TRAVEL – We took the Beaches/Continental Charter out of Philadelphia, nonstop to Provo, and our flight’s service was second-to-none. Champagne toast on the flight, great service and attitude from the crew. We arrived a bit early. Shuttle service was prompt and we were on the beach that afternoon.
For our return, our shuttle back to the hotel was scheduled to leave 3.5 hours before our flight. We reluctantly took the shuttle rather than getting a taxi a little bit later, however, there was no reason that we could find to be at the airport that early. Our flight was at 2:30 and by 12:10 we were ticketed, through security and ended up waiting in the crowded gate waiting area, not nearly large enough to accomodate the 3 flights leaving that afternoon. We left on a Saturday and were told we had to shuttle early because Saturday was a busy day at the airport. It was busy, but we could have arrived at 1:30 to no line at Continental, no line at security. We will remember that next time. A taxi to the airport would cost $20 and would be well worth it. The airport is not air conditioned, and the gate area was overly crowded. They do allow you to exit the gate area and go outside or to the restaurant which we did because our child was not tolerating the crowds and heat well. We stayed outside until they started boarding our flight.
ROOMS – We stayed in a 2 room suite so that our son could have a separate room for his crib. We had suite concierge service which was excellent. All questions/concerns were handled by the suite concierge. Our room was beautiful, however I must mention that in our first suite, we noticed a few large roaches at night when we turned on the lights to tend to our baby crying. They scurried across the floor, were hard to catch but my husband was able to kill them. I was quite alarmed to see roaches in our room, as we never saw them during our 1st visit to Beaches. We immediately went to concierge and were met with many apologies, and prompt action. They moved us to another building/suite, and upgraded us and our mother in law several levels to bigger and nicer suites. A valet moved ALL of our bags, and even wheeled our crib to the new room which was on the other side of the resort and closer to the beach. All was fine until the night before we left. It had rained the day before, and I found 3 more roaches in the room! Extremely alarmed, I called concierge and they sent the room manager to our room with a housekeeping person. Again, we were treated extremely well with huge apologies, and the explanation that pests are a constant battle on all tropical islands, which is true. The manager oversaw the housekeeping staff while they searched and cleaned our entire room, sprayed and assured us of no more roaches for our last night’s stay. They offered to move us again but we declined since we were leaving the next day. We didn’t see any more bugs. They also provided us with a generous credit of some incidentals on our bill as an apology, and a $50 gift certificate for the gift shop.
I must emphasize that even though the above incident was upsetting as I HATE bugs and they really freak me out, the way the staff and management at Beaches handled it was exemplary. I am very aware that roaches are on tropical islands, and even places like Florida have a hard time battling them. The Beaches staff was more than apologetic, very concerned about the situation and nipping it in the bud for the resort in general, and we felt the situation was handled very well. All in all, despite the above, we would still visit again. The "great" at Beaches far outweighs this incident.
STAFF/SERVICE – Excellent!! The staff at Beaches was very friendly, helpful and attentive. My mother-in-law was constantly commenting on how pleasant everyone was. Most of the staff seemed genuinely happy working at Beaches, which was refreshing.
The grounds of the hotel are just beautiful – immaculate landscaping and flowers.
FOOD – Get ready to eat ALOT. There were 9 restaurants to choose from, 2 of them for adults only. If you have children, you will love Bobby D’s diner/cafe…serving food around the clock, snacks, ice cream, etc. The water slides are great for kids AND adults…we went there often. The food in the restaurants was great – I would highly recommend Reflections Friday night seafood buffet – lobster, crab, etc – it was excellent. Giuseppe’s was excellent for dinner and lunch, and the Cafe Paris had great dessert crepes served from 3 to 5 in the afternoon.
THE ISLAND & BEACH – I save the best for last. The beaches and water in T & C are spectacular. The sand is powdery white and super-soft. The water is SO turquoise that sometimes the bottoms of the clouds in the sky have a turquoise hue to them, from the reflection off the water. You can walk for MILES on the beach undisturbed. We feel the island to be very safe and therefore rented an SUV to visit some of the more remote beaches.
CHALK SOUND/SAPODILLA BAY – I would HIGHLY recommend venturing off the resort in an SUV. It was SO worth the $69 for the day. We rented from Scooter Bob’s. They picked us up at the hotel and took us 5 minutes to the car lot. We got a Toyota 4-Runner in very good condition, with air conditioning. We had brought our son’s carseat and he came with us. Scooter Bob’s also had snorkel gear for rent for $10 a day – again, worth it as you will visit some amazing beaches. This was our second visit to the island and we knew where to go. If you visit T & C, you MUST visit Chalk Sound and Sapodilla Bay. I just cannot emphasize this enough!!!Just 10-15 minutes from the hotel, this sound and bay boast THE most amazing water in T & C. The sound is a HUGE area, as far as you can see, and looks like a huge lake of waist-deep, clear and almost "neon-like" turquoise water. The sound/bay is dotted with tiny islands the size of a few cars. It is a very ethereal (sp?) experience to see this bay. It feels like you are on another planet!! There are amazing houses along cliffs surrounding the sound and bay. It is THE most beautiful sight I have seen yet on this earth, and you cannot miss it if you go to T & C. You can see the sound beautifully from the road and there is a little pull-off area to stop, take pics and breathe it all in! Go further up the road and ask someone how to get to Sapodilla Bay Beach – a small, deserted beach with again amazing knee-deep water as far as you can see. You can park there, sun and relax. It’s a little hard to find but worth it.
MALCOMB’S ROAD BEACH/TIKI HUTS – Malcomb’s beach is another great find. The road to get there is much better than it was 4 yrs ago, but there is a 100 yard or so stretch that is AWFUL, but if you have an SUV, put it in 4-wheel drive and take the chance. Just take your time. It is worth it. When you arrive at Malcomb’s beach, you will find several other SUV’s/visitors who made the trip, so you won’t be alone. This beach is beautiful and is the sight of an old French Polynesian game show. There are very old, battered Tiki huts remaining, but there is NO shade, so bring your sunscreen. The tiki huts provide no shade, contrary to what the maps say. There is GREAT snorkeling here, and again it is a great place for pictures, sunning and relaxing. It is WORTH the drive.
All in all, our vacation was great! We will be going again, and are now considering purchasing a condo in T & C. Enjoy!