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Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Q&A with Karl Thompson - Best family hotel (Outside Europe) - WINNER

We meet the managing director behind the 2014 Junior Design Award-winning entry




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What is your name and job title?

Karl Thompson, Managing Director of Unique Vacations UK and Europe

Why did you enter your hotel into the Junior Design Awards?

We entered Beaches Turks & Caicos into the Junior Design Awards because we believe it provides the ultimate family holiday. The resort has earned a reputation as a leading destination for family fun in the Caribbean, and goes above and beyond the typical all-inclusive offering. With unlimited land and water sports; a 45,000 square-foot waterpark; surf simulator; kids-only swim up pool bars; Xbox® Play Lounge; exclusive Kids Camps and Sesame Street® programme; and unlimited fine dining and premium drinks; all located on a 12-mile stretch of white-sand beach, Beaches Turks & Caicos offers more inclusions, more choices and more ways to enjoy your time together.

The hotel has five distinct villages, all with different architectural designs and influences. It was also recently renovated and expanded, introducing its fifth village, the Key West Luxury Village.

The great reputation that Beaches Turks & Caicos has garnered can be seen by its impressive list of awards and accolades, which include two Six Star Black Diamond Awards (American Academy of Hospitality Sciences) for overall excellence in hospitality, and being listed in Tripadvisor’s ‘Top 10 Hotels for Families in the Caribbean’.

Don't miss Junior's review of Beaches Turks & CaicosCan I take my family to the Caribbean? [Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort: FAMILY HOLIDAY REVIEW]

How does your hotel go the extra indulgent mile for children and families? 

At Beaches, we give kids extra attention with tailor-made fun just for them, and include supervised kids programmes and age-appropriate activities for five different age levels, from tots to teens.

All nannies and Kids Camp staff at Beaches Resorts are members of the International Nanny Association, so parents can relax in the knowledge their children are in safe hands.

Beaches Resorts also offer the ‘Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street®’ providing kids with an array of shows and activities with their favourite characters.

For older children Beaches Turks & Caicos also has endless entertainment including a fun-filled waterpark, complete with surf simulator; a wide range of land and water sports, including scuba diving for the over 8s; under 18s nightclub Liquid and chill out area Trench Town (the perfect place to escape parents and younger siblings!). The resort also features a state-of-the art gaming lounge and DJ centre through our fantastic partnerships with XBOX 360 and Scratch DJ Academy. 

For parents seeking a little ‘me time’, whether it be a trip to the resort’s Red Lane Spa or a candlelit dinner for two on the beach, the resort provides unlimited care for children of all ages.

What’s more, with a total of 19 restaurants, Beaches Turks & Caicos has dishes to suit even the pickiest of eater!  The resort staff also recognises that each family may have their own dietary restrictions, and so work with guests to create their own personalised culinary experience.

Which activities do children enjoy the most?

Children absolutely love the Sesame Street activities – their faces really do light up when they see the characters. As well as being entertaining, the characters ensure children and their families can learn, have fun and spend quality time together.

We offer a number of exciting and educational activities such as ‘Bird Watching with Big Bird’, ‘Bake with Cookie Monster’ and ‘Story Time with Elmo’, along with street parades, stage shows, character breakfasts, night-time tuck-ins and much more. The kids never want to leave!

Another favourite is the recently renovated Pirate’s Island Waterpark. With huge waterslides, a lazy river, swim-up soda bars, water cannons,
whirlpools and the Caribbean's only surf simulator, kids can while away hours  here, whilst parents watch on from the large sundeck.

What do you think are the hallmarks of outstanding design in the wonderful world of family-friendly hotels?

Family friendly hotels need to have exceptional attention to detail, and ensure that everything is designed with families in mind – rather than just throwing a few inflatable toys in the pool! It’s important to create a space that is fun and safe for the kids, yet luxurious and stylish for parents.

As well as the main hotel facilities, the rooms and suites must also be considered. At Beaches, we have one, two and three bedroom suites to accommodate even the largest of families. In the Italian Village suites, kids can enjoy fun things like Xbox® game consoles and bunk beds, whilst parents have their own special touches like marble baths and mahogany four-poster beds.

When is the best time to visit the hotel?

Like much of the Caribbean, the Turks and Caicos Islands are a year-round destination, offering average temperatures between 27-32°C throughout the year. The "high season" runs roughly from mid-December to mid-April, which is generally the driest time of year in the Caribbean and obviously the most miserable back here in the UK, so this is a great time to get away! This time of year is also slightly cooler than the summer months, so if you are travelling with young children this may be a better option.

What excursions can families undertake?

Tour and excursion operator Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours (www.islandroutes.co.uk) offers a variety of excursions to allow you to explore the island. Favourites include the Underwater Submarine Adventure, Eco Kayak Cruise and Conch Farm & Blue Hill trip.

Who has been your most exciting family guest?

I’m a big basketball fan, so I was very excited to have NBA Champion Dwyane Wade stay with us. Our charity, the Sandals Foundation has actually just announced a three year partnership with him and his charity, and plan to launch programmes and initiatives to benefit youth in underserved communities in the Caribbean and Miami.

What is your personal favourite part of the experience of staying at the hotel?

I’ve stayed with my own family at Beaches Turks & Caicos several times now, and just love the fact that there really is something for everyone. The kids have the time of their lives with all of the activities and child-focussed facilities, and happy kids mean happy parents! Having fantastic child-care options also means that parents can have a bit of R&R safe in the knowledge that the kids are in safe hands.

Why would you encourage British families to make the long journey to stay at your hotel?

Hopefully all of the above will have already sold you! Beaches Turks & Caicos really was built with families in mind and so every little detail has been considered to ensure that you have an incredible holiday, and can enjoy that much needed time together. The beautiful setting, with its white sand beach and tropical weather is the icing on the cake.

The fact that everything really is included is also great for families as there’s no need to worry about the cost of ice-creams and activities adding up – as soon as you arrive in resort you can put your wallet away and enjoy doing as much as  you want…or nothing at all!

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