Before heading to Beaches Turks & Caicos I had pretty high expectations for the level of service we would receive. With Sandals (which owns Beaches) highly regarded as the standard for all-inclusives, I was excited to compare it against other resorts my wife I have visited. Here was our experience:
Housekeeping: My expectations are simple when it comes to housekeeping. The room should be cleaned each day before late afternoon, and if there is an issue it should be resolved within a reasonable timeframe. Beaches Turks & Caicos did a great job of getting the room cleaned before late afternoon. During our stay, we never returned to shower and dress for dinner to find housekeeping busy cleaning the room. Perfect!
We did encounter a problem resolving an issue we had. My oldest son lost the best-of-three rocks / paper/ scissors and would be sleeping on the foldout chair-bed on this trip. After searching the room, we discovered there were no linens for his bed. A quick call to the front desk, and linens were on their way… or so we thought. When we returned from dinner there were no linens. Since everyone was tired we decided to just make it work and deal with it the next day. The next morning we called the font desk again and then headed out for the day. When we returned that afternoon there were still no linens! Another call was placed to the front desk with an offer for me to come down and pick them up. They promised they would send them right up. A few minutes later the linens arrived.
Restaurants: It is hard to explain my expectations for restaurant service. Just like in Goldilocks and the Three Bears there is restaurant service that is over the top, service that is below standard, and service that is just right. I would say my experience at Beaches Turks & Caicos falls somewhere between just right and below standard. There is no single event, or group of events, that makes me say this. I would just sum up the restaurant service as “meh”.
I need to call out the great service staff at the Indian restaurant though. My wife has a few foods that she tries to avoid as they can upset her stomach. One of these foods is tomato. Normally there is something on the menu she can eat, but in this case EVERY dish had tomatoes in it! When the wait staff found out, they insisted she order whatever she wanted and they would get it made. While the rest of us sampled the Indian food she enjoyed a tomato-free steak dinner. This is an example of service that is “just right”.
Pool Service: I am not that guy that expects someone to always be refreshing my umbrella drink before I finish it. I am not afraid to make a trip to the swim up bar to order my own Rum & Coke, or bring back a round for the entire group. It may be the only exercise I get that day! However, a once-every-few-drinks pool service is, I believe, a fair expectation.
During our time at Beaches Turks & Caicos we tried all but one of the main pools. At nearly every pool we encountered pool service. In general we found it to be too infrequent to really use it. It seemed they would show up to take our order when we didn’t need drinks (because we had just gotten our own), or they were so slow we could get our own drinks faster.
Like the exception to the rule we found Miledy (pronounced “Mi-lady”) at the Cascades Pool. She was awesome. It was almost like having our own personal pool service. She would bring us a round of drinks and then re-appear with another round just about the time we were done. She did such a great job that one day we drank the bar out of Pina Coladas!
Bartenders: Bartending at an all-inclusive vacation resort strikes me as the kind of job that gives back based on what’s put into it. What do I mean? The job is to make drinks for people that are relaxed, on vacation, and looking to have a good time. Sure, there are the people that have drunk too much, people that like to complain, and people that like their drink mixed a very specific way, but these are the minority. I understand that the bar can get busy and maybe even overwhelming at times, but if pleasantry is projected to this crowd, they will give it back.
Nearly ever time I went to the bar for a drink at Beaches Turks & Caicos I felt as though I was bothering the bartender. After waiting my turn to order, they would not say anything, just look up and wait for me to order. They’d then go to work making the drink, place it in front of me, and then move on to their next task without so much as a word. At first I thought maybe it was a language thing, but after a week of the same experience at nearly every bar on the property I decided it was that simple.
Internet: Beaches Turks & Caicos offers a free wi-fi Internet service around the resort as well as a paid premium option. Since both of my kids are older and have iPhones I was excited that I would be able to get ahold of them by text message. In reality, the wi-fi access was so spotty it was useless. Even in our room we could not stay connected. When I asked at the font desk they said, “Yeah, it does not work very well in the rooms.” To be honest it really only worked around the main buildings and in the lobbies for me.
If I had to sum up the service issues we encountered at Beaches Turks & Caicos I’d say it is a culture problem. Not culture in the sense of, “That’s the way the people of Turks & Caicos are” but in the corporate sense. At some point it became acceptable to provide meh-level service, and like a cancer it spread to all areas of the resort. Sure, there are exceptions like Miledy at the Cascades Pool and Jake & Chris that my kids raved about at the water park, but overall the service was not what I had expected.
While the service did not live up to my expectations it would not be fair to Beaches Turks & Caicos if I did not also say that my family thoroughly enjoyed our trip. The issues we saw at the Dive Center and with the overall service in no way ruined our vacation. I’d go back tomorrow! In fact, my wife and I leave in a few weeks to check out Sandals Montego Bay in Jamaica. Jamaica is the birthplace of Sandals / Beaches so I am hoping to have only positive things to say when I post about our trip and compare Beaches to Sandals upon our return.
I do not usually add a comment like this at the end of post. But, this is by far the most negative-feeling post I have ever written. My goal was not to exaggerate, but to communicate what I had personally experienced and observed during our trip. I wanted to be honest and fair. After writing and re-writing this post I feel I have achieved this. If you have been to Beaches Turks & Caicos your experience may have been different. If you experienced great service, or a standout employee, please use the comments section below to call it out.
UPDATE. Within a couple of days of tweeting this review I was contacted by the Beaches social media team and asked to email their customer service department. I did. I received a very quick response asking for the details of my trip and any issues that I had so they could look into it. I responded with links to all of my blog posts and indicated that I had no single issue that needed to be looked into. However, if they felt that anything in my reviews would be helpful to the resort management they should feel free to forward them on.
Nine days later I received an email from the hotel manager at Beaches Turks & Caicos saying that my email had been received and reviewed. My comments had been ‘passed on to the relevant persons for attention and necessary enhancements.’
For an organization as big at Sandal / Beaches I am impressed that my tweet made its way through the organization to the hotel manger who then responded.