In the collection of Turks and Caicos Islands, you will find the island of Providenciales. In Providenciales, you will find Grace Bay Beach, a 12-mile stretch of the most beautiful white sand you’ve ever laid eyes on. On that beach, you will find Ocean Club Resorts, two deluxe properties that are ideal for any vacationer, especially families.
Ocean Club is not an all-inclusive hotel where an animation team is yelling Bingo numbers poolside while guests do the limbo to win bottles of rum. Instead, it has a quiet, relaxing atmosphere, with condo-type suites that are perfect for multiple families or large groups. A three-bedroom suite, for example, includes a full living room, dining area, kitchen (with full-size appliances, dishes and cooking utensils), three and-a-half bathrooms, washer/dryer and a huge, fully furnished screened-in porch or balcony. (Cribs, playpens, highchairs, strollers and baby monitors are available, too.) But as nice as the suites are, you won’t want to spend too much time indoors. The beach is beyond breathtaking, with the soft, white sand and calm, turquoise waters. Kids will enjoy hunting for shells, building sand castles and splashing around.
Get the conch. Sure, they may look funny (and actually pretty gross if you get an up-close look), but conch is the local specialty and you won’t understand the hype until you try it. Inside that beautiful pink shell is a very large sea snail. The meat is used in fritters, soup, chowder, curry, cracked conch and conch ceviche. You can sample several recipes at the resort’s on-site restaurants: Seaside Café, Cabana Bar Grille or Opus Restaurant. Da Conch Shack, a truly unique restaurant/bar, is only a short cab ride away and well worth the effort. The conch is harvested right off the beach, along with grouper, snapper and lobster. Enjoy lunch or dinner with the sand under your toes. Afterward, check out the local conch farm. Kids can get up close and personal with conch and learn about their life cycle.
Families are encouraged to use the three pools, tennis courts and complimentary bikes at the resorts. When you’ve had too much sun, check out the library of DVDs, books and board games. Water Play Total Adventure Co. offers kayaking, paddle boarding, cycling, kitesurfing and yoga outings for the whole family. Or you can sail on the Atabeyra, a 77-foot schooner chartered by Sun Charters. Visit pristine, secluded beaches, or jump off the side for a quick snorkel. The little ones will love searching for starfish in shallow waters.
In The Area
If you fear you will suffer from resort boredom, don’t worry. The area is safe and friendly, and there are many shops and restaurants within walking distance, plus a grocery store, mini-putt and spa.
Amy Bielby is the managing editor of ParentsCanada. Read her blog at ParentsCanada.com/toddlertales.
For more information, visit oceanclubresorts.com
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, November 2013.