This post will be part Villa del Mar review (our hotel), part Turks and Caicos review, mostly due to the fact that we spent 95% of our time at the hotel. Turks is just that kind of place.
We spent our four nights at the Villa del Mar. As I mentioned in the intro post, if you have a big party you might want to consider renting a car to get to and from the airport. Day 1, rent car for 24 hours, return, Day End, rinse and repeat. My dad figured out that was cheaper so we did that on our return to the airport though not on the trip to the hotel – the rental car returns are literally a walk away from check in so it’s not too inconvenient.
Villa del Mar has three types of rooms: 1, 2, and 3 bedroom suites. We tried to get a 3 bedroom suite but due to my procrastination we were not able to. We ended up booking 2 rooms – one 1-bedroom suite and one 2-bedroom suite – for the three families at a total cost of $800/night.
I had actually contacted the Citi Prestige concierge to try out the 4th night free benefit – they couldn’t find availability at Villa del Mar but quoted $1500/night for a 2 bedroom suite at another resort, which I’m sure is much nicer, but obviously much more expensive.
One thing to know is that the 1 and 2-bedroom suites have the exact same footprint, the difference being the 2nd bedroom is turned into more of a living room in the 1-bedroom suite. There are three separate buildings and I think that people own the units as condos, but there aren’t a ton of rooms so the hotel felt a lot more cozy.
Each suite has a balcony, we requested a room on the ground floor for easier pool access which made things much easier for the kids. The kids and parents stayed in the 2-bedroom on the ground floor while grandparents stayed in a 1-bedroom on the third floor.
The rooms were nice though we spent most of our time on our patios/balconies. The second bedroom is a bit small – think Europe. Each room also has a fully equipped kitchen which is integral to saving money on food (and buying milk for kids of course!)
Hotel Grounds and Pool
Being a small resort, the Villa del Mar hotel grounds are pretty simple. There are two pools, a jacuzzi, a poolside bar (where inclusive continental breakfast is served), and that’s about it. There’s no hotel restaurant.
The grounds were very well maintained, the staff was very friendly, and the pool was great. The only other thing I’d say is thought the hotel was fully booked it never felt overcrowded – we never were fighting people for poolside chairs for example. It’s a bummer there’s no restaurant but all you have to do is walk 5 minutes across the street to find one at the Grace Bay Club. Or if you’re willing to walk 10-15 minutes you’ll have a ton of options (check out my upcoming food post for that).
The pool was pretty great – there are palm trees strategically located so there are a lot of areas of shade, and there were always toys hanging around the pool for kids to play with (noodles, floaties, and the like). The pool was very kid friendly but having two pools and a jacuzzi also meant adults could find space if they need to. Very relaxing, family friendly, but again, the small size of the hotel prevents it from feeling too overcrowded.
The main reason Villa del Mar is cheaper is because you don’t have direct beach access. Again, you have to walk across the street through the Grace Bay Club to get to the beach. The walk is literally five minutes if you don’t stop to smell the geckos. The result is 50% off or more for your hotel room.
Again, I never felt overcrowded at the beach. It may be a function of us going in the morning (though we sometimes arrived as late as 1130 AM), but we never once had to wait for a beach chair or umbrella. There is a Villa del Mar section of the beach (just before the change in umbrella color) with a dedicated beach attendant.
The attendants were great, they got us everything we needed including sand toys for the kids. The water was immaculate – I’m not sure we’ve ever visited a more beautiful beach. Bora Bora’s water is bluer and Bali feels more exotic overall, but the pristine sand and pristine water of Turks and Caicos made a wonderful combination.
The water temperature was perfect and the surf was never too rough. Not sure if there’s any surfing in Turks and Caicos but I can tell you if you just want to float on the water for hours on end you’ll be in luck. You don’t know my family like this, but the best compliment I can give Turks and Caicos is that my father went swimming in the ocean for the first time in over twenty years – that’s how beautiful and inviting the ocean is.
I’d say the only drawback is that there is no beach bar or anything like that so you won’t be sipping Mai Tais in a lounge chair – though I’m not sure if that was Villa del Mar specific or island-wide since I don’t recall seeing any other resorts with beachside bars.
Our Typical Day
Days in Turks and Caicos were simple (or as Joe Cortez put it in our last podcast, we took a “regular person’s vacation”). We’d wake up, feed M, and then spend like, an hour putting on her swimsuit and suntan lotion.
Then we’d head to the beach for an hour or two – the first thing M would want to do is go down and play in the water, then after that she’d just play with sand toys for like, an hour. It was great having multiple parents around, since we could take turns going in while one person would sit and watch the kids. Though I swear we could have left M and she wouldn’t have noticed she was obsessed.
After the beach we’d rinse off, eat lunch, and have M nap in her stroller on the way to (or from) lunch). My nephew naps earlier and in his crib so my sister and her husband would eat lunch while he was sleeping (or duck out just the two of them if someone was around to watch). It’s very difficult for us to get M to nap in a crib/bed on weekends/vacation so we just opted for the stroller nap.
After lunch, we’d spend another hour with the swimsuit/sunscreen situation (I’ve since been told that we should switch to the spray kind), and then we’d spend the rest of the afternoon in the pool until dinner. We spent half our dinners at the hotel cooking our own food and half of them out, but more on that in the food post.
As you can see, this vacation was just a lot of rest and relaxation, just what the doctor ordered. I’d say one out of every four vacations we take is like this – I love running around to museums and hiking and all that stuff, but sometimes you just need to chill. Turks and Caicos and Villa del Mar fit that bill to the T.
Other Posts in this Series