Have you decided you want to visit a Beaches Resort for your next vacation? Or maybe you’re on the fence about visiting a Beaches Resort because you aren’t sure which resort to choose? My family had the pleasure of visiting two different Beaches Resorts when we were invited to Beaches Moms: Social Media on the Sand the past two years. We had two incredible family vacation experiences at two very different Beaches Resorts. Here are a few tips for choosing a Beaches Resort for your vacation.
In the fall of 20015, we visited Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa. The resort was beautiful and it was by far one of the best family vacations that we’ve had. Last fall, we visited Beaches Negril Resort & Spa. We had another great vacation, but the resort and amenities were different than Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa. The only Beaches Resort that we haven’t visited is Beaches Ocho Rios, but we hope to visit that location eventually.
Most of the resort amenities at Beaches Resort are very similar. The standard amenities are free water sports, great food, kids camp, water park, and airport transfers. I’m going to compare how each of these are slightly different at each resort.
Tips for choosing a Beaches Resort for your vacation:
Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa is the largest Beaches property; it offers the greatest daily restaurant selection. Every Beaches Resort offers a very similar restaurant selection with similar menus. The restaurants rotate being open for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner on select days. We found the food very comparable between Beaches Turks & Caicos and Beaches Negril. Since the Turks & Caicos location is larger and services more guests, there were multiple restaurants open each day. Because the Negril location was smaller, there were fewer options. It’s important to book reservations to the restaurants that require them, especially in Negril. We did find that the coffee shop, Cafe de Paris in Negril was much more centrally located and offered a wider variety of tasty options. It appeared to have been recently updated, and offered a wide selection of barista-made coffee drinks, pastries, crepes, and ice cream. I’ve read that the Beaches Ocho Rios location is larger than Beaches Negril, but not as large as Beaches Turks & Caicos.
The waterpark at the Turks & Caicos location was incredible. My son, who was just 5 at the time, loved the surf simulator which isn’t available at the other two resorts. There were multiple slides and a large lazy river. The Negril location offers a similar water park but on a much smaller scale. If your family really enjoys visiting the water park, the Turks & Caicos location is better, hands-down.
One of the highlights of our Beaches Negril vacation was our snorkeling excursion and the glass bottom boat ride. Gabe and I snorkeled out near a reef, and it was a positive experience for a 6 year old. We saw a wide variety of fish and coral. He was so excited that he kept trying to talk through the snorkel. The boat operators would visit different locations so that individuals who wanted to snorkel each day could experience different locations. They use the same boat for the glass bottom boat rides. We rode over to a small nearby island and down part of Negril’s 7 mile stretch of beach. While we were in Turks & Caicos the water was very rough, so many of the water sports were restricted. I took the sailing class in Turks & Caicos, which I highly recommend. I also took my husband and (then 5 year old) son out on a sailboat. The Beaches employee that went out with us allowed my son to attempt sailing the boat for a few moments. The major advantage of visiting a Beaches Resort is that water sports, including scuba diving, are free, as long as you sign up before all the spots are filled for that day. I would have taken Gabe snorkeling every day if we had enough time.
One issue that should be considered when selecting a Beaches Resort for vacation is resort size. Bigger isn’t always better, especially if you don’t like walking. Beaches Turks & Caicos is a large resort and you can do a great deal of walking each day. Several of the specialty restaurants are located within the different villages. The Beaches Negril location is significantly smaller and most of the restaurants/activities were just a brief walk from each other. If someone in your party has an issue with mobility, you would want to take that into consideration.
We stayed in a slightly different class of room at each resort. We had a small 1 bedroom suite in Turks & Caicos at the Parrot Cay Villas in the Caribbean Village. Gabe had his own bed in a separate bedroom and we had a balcony with an obstructed (but beautiful) ocean view. Our oceanview room in Negril was more like a standard hotel room with two queen beds, and it was located in the Santa Cruz buildings. The overall room decor and style at the two resorts were very similar. I didn’t mind the difference in room size, because we didn’t spend much time in our room.
My son had great experiences at both Kids Camp locations. He was eager to go every day and he didn’t want to leave. In both locations, if I came to sign him out and it was in the middle of an activity, the staff convinced me to let him stay. He always had other children to play with and he quickly made new friends, which is important if you’re traveling with an only child. It’s amusing to see other families out during dinner or walking around the resort, and have your child start yelling, “Hey, there’s my friend ‘so-and-so’ from camp.” Both camps offered very similar daily activities and operating hours. The Kids Camp at the Negril location was just outside our front door, so pick-up and drop-off was easy.
If you aren’t traveling with children, you might want to consider one of the many Sandals Resorts scattered around the Caribbean. They offer 15 locations spread out over five countries.
Are you ready for your next family vacation? Do you have a specific resort in mind? I hope you found these tips for choosing a Beaches Resort for your vacation helpful, and please let me know if you have any questions. I’m sure that whether you visit the secluded Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa, the original Beaches Negril, Jamaica or the “resort built for everyone”, Beaches Ocho Rios, Jamaica, I’m sure that your family will have a sun and fun filled vacation.