By Jillvella, · 761 Views · 5 Comments
My husband and I are frequent travelers – for both business and pleasure. We have stayed at two Sandals resorts (parent company of Beaches) in the past, so we expected the high level of service and quality received during our stay at Beaches Turks and Caicos. Below is my detailed review of our trip and wedding (3/10/12). Enjoy!
Travel and Arrival
To meet the residency requirement for our Saturday wedding, we traveled down to Turks on a Wednesday morning. For any fellow NYC area brides, we used Leros Point to Point car service. They are excellent – the driver arrived early for our 4 a.m. pick up and drove the whole way to the airport with my very large wedding dress in the passenger seat!
We took an American Airlines (AA) flight from NYC (JFK) direct to Provo (PLS). Once we arrived at JFK a AA skycap met us, helped us unload our bags from the car, checked our bags and printed our boarding passes – SUPER EASY!
Getting the dress through security was a breeze. Everyone was really nice and accommodating. My dress did have to go through the X-RAY machine, but they were very cautious and made sure the dress bag did not get caught up in the machine.
Once we got to the gate, we had a celebrity sighting (JOAN RIVERS!) and we were able to ask the gate agent if we could board the plane early. They let us board with the first class passengers.
Once on the plane, the flight crew was great. They hung my husband’s tux in the first class closet and allowed my dress to lay flat in the overhead bin above my seat (my dress was too big for the closet).
Flight was on time and very smooth.
When you land at the Provo airport, you will need to exit the plane and walk on the tarmac outside. It’s a short walk till you get inside to wait on the line for immigration. There are about 6 agents – there were two flights that landed at the same time, and we were last off the plane (since we had to retrieve the dress and tux) so it took us about 45 mins to clear through immigration. Once you clear through immigration, you retrieve your checked luggage and then wait on line to go through customs. So long as you are not bringing in anything besides your personal belongings, you can go through the “nothing to declare” line.
The staff at the airport is very nice – just be patient and you should have no problems.
Shuttle to Beaches
After you clear customs, exit the airport and turn to your left. Walk to the end of the sidewalk and you will see the podium with the Beaches sign.
Give the attendant your name and they will check you off on the list. They will then write your room number on your baggage. Once the shuttle arrives, they will load your bags. It’s about a 10 minute ride to the resort.
Note: Though Beaches is an all-inclusive resort, we usually tip the driver. I believe the drivers are not employed by the resort.
Arrival at the Resort
Our room was in the Caribbean village, so we were “delivered” to the Caribbean village lobby. Once off the van, you are greeted with a cold towel and a rum punch (delicious!). You are escorted inside to the lobby to check-in. You fill in some paperwork and leave a credit card on file for any room charges. Your bags will be delivered directly to your room. At this point our wedding planner, Ivette, met us and gave us some items to review for our meeting the following day.
On this visit, our room was not ready when we arrived. Fortunately, we always travel with swim suits in our carry-on bags – so we quickly changed and headed to the beach and grabbed some lunch.
An hour later our room was ready.
The Hotel Room
We stayed in the Honeymoon Caicos Premium King room in the Caribbean village. This was one of the less expensive room rates. The room was on the second floor, with a garden view. The room was spotless and beautiful. We did not have a bar in our room, but we did have a fully stocked fridge of soda, water and juices. Our housekeeper was lovely. Every evening she would decorate the room with a fantastic towel sculpture. Once she realized we were getting married – she would also leave us a lovely note. It’s these extra touches that make this place so special. My only complaint (if you can call it that) would be that the room had a cd player vs. an ipod player.
The grounds of the resort are beautiful. Everything is very well maintained and spotless. The resort is large and is broken up into 3 main sections. After a day or two you’ll get they lay of the land – but for the first few days be sure to carry the map!
In short – the Caribbean village is quiet, not too many kids. It also has an adult only Jacuzzi overlooking the ocean. The French Village – also quiet not too many kids. The Italian Village – kid central – mostly due to the water park, Bobby D’s restaurant and other kid friendly amenities.
My husband and I stayed at the resort for 7 days. In that time we managed to eat at 8 of the 16 restaurants. Needless to say there is plenty of variety and something for every palate. You can get something to eat at any point during the day/night – literally 24/7.
Barefoot by the Sea – Best Breakfast – most fun!
Schooners – Second Best Breakfast – most beautiful view!
Cricketers – had lunch here twice – was a nice break to lunch in air conditioning. Food is pub style- very tasty!
Arizona’s – had lunch here a few times. Right near the Arizona’s pool and close to the beach. Buffet style- something for everyone.
Café de Paris – Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee! Need I say more! Delicious pastries too!
Bella Napoli Pizzeria – Yummy! Thin crust and very tasty – this is coming from a native New Yorker, so you know it must be good!
Le Petit Chateau – this is one of the adults only restaurants. We had dinner here three of the six nights! Delicious! Recommendations: Black Truffle Risotto & Grand Marnier Crème Brulee.
Kimonos – you need reservations for this restaurant. We dined here with all of our guests the day after our wedding. Food was yummy – best described as hibachi with a Caribbean twist. Staff is great – very entertaining!
The only bars we went to were Turtles, Arizona’s Pool Bar and Cricketers. We spent a lot of time as a group at Turtles – since 90% of our guests stayed in the Caribbean village. The bartenders at Turtles were great – very entertaining and they made great drinks. We partied here the night after our wedding and the following night (Karaoke) VERY FUN!
My husband and “his boys” hung out at Cricketers the night before the wedding and had a great time.
Arizona’s pool bar was awesome – Benji, Joel and KC were great. Ask for the chocolate cake shot and the Spongebob Happy face drink.
The Red Lane spa is located in the French Village of the resort. I was a frequent visitor – as I had a hair and make-up trial the Thursday before the wedding, and my hair and make-up done for both the day of the wedding and the day after the wedding. Marilyn was my stylist for all three days, and she was fantastic, kind and made me look and feel beautiful!
My mom, sister and Maid of Honor also got their hair and make-up done for the day of the wedding and they loved the results.
My husband got a massage the day before the wedding and he says it was the best massage he’s ever gotten!
The day after we arrived, we met with Ivette, our wedding planner. We sat in her office to fill out the necessary paperwork for the marriage license and also reviewed all of the items we had pre-planned/ paid for with Dexter (wedding coordinator in Miami). At this meeting we also did our cake tasting and the went for a walk around the property to choose the locations for our Welcome Dinner, Ceremony Site and Reception location.
Ivette was awesome to work with, very organized and so sweet. She really make us feel comfortable and at ease – so I was able to let go and enjoy being in paradise rather than stress about wedding planning stuff.
We had our welcome “dinner” on Friday evening, which is the same day the resort has a beach party. Ivette suggested that instead of a formal dinner, we do a cocktail party instead so that our guests could attend the cocktail party and then head over to the beach party. This was a perfect decision. Our “Welcome Party” was set up in one of the pavilions overlooking the beach. Was a perfect location for some group photos. We had a selection of hors d'oeuvres, sushi and crudités. DELICIOUS! We also had a full bar set up. It was perfect- a great way for all of our guests to mingle and get to know each other and a great setting for us to thank all of our guests for making the trip.
After cocktails, the boys went to the beach to smoke some Cuban cigars and us girls made our way to the beach party. We had a great time – my maid of honor and I actually participated in a contest to win a painting. It was a dance contest to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” which I found hysterical since it was indeed my last night as a single lady! Neither of us one but it was a great time!
So now to the good stuff! The Wedding day! Our wedding was at 4 p.m. – so we had the whole day to enjoy with our guests.
We started the morning with breakfast at Schooners. Was great, since so many of our guests were also dining there. After breakfast, we headed back to our room, and my husband packed up his tux and personal items and then left to go hang out with the boys. He got ready in another room so I could get ready in our room. After he left, I retrieved my dress from the closet and hung it to get some of the wrinkles out. My MOH arrived a bit later and used her steamer to get the rest of the wrinkles out of the dress. My Mom and Sister were due in the spa at noon for hair/ make up and my MOH and I followed at 1 p.m. The staff in the spa was great- so so so nice!!!
After the spa my MOH and I headed to Café de Paris for some iced coffee and some pastries! Must has been a site to see someone walk into the café with a robe and veil on!
We made our way back to the room and started getting dressed. The photographer, Jimmy came up to the room at about 3:00 p.m. and took photos of me, my girls and my parents. He then left to go take photos of the boys.
The wedding coordinator had the men of the wedding party and our guest meet at turtles lounge at 3:30 and then escorted everyone to Schooners where the ceremony took place.
Once all of our guests were seated at the outdoor section of Schooners, Ivette called my room to let me know the coast was clear to head to the lobby. My Mom, Dad, Sister and MOH met Ivette in the lobby where she gave everyone their flowers. She then escorted us to the back entrance of Schooners. I waited inside the restaurant.
At 4 p.m. our wedding ceremony began. It was beautiful. We hired the steel-drum player- My Mom, grandma, sister and MOH walked down the aisle to “Ave Maria”. I walked down to “Here comes the bride”. My groom was facing the ocean, with his back to me. He was turned around just as I began to walk down the aisle. His face was priceless.
Reverend Howell was our officiant. He was wonderful! He made us feel very relaxed and made sure personalize the ceremony. It was very special. We also did the sand ceremony, which was a really special touch. After the kiss, Ivette and her staff surrounded us with pink rose petals as we made our way down the aisle.
We then were seated at a table just at the end of the aisle to sign our marriage certificate. Was quick and easy!
After the ceremony and signing, all of our guests stayed for group photos, then family photos, then wedding party photos and finally bride and groom photos. The videographer also grabbed some additional footage.
At this point, Ivette escorted our guests to the Adult Jacuzzi where we held our 3 hour dinner reception. . We chose the Beautiful Beginnings theme – it was perfect for the location! While my husband and I took photos on the beach our guest enjoyed the cocktail hour. After we were done taking photos, the photographer let DJ Colours (we hired a DJ for the entire night – well worth the $$) know we were ready to be introduced. He introduced us and played our selected music. It was great fun! We were then able to sit and chat for a few minutes before our first dance, the dance with my dad and the cake cutting.
After the formalities were complete, we immediate went into full dancing party mode while dinner was being served. Since we had over 20 guests, we were able to select 2 entrée choices: Mahi Mahi and Beef Tenderloin. Both were delicious. We also selected the rum shrimp as an appetizer, tropical fruit salad and for dessert: BAKED ALASKA! Delicious! Our wedding cake was chocolate rum- also very delicious!! The wait staff and bartenders were excellent. They were so nice and accommodating to all of our guests! They even got out on the dance floor!
Note: We paid for the standard video- this covered the ceremony, introduction, and first dance. I also have footage of my dance with my dad, but sadly there is no footage of the best man’s or maid of honor’s speech – so if you want this footage let the wedding planner know in advance.
The night flew by – we had so much fun that we continued the party in the Turtles lounge. It was a magical fantastic day and night and I would not have changed a thing. Truly a wedding celebration in paradise!