PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS & CAICOS, January 18, 2014 – When Old Man Winter displays his blustery bursts of Arctic weather, that’s when the Caribbean beckons. The Turks & Caiscos are within easy reach from the U.S., especially the East Coast and the Sands at GraceBay is an ideal getaway to escape the common cold.
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 white talcum powder beach that seeps gently seeps into crystal-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 aquamarine 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.
The lobby of the Sands with its Caribbean Plantation style ambience 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 GraceBay. where guests are transported through the time machine of a contemporary present serenely blended with a once-upon-a-time past.
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 harmoniously create the highest levels of comfort amid an ambience of barefoot relaxation.
Not only are the Turks & Caicos accessible, but English is the local language, American dollars are the currency and electricity is the same as the U.S. Perhaps the biggest adjustment is driving on the left side of the ride.
While the Sands may not be the most upscale property on Providenciales, it offers the best value for the traveling dollar. Accommodations come in four categories; studios and one, two and three bedroom suites. All rooms, except Studio Courtyards, have a washer and dryer.
Other conveniences include air conditioning, cable television, ceiling fans, irons and ironing boards, hair dryers and free wireless internet. Suites are equipped with kitchen facilities including a microwave. In addition, there is a small convenience store for guests to purchase bread, snacks, drinks and toiletries.
Rooms are spacious, and “spacious” is the operative word, while oversized balconies complement the ample living accommodations.
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.
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.
Spa Tropique 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.
The Sands has three seasons with high season from after New Year’s until just after Easter. Low season from Easter until a few days before Christmas and a short Festive Season starts right before Christmas through New Year’s.
Low season Studio Courtyard rooms are $195 per room, per night. One bedroom suites begin at $345 per night, per room ranging to deluxe oceanfront three bedroom suites at $840 a night.
Peak season rates start at $285 for a Studio Courtyard room, $460 for a one bedroom suite going to a top price of $1,250 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).
Complimentary amenities include a welcome cocktail, weekly manager’s rum punch party, beach towels, use of bicycles and non-motorized watersports – 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 can also be arranged.
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.
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About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com).
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.
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