style American diner that opens early and is close to all the water park action. Giant burgers, crispy fries and a refreshing chicken Caesar Salad hit the spot. The kids LOVE that there is an ice cream counter and cotton candy machine at Bobby Dee’s. Hot dogs, cookies and soft-serve ice cream are available nearly around the clock – this dining spot is open 19 hours a day! No wonder Beaches Resort is known for being so family-friendly.
After that the boys head to the water park where they slip and slide down every water slide while I wander around the resort, get my bearings and grab a rum punch at one of the quiet pools at the Key West Village. I’m in heaven.
Next it was a snack at the authentically British Cricketers Pub where we ordered potato wedges with mushroom sauce and blue cheese to-go and noshed poolside in the Italian Village. Late afternoon it was an authentic wood-fired pepperoni pie with a thin and crispy crust from Bella Napoli Pizzeria.
As we’re sitting at the swim up bar at the French Village pool, a server passes around a tray of champagne to guests lounging poolside. At 4:00 in the afternoon. And so it goes at Beaches Turks and Caicos. Butler service? They’ve got it. Concierge service? That too. Fine dining and casual restaurants? The restaurants serve cuisine from many countries and some American favorites too. Top shelf drinks? It’s all included (some services require upgraded room types).
You have your choice of over 24 different room types in 4 distinctly different villages: Carribean, French, Italian and Key West. Key West Village is the newest and has the most luxurious accommodations, like four-bedroom butler residences with private pools.
Are those pine trees in that shady picnic grove along the shores of Grace Bay Beach?? Yep, its the Carribean Pine looking so out of place in this tropical paradise. On Friday evening, we relaxed in this grove of pines as guests of the weekly Beaches Turks and Caicos beach party. The mood is decidedly festive: Twinkling lights are strung overhead. A DJ plays pumping music that gets families up dancing. And the food? It’s over the top. We’re treated to every barbecued meat and side dish imaginable. And the desserts. Oh my, the desserts.
Grace Bay Club
Grace Bay Club offers a quiet setting with some adults-only sections, fewer families than many Grace Bay resorts and spectacular dining options at Anacaona (fine dining) and Grill Rouge (casual oceanside bistro). We dined at Grill Rouge on Spicy Chili Crab Pasta with Roasted Garlic and Zucchini. The pasta was creamy without being overly rich with a nice dose of sufficient heat. Diners are surrounded by atmospheric tiki torches and red umbrellas, red oil lamps and red placemats create a sophisticated ambience. Service was casual yet attentive. South Caicos Reef Red Snapper was a simple grilled dish with mango salsa, basil basmati rice, papaya cilantro sauce.
Loding options: The Hotel (12 and over), The Villas (family-friendly) and The Estate (family-friendly).
Drink to get: The unique cocktail list is long and inventive. Get the Almond Joy Martini.
Dessert to get: The sour cream cheesecake is firm yet creamy and just a little bit tart.
Somerset on Grace Bay
This list of accolades is endless for this beachfront resort on 4.6 acres along Grace Bay Beach. The 53 luxury villas and suites are a study in casual elegance and are simply stunning. Ranging from a 1,400 sq. ft one-bedroom garden villa to a 5,300 sq. ft. five-bedroom estate penthouse, accommodations are designed in a European tradition among lush lawns and perfectly manicured gardens.
The popular Beach party BBQ, offered every Tuesday, was forced off the beach due to rough weather earlier in the week. We still got a taste of the fun though, thanks to Winston, a.k.a. Snoop, who serves as the resort bellman by day and spins tunes at night. In Pavillion restaurant, the chef set up assorted salads, side dishes and desserts. But it was the cooked to order meats, fish and seafood that stole the show. Large lobster tails were cooked to perfection – tender, moist and with simple seasonings that let the sweet lobster flavor take center stage. Our dinner companion raved about the tuna, our 12-year old enjoyed the pork tenderloin and I was crazy about the Mahi Mahi.
But let’s face it: the real reason you’re here is the beach. The Somerset sits on 400 pristine feet of beachfront. Fitness enthusiasts will adore the 183 foot reverse-current lap pool while relaxation enthusiasts will spend their time in the infinity-edge pool overlooking the ocean. The spa features two treatments rooms, a large steam room and an outdoor relaxation area.
The Regent Palms has it all: luxurious accommodations, a stellar beachfront, fine and casual dining and the acclaimed Spa at The Regent Palms.
The centerpiece of the 25,000 square foot spa is the T-shaped reflecting pool. At night, I imagine this area to be visually stunning with candlelit lanterns along the walkways. Located at the front of the property, I heard some traffic noises during my treatment but I also heard the blissful sounds of trickling water, soothing music and chirping birds.
Sometimes you need just a treatment: Maybe it’s a facial to address problematic skin or a massage to alleviate tight muscles. And then there is the wow factor of the 60-minute Hanakasumi ritual steeped in Japanese tradition. My therapist, Ann Marie, performed a dry gomage with rice powder and exfoliating mitts followed by one of the best full body massages of my life. Treatments are performed in individual treatment bungalows and outdoor massages are also available. There is a steam room, sauna and ritual room where the walls slide away for open air yoga. The spas signature color – a soothing, silvery green – adorns the treatment beds, the silky microfiber robes and the billowy curtains of the open air relaxation area.
I was impressed with the electronic features such as the email appointment confirmations sent at the time of booking, the appointment reminder the day before my treatment and the email thank-you message that followed my treatment.
Dinner at Parallel23 was indeed a special affair. We were seated outdoors on a marble terrace overlooking the incredibly talented Julian Garland, a popular singer who performs at a variety of Turks and Caicos venues. The music, the theatrical lighting, the warm, balmy breezes all made for a perfect and memorable night. You can see Julian performing at Parallel23 in the video at the top of this article.
The dish that stole the show was the truffle mac and cheese: it was rich, earthy and just plain incredible. The spaghetti aglio oilo, a simple dish of pasta, feta cheese, garlic, cherry tomatoes, olive oil and pepper flakes, had a hint of a fiery kick. And the desserts? The lemon meringue pie with raspberry sorbet was a cylinder of shortbread crust with tart and tangy lemon filling with the creamiest meringue you’ve ever tasted. It was a work of art.
The cheerful and incredibly attentive waitstaff handled families with children with the same ease and grace as couples who were enjoying a wine-soaked romantic dinner. It was a well-executed team of service professionals.
Gansevoort Turks and Caicos
Gansevoort is one of Providenciales’ swankiest hangouts: It’s sexy, glamorous and trendy. A big draw is the Friday night DJ party and the well known exhale mindbodyspa. Couples and singles are most at home here; families are welcome too. Rooms are airy, modern and have a smart, urban feel.
Beach House Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands: Where to stay, eat and spa (Pampering Pods at Beach House )
What to do:
Here is the thing about a Turks and Caicos vacation: These islands have the ability to soothe even my list-making, uber planning soul. Our plans consisted of relaxing on the beach, walking on the beach, having a cocktail on the beach and dining near the beach. Really, it’s all about the beach and the warmest, bluest turquoise water you’ve ever seen. If you must leave the beach, here are a few ideas:
If you are considering a snorkel cruise in Providenciales, you could not be in better hands than Island Vibes. I should add that the crew on Island Vibes are good-humored and acommodating. Case in point: I observed the crew willing to go out of their way to comfort a passenger with extreme motion sickness. It doesn’t hurt that Captain Spike has a fabulous Jamaican accent either.
Other things to do:
- Snorkeling on Bight Reef in front of Windsong Resort and Coral Gardens
- Get a day pass at Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos
- Enjoy a spa treatment at one of the many spas at hotels and resorts along Grace Bay. For a special experience, book an outdoor treatment in an oceanside cabana.
- Go on a self-directed happy hour beach walking tour of the many bars along Grace Bay Beach. Decide for yourself who has the best rum punch on the island. Note: You may be more comfortable taking a cab back to your hotel in the dark. While Providenciales is a safe island, some sections of Grace Bay Beach can be rather dark and isolated at night. Practice safety and awareness just like you would at home.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer and her family were guests of the properties, restaurants and spas featured in this roundup. While the writer did not dine or stay at Ports of Call Resort or Gansevoort Turks and Caicos, a property tour was offered.