Beaches, an all-inclusive resort for families, promises a vacation of a lifetime in the Caribbean that both kids and adults are sure to enjoy. The resorts, closely linked to Sandals, has properties in Turks & Caicos and Jamaica. At each of these locations you’ll find amazing white sand beaches, seas of gorgeous blue, spectacular waterparks and more quality inclusions and activities for kids than any other resort on the planet.
Picture: Beaches Ocho Rios, all-inclusive resort for families with water park.
For many people, selecting Beaches as their resort of choice for a family vacation in the Caribbean is the easy part. It takes a little more thought to decide how best to make the most of your stay at the resort, ensuring that you go at the right time, and that you choose the right options in terms of accommodation (think room categories) to enhance your vacation. Just ahead of your Beaches vacation, here are some useful tips you’ll want to keep close at hand.
Go to tips & tricks BEFORE booking, if you didn't book yet.
For many people, a vacation with family in the Caribbean is a ‘once in a lifetime’ (although you will be wanting to plan your return even before this vacation is over), so do all you can. There’s a lot for kids to do at Beaches Resorts, including participating in kid’s camp, going treasure hunting, face painting, collecting shells, and watching or participating in magic shows. Older children usually get a thrill from the scavenger hunts, beach soccer and reggae jam sessions, and teens love the boat cruises, tennis clinics, disco parties and karaoke, as well as pool Olympics. Check which activities are scheduled when, on the pamphlet you will receive on arrival!
Not only will your kids be kept well occupied, but you’ll also be able to take a much-needed break and relax yourself. Ask the resort about certified nannies for younger children, a service which is popular with guests that stay a bit longer.
Children and waterparks go hand in hand, and your kids will likely spend most of their time at Beaches’ Pirates Island waterpark. Bring along floating devices or life jackets for the youngest kids - if needed. While you can get free life jackets on the beach for watersports, the youngest kids may need these for the waterpark as well to ensure a worry-free vacation. You can buy floaties and life jackets on location, but if you already own some, you might as well bring them along.
Beaches Resorts are known for their amazing restaurants, so it’s a good idea to book your favorite restaurant choices as early as you can to ensure you get into the more popular restaurants on the nights that you want to go there. If you wait too long you may have a hard time securing a reservation for that particular night, but even that isn’t too bad, as each Beaches resort has up to 21 restaurants, with many different cuisines from around the world. There will be a restaurant or bar available at any point in time.
Read up on the food and service of the restaurant you’re interested in through the Beaches website and book your favorite restaurants on arrival.
While it can be tempting to just pack shorts, t-shirts and swimsuits for a trip to the Caribbean, you may need a little more to make the most of your resort experience. For this vacation you’ll want to pack a few outfits to wear in the evenings, and depending on the time you decide to travel, you may even want to bring along a lightweight sweater or another type of cover up. The evenings tend to get breezy in the Caribbean from about late November to February, so pack appropriately for you and the kids. Some of the gourmet restaurants have dress codes as well, so it’s a good idea to check those details in advance. Once on property you can ask the concierge if you have questions.
Beaches resorts have the best water parks in the Caribbean, where you’ll find thrilling waterslides, kid-friendly pools, and soda swim up bars. The fun never stops with plenty of water cannons and whirlpools in the vicinity, and lazy river journeys to be had. There’s also a surf simulator for the older kids at Turks & Caicos, the only one of its kind in the Caribbean. During the peak season, you’ll have to get to your resort’s water park early to secure front row sunbeds, with a great vantage of the areas where the kids play. You can head to the pool early to reserve your sunbed or get a suite with a butler who can do this on your behalf.
Food portions at Beaches vary between kid and adult with considerations to reduce wastage of food. Usually you’ll be more than satisfied with your portion when you order, but if you feel yourself craving for more, feel free to ask. It’s not a problem at all! All-inclusive means that all your meals are included; so, you can indulge at any dining location at the resort, ordering anything from extra appetizers to a double serving of dessert. Something the kids will be stoked about!
Much like the restaurants, make sure you book your tours and excursions in advance. This is especially true if you’re travelling with a large group, and in the peak season. Some tours have limits to the number of people in each group, and the number of groups they can take on every day. Avoid missing out on the things you want to do most in the islands, and book excursions ahead of your arrival.
Spending extra money is optional and completely up to you during an all-inclusive vacation. At Beaches this especially true. Note that these addons may enhance your experience, so look out for spa treatments, souvenirs, photo packages, and more.
Planning to play a round of golf? Green fees and transfers are included from Beaches Ocho Rios, but a caddy and golf cart is not and they are both required. Caddy 9 holes: $15 USD, 18 holes: $20 USD. Golf cart 9 holes: $25 USD, 18 holes: $40 USD.
Scuba diving trips are included and unlimited (taking into account availability) for PADI® certified guests. It is possible to get certified at extra costs, so far, no surprises. However, an expense that might come as a surprise is the ‘scuba review’ course that starts at 80 USD. This once-off course is not required but highly recommended for guests that haven’t dived in a while. This 1 - 2 hour course will refresh your knowledge and build confidence for your coming dives.
Insider tip: Book your dives on arrival to ensure there’s space on the day or time you want to make a booking.
You won’t need to worry about tipping during your Beaches vacation as tipping is included in your all-inclusive package. Whether you’re blown away by the amazing service of the restaurant staff, or just really loved the attentiveness of the bartenders, watersport instructors, or anyone you may encounter during your vacation, keep in mind that you’ve already paid your dues. Butlers are the only exception to this rule, and tipping is entirely up to you. Recommended tipping for butlers is 20 USD – 40 USD a day, an amount that can be split by multiple butlers.
When was the last time you made some time to play board games with the family? One of the perks of this resort is that you’ll be able to find a variety of board games that you can enjoy with your family. Contact the front desk to get your hands on your favorite board games, and then gather everyone for a round of after dinner fun.
Daily room service is part of your package at Beaches, and you’ll get to decide how often you’d like your room to be turned down. Rooms in every category are stocked daily with sodas, ice-cold beer and wine, and the Concierge and Butler suites even include premium liquors of choice for the parents to enjoy.
The staff at the front-desk (and the entire resort generally) are always friendly and willing to help with anything you and your family may need. The front-desk staff are trained to be of direct assistance to guests, so you may be better off going to them with help, compared to flagging down staff who are passing by on their way to help another guest. Besides the usual check-in and check-out times, the front desk staff are normally not busy and eager to give full attention to your needs.
You don’t have to worry about this when you booked a butler suite, which comes with a phone that summons your butler to you whenever you need assistance.
It can be hard to keep kids entertained on a busy airport transfer to your vacation destination, especially if there are stop overs in between. Some popular games you can initiate include, Guess the City, Guess How Many (Travelers), America’s Top Airport Model, Traveler’s Bingo, and others. During iPad and phone breaks, these games can be fun for the entire family.
Discounts matter in every sphere of life, and vacations are not excluded. Who doesn’t want to spend less and get more for a holiday? Beaches through their specials page makes it possible to get added perks along with your booking, inclusive of things like couples massages, and let’s face it; if you’re traveling with an active bunch of kids, you’re going to need that sort of relaxation in between! Also, more nights will equal to a lower rate per night. You can get resort credit, a free night, and other cool discounts via the Beaches Resort specials page. Book your stay on the Beaches website, and the relevant discounts are automatically applied!
To save money with your booking, consider scheduling your trip outside of the peak season (May until November). The peak season for the Caribbean is usually around mid-December to mid-April, so if you manage to avoid that, you could well be on your way to amazing savings.
There are more benefits to traveling during quieter seasons than just saving money – you’ll also have more room to roam on the beach, be able to book your excursions and some of the best rooms with little to no hassle, and you’ll be free to explore the resort and secure the best poolside lounge spots. Note that even when fully booked, Beaches properties are spacious enough to accommodate everyone, so you’ll always have plenty of room to unwind. If you prefer a more upbeat atmosphere and opportunities to socialize with other families, then peak season may be ideal for you. Another plus when it comes to peak season travel is that you’ll find near-perfect weather, which is great for endless days fun in the sun.
It’s easy to be tempted to not pay for a travel protection plan, as the cost of your overall travel without it may seem a little more attractive, but travel protection plans exist for a reason. Especially if you plan on travelling in or around the Atlantic hurricane season (June to November, with a higher risk from August to October), this plan can come in handy if your travel dates need to be changed.
Travel protection plans have several benefits, and the comprehensive plan offered by Beaches covers trip interruption, baggage, medical expenses, and other problems post departure. The travel protection can be purchased online during the booking progress. With the travel protection plan you’ll be able to cancel for any reason and use your travel certificate for later travel. If you cancel for a reason that’s covered as part of the plan, you’ll be able to get a full refund on flights and the unused portion of your resort stay. The travel protection plan is also valid for excursion refunds.
Better safe than sorry!
When deciding on which Beaches resort is right for you, you may want to consider the amenities located outside of the resort. In the event that you decide to venture out (and yes, it’s optional because there’s just so much to do on property!), you’ll want to know that there are things to do nearby, and beaches and waterfalls that you can explore with the kids for a taste of something different. While booking your trip, it’s a good idea to take note of the excursions available in the area, and the various points of interest.
Your room is not going to be the place you will spend a significant portion of your vacation during the day when the sun is shining outside. Though room choice doesn’t impact access to any of the amenities available at the resort, location matters when it comes to how far your room is to various things, the view, and the services provided by the resort. Rooms on a higher level often have better views and locations. Just imagine waking up to the calming sound of the ocean and being able to walk right on the beach from your doorstep! Beaches Resorts even offer butler level rooms, where you’ll be able to have a personal butler on call: it’s something to consider for a more luxurious and care-free experience. The butlers at Beaches always know how to surprise their guests and families!
There you have it, the tips and tricks to making the most of your Beaches experience. Whether you decide to go to Beaches Turks & Caicos, Beaches Negril, or Beaches Ocho Rios, you’re sure to love the family-oriented Beaches vacation experience.