Our trip to Turkoise

Our Visit to Club Med, Turkoise, Sept, 2002 This report covers our trip to the Club Med "Turkoise" on the Turks & Cacios Islands from Sept 21 - Sept 28, 2002. This was about our 11th Club Med visit and our third visit to the Turkoise club, so we pretty well knew what to expect.

The Turkoise club is an "Adults Only" club and attracts a lot of singles and active couples. I'd guess that the GMs were about equally split between couples and singles. There is a 'singles' room in the main restaurant and it appeared to have about the same number of people as the regular room (although there were some singles in the regular room). Although I've heard stories about rather wild times in the Singles room, it appeared to be rather well behaved while we were there, although certainly not exactly quiet.

The Providenciales Airport
Providenciales Airport
Getting there and Back:

Arrangements were made by Hal Segal of LeBeach Club travel and everything was in order. We got very good flights, allowing a little more time at the club, without either very early or very late flights. All flights were American Airlines (part the Club Med package) and were either on time or slightly early, a pleasant change from the last trip here when most flights were running late.

The only problem at all was encountered on Check-in.... although we had requested a king-size bed, we got a room with two small beds. Normally we would just shove the beds together, but in this case room layout did not lend itself to that approach. We went back to reception and they did not have any king bed rooms available until the next (Sunday) afternoon. We did do the change on Sunday and ended up with a nice 1st floor room close to the SCUBA end of the village.

We go on vacation to sail, windsurf, snorkel, eat, and do some sightseeing. We go to Club Meds because we have found that they consistently have the best of these facilities and Turkoise did not disappoint us. There is really little traditional 'sightseeing' to do on Turks & Cacios with off-club expeditions generally limited to various boat trips to islands and fishing/snorkeling. Although CM/Turkoise offers a good Tennis program, beach and pool activities, an active bar scene, and significant late-night activities, we did not participate in these pastimes, so I won't attempt to report on them. I did notice that there seemed to be fewer organized late-night activities than at the Cancun club earlier this year.

I'll break the rest of this report into

  • Club facilities
  • Food & Beverage
  • Sports activities
  • Entertainment
  • Miscellaneous
Swimming pool, ocean in distance
Swimming pool area

Club Facilities:

Main bar area, next to pool area
main Bar area

The Turkoise Club was built in 1984 and had a minor renovation about three or four years ago. Although there has been some painting and general maintenance, the club is starting to show it's age. The mechanical components (air conditioners, water system, electrical system) all had minor problems during our stay. None of problems were serious and we had only minor inconvenience, but it does indicate that additional work is needed. (See the 'Miscellaneous' section for more on this.) The club has about 300 rooms and I'd estimate that it was about 2/3 full the week we were there. (Many of the GMs were Travel agents because Club Med had offered very attractive deals to TAs.)

The guest rooms are fairly basic, reasonable size, with tile floors and baths, and basic but sufficient furniture. Housekeeping was generally very good, with the floors being mopped every day. There were some bugs in our ground floor room, but not bad. All rooms have TV (about 12 channels, including HBO, ShowTime, CNN, and Weather Channel, which got watched a lot this week) and telephone. The SCUBA and snorkeling facilities and pier are at the north end of the club; the reception, main restaurant, main bar, theater, boutique, and pool are in the center; and the sailing, tennis, and circus facilities are at the south end of the club. The annex restaurant (The Grill) is also on the south end, as is Sharkey's bar. The Club is located on the northern part of Grace Bay, so the beach to the south extended for about 10 miles. The beach itself is very nice; light yellow, fine sand, and reef protected so there are no large waves crashing onto the beach. Several other resorts have located along Grace bay in recent years but it's still a relatively unpopulated beach, especially at this time of year.

Path from Sharkeys Bar to the Sailing Shack
Path from Sharkeys

Club Med rates Turkoise as a three trident village, which is about right when compared to other villages we have been to. The theater is open air, as are most CM theaters, and the seating was reasonably comfortable. I recommend finding seats in the left rear in order to catch what breezes might be around. The bar is also open-air and it did sometimes get rather warm (perhaps encouraging guests to drink more??). The restaurants are enclosed and somewhat air conditioned, but the main restaurant was frequently rather hot, especially at lunch; it was actually cooler outside at times. We don't generally cool our room very low, but we left the controls at full cold during our stay. Guests who like their room at 72 degrees (F) might find things a little warm.

Food and Beverage

Salad table in main restaurant
Salad table

The food was a little better than on our last visit. In general, most of the food was ok, although nothing special. However, at almost every meal there were one or two special or unusual dishes that made the difference. On Italian night, for instance, they served "homemade" pasta and cooked your selection of sauce ingredients to order... recommended! The food is still not up to the more 'international' clubs, such as Columbus Isle or Guadeloupe, but we certainly did not go hungry. There were always several fish dishes, as well as the normal beef, pork and chicken. As I had found at Cancun, the salad chef apparently likes green pepper much more than I do and it appeared in many of the prepared salads. The full selection of traditional Club Med breads was there, including the sinful white chocolate bread. Deserts were good, although at lunch we especially enjoyed the soft-serve ice-cream because of the heat.

The club was pushing the bar braclet this time: $200 bought you 7 days of almost any beverage you wanted at any time. I would guess that probably 1/3 of the GMs bought the bracelet. We talked to one GM who had found that CM offers (but does not advertise) a non-alcoholic bracelet: water, soft drinks and juices at any time at $57 for the seven days. We heard some discussion that Club Med was going to go to a full all-inclusive as a test at couple of clubs in the near future. As at most Club Meds, the main restraunt seating was at tables of 8 people. This generally provides for interesting conversations and the chance to meet people. In the past, seating was generally done by GOs (probably from reception) and was done 'intelligently' based on the age and language of the GMs being seated. However, it appears that at least some of the clubs, including Turkoise, have gone to seating by the local employees and the only consideration appears to be to efficiently fill the tables. We were sometimes seated with young people who were more interested in drinking than in conversation or with French speaking people who preferred to not speak English. I would certainly encourage a return to the previous methods of seating GMs. Since we enjoy the large tables and most seating at the Grill is small tables, we did not eat down there (it was only open three evenings). The main restaurant was frequently too warm for comfortable eating, especially at lunch. Even in the evening, it was a bit too warm to be able to really enjoy an after dinner coffee. The main restaurant is scheduled to close for renovations as we were leaving. I don't know how extensive the renovations are to be, but I hope the air-conditioning problem is addressed.

Desert table for Fridays dinner
Fridays Special desert table

Sports and Activities

Sailing Shack with Windsurfer sails in loft
Windsurfer sail loft

Our main interests are windsurfing, sailing, and snorkeling so I'll report on these in some detail. There are many other activities available and I'll pass along what I observed and heard from other GMs. We were very lucky in that we had unusually good winds for sailing the week we were there. We were able to get in at least one good sail and windsurfing run every day. They have a reasonable selection of windsurfing equipment; mostly large beginner boards, a few 328s and a number of short boards and they had a corresponding selection of sails. Not the very best or newest equipment, but reasonable and better than all but the dedicated windsurfing resorts. Some of the sails and wishbones were getting a little rough and needed either replacement or repair.

They had both Hobie Waves (10) and Hobie 15s (5). The 15s are a special design for Club Med and use a rig similar to a Hobie 16 but with a 'soft boom'. Since the 15 is probably lighter than a 16, the performance is very good. We only ended up on a Wave one time, and then swapped it for a 15 in a little while. The Waves are very good beginner boats, being relatively stable and difficult to upset. The 15s, however, can bite and we saw a number of unsuspecting sailors get upset in them. In all honesty, however, it was not always the fault of the sailor... Although the sailing GOs were generally very pleasant and helpful, they were not doing the necessary regular maintenance work on the boats. Sailboats, especially at a resort such as this, require almost constant attention and repairs; otherwise, small problems because large ones quickly. We encountered too many instances of rudders that would not lock down, hiking straps that were broken or missing, sails improperly rigged, and other such problems. We agreed that Turkoise needs a "Grek". Grek was the chief of sailing at Cancun earlier this year and he took excellent care of "his" boats. I think the sailing GOs are capable, and during light weeks such as this one, they have the time. They just need some better guidence and instruction. The sailing team did take the extra effort to organize and lead a "sail-away" to Iguana island Friday afternoon which went very well and was fun.

Some boats on the beach
Sailboats on the beach
SCUBA/Snorkel Dock with SCUBA boat docked
Dock with SCUBA Boat

There were two snorkeling trips every day on the dedicated snorkeling 'barge' (large platform boat) going to about 6 or 7 different locations. Visibility was good and there was a wide variety of coral and reef formations and fish. The morning trip was generally less crowded than in the afternoon and the water was usually a little calmer in the morning. There is a major SCUBA program at Turkoise and I heard numerous good comments. The boats and equipment appeared top notch, easily putting to shame the boats from the other resorts. The circus program appeared to be popular but we never saw much activity at the tennis courts although beginner, intermediate, and advance classes were offered.


There were the normal Club Med evening entertainment shows put on by the GOs. However, unlike our visits to Columbus Isle (last Sept) and Cancun (this April) they were generally at the same level of non-professionalism as we've seen in the past. (Cancun and CI seemed to have upgraded the level of the shows significantly.) There was no disco room, with dancing in the open until about 2:00AM when Sharkey's bar opened (or so I was told). There were also the normal 'Crazy Signs" dances and pool games during the day. There was also a "Foam party" one night in front of the theater.

Good view of the long beach area
Beach view


Typical cloudy sunset on the beach
Sunset view

There is a lot to cover in this section, as there were a lot of things going on (or about to go on) at the club. There is apparently going to be a renovation activity at the club, although it is not clear just how complete the work would be. The pool was closed on Saturday morning just before we left. The main restaurant was to have closed that Saturday also, but we saw no indication of that happening. On Friday evening after the show the Chief of the Village (Joey) had a meeting with the GOs to tell them what was going to happen, but I heard lots of whispered questions and rumors on Saturday. The consensus seemed to be that half the guest rooms of the club and the main restaurant would be closed and renovations started. They would keep the club open, but would cut back on the GO staff (since it is almost time for the normal GO rotation, this is probably the best time to start this.) Without the main restaurant open, the number of GMs will have to be limited since the Grill is not that large. I heard no indication as to how long the work would take and whether the other half of the village would then be renovated also.

Completely by coincidence (I assume) the day after we got home, I got an email from Club Med asking me to take a survey about a possible new CM "product". Turns out that Club Med is considering 'converting' some of the club rooms into a "Timeshare" facility. As I understand it, GMs would buy a share that would give them a week at any of the North America villages in significantly upgraded rooms. The 'share' would be good for 10 years (although 30 years was also mentioned). Interesting idea, but given the apparent financial situation of Club Med, I'd tend to be a bit cautious.

Contact me via mike@hammocktree.us