Turkoise, Turks & Caicos Islands
IntroductionThis was our 9th visit to Club Med Turkoise and we were looking forward to a great week, as usual. We had scheduled this week (Oct 4 - 11) to meet up with Bruce and Helene, two GMs whom we had met at Columbus Isle two years ago.
Getting there and BackWe tried a new airline and routing this year. When making reservations back in May we found that US Air, with a connection in Charlotte, was the best combination of cost and schedule. Delta offers a non-stop out of Atlanta, but it was about $200 more per person and American's flights through Miami did not offer as good a schedule. The USAir flights were all on time or early and service was good. I do still think that Airbus aircraft, such as the A319 we were on between Charlotte and Provo have some of the most uncomfortable seats in the air though. Transfers between the airport and the Club Med village were efficient and timely in both directions. Customs in Provo was the usual quick and easy process (thankfully, we arrived just before a large American flight so our lines were short) and the Charlotte customs facility was small but with very short lines, unlike Atlanta has been lately.
Around The VillageWe got the room type and location requested and it was well maintained throughout our stay. The room was clean with no bugs or other problems. As usual, the bed was firm but comfortable and we always slept well. We were well supplied with towels, soap, shampoo, and bottled water in the room. The rooms are not large but provide good effective storage room and we never feel crowded. The A/C worked fine and kept the room comfortable. We were/are silver level Great Member so we got a heart shaped folded towel with flower petals on the bed on our arrival and canned sodas in the mini-fridge during the week.
A few trees had died from the effects of the storms last year, but most of the village was in good order. Based on comments from the GOs, the village was slightly less than half full the week we were there, so there was no crowding or waiting for any activity.
A new Chief of the Village, Barq, arrived the day before we did so he had not had time to make much of an impact during our visit. He did seem very personable and was visible around the village. On his first night on stage Barq did have a problem with his strong French accent and the sound system causing some non-communication problems, even among some of the GOs on the stage. The next night Barq had another GO do most of the English language announcements, so he realized the problem. I suspect the problem will disappear as he gets more used to the local English language/accent. We spoke to him a couple of times and in a face-to-face situation there were no language issues. I think he will make a somewhat low-key but effective CDV.
ActivitiesOur main activities are sailing and windsurfing, when the wind is strong enough and snorkeling when the wind is too calm for sailing. We had very good wind for sailing all week and even some windsurfing for a couple of days. The GO sailing team, with Cesar as the chief of sailing, was competent and friendly and generally eager to assist us with getting the boats in and out of the water and addressing any problems. The Hobie 16s are getting a bit well-worn after being in constant use for 4 years now and some parts do wear out, but the newer Hobie Max's are still in very good condition. Susan and I usually took out a Hobie Max and when I wanted to go by myself I'd take a Hobie 16 since I think it's a bit more responsive and fun when single-handed.
The GOs were trying to fix/make parts for the boats and as we were leaving Jack (Jeff) was working on remaking a jib for a Max so they could get the 3rd Max back online. There are also 4 or 5 Hobie Waves for the less experienced sailors. The windsurf gear is better than most normal resorts, but we've been windsurfing at a dedicated windsurf outfitter at Bonaire and the relatively heavy Club Med rigs are definitely more work to use.
We did go on one snorkel trip and had good visibility and general conditions at a location on the outside part of the main reef. Will, the snorkel GO, was friendly and helpful. Unfortunately we never saw Jojo this week, although he was sighted late in the week not far from the village beach.
There was a well attended softball game one afternoon when BoraBora Bob pitched for both sides. Perhaps that is why the sides were so evenly match and the score was tied when we left at 6.5 innings. There were of course all the other usual activities such as SCUBA, tennis, circus/trapeze, pool games, and exercise (aqua-gym, yoga-pilates).
FoodFood was good, although we thought it was a small notch below what we had last year. I did think that the wines, especially the red, was better than last year. The main dining area has been upgraded somewhat and the air-conditioning is now more effective so that a after dinner hot coffee is now much more enjoyable. The coffee machines work well and provide a good flavorful cup of coffee. They had the normal evening meal themes such as Tex-Mex, "Rising Sun" (Asian), "Colors" (mid-Eastern), Caicos (island/Caribbean), Italian, etc. Club Med continues to insist on cutting and serving Mangos well before they are ripe. My other pet-peeve is that Club Med Chefs tend to really like green peppers, which do not like me. Almost all prepared salads had some kind of green pepper included. Since we enjoy meeting people around the large tables so much, we did not bother to go down to the Lucayan restaurant, which was only open on Tue and Thur. Evenings.
EntertainmentEntertainment was the normal Club Med shows and such, with one major addition. We "experienced" the first occurrence of the new "Black Masquerade" show/event within Club Med. It featured lavish costumes and a rather unique approach but there were also the normal first-time problems. The show seemed more geared for European tastes with a tendency toward a "street entertainer/mime" style rather than the more traditional acts and seemed to lack "focus" or direction. It will be interesting to see how this evolves. Other shows included the normal Circus shows (one GO/GM and one GO only), the Tennis Comedy Show (but with no mention of Ross this time) and a general GO dancing and singing show where Emilio was the highpoint when he did a live rendition of LaBamba.
Some other stuffAs usual with our trips to Club Med, we renewed some friendships and made several new friends. Club Med is unique in that meeting people is encouraged and becomes one of the most enjoyable parts of a visit. We spent a lot of time with Bruce and Helene from Long Island (whom we had met at Columbus Isle two years ago) and met new GMs such as Joe (Go Gators!), Ken, and BoraBora Bob. Bob is a long time good Club Med customer and is a bit of a "character"... The first impression is that he is a bit gruff but once you get to know him just a little, he is more of a pussy-cat. He quickly got an appropriate table set up outside the theater for a nightly poker game which typically lasted well into the night/morning.
The general facilities do need a significant renovation/facelift. I suspect Club Med is waiting to see if they renew the lease on the property, due to expire in the next year or two, before investing a large amount in the village. General day-to-day maintenance is good, but it appears that more significant investments and upgrades are being postponed. I hope that issue is resolved soon.
We had lots of fun and will definitely be returning for a 10th visit in the future.
For more photos, see the Photo Album following these pictures.
They lit a flaming sign at the end of the pool one evening... Quite impressive.
The GOs are rigging the boats in preparation for a day of sailing.
The middle of the village, pools in the foreground, bar in left background.
Looking at the village from out on Grace Bay. Notice the lack of tall buildings that spoil the view.
View of the snorkel boat from in the water.
Some of the coral formations we saw snorkeling.
A view of the dining room in the evening: A busy place!
Some of the deserts one evening with an appropriate decoration.
Some of the costumed "players" at the Black Masquerade event.
The new CDV, Barq, in his Black Masquerade mask.
Nighttime among the GM rooms in the village.
Helene, Bruce, and Susan are waiting for the evening show to begin.
BoraBora Bob (2nd from left) has his regular poker game underway.
Crazy signs in progress, with Ken at this end of the front row.
A Hobie 16 is on the beach ready for me to take it out by myself for some fun.
Susan says good-by to the Club Med Turkoise village.