Friday, August 21, 2015

Cool weather refuge: the Sands at Grace Bay in the Turks and Caicos

The 12-mile stretch of talcum powder beach greets you at the Sands at Grace Bay in the Turks & Caicos  (Taylor)
PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS & CAICOS The long, hot summer is nearing an end. Soon there will be a chill in the air, the leaves will change colors and football tailgate parties will be a weekly event. And when Old Man Winter returns with blustery bursts of Arctic weather, that’s when the Caribbean beckons.

The Turks & Caicos are within easy reach from the U.S., especially the East Coast and the Sands at Grace Bay is an ideal getaway to escape the common cold.

One of several pools at the Sands at Grace Bay  (Taylor)
No imagination is required to see how this lovely 114-suite resort in the up-and-coming Turks & Caicos Islands derives its name. From the moment you cast your eyes on the seemingly endless expanse of powdery white beach that seeps gently into clear turquoise and ultra-marine water, you are beguiled by timeless rhythms that wash over you and cast your fate to the winds.

The Turks & Caicos are situated in the British West Indies south of the Bahamas and north of the Dominican Republic. The archipelago of 41 islands and cays is less than 600 miles from Miami and are accessible by air from Florida in about 80 minutes.

Nestled just to the east of the crook of the boomerang shaped island of Providenciales, the Sands peers out to transparent shades of the Atlantic Ocean for more than a mile before changing to a deep navy blue when the sea floor dramatically plunges 2,000 feet.
Checking in at the spacious, airy lobby  (Taylor)

The lobby with its Caribbean Plantation style ambiance is like the top of an hourglass where the portal guides guests through a tunnel of time into a different realm. Six three-story buildings line the perimeter of the resort past serpentine garden walkways and sequestered pools united by tranquil meandering canals. 

Ultimately, all paths lead to the 12-mile stretch of white sand beach known as Grace Bay where guests are treated to a contemporary present that serenely blends with a once-upon-a-time past.
Portal to modern comfort with gracious reflections on the past  (Taylor)

 Travelers benefit from the best of two worlds at the Sands and the TCI. Modern infrastructure including a shopping mall, multiplex cinema, casino, fine restaurants and luxurious accommodations offer upscale comfort amid an ambiance of barefoot relaxation.

A pristine destination -- Local rock iguana (Taylor)
With English being the local language, American dollars the currency and electricity that is the same as the U.S., the biggest adjustment may be driving on the left side of the road.

For travelers, the Sands offers the best value for the traveling dollar in Providenciales. Accommodations come in four categories; studios and one, two and three bedroom suites. All rooms, except Studio Courtyards, have a washer and dryer.

Other amenities include air conditioning, cable television, ceiling fans, irons and ironing boards, hair dryers and free wi-fi. Suites are equipped with kitchen facilities including a microwave. In addition, there is a small convenience store on the property.

Rooms are spacious, with “spacious” being the operative word. Oversized balconies complement the ample living accommodations.
Rooms are spacious and elegant complete with luxurious amenities  (Taylor)
Hemingway’s, the resort restaurant, is open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Morning fare includes traditional bacon, sausage and eggs, toast, bagels, French toast, hash browns and coffee. Huevos rancheros is also on the menu.

Rum punch and conch are island staples  (Taylor)
Lunches serve up lighter selections such as burgers, sandwiches and salads.

For dinner, it is impossible to ignore the choice of conch dishes which are an island staple. Hemingway’s prepares everything from conch salad to conch chowder to conch strips and conch fritters. Unaccustomed palates need not fear however, there are other choices including local spiny lobster and Caribbean jerk chicken.

Named after Ernest Hemingway, because of his affinity for the freedoms of the Caribbean lifestyle and his lusty enjoyment of life, Hemingway’s offers elegant, beachfront, open air dining suited to any time of day or evening.
Swim with the dolphins in crystal clear turquoise water  (Taylor)
The small, but exquisitely equipped Spa Topique provides a full range of therapeutic services. Three unique amenities are a chilled, damp pre-massage towel for the hands and face, scented flowers in an aromatic bowl beneath the face cup and a heated towel for the feet at the close of the session.

"She sells sea shells by the seashore" -- Array of shells from the popular Conch Shack Restaurant  (Taylor)
The Sands has three seasons with high season following New Year’s until just after Easter. Low season from Easter until a few days before Christmas and a short Festive Season which begins just before Christmas through New Year’s.
Caribbean beauty at its finest at the Sands  (Taylor)

Low season Studio Courtyard rooms are $195 per room, per night. One bedroom suites begin at $375 per night, per room ranging to deluxe oceanfront three bedroom suites at $885 a night.

Peak season rates start at $290 for a Studio Courtyard room, $480 for a one bedroom suite going to a top price of $1,310 for deluxe three bedroom suites.

Prices during the holiday season fall between the low and high season rates.

All Suites (except Studios and 1 Bedroom Suites) can comfortably accommodate a maximum of two additional persons above the standard suite occupancy with no additional charge for the extra person(s).
Hemingway's Restaurant is a great place for a drink and watching the sun set  (Teylor)
Complimentary amenities include a welcome cocktail, weekly manager's rum punch party, beach towels, use of bicycles and non-motorized water-sports - sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, snorkeling and paddle boarding.

Optional tours such as snorkeling and scuba trips, whale watching, glow-worm tours, spelunking, beach horseback riding and paragliding are easily arranged.
Days end in at the Sands at Grace Bay in the Turks & Caicos  (Taylor)
Best of all, the Sands at Grace Bay offers something for everyone for it is a place where Mother Nature and Father Time are blissfully entwined.

The Sands in the Turks & Caicos showcases island life as it used to be.