I have just returned from the most blissful five days in Turks and Caicos. In my adult life I have been incredibly privileged to travel to several islands - the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. John - but none of those places can compare to the natural beauty of Turks.
We booked this trip during the Bomb Cyclone in January. There's nothing quite like freezing temperatures and hours of shoveling to motivate you to get the hell out!
We were able to find flights for a very reasonable price on jetBlue. If you haven't heard my ode to jetBlue before, let me share it again quickly. In my opinion, jetBlue is far and away the best airline. They offer the most leg room in coach (yes, I know I sound like their ads), a screen at every seat with free TV, movies and music, complimentary drinks and snacks (including Dunkin Donuts coffee) and their crew members all come to the job with a smile and a sense of humor. Their mobile app is also excellent and makes checking in a breeze.
When it came to deciding where to stay, my friend Stephanie did the initial round of research. She found four resorts and then we each scoped them out further, eventually landing on a top pick. After hours of website and social media stalking, we selected The Shore Club.
We touched down on a Thursday afternoon. It was 82 degrees and sunny and I was grinning ear to ear as we walked off the plane onto a ramp that led us outside. There was no jet bridge (like there is at Logan) so we literally stepped straight into the sun.
The airport in Turks is teeny tiny. We sailed through customs and our luggage was already on the carousel when we got to the other side. The resort had a greeter waiting for us and she walked us over to a taxi that would drop us off, as well as travelers going to one of the Shore Club's sister properties. The taxis are $21.50 per person (pretty steep if you ask me!). It's based on number of people, not the distance.
When we turned onto the Shore Club's driveway, I swore I heard the gates to heaven open and angels singing.
The taxi parked right in front of the lobby, which has a rather grand entrance.
The arches reminded me of La Mezquita in Cordoba, Spain, where I studied abroad in college.
The courtyard in the center of the lobby is open to the blue sky above.
The Shore Club is one of the most magnificently designed places I have ever been. For example, have you ever seen a more stunning reception desk?
We sat down to check in and the bellman whisked away our bags, taking them straight to our room. The gentleman helping us settle in, Stephen, offered each of us a glass of complimentary champagne, which we happily accepted.
While Stephen was entering all the necessary information into the computer, we couldn't stop staring at all the gorgeous lobby furniture.
Eventually I also noticed the ceilings and the light fixtures - all stunning.
There are all kinds of nooks in the lobby area, great for reading (or even just waiting for a cab).
Once we had our keys, Stephen took us on a tour of the whole property. It was funny watching people arrive each day and spotting them on their tour. Their jaws were dropping just as ours had on day one.
As you exit the lobby, it becomes clear that you have arrived to a truly spectacular place. Even the area just outside the lobby doors looks like a spa.
The entire property is green and lush. Every path you walk down has magazine-worthy landscaping.
My favorite flowers were these bright fuchsia stunners, framing the path toward our room. I loved walking through them each morning on our way to and from breakfast.
The Shore Club is a small resort, comprised of two main buildings (building one and building two). Because it's small, the property really feels like a neighborhood where everyone knows each other and nothing is ever too far away. Also, because it's just those two buildings (unlike a mega property like Atlantis in the Bahamas) nothing is ever crowded. There are always chairs at the beach or pool, always space in a restaurant - it's glorious.
Our room was in building two, which had a striking entrance, flanked by trees and plants.
We had a small lobby which was beyond adorable. I swooned over the patterned tiles and chairs.
We booked a junior suite, which is the entry level room (a nice way of saying, the least expensive option). Pro tip: if you are willing to book a non-refundable rate, you can save a significant amount of money per night. You have to be sure your travel dates are firm and that it's unlikely you'd have to alter them (work, illness, a death in the family), but if you can commit, it makes a big difference. Ultimately, we saved 20% on the total cost by choosing the non-refundable option.
To open the door to our suite, we just had to wave the key card in front of the door. I love modern technology. When we walked in, we were psyched to see how much space we had.
Our room had a king size bed and a pull out couch.
On both night stands were lamps filled with decorative orbs that looked like shells.
We had a small living room area that got great natural light.
I couldn't get over the flowers growing right outside our window!
Our coffee table was covered in magazines all about the island - places to explore, excursions, dining out and more.
We had a small breakfast bar with a coffee and tea set up. I didn't get a picture of this (regrets!) but when we walked in, this counter had a tray of fresh fruit (cantaloupe, honey dew, pineapple, watermelon and grapes), a dessert plate with French macarons and chocolate truffles and was accompanied by a handwritten welcome note. Hello, we have arrived.
To the left of our living room was the bathroom, which was surprisingly spacious. Like our building's lobby, it too had such pretty tile on the floor.
The bathroom felt like a luxurious spa retreat every time you walked in. We had unlimited fluffy white towels, double sinks, a plethora of toiletries and a white orchid in the center of the counter.
Did I mention the soaking tub?
Not pictured, but 100 percent worth mentioning, is the two separate areas with the shower and the toilet. The bathroom was set up in a way that allowed all three of us to be in there at the same time, but still have privacy.
Adding to the spa / relaxation vibe was the turn down service each evening. When we'd return to the room after dinner or drinks, housekeeping had drawn our shades, placed squares of Ghiradelli chocolate and bottles of water next to our beds and laid out pairs of slippers on each side of the bed.
One note about the nightly delivery of bottled water - most resorts charge for bottled water. They sell it at a crazy price, like $7 or $8 dollars per bottle, knowing tourists prefer it. The Shore Club replenished our bottles of water each evening and they offer it for free at several of the pools and at the gym. We were shocked and thrilled it was complimentary.
Now, I've saved the best part of our room for last . . . the patio. Or as we started to call it, "our veranda." When we booked the room, we chose a garden view room to save money (ocean view rooms cost more). As such, we didn't have much of an expectation for outdoor space or a view. Well, boy were we wrong!
We had an enormous outdoor patio with a very sweet sitting area and an enough floor space for at least three yoga mats.
I sat down on the couch out there and said to the girls, "This is where I live now." That became our line of the trip! Anytime we saw a new view, a new pool, a new anything that blew us away, we'd look at each other and say, "I live here now."
From the sitting area on the patio we had a gorgeous view - palm trees, pink and purple flowers in full bloom, the ocean and the blue sky above.
I could not get over the flowers!
The best part was that in the late afternoon, our patio was in the sun and we could watch the sunset right from those seats. We really felt like we hit the jackpot with our room, especially the veranda.
On our first day in paradise, after we unpacked a bit, we changed into our bathing suits and headed for the beach. Everything at the Shore Club is gorgeous, including the path from our building to the beach. It's so pretty that you feel excited before you can even see the sand!
You can also enter the beach from the pool area, which has an equally breathtaking view as you walk toward the ocean.
The beaches of Turks and Caicos are everything you've seen online and in travel magazines. Each day I kept saying, "I just want to keep staring so I can tattoo this memory on my brain."
The Shore Club is the first resort to open on Long Bay Beach. The beach is pristine and private.
The water is very warm (a far cry from the ice cold water in New England), but it never gets very deep. You can walk for miles without the water ever going above your waist.
In addition to the soft white sand and the sparkling turquoise water, the beach also has shells of all sizes if you like to collect on trips. It took every ounce of restraint in my whole body not to sneak away with this conch shell.
From the beach you can also get a good look at the Shore Club, one that's tough to see as you're walking around on foot. It really is beautiful.
One of my favorite moments of the trip was a morning where I woke up early to take a walk. I was strolling along the beach and I happened to find the ideal spot to watch the sun come up. I could have lived the rest of my days in that chair.
I spent most of my beach time lounging, but if you're into water sports, the Shore Club offers snorkels, stand up paddle boards and kayaks for free. For a fee, you can also zip around on a jet ski.
After that first afternoon on Long Bay Beach we were totally enchanted. We didn't want to get out of the water.
Our first night at the Shore Club we decided to have dinner at Sui-Ren, the resort's fine dining restaurant. Turns out, half the restaurant was open to guests and half was reserved for a wedding. We couldn't quite figure out if it was the actual wedding, a welcome dinner or a rehearsal dinner, but we benefited from the live band they booked for the evening!
We didn't know this at the time, but Sui-Ren is also home to the daily breakfast buffet. We visited again in the morning and it took a bit to get reoriented with the space (this time in the daylight and without copious amounts of sangria coursing through our systems).
The space is quite beautiful.
Each morning the hostess sat us at the same table and this was our view as we fueled up for the day. We couldn't have asked for anything more serene.
It's worth mentioning that the breakfast buffet is included and available to guests every morning. They offer coffee (hot or iced), tea, freshly squeezed juice and mimosas (at no extra cost) and that's just the beverage selection! They also have all kinds of fresh fruit, eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries, oatmeal, granola, bagels, English muffins, pastries, French toast, pancakes - the list goes on.
For our first full day at the resort, we decided to start out at the Sea Grapes pool. From about 9:30am - 12:00pm we had the entire place to ourselves. It was glorious.
From every chair at the Sea Grapes pool, you can also see the ocean. Pinch me!
Around lunch time, when the sun is at its most intense, members of the Shore Club staff walk the pool deck handing out cold, eucalyptus-scented towels (so you can cool down a bit) and they also offer guests frozen melon balls. Is this real life?
In the late afternoons, Sea Grapes becomes very popular because it's the only pool at the resort with a swim-up bar. They also offer a two-for-one drink special each day from 4:00pm - 6:00pm. I'll cheers to that!
At the end of day two we decided to take advantage of the free shuttle the Shore Club offers to their sister property, the Palms. We ate dinner at their fine dining crown jewel, Parallel 23. That was my favorite meal of the entire trip. I am still thinking about their mushroom risotto.
On day three we decided to set up camp at the Colonnade pool, which is a real showstopper.
On both sides of the pool there are private, reservation-only dining areas.
You do not need a reservation for the beds that are floating right on the edge of the pool. Those are first come, first serve.
Couldn't you just stay on one of these forever?
The Colonnade pool also has cabanas that are first come, first serve. No extra cost, like they are in Las Vegas. How cute are these chandeliers?
We managed to snag a cabana, which was amazing. Not only did it give us a place to keep our stuff, but it was a fantastic location for enjoying lunch later in the day.
This was the view from our cabana:
The Colonnade pool is also wildly popular because of their swings (which remind me of the swings at By Chloe). These serve two purposes: care-free fun and a photo opportunity.
The Colonnade pool is always busy during the day, but it's also hopping at night. The couches in the center of the pool come alive when they light the fire pit in the center.
On the back side of the pool is the Rope Bar, which is a great place for a pre-dinner cocktail or a low key meal.
Whenever we would walk back to our room from the Rope Bar I would swoon as we walked under the pale green chandeliers. Need.
In my opinion, the Rope Bar has the best menu at the resort. We ate there a few times and I was always happy with my selections.
On our fourth day at the Shore Club we made a serious discovery . . . the adults-only pool. Stephen had mentioned it to us when we first toured the property, but we never actually saw it. The morning I took my early beach walk I spotted it on my way back to the room and I audibly gasped. We had such awesome days at the Sea Grapes and Colonnade pools that I didn't think it could get any better. Oh, but it could.
The adults-only pool is basically the Quiet Car on the Acela Express gone tropical. There are no children allowed, all adults are speaking in a whisper, there are a limited number of chairs, it has the best view of any pool at the resort and it's also the only pool with a hot tub.
We snagged a corner spot that allowed us to have two chairs in the sun and one in the shade.
If you need a break from the sun's powerful rays, camping out under this overhang shields you, but you still get the million dollar view.
Even the path to the adults-only pool is stunning!
We loved this pool so much that we posted up there two days in a row.
Now, there was one pool that we did not spend any time in. That would be the lap pool at the fitness center. #sorrynotsorry
It's actually a gorgeous pool, but when I'm on vacation, I'm not thinking about putting on a swim cap and doing some laps.
At the far end of the lap pool is the yoga area. My mom and sister would have loved this!
While you're doing your yoga practice, this is your view.
If you prefer the comforts of the gym, the Shore Club has machines and weights too. The gym overlooks the lap pool, which may be the prettiest view from a treadmill anywhere in the world.
The Shore Club also offers bicycles (free!) if you want to take a spin around the property or ride into town.
They've basically thought of everything.
If you couldn't tell, we fell in love with the Shore Club. By the end of day one we were already talking about making this trip an annual tradition. The Shore Club is special in so many ways, but I'd like to list a few:
- Every single member of the Shore Club team is warm, friendly, generous and helpful. Every person we passed, even just while walking, would stop to say hello or ask how we were enjoying our trip.
- The resort is truly stunning. From the furniture to the light fixtures to the landscaping, every detail is intentional, gorgeous and well maintained.
- The beach. What can I even say? This is the only resort on Long Bay Beach and the privacy factor is huge.
- The pools. Can you tell we liked the pools? It wasn't just the views or the ability to just sit back and read, but all the thoughtful touches like the cold towels, the ability to order food and drinks right to your chair - they just get it.
- Both of my travel buddies insisted that I also mention that all of the public bathrooms at the pools, near the gym and in the restaurants were beautiful and clean. Ladies, you know how rare that is!
- They do not try to upsell or upcharge you at every turn. As I mentioned, they provided complimentary bottled water at turn down each night, mimosas were included at breakfast, all the nice chairs, beds and cabanas at the pools and even the beach are first come, first serve. This is a real differentiator.
- If you want to visit one of the Shore Club's two sister properties for a change of scenery or a meal, they provide free shuttle service every hour, on the hour, between 10:00am - 10:00pm. We took advantage of that perk twice.
- Live music is a big part of the local culture and we got the chance to experience it several times throughout the trip. The Shore Club has bands and individual musicians come in multiple times per week. Again, no charge to the guest.
- For me, this is a big one - the resort is just a 15 minute taxi ride from the airport.
There are a few small things worth noting, especially if you are seriously considering a trip to the Shore Club:
- All of the bars and restaurants at the resort are closed by 11:00pm. Boston gets a lot of flack for bars closing at 2:00am, let me tell you, 11:00pm while you're on vacation feels like 7:00pm.
- In our trio we had one vegetarian and one gluten-free gal. We enjoyed several great meals, but for the two of us, by day four and five, the options were a bit limited and / or repetitive.
- If you're looking to explore other parts of Turks, or even just other beaches, the Shore Club is the furthest out from the action. If you want the seclusion, it's perfect, but if you want to do more exploring, it's going to tack an extra 15 - 20 minutes onto any drive you take.
If you made it to the bottom of this post, I am going to blend you a frozen drink right this minute! Thank you for reading and for checking out my photo diary of our trip. If you are thinking about a getaway to somewhere warm, I cannot recommend Turks and Caicos and the Shore Club enough. Please comment or message me if you have any questions, happy to discuss it more.
*All photography by Molly Galler for Pop.Bop.Shop.