Annual Visit to Club Med, Turkoise
Getting there and backWe visited the Club Med Turkoise (Providenciales, Turks & Caicos) Sept 21 - 28. As usual, Steve at Mill travel took care of the details of the travel arrangements and all went smoothly. The Delta flights were on time, transportation between the airport and village went well, and even the airport departure process was smooth this time. Last year the departure process was a zoo with a very(!) long line for security. This year the Beaches resort, the largest on the island, was closed for some rework so there were fewer visitors and NO LINES at all. Wonderful! The arrival back into Atlanta was the now familiar hassle of arriving at the old International Terminal and having to walk (about a mile) to the new International terminal to clear customs and claim our luggage. It took about 20 minutes to get through the Passport Control line in Atlanta.
Looking toward the sailing beach in the morning before the sails have been raised.
The Turkoise VillageThis was something like our 14th visit so we know our way around and can compare things to "how they used to be". Our friends Bruce and Helene were waiting for our arrival at the village so we had a quick lunch with them and by the time we got to our room (2nd floor, "E" building) our bags were waiting for us. As expected, the village has not changed much; it still needs some significant renovation, although it does offer many good points. There was some work going on to refinish the pool deck but that was the only updating we observed. Our room was a standard room; the housekeeping was very good, the bathroom was in good shape. Although the exact mix of towels and washcloths varied daily, we have found this is pretty typical in the Caribbean. We seemed unable to adjust the AC in our room, so it appeared to run full speed all the time, sometimes getting the room rather cool, so we occasionally resorted to turning it off for a while to allow the room to warm up a bit.
One change for this year was the addition of wuite a few new sun shelters along the beach. Previously there were only old wood palapas which I understand tended to be "over-booked" during busy sseasons. Now, between the palapas were new simple wood frames with a cloth (canvas like) covering for shade. These probably more than double the available shade at the beach as each one can accomodate 3 or 4 lounges. And speaking of the lounges..... The village had replaces all of the old, soemwhat uncomfortable lounges, with brand new and reasonably comfortable lounges. They were along the beach as well as around the pool area. The addittional shade and the new lounges are some of the best changes made to the village in several years.
The pool at night.
Sailing and other activitiesWe go mainly for sailing and, if enough wind, windsurfing. When there is no wind at all, we go snorkeling. The GO sailing team this year was good, with Ronnie the chief of sailing, Pierce, Kyle, and Frandie (who was off on vacation most of our time there). They had 7 Hobie Waves, two Hobie 18 MAXs, and one Hobie 16. The 16 was getting a little rough around the edges but the MAXs and Waves were mostly in good shape. Once Ronnie figured out that we could sail, they were always glad to rig a MAX or 16 for us, although it is more effort. We went out on windsurfers once, but there just was not enough wind to make it worthwhile.
The Club Med Turkoise "navy".
This year we tried something new (to us anyway): stand-up paddle boarding. Thanks partly to our windsurfing experience, we were able to catch on pretty quickly and paddled around for 20 or 30 minutes. We didn't go too far or work too hard at it, but got around OK. As I paddled past the swimming line bouy I thought I saw a good sized (4 - 5 ft.) fish under me, then as I was paddling back about the same area I saw it again, getting a better look. Later I asked Ronnie and Kyle if anyone had ever reported seeing a 4-5 ft Barracuda hanging around the swimming area. They just smiled and said, yeah, they see the barracuda every once in a while in that area and yes, it is about 5 ft. long. I suspect they don't advertise that to the swimmers.
Pierce left the village on the same bus as we did, first for a brief visit home, then going to Columbus Isle. He is a real nice guy and seemed to be well liked among the GOs as there were quite a few wet eyes as the GOs were telling him good-by. Ronnie was scheduled to move soon to be Chief of Sailing at the much larger Punta Cana village and Casey, who we have seen several times before, was supposed to come in as the new Chief of Sailing.
At sports awards: Kyle and Ronnie in front row, Pierce next to me.
The snorkel boat, "Miss Turkoise" on duty.
Food and DrinksThe food was probably the biggest disappointment of our visit. Compared to previous visits, the quality and variety of the food in the main restaurant was definitely down. There were two serving stations previously manned by chefs which were closed completely. The traditional "Beef Wellington" was never served and the selection of prepared salads was much more limited than previously. The excuse we heard for the change in the food was that there were few GMs during that season so they could not afford to put out the normal full spread of food. There may be some truth to that, but the village has been lightly occupied on our previous visits the same time of year and the food was noticeably better previously.
Helene is waiting for breakfast toast in an otherwise quiet restaurant.
Although the wine was drinkable to decent, they had changed the serving procedures; whereas previously there used to be bottles of wine on the tables with more available in a cooler, now all wine is served by the attendants and they are not in a hurry to refill glasses. Mixed drinks at the bar were also inconsistent; we were served Mojitos and Caipirinhas that were undrinkable until we added significant sweetener, both by the same bartender.
The dessert chef was always smiling.
Evening Entertainment and Dress CodesThe evening entertainment shows were generally pretty good with the "love is in the air" game being the low point. (We have seen it before and left before it really got started.) The circus show over the pool was unique and the show tunes show was very well choreographed and danced. The latest "rumor" concerning a renovation or change to the village was that Club Med had just signed a short (7 year) lease on the property so they are unlikely to invest significantly in the facilities. However, this is probably about the 4th or 5th rumor we have heard over the past couple of years so I do not put much stock in this one. One evening we were invited to a "reception" on the Yoga Dock for Club Med "Silver" members. I think where were only 6 (3 couples) of us silver members and there must have been 10 or 12 of the lead people in the village, including Mike, the Chief of the Village. I felt kinda bad for them as they were mostly just standing around talking to each other.
For those interested, the following is a list of the daily dress codes, dinner theme, and show for each day. Just be warned, these are very subject to change.
|Mon.||White & Turkoise||Fusion (Asian)||Love is in the air game|
|Wed.||45 T-shirt||French||Tennis Comedy Show|
|Thur.||All black/beach||Mexican||Show Tunes|
|Fri.||All White||Chef's Choice||Circus over pool|
General CommentsThere were quite a few (at least 6) stray cats around the village this time and we made friends with several of them. The females had been spayed, but the young males still still had all their equipment. Although a little skittish, they were mostly friendly and glad to be rubbed and petted, especially if they got some food out of it. Although the cats were cute and social, the two stray dogs (called "Potcakes" locally) that hung out along the beach were not very friendly. There is a local "rescue" group, but they apparently only deal with puppies or kittens; once they get beyond that stage, they are on their own and that is unfortunate.
We always have fun on tour trips to Turkoise. We enjoy meeting up with old friends and making new ones and the water sports are always fun. There are so many little things that could be done to spruce up the village a little and make it more inviting and comfortable, I just hope that Club Med takes the time and resources to enhance the village and get the food/wine service back to where it was a few years ago.
Fair warning Club Med Turkoise, we'll be back to check up on you.....
I will include a few additional photos below.
Some additiional photos
Some of the underwater sights while snorkeling.
Bruce, Helene, and Susan at a very quiet breakfast.
Beach view: from sailing shack area, across green area toward beach..
Beach view: Looking North/East past Yoga dock and SCUBA dock toward Leeward.
Beach view: looking south/west with Seven Stars resort in middle of photo.
About a mile north of Club Med you get to the Leeward area, with some very nice homes.
These young males were also being fed by a GO. Of course, we would not feed them.. no, not us!
This young female was usually by herself but very friendly: we called her little Miss Tortoise Shell.
I have to get a couple of sunset photos in here.
And a few minutes later, the sun was about gone.
Departing the PLS airport: as the song goes: 'Leaving on a Jet Plane'