Where should you stay on Turks and Caicos?
Let’s compare a villa and a resort.
While a traditional hotel or resort holiday has clear advantages for some, others turn to villa or condo rentals. The option to stay in someone else’s space has exploded in popularity over the last few years, allowing travelers to enjoy destinations from a more flexible, local perspective.
If you’re planning to experience Turks and Caicos — and you really should given the fact that it was voted #1 vacation island in the world by millions of TripAdvisor members — you’ll find multiple hotel options along its busiest beach. From five-star establishments to the popular all-inclusive Beaches and adult-only Club Med resorts fronting Grace Bay Beach, choices abound.
On the one hand, resorts offer scheduled, organized activities and entertainment with restaurants, lots of sunbeds — though sometimes not enough — and the company of other travelers. However, sharing common areas can also mean less personal space, reduced privacy, more rules and standardized services.
Our friends at Go2africa.com describe it well:
A classic hotel holiday has many advantages… and a few uncomfortable limitations: you can’t wander through to the kitchen when you feel like a mid-morning snack, or connect your iPod to the central sound system – even if you do have the perfect playlist for the occasion. A serviced pool terrace may be just the spot for you to slip into vacation mode, but it can be challenging to hold onto your bliss amidst the chatter and splash of other guests.
Sound familiar? Most likely. Can there be a happy compromise? Absolutely.
Aside from its bustling hotel zone, Turks and Caicos also features more than 800 private villas. Once reserved for the very wealthy, villa rentals have become increasingly affordable and favored by travelers for whom privacy, space and the freedom to set their own schedule are absolute musts.
A first consideration, you may think a villa would be more work. Planning outings, buying and even cooking food. While this could be the case for certain rentals, this is where you want to choose a villa with owners that care about service, are knowledgeable about the destination and perhaps have done the pre-arrival homework, so you can vacation without any stress.
Let’s review a few points you may want to consider.
Privacy and the ability to create your own setting and experience
Privacy is probably one of the main advantages of renting a villa. Having access to your own pool and sometimes your own beach, with your own chairs, no loud neighbors or cleaning carts rolling down the halls. You choose the music you want to hear, the space you want to occupy, your set-up, your way. Without spectators. Remember the restaurants or buffets you had access to during your last all-inclusive vacation? There’s a good chance you can’t recall one from the other and it’s normal. They all tend to look and taste the same after a while.
Spontaneous, relaxed moments with family and friends are often what we remember most about a getaway: chatting by the BBQ, preparing a good meal, a late-night swim, early morning coffee on the terrace looking at the sunrise, an excursion where your family was alone with the instructor, etc… In a villa setting, you often get a peak of a brighter, more relaxed version of home, of your family and of your relationships.
“The growing trend towards private villa vacations is a natural one if you consider how important it is for travelers to rest and recharge during their time away from home.”
Value for your money
At first glance, holiday villas may seem like an expensive option but if you’re on a family getaway (or travelling with friends), chances are it’ll be more cost effective than if you booked multiple rooms at a resort. This is especially true in Turks and Caicos where hotels and resorts are quite expensive, namely because of the high cost for staff, water and electricity.
All inclusive resorts are common on certain islands and destinations and this consequently limits the choice of activities, outside resort properties. The opposite happens on Turks and Caicos where, apart from Beaches and Club Med guests, all tourists venture around the island to play, wine and dine. It’s not an all-inclusive destination and so the a-la-carte choices are practically limitless. Having the freedom to choose where, what and when is a definite plus for many… and sometimes, actually more of a bargain than some all-inclusive resorts.
Your pace, your way
Most high-end hotels and guest homes are accommodating. If they know you’re going to be up and heading out before the scheduled breakfast time, they’ll usually prepare a snack or a lunch for you. Room service also offers some flexibility for meal times but this comes at a price. For obvious reasons, larger resorts are much less flexible than boutique hotels. Room service is rare and meals and activities happen at specific pre-established times.
For some, the very freedom from other people’s schedules is at the heart of their relaxation. Villas are especially convenient if you have young children and want to follow your own routines. By staying at a villa, you decide the pace, each and every day. Plus, you book activities that you really want to do, how you want to do them.
Love to cook?
While some consider cooking a chore, others find much delight in cooking a delicious meal, when not rushed by everyday life. Villas will normally offer well-equipped kitchens and beautiful indoor/outdoor settings to enjoy your meals. Depending on your location, there’s the added thrill of discovering local ingredients and exploring markets and supermarkets.
If you want extra pampering, you can even arrange to pre-stock your villa, have groceries delivered to save you or even hire a private chef that will prepare whatever you like best. This is a great advantage if you’re celebrating a special occasion on holiday. Where else can you combine the advantages of entertaining at home with the benefits of hotel service?
But what about the beach?
You’re coming to Caribbean island so we understand you want some sun and sand. On the other hand, you may not want vendors and crowds and this is where our villa comes in. There’s a clean, clear, sandy path that takes you right to more secluded Long Bay Beach. And it’s only a 2-3 minute walk. With beach chairs, a cooler, sand toys and much more, we’ve got you covered.
Simon, Pina and Max
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