Liberty X’s Michelle Heaton visits the Turks and Caicos for her perfect family holiday
It became my dream to enjoy a family holiday at the Beaches resort in Turks and Caicos. My husband, Hugh, daughter, Faith, and I went to the Beaches Resort in Jamaica two years ago. It was a wonderful holiday place but because I was pregnant with son AJ at the time I couldn’t really relax.
After that holiday and the birth, I had serious health concerns, and through it all I kept myself up by thinking that one day soon our family would have another Beaches holiday. You need those sorts of dreams in dark moments.
So when it actually happened, it was amazing.
Liberty belle: Michelle enjoys a cocktail in the pool at the Beaches Turks and Caicos resort
The Beaches resort in Turks and Caicos is the perfect all-inclusive holiday retreat. It has a 45,000 sq ft waterpark with four magnificent villages, which are each constructed in different styles, capturing the architecture and ambience of Italy, France, the Caribbean and the US.
The resort sits on a 12-mile beach lapped by clear turquoise waters. There is a huge range of fun activities for everyone, from tots to tweens and teens, featuring Sesame Street characters, the Xbox Play Lounge and a teen disco, Liquid at Beaches – all on one of the world’s best beaches.
Faith is now four and AJ turned two while we were there – quite young but we had no worries that Beaches would have plenty for them to enjoy. On AJ’s birthday, for example, we had a Sesame Street party which was wonderful, everybody had the most fantastic time.
We didn’t see much of Turks and Caicos – everything we needed was at the resort – but it looked like a great place. Having the children, it didn’t make much sense to take any excursions, and we only went out once. We were taken on a bus ride to the port, did a bit of shopping in the town and then we went on a catamaran around the island.
The island felt friendly and safe – it’s all very beautiful and unspoilt. Unlike other Caribbean islands I’ve visited, it didn’t feel as if it had been over commercialised.
The highlight of the boat ride was seeing some dolphins – a magical moment for the kids. Actually, the whole trip was a series of magical moments for them. Everything in the resort is geared towards families. There’s babysitting for the youngest and kids’ clubs for tots to teens that operate from 8am. You can drop your children off in the morning, and you take them in and out as you please.
Stir crazy: Michelle wears comic glasses to cook up some shrimps at the resort’s Teppanyaki restaurant
Furry friend: Four-year-old Faith meets Elmo from Sesame Street
So with the children taken care off, Hugh and I could enjoy a candle-lit dinner at the adults-only restaurant – I think we were able to do this on three different nights.
The children preferred to have an evening activity rather than be with us at a boring restaurant. They had their fun, while we had ours – it’s a win-win! Deciding where to eat is an activity in itself – the resort has 21 restaurants, so there’s plenty to choose from. While we tried hard to get round all of them, there were some restaurants that we didn’t have a chance to try. Once you found a place you liked, it was tempting to go back again… and again.
Hugh wanted to stay at the Japanese and the sushi restaurants. He loves sushi, so whenever the children were in the kids’ club, that was our place to go. But all the restaurants were fabulous. My favourite was the French restaurant – in the French Village – which is adults-only. The French onion soup is fabulous – everything was outstanding.
Beaches is an all-inclusive resort, including the premium-brand alcoholic drinks – there really is no expense spared. You really don’t have to pay anything – not a sausage. They don’t even let you tip. That’s what I mean by ultra-all-inclusive.
The only thing that you have to pay for is if you want a spa treatment. All the sporting activities are included. There was a lot of scuba-diving and an awful lot of water-sports going on. We didn’t participate in any of the sports, simply because of the children: it was more fun to play with them.
We’ve never tried scuba diving, but when the kids are a bit older we’ll definitely give it a go. We would love to go back and do some snorkelling. We did the catamaran trip but that was as far as we got.
All over the resort there are all sorts of activities going on – from tennis to rock-wall climbing. There were two massive gymnasiums that we managed to go to.
We wondered if the weather would be too hot for the children, but it turned out to be perfect. The peak temperature during the day was about 26C, so warm but not too hot. And, as you might expect in the Caribbean, there tends to be a little bit of welcome rain in the afternoon which cools everything down.
Some people wondered whether we were nervous about the flight to Turks and Caicos from the UK, which takes about 14 hours. I wasn’t worried about the flight out, because you’re flying through the day and everyone’s excited about going on holiday. The flight home is at night, so the children slept like logs.
The Beaches Turks and Caicos resort has a 45,000 sq ft waterpark as well as four magnificent villages
Idyllic: Many of the stunning rooms have a panoramic ocean view for guests to enjoy
One of the great attractions of Beaches was the evening entertainment. There was always lots of different things going on.
From 6.30pm there would be the kids’ entertainment: for example, the Sesame Street characters would be on stage and they’d be doing a big singing and dancing act. One night, there was a talent show with the kids.
I’ve made a decision not to be the showbiz mother from hell so if the children decide they don’t want to take part in talent shows, I’m not going to force them. My mum never did that with me, and I think it worked out well.
I suppose I should have done a little performing because Liberty X has a few gigs coming up. The most entertaining I did was when I got up in the Teppanyaki restaurant and helped cook the food – something they invite all the guests to do.
So my star turn was preparing shrimp! But it just proves that even the restaurants at Beaches are the best fun you’ve ever had.
Seven nights staying in a Key West Luxury Concierge Room at Beaches Turks Caicos Resort Villages Spa costs from £1,799 per person. Price includes ‘Luxury Included’ (all-inclusive) accommodation, return flights from London, and resort transfers.
Price quoted is subject to availability and based on travel departing between 31 August – 22 October 2016. To book or for more information call 0800 597 0002 or visit beachesresorts.co.uk.
Sesame Sail Away Catamaran Cruise available from Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours. To book or for more information visit www.islandroutes.co.uk.