The breathtaking Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean is home to the award-winning Beaches Resort Villages & Spa.
A tropical island paridise surrounded by turquise waters and white sands this tiny speck on the map is fast becoming a hot tourist destination and its easy to see why.
Mary Aziz went to see how recent demand has lead to a new luxury village being built in the complex and what they had to say about it.BTN: When was Beaches first opened?
BEACHES: Twelve years ago, since then we have added the French Village at a total cost of $125m and the Italian Village which is due to open at the start of the new year.
BTN: And tell me about its location?
BEACHES: We are on Providenciales situated on the north east of the island, eleven minutes from the airport on the island of Providenciales. We have the world’s largest Conch Farm which is the local signature dish as well as some of the most beautiful settings around.
Turks and Caicos is actually made up of eight islands, North, South, East, West and Middle Caicos, Providenciales, Grand Turks and Salt Cay. North and Middle are joined by a cause way with some amazing caves that have been there for hundreds of years and are quite breathtaking.
BTN: What is the current capacity of Beaches?
BEACHES: It is currently 153 rooms and each room can take 4 people. We also have a number of suites and two-bedroom villas on the beach front which can take up to 8 with the addition of pull out beds.
Currently there are 3 pools, the French Pool, The Banana Pool and the Arizona Pool and 11 restaurants. This will be rising to 16 next year with the completion of the Italian Village. “Reflections” is incredibly popular for breakfast. It is the buffet restaurant just outside the “lobby; they make omelettes to order, fresh juices, smoothies etc. They can take about 800 people every single day
“Giuseppe’s” and “Le Petit Chateau” in the French Village are very popular for dinner as well as “Kimonos” the Teriyaki Restaurant and our Sushi Bar which is very good.
“Scooners” is our a la carte restaurant on the beach with beautiful views of the ocean. It is also very popular for breakfast and also serves as a fish restaurant in the evening.
The “Arizona” buffet is very popular at lunch times. There they make fresh pasta dishes to order as well as having a bar-b-que with jerk chicken burgers as well as other meats.
In the new Italian Village we are introducing a more relaxed approach to dining by adding a barefoot restaurant on the sea front where people can come and eat there lunch or dinner with their feet in the sand.
We are also adding a new pizzeria as well as new 250 capacities Italian restaurant called Mario’s as well as the all important English pub with Bangers and Mash and Shepard’s Pie on the menu
BTN: You had some extreme weather conditions just recently which affected the majority of the Caribbean. How badly were you affected here?
BEACHES: We were not affected that badly here, mainly just cosmetic landscape damage. Structurally we were very lucky. Before this year the last time we had a hurricane here was 10 years ago and even that wasn’t severe. The most they usually suffer here is some strong rain but that’s about it. On average we usually however only get around 19 days of rain in the whole of Turks and Caicos as we are very flat and we don’t have the trees to attract the rain fall. Also we are protected a lot from the neighbouring Haiti / Dominican Republic and Cuba
The behaviour of Hurricane Hannah was incredibly freak, to the point where they couldn’t predict the path the way they normally do with hurricanes. She came through once and then doubled back and came through again before Ike came in.
BTN: There is a great deal of excitement over the new Italian Village due to open here early next year, what makes it different to the spectacular villages that exist here already?
BEACHES: People will be able to come and stay from January 20th however final completion for the restaurants pool, pub etc is not until May. By the time all those restaurants are completed we will have the largest ratio of restaurants to room in the entire world.
We are also opening two bedroom family suits that will be able at capacity to hold up to 20 people within its three rooms which is unique.
We have an underground tunnelling system which allows all dirty crockery and laundry to be dealt with out of sight. The landscape is obviously spectacular however probably the most special thing about it though is the Special Personal Butler Service which will be on offer. Your own personal butler will check you in your room/suite, pack/unpack for you, run baths for you or for the children, prepare your food, drinks cocktails, do your shopping for you buy any souvenirs any thing you want.
There is a kids spa, night club, all rooms have play stations/x box and plasma screens. They have a mature design in mahogany, incredibly luxurious with the most amazing views of the World Travel Awards “World’s Leading Beach”, Grace Bay Beach which runs 12 miles of white sands and turquoise waters.
BTN: You have just hosted the World Travel Awards here. How was the atmosphere around the place?
BEACHES: The thing about a place like Beaches is that they are at their best when they are busy. They come alive with the buzz of people enjoying themselves so its perfect for an events like The World Travel Awards.
An international event like the World Travel Awards brings people from all around the world and is a great opportunity to showcase ourselves to the rest of the world.
People can look at pictures in brochures but until they come and stand here in the middle of it they can never really truly understand the true beauty of it. So the best way to sell it is first hand. We do a lot of travel agent tours for that very reason and we increase that when the World Travel Awards are on so that they can then go away and let the consumer know first hand with real conviction just how beautiful it is here.
It’s a real honour not just to host these awards but to have received them to, they are a global accreditation that define some peoples choice of destination
BTN-So finally we have the opening of the Italian village coming up what else do we have on Beaches horizon?
BEACHES: Before the Italian village opens we have the finals of the World Finals of the Madden Challenge EA sport in January and then post-May we will be introducing the water slide which will be a big event for all the family to enjoy.