There. I ripped off the band-aid. $800/night is the lowest low season price for 4 in the lowest level room at Beaches Turks and Caicos. There’s just no way I can make $800/night seem like a bargain without losing all of you. So I’m not gonna.
Here’s what I am going to do…and frankly I’m surprised I can go this far. I didn’t think I would until I saw the place. Here is my review. I am going to lay out some specific scenarios where I can see value in a Beaches vacation. Note I didn’t say “deal”, I said “value”. Big difference.
1. If you are accustomed to paying for luxury cruises, Beaches is a viable alternative that may actually cost less.
Here’s a screen shot from RCCL’s website on a ship leaving from San Juan the same week next year that I visited Beaches. I chose San Juan so the airfare would be similar to T&C. I chose a Junior Suite, which sounds luxurious, but in reality is only 274 square feet for 4 people. The cruise price doesn’t include getting to and from the ship, land activities, tips or drinks except iced tea (as in even diet coke will run you $50/week).
Having now cruised Royal Caribbean and visited Beaches, I’d rank the Beaches experience equal to or higher in every category (with the exception of being mobile). I’d especially note the kids’ activities and their ages. If you have kids under 3 expect to pay $6/hour for daytime freedom. If your baby is under 6 months, you’re out of luck.
Here’s Beaches the same week, and I even moved up a couple of categories to the room I would choose. You could have gone as low as $5900. Not cheap by any stretch, but if you’re already paying for a cruise…
2. If you are traveling with an infant and want to know you have a qualified nanny available during the day.
I mentioned post-partum depression in my property review but any couple who is desperate for a break from new parenting or who has an older child who needs attention while the younger is cared for might seriously consider Beaches an option- at any price. I’ll be creative on a lot of areas in travel to save money but I won’t flex on the quality of the kids’ programs, especially with a baby. I would feel that my kids were safe at Beaches and I always felt safe myself.
3. If the inmates run the asylum, especially if most of the inmates are under 7.
Because Beaches has so many types of rooms, you won’t have to get 2 or more to fit a large family-and there’s no limit to how many you can put into camp. Scaling up and maybe even traveling as a group might help defray the cost per person as kids are much cheaper than the 1st 2 grownups.
4. If you are having a blended family destination wedding or vow renewal with your kids.
I got to see a couple of vow renewals while at Beaches and even the base (as in free) package was lovely. I could totally see how a destination wedding might help smooth the transition for the kids of two families coming together.
5. If your tweens/teens want to learn to scuba dive with you.
In a past life, Deal Dad and I got certified in scuba. Neither of us has been down since Deal Kid was born 11 years ago and we’re both looking forward to the kids being able to join us. However, scuba is not an activity I’d let my kids do at any random resort. Beaches has an exclusive partnership with PADI (1 of 2 international diving associations and the one I used). I’d feel totally comfortable letting their instructors in the water with my kids. My suggestion would to be to get certified before you go so the kids are comfortable with the equipment- you can start at age 10 if your kid is ready. Beaches then offers scuba included- and diving expenses can add up. Getting certified on resort (with a limited certification) is extra but not crazy expensive ($90).
Is Beaches a no-brainer?
Well, if money were no object, sure! However, living in the real world, costs matter. I’m not going to give you some snow job about “making memories” or “family bonding”. Anytime you step out of your daily routine and travel with your kids you make memories. However, sometimes it’s nice to delegate the decisions and just stop. And Beaches lets you do that in spades.
Would I return to Beaches on my own dime?
I paid for full airfare this last trip but did receive a heavily discounted conference rate at Beaches. At $800/night? I can think of 1 instance I would return. A milestone anniversary and vow renewal with the kids…where we all scuba.
Have you done an all-inclusive vacation with kids? What criteria were most important to you? How would you rate the value? Please share in the comments.