Friday, September 26, 2014

It's time for some sailing! Catamaran Style!

During our free time, we had an option to go on a Catamaran Tour with Island Routes. They are the tour provider for Sandals and Beaches resorts.  We were encouraged to take this tour so that we, as agents, could let our clients know what kind of tour operators they were so we could properly advise them.  So, I thought long and hard....Catamaran or the pool or the beach....Catamaran won out!  I'm a boat loving person, so it was an easy decision!  Even with that stormy sky overhead!  We were assured that where we were heading the skies would be beautiful!  No worries!

Off we went.  The staff was a lot of fun, as were the Sandals reps!  On the way out to Iguana Island there was rum punch, and of course water and playing and it was great to relax and take in the sites of Turks & Caicos from the ocean!

We anchored and while this trip we didn't snorkel, on other tours they bring out the snorkel gear.  For us, there was a volleyball net set up, you could walk the beach, swim in the ocean and there was this really cool area across the island with a lot of tide pools - which by then my phone battery was dead and I had left my other camera on the catamaran!   But here's what I do have pictures of!

And look at that blue sky!  They were right, no storm clouds here!

After probably about an hour, maybe an hour and a half, we were back on board and sailing back to Beaches.  On the way back they had fruit, cheeses and other snacks along with the bar set up.  

Here is a look at Beaches as we are almost back

It was a great time, one that I'm glad that I decided to do!  I'd recommend Island Routes to anyone for a tour operator!  Next, time for some quick souvenir shopping before the Sesame Street Parade and then dinner!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Villages at Beaches! The tour continues!

I haven't forgotten the story!  I've just been swamped here!  But busy is good, really!  So, back to the trip!

We left off at the Beaches!  Our tour continues....Our group moved on to the Key West Village.  This is the newest section of the resort and also the quietest section. If you are traveling without children, or just want some quiet tranquility, this is probably the section for you.  To be honest, I thought maybe it was just a bit TOO quiet for me!  It took me until the tour to even find one of the pools over here!  But that's not to say that this area isn't amazing!  Let's take a look!

One of the pools over here in the Key West Village

Now I know I said if you are traveling without a family, this is probably the area to stay, but there is a huge exception to this.  If you have a larger family group, and you can afford one of their cottages - absolutely GO FOR IT!  These are essentially beachfront homes, and some complete with Butler service!  We toured the 4 Bedroom Butler Villa Residence....let's go take a look!

This is the front of the villa.  You face the ocean, and you'll get to see the view shortly!

Nice front porch

Cute little pool in the front yard.  It's very small, but it's good for cooling off!

Very nice kitchen!  Which by the way, again they do NOT recommend all out cooking!

One of the bedrooms.  The house sleeps 10...

This is the view from the master bedroom.  There is a nice deck off this bedroom.

The deck off the master bedroom

The view from the top floor - which is a nice little sitting area

We left this beautiful Villa and made our way over to the Italian Village, walking by one more pool in the Key West Village.  This one faces the beach.

The Italian Village is where most of the family style rooms are located.  Many have bunk beds and more than one bedroom.  This area is fantastic!  And just look who we bumped into over here!!

Yes, very Family friendly over here in the Italian Village!  But actually everywhere at Beaches!  For a bit of an extra charge, you can have the Sesame Street characters come to your child's room at night and read them a bedtime story!  What could be more fun! The only ones who can't do this bedtime routine are Big Bird - too big to fit through the door, and Oscar, his can is too wide to fit through the door!  

This was one of the walkout rooms, facing the Italian Village pool.  Very nice patio here!

And here is a great example of the kid's room!

This room also has a trundle bed in it, so a large family could fit very comfortably!

Next we made our way to what is probably the part of the resort that the kids love the most!  They have a full blown water park!  Big slides, a flow rider, and a lazy river too!

 Even a swim up bar to get snacks and ice cream!

Then of course there are times when the kids, and teens will want their video games. This set up was pretty amazing!

The XBOX consoles lined the entire room along the walls!

Another picture of the water park, here is the lazy river.

And finally we moved over to the French Village.  This area is also pretty close to the Water Park.  There is a nice big pool here in the center as well.

And our whirlwind tour of the resort was done!  We rushed off to lunch so we could have some free time!  Some relaxed at the pools or at the beach.  Some went and hung out at the water park!  And a bunch of us, about 95 of us actually, got to experience Island Routes, which is the tour company Sandals and Beaches uses, Catamaran tour to Lizard Island!  That's up next!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Beaches - The Closer You Look The Better We Look! It's true!

Oh boy, that alarm clock went off way too early!  But it was a 6 am wake up, breakfast at 6:30 and then a marketing forum!  We were off!  Beaches here we are, and we weren't wasting a moment!  My friends and I decided to meet at Cafe de Paris for a nice French pastry know, go to the French Village, have some Crepes...what could be better?  It was a beautiful walk over and suddenly the transformation from my Key West Village to France was clear!

This is the Italian Village pool on my walk over.  

We had an great morning forum, for about 3, maybe 4 hours.  Lots of speakers from Sandals and Beaches.  The energy these people have is amazing!  So much to learn and really so informative!  Right here, this was one of the highlights!  I know right?  Sitting in a conference room, a highlight when there is so much Caribbean outside the door?  But it was....

Sandals has a great foundation that supports the local schools and this is a small part of what some of the travel agents brought with them to donate.  Great cause!

In the conference room they had a sample of the Weddingmoon set up you can get at Beaches - they have many different choices.  From the flowers, to the colors, to the tables to the locations at the resort - just a little sample here.  But what a great place to have your wedding and reception!  At any of their properties it would be great, but here you can even bring kids!

We finally got out and got to begin our resort tour.  Exciting!  We started at the Caribbean Village.  Beautiful pools over here and the closest section to the beach!

Just an idea of what one of the rooms looks like - again so many types and you can get concierge service over here or even Butler service!  Who wouldn't want a Butler?  

Love that view from your balcony right?  

And then we moved towards the water sports center... passing by another pool

See the gazebo there, it's one of the spots you could have a wedding - so nice, with the ocean right there!

Just look at that beach!  And the water....beautiful!

This is the water sports center.  Most everything is included with your stay.  Two or three snorkel trips go out daily, the paddle boards, hobicats, even a 2-tank dive is included for those who are certified!  If your not certified, you can pay a bit, do the resort certification (or pay a bit more for the full certification) and start diving!  

Next up.....we continue the resort tour!  Right now, linger at the beach!  You know you want to!