A different Visit to Club Med, Turkoise

May 2016

The Set-Up

The Turkoise sign was lit every night between the pool and the beach.

For the past 7 or 8 ( or more?) years we have gone to the Club Med in the Turks & Caicos in Sept - Oct. for a total of about 16 visits. For the past 5 or 6 years we have coordinated with our friends from Long Island to be there the same time. Although we love meeting up with Bruce and Helene, we thought it was time to try out Turkoise at a different time of year. Combine that with the fact that another friend I had "met" on Trip Advisor was planning a May trip, well that just settled the matter. We made our reservations for May 9 - 17.

Leaving the Florida coast, just south of Cape canaveral.

Getting there and back

We used frequent flyer miles on Delta with a Monday to Tuesday (following week) schedule to keep the cost reasonable and avoid the longer airport lines on weekends. We arrived on the Delta flight nonstop from Atlanta: scheduled arrival time was 1:20 and we were about 10 minutes early. Unfortunately we landed right behind a larger Jet Blue flight from JFK so were behind them in the immigration line. It took us about 20 minutes to clear immigration and anyone coming behind us would have had almost no wait at all. Our bags were waiting for us and customs took about 1 minute. We waited about 10 minutes for the Club Med GO (Diesel) to line up taxis/vans for the about 12 people going to Club Med from the two flights. Then we were direct to the Club Med village.

Outside the arrivals area we waited while Diesel arranged our transportation.

On arriving at the village the GOs quickly got us our wrist bands and were a little surprised when we declined the guide to our room. We've been here enough times that we know our way around, probably better than some of the GOs. Our room was as expected and we had no significant problems all week. Some people complain about air conditioning that doesn't work, but our main problem was that we could not set the AC temp higher. The AC seemed to always be cooling and our only control was the fan speed; even at the lowest setting, it sometimes got a bit cool at night.

Our room was nothing fancy, but functional and comfortable.

On the return, we left Club Med at 12:00 for a 2:30 flight. We got to the airport, checked in (almost no wait to check in), through security ( 10 minutes at most) and were in the departure lounge by 12:45. Return flight was a little early but, although we have Global Entry status, we were randomly selected for secondary Customs screening in Atlanta. The agent was pleasant and it only took 10 minutes, but when you are that close to home, you really don't want to be delayed an extra 10 minutes.


The weather was great! no, make that "wonderful"! As I've said here before, we come to this Club Med primarily for the sailing and great beach and we had really great sailing weather. Every day we had good winds for sailing, usually in the range of 12 - 16mph. The first three days it had enough of a northerly component to make Grace Bay rather choppy for small boat sailing, but it did not slow us down much (especially for the Club Med regatta, which we won). On the fourth day (Thursday) the wind shifted more out of the east, the waves and chop disappeared, and Gracie was on her best behavior. It was wonderful. We went sailing every morning and afternoon, including the Monday "armada"/sailaway to Little Water Cay ("Iguana Island"). We had a couple of brief periods of rain but it never lasted long and did not keep us from doing anything. It was sort of fitting that one of the harder rains occurred while we were taking another couple on an "introductory sail". Our passengers were Kathy and Robert, our friends from Trip Advisor and being such good sports, they never complained about "sailing in the rain". Robert had sailed some before while Kathy was not real certain about the whole thing but she hung in there, rain and all.

A view of the beach looking SW from the Club Med part of the beach.

I always think that perhaps we'll get out and explore Provo more on one of our visits, but this time the sailing conditions were just so good, we could not tear ourselves away. Other than long beach walks and one trip to the Graceway Gourmet food store, we didn't wander away from the Club Med.

I will mention that Club Med seems to be pushing the Day Pass and Night Pass more these days with a sigh out by the beach. Also, Sharkies has been opened to the public. The beach bar opens at 12:30 and the grill opens at 2:30. The sign on the beach says draft beers are $4., cold drinks are $5, and hamburgers are $8. Based on my experience, I'd say the beers and burgers/sandwiches are a good deal, but the drinks, while relatively cheap, are forgettable.

Sharkies is open to the public and advertising on the beach. Club Med navy in the distance.

We did enjoy meeting new friends, including Trip Advisor friends that I felt that we already knew because of our TA exchanges. We met other friends we had previously met at other Club Med villages and also new friends who we had never seen before, but who quickly became friends, including a couple from Germany. I guess it is part of that "roasting marshmallows over a bonfire" atmosphere that encourages such friendships. (I was tempted to take some marshmallows down to the Seven Stars BBQ/bonfire but figured they might not think it as amusing as I.)

On the beach toward Leeward people have collected beach trash and constructed what we called 'Floatsam and Jetsam'.

We generally followed our normal routine for when we come to Turkoise. After breakfast we take a long walk on the beach, either up toward Leeward Beach, or south past Seven Stars and on to Point Grace. These walks usually take us about an hour and by the time we get back to the sailing beach, it is usually about 9:30 and time for the GOs to open the beach and get the boats rigged. Walking either direction from Club Med offers some great views and, with the hard packed wet sand, it is easy walking. Every time we come we see changes, mostly new development (hotels, villas, etc.) but the beach is always beautiful.

Looking south along the beach from the Leeward area.

Around the Village

The Club Med has not changed much from past visits. Some things were better (better wine, a better Sharkies) and other things stayed about the same. One of our main complaints in the past is the lack of really good sailboats: we much prefer Hobie 15s or 16s over the Waves and Getaways that Club Med has gone to in the US/Caribbean area. There may be some light at the end of this tunnel though.. more later. The rooms and general facilities were about the same. That is, they do need some updating and renovation. Our room was cleaned/mopped daily, but the shower had more mold than I've seen in past visits: not terrible, but enough for me (a guy who does not normally notice such things) to notice. The previous Chef de Village, Francis, had left a couple of days before we got there and the new CdV, Jessie, arrived (in a beach celebration via para-sail) about 5 days into our stay.. I have high hopes she will be able to make a real difference in the village. Lance, the Chief of Animations (entertainment) did an excellent job of filling in and running things between CdVs.

At the Sports Awards Lance (red pants) is introducing Mamadou while Helen and Sonja are looking on.

The shows were the pretty standard ones, with the Music Factory probably being the best. There were several parties and such after the shows, some of which were at the expanded Sharkies and Crazy Signs were played/danced before and after the shows.

Sightings (animal, not celebrities)

As usual, there were some cats around the village and we had to seek them out. This time there were two gray cats around the reception area and one tortoiseshell cat that we have seen the past several years on our visits. The gray ones are rather skittish but "Little Miss Tortie" has been around long enough that she is calm and makes friends easily, especially if you have a little food.

Little Miss Tortie was usually hanging around the restaurant and seemed to be well fed.

We saw dolphins a couple of times while sailing but they looked too small to be the famous Jo-Jo. We're glad to see other dolphins in the bay and we like to think that perhaps they are Jo-Jo's offspring and family. One morning when walking back from our morning walk to Leeward, we saw a small (18" wingspread) ray of some kind moving along just off the beach. About another 100 ft down the beach there was a Barracuda about 5 feet off the beach just watching us walk past. He looked like he was just daring us to enter the water with him there. Oscar, the large ( 6 foot) Barracuda who used to hang around the sailing beach was apparently gone but a new visitor appeared while we were there. For three days in a row, the last days we were there, between about 10 and 11 AM, a large shadow appeared in the water and glided past. It was a ray of some kind variously estimated to have a 5 to 7 foot wingspan. Some people said it was a Manta Ray and some said Eagle Ray and I would go with the Eagle Ray based on its size. It would float down the beach going within a foot or less of swimmers who never knew it was there. Every once in a while it would roll in a looping maneuver, turning its very white underside up, making for quite a show. It was beautiful and impressive. After its third appearance Pineapple (Helen) said we should name it so I suggested the obvious name of "Ray". So the latest addition to Grace Bay is Ray the Ray.

Food and Drinks

The food is about the same with only the main buffet restaurant open. All serving stations were in operation so there was always a reasonable selection to choose from. It seemed to us that over the last few years the food has been "toned down" some with less spice and less "grab your attention" flavor. Perhaps we just like our food spicier/tastier than most people, but many of the offerings bordered on bland. As mentioned, an improvement in the wine quality is very appreciated. All the included wines were very drinkable

This lady always had some kind of interesting looking salad or sandwich to try.

The annex restaurant (the "Lucayan") has been closed for over a year now and the rumor we heard was that Club Med was going to turn it into some kind of conference facility. Considering the usual rumors and such about the future of the village, I'm not sure this would make much sense and don't put a lot of faith in it. My best understanding is that there are about 2 years left in a short term land lease for the entire Club Med property so something will probably have to be done within that two year timeframe. Although I love the location, the amount of space, and the beach, the Club Med village occupies a LOT of very expensive land for the amount of revenue it produces. I will just keep my fingers crossed.


The GOs on the sailing team did an excellent job. Mamadou, Sonja, Eric, and Helen ("Pineapple") were hard working and friendly. (Derf was there and on the sailing team, but he had received a concussion from a collision with a sailboat, and he was packing to leave on Sunday, so he was not at the beach very much.) We had met Mamadou and Sonja previously at Columbus Isle so they knew we could sail and gave us a little extra leeway. In return, we always tried to help pull the boats up the beach (an exhausting job) at the end of the day. As usual for the past several years, Club Med had only Hobie Waves and Getaways.

There were 10 Waves and 3 Getaways (the larger ones with vertical Hobie on the sail).

While these are very safe and easy to sail boats, they do not offer the performance and fun of higher performance boats like the Hobie 15 and Hobie 16 that Club Med used to have in the Caribbean and still uses in Europe. This continues to be one of my sore points about Club Med and their resorts in the Caribbean. We have gone to other resorts to find better sailing equipment (see my report on our visit to the Nonsuch Bay resort in March). If Club Med would provide better sailing equipment at our favorite villages (Turkoise, Cancun, and Columbus Isle) we would be very happy and probably visit more often! Since we won the regatta and had made the trip to Little Water Cay several times in the past, we were appointed the lead/guide boat.

On the way to Little Waer Cay, with the rest of the fleet following us.

We had 5 passengers so even the larger Getaway was a bit crowded, but since all 5 of them were young women, I did not mind very much. One of the guests had a minor but significant accident on Little Water Cay that required extra GO effort and the emergency evacuation of that person and I felt that the GO team handled the incident very well. The beach at Little water Cay (also known as Half Moon Bay) is beautiful and it is fun to explore the small island. You are asked to not feed the Iguanas but it is obvious form their behavior that they are frequently fed and I can verify that they do like fresh fruit.

All the boats lined up on Half Moon Bay beach, with Mamadou and Susan clowning in the middle.

New Chef de Village

Jessie arriving via para-sail on the beach. Quite an arrival!

Finally, a comment about the new Chef de Village, Jessie. She is a small/petite person (from Taiwan) but is full of energy and is very good at getting people excited about something. When she leads everyone in singing "Hey Baby" ("I wanna know if you'll be my girl?") everyone is up and singing and participating. I got the impression that was sort of her "theme song". We ended up talking to her several times and found out that she used to be a sailing GO, including at Columbus Isle and knows several of the people/GOs that we knew. On our last night I wanted to get a reserved table out by the pool and a couple of bottles of good wine and have the sailing GOs join us for dinner. Normally, there is a rule of a maximum of 2 GOs per table at a time, which this would violate. There was a silver/gold (frequent stayer) reception and Jessie was there so I asked her if she would approve breaking the rule in this case. She frowned a bit and I thought she was going to say "no", but instead she said she wished she could join us. I immediately said that we could easily add a chair and place setting. She had CdV duties until 9:00 but then she joined us and we had the four sailing GOs and the CdV at our table for a while.

We took the opportunity to discuss our feelings about the type of sailboats at the village now and, as a former sailing GO, she understood our point and we talked about some possible solutions. We suggested that we would be willing to pay an additional fee to give us access to higher performance boats, such as Hobie 15s and 16s. Another option we discussed is eliminating the windsurfing since this is not really a good place for windsurfing and the windsurf equipment needs a major updating if that sport is to be retained. I hope that Jessie is able to follow up on some of these ideas.

I think one reason we got along so well with Jessie is that she and Susan see "eye to eye".

When I asked what kind of wine Jessie wanted (red or white) she went for the red! Now this is my kind of woman! Even the Chef de Village has limited ability to make significant changes to a village, but we have high hopes that Jessie will be able to make some positive changes. We already have reservations to return in October to check on the progress Jessie has made and to go sailing with her.


All in all, this was a very successful and fun visit to Club Med Turkoise. We look forward to our next trip.

Contact me via mike@hammocktree.us