PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos -- The tiny terminal at
Providenciales (Provo) was packed with kids -- the youngest of the
bunch fascinated by the blue and white balloons that welcomed US
Airways' first direct flight from Charlotte, N.C.
Older children and their parents focused on getting through
Customs so they could hit the beaches or go diving or snorkeling in
what are arguably some of the best waters in the Caribbean.
Many of the families ended up at Ocean Club Resorts on Provo,
one of the eight inhabited islands in the Turks and Caicos
Ocean Club and Ocean Club West, two separate but related
all-suite properties, are located on a 12-mile stretch of Grace Bay
Beach on the north shore.
Double the pleasure
With 86 suites at each property, guests stay at one but are
entitled to the amenities of both. General manager Tom Lewis said
families "double their pleasure" by having access to three
restaurants, pools and fitness centers.
The resorts' new Ultimate Family Getaway, valid Jan. 3 through
April 20, features an a la carte program, Lewis said.
Although family packages at resorts frequently include a
structured children's program, Ocean Club Resorts "created a basic,
value-driven plan that enables families to add on the activities
they prefer -- or not, as the case may be," he said.
Agent Jack Kiburz, Coronet Travel, St. Louis, Mo., sends many
families -- mostly repeat clients -- to the Turks and Caicos every
year, particularly to Ocean Club Resorts.
"The resort staff actually calls to thank me for sending clients
there," Kiburz said. "Families tell me they would be happy to pay
twice what they paid for the family package at Ocean Club
New direct flights to Turks and Caicos from US Airways and
American Airlines this winter will increase family business to the
destination, according to Kiburz.
Both the destination and the properties appeal to families who
"love the absence of cruise ships and the lack of the straw
market-type of attractions," Kiburz said.
Families also "appreciate that Ocean Clubs is eco-sensitive," he
"Parents tell me their kids had snorkeling and kayaking
experiences there that they'll remember forever," Kiburz said.
"That means a lot."
The four-night family package offers accommodations in junior
suites and one-, two- and three-bedroom suites.
Each unit has a full kitchen (or kitchenette) and screened
balconies; the larger suites have cathedral ceilings and sea
Lee Salawitch, manager of Mollett Travel in Baltimore, Md., said
his family clients give high marks to the accommodations.
"The suites have washers, dryers and kitchens, so families can
stretch their travel dollars," he said.
Families also appreciate the gradual slope of the resort's
shoreline and beach, which makes wading and playing in the sand
much safer activities for youngsters.
Ocean Club Resorts offers a variety of add-on land and water
activities, such as learn-to-dive programs from Provo Turtle Divers
for children age 13 and older and introductory snorkeling classes
for kids from the age of 4.
Provo Divers also has family sail adventures and cruises to
nearby Iguana Island.
Other resort options are classes on how to kayak and canoe and
maneuver Hobie Cats. Fly-fishing is taught, and fishing expeditions
can be booked.
Spa treatments and golf on an 18-hole championship course also
Lewis said he is "indebted to travel agents who are our
important partners. We need, appreciate and want them."
Approximately 33% of Ocean Clubs' business comes through travel
agents, who receive 12.5% commission.
Lewis updates agents on resort happenings through direct
mailings as well as by posting deals and savings for the agent
community in an agents' section on the resorts' Web site at www.oceanclubresorts.com.
Family Travel editor Kaleel Sakakeeny can be reached at [email protected].
Ocean Club resorts
Location: Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales, Turks and
Rooms: Ocean Club, 86; Ocean Club West, 86
Phone: (800) 457-8787
The ultimate family getaway plan
Duration: Four nights
Valid: Jan. 3 to April 20
Included: Accommodations; children age 12 and
under free in room with parents; $55 per night for age 13 and up in
room with parents; transfers; all meals plus wine at lunch and
dinner for adults; meal plan for kids 12 and under, $99 for one
child, $149 for two; happy hour; kids' games, beach toys and
videos; tennis courts, fitness center; Internet access in the
business center; tips and taxes.
Extras: Cribs, high chairs, strollers and car
seats; $25 gift certificates for use in properties' stores and
shops; babysitters available.
Rates: From $1,046 per adult, double, in junior
Accommodations: Junior suite: 900 square feet;
kitchen; dining and living areas; screened balcony; king bed, sofa
bed; washer/dryer. One-bedroom suite: 1,200 square feet; separate
bedroom; 1-1/2 baths. Two-bedroom suite: 1,600 square feet. Agent
incentives: 20% discount on food and beverages; discount up to 50%
on room, depending on season. Resort frequently offers one free
night for every seven booked.