Turks and Caicos Islands

March 23, 2011

Island vacations can be sophisticated or rustic, active or serene. Head to the Turks and Caicos Islands and you can mix and match day by day. This scenic collection of 40 diverse destinations has your dream escape. Eight of the islands are inhabited. Many visitors prefer to lodge on Providenciales, known as Provo, which is renowned for its spacious accommodations and top-of-the-line services. Adventures await at sister islands such as Grand Turk and Salt Cay, where impressive Bahamian-style architecture is the backdrop for amazing diving. Cockburn Harbor has an intriguing blue hole, Middle Caicos boasts a large flamingo population, North Caicos is lush … in the Turks and Caicos Islands, you can have several vacations in one. If you’re eager to enjoy Provo’s exceptional diving, beautiful beaches and fine restaurants — without paying luxury prices — lodge at the Comfort Suites. This all-suite hotel provides everything discriminating travelers expect — except the high tariff.

Located directly across the street from Grace Bay Beach, with its own designated area with lounge chairs and shades, Comfort Suites is also adjacent to the Ports of Call Shopping Village. Restaurants, bars, boutiques and other service providers make convenient neighbors.

Better yet, Comfort Suites itself is a delightful place to lodge. Every guest room is a junior suite, each one refreshingly refurbished with new upholstery, flat-screen TVs, orthopedic bedding, sofa beds, refrigerators and free WiFi access. Guests gather around the 50-foot swimming pool and at the hotel bar. Did we mention breakfast is complimentary? This is the hotel that allows value travelers to enjoy this special destination. 888- 678-3483,


Ocean Club and Ocean Club West are situated right on Grace Bay Beach in a relaxed and casual setting. These all-suite resorts offer an ideal balance of quiet and activity. Stay at one and you’re a guest at both!

Each of the hotels has its own dive shop. Windsurfing, catamaran trips, sailboats and motorized skiffs invite you to head into the Caribbean Sea all day. At both hotels, stunning freshwater pools situated near tropical gardens invite a more leisurely experience. Barbecue areas surrounding the pools encourage relaxed dinners.

Ocean Club Resorts feature three restaurants, and all take advantage of entrees from the land and sea. At Opus Restaurant, the evenings- only eatery, chefs use local ingredients to creatively enliven classics. The beachfront Seaside Café has Caribbean cuisine with an Italian influence. Grab conch fingers or a wrap at the casual oceanfront Cabana Bar & Grille.


Each resort offers beautifully appointed accommodations ranging from studios to threebedroom suites. Lodgings begin at 400 square feet and are as generously sized as 1,900 square feet for a three-bedroom unit, which will comfortably fit a family or a group of friends. All units have a kitchenette or kitchen, a balcony or patio, and at least one full bathroom. In addition to the ability to prepare meals “at home,” families appreciate the rental strollers, beach toys, high chairs, baby monitors, books and board games. Between them, the resorts have spa treatments, a fitness center, tennis courts and complimentary bicycles. Many guests enjoy the greens at the nearby Provo Golf and Country Club. 800-457-8787,

If you’re looking for relaxation and indulgence in a Turks and Caicos vacation, then consider The Tuscany on Grace Bay. Situated on a lovely stretch of Grace Bay Beach, this luxury resort with Italian-influenced architecture provides a civilized escape. The Tuscany on Grace Bay ranks No. 1 out of 42 Providenciales hotels and resorts on TripAdvisor.

When guests are not exploring Providenciales or hitting the links at the nearby golf course, they’re enjoying the white sand and sunshine or unwinding by the pool. Tennis lovers will enjoy the court, lighted for night play.


The Tuscany’s 30 three-bedroom suites are expansive. Each uniquely decorated unit offers 2,000 square feet of amenities, including a gourmet kitchen and screened-in balcony with panoramic ocean views. The comforts of the master bathroom include a platform soaking tub, separate oversized shower and double vanity sinks, and, as a favor to families, many units come equipped with DVDs, toys and changing tables.

Terria Misick, the Tuscany’s gracious general manager, is dedicated to pampering lodgers. Want your suite stocked with groceries before you arrive? An exquisite meal prepared by a private chef? An indulgent spa treatment? Simply ask. Need to call home? No problem. The Tuscany provides complimentary Sony Ericsson cell phones, which work anywhere on the island. Ten dollars of free long-distance minutes is a gift from the management.

The Tuscany is giving away a five-night vacation. Aspiring winners should enter for their chance at by April 30. 866-359-6466,


If you think about what you want in a family vacation, The Alexandra Resort & Spa truly seems to have it all. And you can take advantage of the Suite ‘N’ the deal free-night program. You’ll be treated to plenty of room, including a dining area, a living room with a sleeper sofa, a washer/dryer and a full kitchen. Did we mention the DVR? Record a movie, microwave some popcorn and spend a cozy evening bonding.

Better yet, The Alexandra Resort offers a family program that lets you experience adventure, exploration and even a little quiet time for the two of you. After you settle into your suite, you may want to stock up on some supplies at the market, which offers goodies from breakfast cereal to pate de foie gras, milk to a beautiful cabernet sauvignon. The staff will be happy to shop for you if you’d prefer.

Take a day to explore the island, beautiful by nature. The Alexandra will provide the car, a picnic basket and a map of Provo. On another day, visit the sea. Enjoy a Hobie Cat and conduct your own cruise around the islands. And on an evening of your choice, the two grown-ups will enjoy a gourmet dinner at a private table for two on the beach while the little ones have a kidfriendly dinner with a babysitter.

Your family will remember these days together for many years to come, and The Alexandra Resort provides the perfect setting for this family portrait.800-284-0699,

One of the original hotels on the island of Provo, The Sands at Grace Bay continues to stand apart. Situated on a prime stretch of Grace Bay Beach, this recently renovated 114-room paradise has what vacationers seek. In addition to the gentle Caribbean Sea, guests can swim in one of three freeform swimming pools, which are connected by canals. A waterfall, Jacuzzi and intimate grottos enhance the lush hotel grounds. Lodgers can use the resort’s kayaks, windsurfing equipment, snorkel gear and Hobie Cats for free and can explore the grounds by bicycle. A tennis court is lighted for night play.

The hotel’s legendary Hemingway’s Beachfront Restaurant offers fine island and continental cuisine as well as alfresco dining right on a beach deck. It’s almost mandatory to begin each dinner with conch fritters. After that, perhaps you’ll feast on pan-seared grouper with tequila-veggie salsa, or grilled tender filet mignon with red wine-mushroom sauce. Guests preferring to prepare their own meals can do it in the privacy of their suites. The 1,000- to 1,600-square-foot accommodations feature full kitchens with granite counter tops. Even studios have mini refrigerators, microwave ovens, toasters and coffeemakers.

Special deals are available through mid- December. For example, with the Lasting Love Romance Package, you’ll be greeted en suite with fresh flowers, strawberries and a chilled bottle of bubbly. During your stay, you’ll be treated to his and hers Swedish massages, full scalp massages and mini reflexology sessions. You’ll relax other ways, too, such as with a couples sunset cruise and a couples beach cruise. Even roundtrip airport transfers are included. 877-777-2637,

Clearly, incredible accommodations at many price points are on the menu for your Turks and Caicos island vacation. Which wondrous island you choose to explore during each day … well, that’s up to you.


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