family travel

Turks and Caicos: Providenciales

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Are the Turks and Caicos calling your name? If so, then you are in the right place. Amanda Watkins Travel knows all of the best spots and can even get you lots of fun “extras” at all of the top resorts.

If you are looking for sun, soft white sand, impossibly blue water and delicious food, then the island of Providenciales in Turks and Caicos perfectly fits the bill. 

The island of Providenciales in Turks and Caicos has long been one of my most favorite places for a beach vacation. It is wonderful for couples, families, girl/guy trips, everyone! I first vacationed there 15 years ago when few people had heard of it and there were just a few resorts. That has certainly changed. Now you can find many wonderful fine dining options, a Thai restaurant that is worth the return trip alone, great shopping, and really fun snorkeling/boating excursions. 

The Turks and Caicos Islands consist of 40 islands and cays, eight of which are inhabited. The islands are located 550 miles southeast of Miami, Florida, just below the Bahamas chain and just to the east of Cuba and the island of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti.) The island of Providenciales (“Provo”) is the island where most all resorts are located.

There are many beautiful resorts on Provo each unique in their own way. All but a few of the resorts on Provo consist of individual owned condo units - meaning the accommodations are more spacious than your would find at most resorts and are often appointed with kitchens and laundry facilities. This is really great when you are traveling family style. I stayed at two resorts and toured several more. It is so much fun thinking about which clients would be best suited for each resort!

While I could go on and on about all of the resorts and how they are different, I am just going to highlight the two I stayed this visit. Please contact me if you want more info on the two resorts discussed below or any of the other resorts in Provo. I will help you find your "perfect fit".


The Shore Club on Long Bay Beach

The Shore Club, the only resort located on Long Bay Beach, is the newest resort on the Island. The resort has 110 rooms and 38 suites. It offers so many flexible room configurations that I can’t imagine anyone not finding a suitable option. The rooms are beautifully appointed and evoke the Caribbean with blue and white hues. My favorite room is the Ocean View One-Bedroom with Study. It has a fully equipped kitchen, large dining area, comfortable living area, king master bedroom, luxury master bath with shower, soaking tub and double sinks, a study area with a sliding door and pull out sofa that is PERFECT for kids, a half-bath and washer/dryer. It is 1500 square feet of fabulousness.

There are three pools – one is adult only – so you can always find the perfect place to perch. The beach is lovely and the water is clear, calm and shallow. In fact, you can WALK three miles out without the water being over your head (assuming you are of average adult height). It's truly amazing!

Virtuoso amenities I can add:

  • Free breakfast for two (per room) daily

  • Free Wifi

  • $100 Resort Credit

  • Upgrade to next room category upon arrival, subject to availability


The Palms on Grace Bay

I was fortunate to also be able to stay at The Palms over on Grace Bay. Grace Bay is where you will find most of the resorts on the island. With 12 miles of wide beach and crystalline water, you may never find yourself by the pool!

The resorts white mansion exterior of cut limestone evokes the feeling of being on a colonial estate. With only 72 rooms and suites, you won’t feel like you are at a mega resort. But you will never lack for amenities, either. There is a delightful shopping promenade that has a darling market where you can grab wine and gourmet goods.  The Palms also boasts what may be the finest spa on the island with 25,000 square feet in which to pamper you to pieces. Parallel 23, the award winning fine dining option at The Palms, is absolutely delicious. I had the best grouper I have had in my entire life.

Virtuoso amenities I can add:

  • Free breakfast for two (per room) daily

  • Free Wifi

  • $100 Resort Credit

  • Upgrade to next room category upon arrival, subject to availability

 


The inside skinny and pro tips:

  • Try to make a dinner reservation (in advance) at the Coco Bistro.

  • Take a day cruise from Grace Bay to one of the unpopulated parts of the island to swim and snorkel.

  • Cabs are easily available but are quite expensive.

  • If you think about renting a car, be sure to know that they drive on the opposite side of the street as we do in America!


Amanda Watkins Travel specializes in luxury and adventure travel. Our affiliations ensure VIP treatment and amenities on any trip - including local weekend getaways. Plan your trip.

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— Jonathan L.

New York City - Being a Part of it....Family Style

I don’t like taking my kids out of school. Actually, I should clarify. I don’t mind taking my kids out of school. I mind the make-up work. Ugh. I think make-up work is the literal interpretation of the phrase “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” It is brutal. So, if I am going to take my kids out of school, they are going to learn gosh darn it! This was the approach I took when planning our first trip to NYC as a family. My kids are 5, 8 and 10.  And I don’t know who was more excited about this trip, my kids or me. What I can tell you is that we all had an absolute blast!

Manhattan has so many fabulous hotels that are perfect for families. We chose to stay in midtown for its convenient location.  Our hotel was one of my Virtuoso partners, so we were welcomed to our rooms with a bottle of wine and macaroons.  Free breakfast and a $100 hotel credit were additional Virtuoso perks.

For four days we hit it hard: “Aladdin” and “School of Rock,” the Statue of Liberty, a PBS taping of “Science Goes to the Movies” where my kids got a private audience with astronaut Mike Massimino (an out of this world experience – pun intended), MoMA, the M&M store (rite of passage), a Tenement tour (cannot recommend enough) and through one of my partners, private tours of the 9/11 Memorial and the Natural History Museum.  In addition to the fabulous restaurants and playing in the snow in Central Park, I also got to hug the neck of one of my oldest and dearest friends, and my kids met their second cousins for the first time.

This trip was one for our family books. We will all remember it forever.  And the greatest thing about NYC...you can never see it all. By using the right travel advisor (hint hint), you can enhance your trip in more ways than you can imagine.  You can see museums and monuments in a more exclusive, more educational and more time efficient manner. You can get reservations at the right restaurants without having to do tons of research on your own. You can have an itinerary prepared for you - one where you won’t be criss-crossing Manhattan in an inefficient manner or being too early or too late for your next adventure. You can have expert guidance as to the best Broadway shows, the coolest tours (I am talking to you Greenwich food tour) and the best places to stay….and get extra perks to sweeten the pot.

But, the best part of using a travel advisor is the convenience. In the theme of Aladdin (a show that you must see if you are taking a family trip to NYC),  your travel advisor is like your genie. The only difference is that your “wishes” are limitless.
 

Why my Virtuoso affiliation is "kind of a big deal".

Virtuoso, Virtuoso, Virtuoso (best said it in the manner of the Brady Brunch refrain “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha”). If you are not familiar with Virtuoso, you are probably wondering why I keep mentioning it…over and over and over and over. Well, Virtuoso is only an exclusive network of the best travel professionals from around the world. Virtuoso represents the best of the best in travel, with a portfolio of nearly 2,000 preferred partners - top hotels, cruise lines, tour operators, and more.  

It is a total humble brag to say that, through my affiliation with Brownell Travel, I am a Virtuoso advisor. “That all sounds lovely, Amanda. But what does it mean for me, the client?” you ask. Great question. By using a Virtuoso advisor, you instantly become a VIP and are treated to a superior travel experience. Let's say you are staying at the Solage Calistoga in Napa Valley - and you totally should. Because of my relationship with Virtuoso, you can receive: a $100 resort credit which you can use at their award winning spa or Michelin-star restaurant; a Mudslide spa treatment; a bottle of house Napa Cabernet wine; and a departure gift. Not too shabby, eh?

Virtuoso advisors are able to provide you with everything from enhanced hotel stays, with valuable added services, access to highly sought after special events, "after hours" viewings at private museums, to a tour tailored to fit your personal desires. This means that YOU can have a personally customized and totally unique travel experience. 

You can find my Virtuoso Profile here. Contact Amanda Watkins Travel to start planning your exclusive “Virtuoso” travel arrangements today.