The Sands at Grace Bay reviews

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating

4.5 Excellent

  • Cleanliness 4.5
  • Location 5.0
  • Rooms 4.0
  • Service 4.0
  • Value 4.0

2477 TripAdvisor reviews

TripAdvisor users rated this property 3 out of 5

No one told us they were renovating the resort!

Mike S (Potomac Falls, Virginia) on May 13, 2024

Turks and Caicos is a weird place. Everything has its place and nothing overlaps. If you want to get around, rent a car. Hotels are not permitted to have shuttle services. There are no ATMs anywhere other than at a bank or the grocery store so bring cash - lots of cash - in small bills because you have to tip EVERYONE. We stayed at the Sands at Grace Bay. It wasn’t great. There were all sorts of problems, some associated with me being unfamiliar with the area but most being the hotel’s fault. I’ll use the TV as a metaphor for the entire visit because the TV shows the lack of coordination between different elements within the resort. The TV and cable/satellite are completely indecipherable. The channel guide - ha! Try finding it! - referred to channels by conventional integers, 1,2,3 etc. Meanwhile the numbers on the TV were started at 100 and we’re entirely ###-## format. There was no correlation whatsoever between the guide numbers and the actual TV channel numbers. Nor was there any seeming organization between channels, e.g., a news section, a Spanish language section, a sports section, etc. The reception was spotty, and the video frequently froze. When it did freeze, it did nothing to fix itself. It stayed frozen until You did something. Problem 1: They're doing a lot of construction but failed to mention that when we booked. Their website is misleading - it doesn’t mention the construction or that the spa isn’t actually open. They have only one restaurant open and there are limited activities on site. And, of course, we had a lot of issues with construction noise and traffic. That said, their beach is absolutely beautiful. Problem 2: The place definitely needs refurbishment. We had a number of issues with the room including that the door would stick open, the in room safe looks cracked and ran out of batteries, the vanity made out of press board has gotten wet and is starting to bulge. The whole room needs paint and wallboard in many places. The ceiling vent was covered in condensation, which made me worry about legionnaires disease. The bathroom doesn’t ventilate well and the exhaust fan didn’t work so that probably caused the bathroom to age fastest. There were some positives. Each room has a washer and dryer. The screened in porch was beautiful and the tile in the bathroom was very nice. Some of the people who work at the resort are great, others less so. Much like the TV, the staff smiled and were nice but they didn’t proactively try to help. You have to ask for each and every little thing. Unless, of course, they think you might tip. Here’s an example: The resort has a number of built-in umbrellas with chaise lounges, but guests take them very quickly. The sign says that if you leave your chair for more than 30 minutes, someone else can take it but in practice that doesn’t really happen if you leave something more than a hotel towel. The men at the beach are eager to please and will find a couple of chaise lounges and dig you a hole for an umbrella pretty quickly. Be sure to tip them if you ever want them to do it again. They have a different concept of customer service down here. Like most of the Caribbean, everything requires forethought because they do it their way, on their schedule, no exceptions. Breakfast opens at 8 AM, no earlier. If you’re an early riser (like me) and you want to eat before 8 AM (like me) you better have food in your room. That means you have to think ahead. Housekeeping opens at 8 AM. If housekeeping didn’t put something in your room like coffee pods the day before, they don’t have any at the front desk, so you won’t have it in the morning unless you think ahead. Other tips: 1. Don’t get a cab with Recko/4GS if you’re in a hurry. That guy is slow and may be stoned. 2. You don’t need a car or to use their bicycles to get into the town of Grace Bay about a kilometer away. It’s a flat, easy walk but I don’t recommend you do it at night. TCI has crime. We never saw any of it but you can read about it. I'm not permitted to post a link to the Guardian article but you can find it if you search on the terms "Turks and Caicos engulfed by gang warfare" 3. That said, you probably want a car unless you're willing to eat at the resorts one open restaurant for every single meal. As I think about it, I keep coming back to the same conclusion: while this is a vacation area, it doesn’t mean that everyone here is on vacation. Speaking to the locals, yes, you live here and it’s your privilege to live in a beautiful place. But when you’re working, you still need to work hard even though people around you are all on vacation.

TripAdvisor users rated this property 5 out of 5

superb communication from front desk

iriding (Orlando, Florida) on May 07, 2024

I need to preface this review, I did not stay on property but had to contact them to assist in a surprise in resort for a colleague The front desk staff Ketch and manager Robyn could not have been more helpful they made my request so easy and executed perfectly. If they are representative of the resort then you will be good hands Thanks Robyn and ketch for helping me out

TripAdvisor users rated this property 5 out of 5

Amazing!!!!!

msmith1224 (Lewes, Delaware) on Apr 29, 2024

Fantastic resort! Clean, beautiful, great food, comfortable beds, amazing screened in porches, great service, friendly staff, updated rooms, amazing beach and pools! Stayed for a week on a girls trip and loved it so much that I booked with them again for July and will be returning on a family vacation with my son and husband!

TripAdvisor users rated this property 4 out of 5

Overall good

TonyCardiff_Wales (Cardiff, United Kingdom) on Apr 25, 2024

Just back from two weeks at the sands. First time in the Turks and Caicos, and as I normally do, I like to separate out the good, and the not so good within my reviews. So let’s start with the good. We had a one bedroom suite, although the word suite is doing a lot of heavy lifting here. We had a bathroom (which included a washing machine and dryer) a butler station equipped with fridge, microwave and toaster (a call to reception and a kettle was duly delivered), dry comfortable bed and a lounge are with TV, and a good sized balcony with sea view. Our bed was enormous and I have to say, the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in. Furniture in the room seemed fairly new and was comfortable. Air-conditioning was spot on, and plenty of lighting. The room was close to reception and also a nice pool, although the beach is the star of the show here. The beach is wonderful, very clean, with good amenities and crystal clear water. The grounds of the hotel are also immaculate. They also make clever use of pathways and bushes, lawns and shrubs, with a couple of smaller pools which create intimate, quite zones. There is of course a larger main pool nearer to the beach, again, very clean with plenty of Sun loungers. We arrived a bit early, so our room wasn’t ready. Having left London at 8am UK time with precious little sleep, a nine hour flight we enjoyed a couple of well deserved beers in Hemingways while we waited for our room to be ready. We dined in Hemingways that night and the portions were good, and quality even better. While we usually had breakfast in our room, we did have breakfast in the restaurant a few times, and it was always good. Lunchtime, we usually had a small meal which we shared as a snack, again very good. Dinner again was always very good. They have a fantastic head chef there, The hotel operates a shuttle to its sister resorts - The Shore club and the Palms. We used this to look at and eat at the other resorts, and preferred the Sands. Having two weeks to explore, I honestly feel that the Sands occupies the best part of grace bay. While we had green flags at the beach, other resorts had yellow. We dined at the ritz Carlton one night and had a look at their part of the beach, we also visited the beach by the Wymara (both arguably the more exclusive resorts) and both agreed the the Sands was the best. The hotel offers bikes for guests to use, free of charge, but not having ridden a bike for about thirty years, I declined this opportunity and preferred to walk to the shopping area - about a ten minute walk, to a number of restaurants, cafes and some unique gift shops. There is a decent sized supermarket, but this is about a mile away, and you can only carry so much, especially when it’s so hot, so probably worth a taxi or hiring a car to stock up. I was a bit concerned about only having one restaurant on site, but I needn’t have been. Hemingway’s is great, and manages to act as a bar, breakfast and lunch diner and evening restaurant and manages to deliver on each. Check out is at 11am, but front desk staff were able to extend our checkout until midday which was much appreciated. A couple of issues that were disappointing though: 1. Front desk/Charges. We’d paid paid up front for our holiday via our travel agent, we also like to pay cash for drinks, meals etc as this not only helps us to budget, but avoids any issues at checkout. Naturally we were asked to give our credit card details for incidentals. Imagine our concern when our credit card company alerted us to some unusual activity. We were seeing “pending” charges of $500 a day, soon racking up a few thousand dollars of charges. Naturally we complained, front desk were a little dismissive so we spoke to a manager who advised that their accounts department had made a mistake and promised to remove them. (There was also a restaurant charge added which wasn’t us). Couple of days later the charges were still there, I spoke to the manager again, and advised her that we had alerted our credit card company to freeze our card and that my next call was to the police. This was now spoiling our holiday. My wife also alerted our travel agent. Following their intervention, the next morning the manager advised me that she’d arranged for the charges to be removed a bottle of wine to be sent to us by way of an apology, but I told her it hadn’t arrived. I think she’d arranged it for a different room, she apologised again and made a note to send another one. This didn’t arrive either at which point I just gave up. We witnessed other guests having similar issues, so my advise is to check your credit card activity and scrutinise every check that you’re asked to settle when you check out. Day before we left, front desk rang me to ask if we wanted a taxi to the airport, to which I said thank you, 5pm please. Of course, 5pm came and went - no taxi. Thankfully there was another one waiting for fares in the car park that they flagged down. At check out, we were presented with three restaurant bills for our room, none of which had our signatures on, which to be fair were cancelled without argument. But surely, restaurant staff shouldn’t just accept a room number without cross referencing the name of the person in the room? 2. Plumbing. Water pressure in our in-room toilet was poor. 3. More storage in the room would’ve been ideal, and a bigger safe, but these are minor points. There is currently a large construction project happening next door, but while the activity/noise didn’t affect us at all, I hope it doesn’t end up overshadowing the Sands. Overall, it’s a nice hotel. Staff are mostly very pleasant, but bizarrely the most pleasant ones are the ones who aren’t meant to be customer facing - gardeners and housekeeping. Front desk staff could be a bit more welcoming. There is an on-site shop, which would be better if it stocked more groceries and stayed open a little later. Overall though, the litmus test is “Would I go back?” Yes I would.

TripAdvisor users rated this property 4 out of 5

Very nice family oriented hotel with average room amenities

phairphair (La Grange, Illinois) on Apr 23, 2024

Pros: - Great for families with kids, with fun pool layout, casual restaurant on site, all rooms open to the outside, and full kitchens in the rooms (upgrade option) - We found the staff to be friendly and accomodating. No issues whatsoever. But in the islands you're not going to get the same fawning, deferential level of personal interaction we're accustomed to in the states. - The grounds are beautifully landscaped and very well maintained and clean. - The beach is also beautiful and better maintained than some others we experienced on the island. Lots of available chairs and cabanas with attendants to provide umbrellas upon request - The hotel provides bikes that can be checked out for an easy 5 min ride into town - Great location close to but not in town, so beach had fewer folks wandering in Cons: - Room maintenance and quality, with an impression of a remodel done on the cheap. Big black mold patch on bathroom ceiling, hot and cold on taps reversed, toilet runs constantly, kitchen tap handle blocked by bar countertop overhang so didn't work properly, coffee maker broken, very old pots and pans with non stick coating nearly scratched off, no outlets at all on one side of king bed in master bedroom, rickety kitchen cabinets, older appliances - Fitness center very outdated and poorly cleaned and maintained. Both treads were broken and all of the equipment was very old and covered in old sweat. Pretty gross. Often ran out of towels. A/C was broken and holding at 79 degrees. Notified the front desk manager, but none of the issues were addressed during our 9 days there. Worst fitness room I've experienced in decades. - Hotel not located near a reef reachable from the beach. If snorkeling is a priority, there is plenty of crystal clear water, but not much else to see but a sandy bottom. - Very sporadic drink service on the beach. You need to plan to walk to the restaurant to get a drink, or discretely BYO in a container. - Not a problem for us, but the hotel is a 5 min bike or 20 min walk from all restaurants and shops. Something to be aware of.

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