Grace Bay Beach on the northwest coast of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos is dotted with more than 30 resorts, villas, private residences, funky thatched-roof bars, stretches of beach grass, driftwood and footprints in the sand.
Bookended on one stretch of beach by the Tuscany and the Venetian on the east and the Gansevoort on the west sits the Ocean Club West, a one-mile, 15-minute walk down the beach from sister property the Ocean Club.
Several years ago, I stayed at the 86-unit Ocean Club, which opened in 1990 and completed all buildings in 2000, and I recently spent several warm, sunny days and full-moon nights at the 68-unit Ocean Club West, which opened in 2000.
Both are beachfront properties with several suite categories ranging from studios to cavernous three-bedroom units with views of the beach, pool or gardens.
My large condominium-style, one-bedroom suite had all the comforts of home, with a full kitchen, washer/dryer, living room, dining area and two bathrooms.
Screened porches at the Ocean Club West. Photo Credit: Gay Nagle Myers
The big plus for me was the screened-in porch with two chaise lounges, something I wish more resorts offered. Screens keep out the bugs, let in the breezes and the sounds of the ocean at night.
Another big plus was the loaded bike rack near the resort's entry. I grabbed a bright-green bike one morning and pedaled down the road a bit to explore the neighborhood and take in the sights.
The resort is closer to the shops and restaurants in Providenciales than its sister resort, which has the bonus of the adjacent Provo Golf Club.
"We offer deluxe accommodations, but we are not a deluxe property per se," said Ian McLeod, director of the Ocean Club West. "I'd say we are a midmarket, family-affordable resort on a beautiful beach with all the amenities and facilities that our guests want."
Ahoy, mating! Birds, bees and worms on yacht excursion
On a somewhat cloudy evening at 5:30 p.m., on the third day after the full moon, I boarded a 70-foot yacht named Atabeyra (the Taino goddess of fertility) at a marina not far from Grace Bay Beach. The yacht name was certainly appropriate for what I was about to witness. Read More
There were more facilities and activities than I had time to sample in my short stay, including spa treatments, tennis, sailing, snorkeling, parasailing, paddleboarding and kayaking, but I did find time for my place in the sun under one of the resort's signature pink beach umbrellas.
The resorts offer a Stay at One, Play at Two promotion, so at the Ocean Club West I had eggs, bacon and Caribbean fruit for breakfast at Solana, sampled a couple of rum punches and a conch salad for lunch at Cabana Bar & Grille and dined one evening at Opus at the Ocean Club.
There is no room service at either resort, but guests can stock their kitchens at nearby markets and stores.
The interior of a one-bedroom unit at the Ocean Club West.
Both resorts had some minor damage from the hurricanes last September, mainly landscaping, but the grounds are green again, flowers blooming and newly planted palm trees swaying.
"The U.S. and Canada are our main markets, and we have many repeat guests coming with families and we have support from travel agents, as well," McLeod said.
"We're looking at a pretty strong winter season, but we need to keep getting the message out that the Turks and Caicos is fully open for business this winter and to please come visit us," he said.
Rates at the Ocean Club West start at $399 per room, per night for a studio and at $539 for a one-bedroom unit.
Ocean Club rates are $369 for a studio and $519 for a one-bedroom unit.
A winter special for stays through Feb. 16 offers a 20% discount on all rates, commissionable at 12.5%.