I’ll be honest, I’ve never considered going on an all inclusive holiday as I didn’t think they were for foodies. At least 50% of the enjoyment of a holiday for me is discovering new restaurants and dishes in whatever country I’m staying in.
In short, all you can eat buffets for a solid two weeks is my idea of food hell!
When I was invited to visit Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos on behalf of our other site The Edinburgh Post, I hadn’t considered I might cover it here, until I found out there were 20 international restaurants on resort.
Despite only spending four days at Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos, we managed to get around quite a few of them, and I’d like to take you on a culinary journey so you can decide for yourself if a luxury all inclusive might be for you.
The Mini Bar
First stop on arrival was our room. I know one of the gripes I hear about all inclusive holidays is the watered down, basic brand, limited in supply, alcohol. I was surprised to find a mini bar stocked full of litre bottles of spirits, red and white wine, cans of Coca Cola, Sprite, plus three types of fresh juice and water
All Inclusive Beverages
All alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages across the entire resort are included. No limitations. Spirits include all your favourites such as Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire, Tia Maria and Gordon’s Gin. All bar staff are expert in making an extensive selection of cocktails including frozen options like Strawberry Daiquiri and Pina Colada. Children can enjoy cocktails from their own Sesame Street Cocktail Menu, or they can opt for virgin versions of what you’re having. Despite the unlimited nature, I didn’t witness any drunken behaviour the entire time I was on resort. It was a family friendly atmosphere with everyone simply enjoying themselves.
As well as the mini bar, and bars, the resort boasts a number of swim up bars including one especially for children. Just a gimmick? No actually, it was lovely to sit at the swim up bar and enjoy a drink while the kids played happily nearby. I am a swim up bar convert!
The Four Villages
Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos is split into four distinct villages; Key West Village, Italian Village, French Village, and Caribbean Village. Each village has its own pools, bars and restaurants, but all guests are free to visit and utilise all the facilities in each village. No restrictions seems to be an ongoing theme with Beaches, and a huge selling point for me.
Barefoot By The Sea
On our first evening we ate at Barefoot By The Sea in the Italian Village. Dine barefoot with your feet in the sand on fresh seafood, steak and more. I had the Coconut Fried Tiger Shrimp and the Beef Tenderloin. Straight away I realised that the standard of food was going to be of a much higher standard than I had anticipated from an all inclusive resort.
The Jerk Shack
The Jerk Shack (located in the Caribbean Village) serves authentic Caribbean cuisine in foil right by the beach. We had the opportunity to try Jerk Pork and Jerk Fish In Foil, as well as ‘Festival‘ (a sort of deep fried savoury doughnut), and ‘Bammy‘ (a fried bread made with cassava).
There’s also a rum van to help you wash it all down!
As if I hadn’t eaten enough, the chefs were developing some new recipes and visited us on the beach offering up tempting escabeche and bammy morsels. Naturally, I couldn’t resist.
Monday night is reggae night at Beaches Turks and Caicos and you can find live music at seaside grill, Schooners. This is a family friendly place with a good kids menu. On the topic of the kid menus, all resort restaurants have what I would class as a toddler friendly menu featuring the usual chicken nuggets and pizza. If you have older children, as I do, they are able to have adult dishes or an adult starter as a main. You can basically mix and match to suit yourself, which is a real plus. My ten year old ate shrimp, teppanyaki, as well as all her kiddy favourites. It was very a flexible and enjoyable way for her to dine.
For the adults, Schooners offers a good variety of fish dishes. To start I had a Mozzarella and Tomato Salad before I got all adventurous and tried something I’ve never had before, Blackened Corvina. A meaty white fish which was served with polenta and fresh vegetables. I wasn’t keen on the polenta but the fish was really nice, I was pleased I tried something different.
There are several buffet breakfasts around resort, as well as some a la carte options. I recommend Mario’s in the Italian Village, or if you want to enjoy clear views of the sea, try Bayside in Key West Village. The breakfast buffets here are as good as any I’ve had in any top hotel.
A quick word on the buffet lunch options, again, these can be found in Bayside and Mario’s as well as a couple of other restaurants around resort. We visited Bayside where there was a selection of salads, meats, bread, plus warm options including chicken, macaroni cheese, potatoes and prawns. Everything was fresh and beautifully presented, and while you can eat as much as you wish, there was none of the ‘pile it high’ behaviour that you might expect at an all inclusive resort.
Kimonos is the only restaurant where you have to book, this is so the team can manage the seating as it’s an all singing (there is actual singing), all dancing Teppanyaki restaurant. Be prepared for a lively evening which involves the chef flipping pieces of fried egg across the grill into your mouth! It’s also a great opportunity to socialise with other guests as you’re often seated with another family or two. We had an interesting conversation about Trump and Clinton with a family from New Jersey.
As well as all the restaurants I have mentioned there are also several informal dining places.
Bobby Dee’s is a fifties style diner serving burgers, fajitas, curly fries, onion rings, ice cream and popcorn. We recommend the buffalo chicken wings. Open from 11am until 6am, you can sit in or take away almost around the clock.
Cafe Du Paris serves pastries, crepes, cakes and coffee to satisfy your mid morning cravings.
For freshly made pizzas from the wood oven, visit Dino’s. They also do nachos served with salsa and nacho cheese. All available to take away – we loved visiting after a long afternoon swimming.
In the evening Mario’s turns into a sophisticated Italian restaurant.
The Antipasti starter is served buffet style. Help yourself to salad, garlic bread, cheese, meat and olives. This is perfect for kids as there’s a hot area of the buffet which serves pasta, meatballs, and alfredo sauce.
Just prior to taking our seats in Mario’s we met Colin, the Executive Head Chef (who happened to be Scottish!) who oversees all the dining at Beaches Turks and Caicos. Colin recommended the house signature dish, Osso Bucco all Milanese served with Saffron Risotto. It was the first Osso Bucco I’ve had, but it certainly won’t be the last.
Our final morning was spent at Sky, a rooftop restaurant with perfect views over Grace Bay.
Enjoy pancakes, beignets (pictured at the top), fresh fruit, and omlettes.
In the evening Sky turns into an adults only restaurant where you can relax and unwind sans children.
My opinion of all inclusive has completely changed since visiting Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos. Rather than feeling limited by the cuisine on offer, I actually found myself wishing I could stay longer as there were several restaurants I’d have like to try but didn’t get a chance.
Keep an eye on our sister site The Edinburgh Post for non food related posts on Beaches Turks and Caicos.
Find out more about Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos here.