Providenciales, TCI: Northwest Point Resort and The Veranda

Six people, two resorts, ten days on the island of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

This is not a comparison, but a review of the two resorts we stayed at: Northwest Point and The Veranda. It would be unfair to compare these two resorts because you would choose them for entirely different reasons; each have their strong suits, each have their weak points, and both are in entirely different leagues.

Northwest Point Resort (above) is a non-inclusive condominium resort located 20 minutes away from pretty much everything. In this low season (July 2010) we paid $354/night + tax ($2142 for the week) for a three bedroom condo which included a rental vehicle (you’ll need one). The fully equipped unit faced the ocean and was a two minute walk to the pool. Every morning I took my coffee and sat out on the upper deck watching the sunrise and letting the trade winds and sounds of the surf transport me to a very happy place. Pretty nice.

The beach is a bit “rustic” but the staff rake it every morning to clear the flotsam brought in during the night. The water is wonderfully warm but many people don’t swim there due to the amount of turtle grass. The pool though, is wonderful.

The resort has one restaurant but it’s not great—honestly, it’s not even good except that it does have cold beer. We stocked up at the IGA and ate most of our meals in the condo, but stopped for grub at Da Conch Shack, Horse Eyed Jack’s, Yoshi’s (sushi) and the Tikki Hut when we were out exploring. In the five days we stayed at NWP Resort, we spent $2,450 on gas, food, beer, bottled water and soft drinks (remember that’s for 6 people). Eating out on Provo ain’t cheap. A typical lunch would cost us almost $200. The total cost for our first five days (room and everything else) came to about $4592. 
The upside of NWP Resort: remote location (if that’s what you want) offers all the solitude you could ask for. Other pluses are: attentive and friendly staff (Max, you rock!), fantastic pool (nice shallow to deep graduation), oceanfront villas are truly oceanfront, a big-ass barbecue for guests to use, great beach furniture and nice hammocks.

The downside: remote location (unless of course, that’s why you choose it), poor snorkelling (good snorkelling is ½ hour walk up the beach), poor restaurant, no poolside drink service, no elevator service (a big deal when you’re hauling luggage up to the 3rd floor in 90 degree heat), weak water pressure in the condo, ants in the bathroom (I’m talking a village of them) and two—two that we saw and killed—cockroaches in the kitchen.

At the other end of the spectrum is The Veranda, a new all inclusive resort in the Grace Bay area on Provo, near to restaurants and the “shopping district” (I use that term loosely).

Pulling up to the resort we were met by a bevy of staff and given refreshments – rum punch for us adults, and non-alcoholic punch for the kids. Our personal concierge led us to our three bedroom, 2900 sq.ft. ocean- view villa.

We stepped out of the 33 degree Celsius heat (91 Fahrenheit) and into air conditioned bliss. A fruit tray, a bottle of sparkling wine and a fridge stocked with beer and cold drinks was at the ready. Impressive. At $1500/night, it should be.

The rate includes everything: meals and beverages, Personal Concierge Service, Beach Concierge Service, complimentary business center, wireless internet through out the resort, round trip airport transfers, government tax and service charge, complimentary shuttle service to areas within the Grace Bay location, light afternoon tea and water sports such as snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking and hobie-cats. Total cost for our five day stay there came to $7500.00. I expect rates at The Veranda will probably increase once they get past their “just opened” phase.
The Upside
Quality and Service – The Veranda is chic, clean, and luxurious and every member of the staff greets you with a smile and asks “do you need anything?” and “is everything alright?” Everyone’s goal it seems is to make sure your stay is an incredible one. Al, our personal concierge, did not have the word “no” in his vocabulary, unless it was to say “no problem.” We were given a resort cell phone to use during our stay. The housekeeping staff is insanely thorough changing towels twice a day, tidying up, replenishing the fridge items and offering turn down service every night.
The accommodations are outstanding. Playstation in the rooms for the kids, movie rentals, luxuriously finished, solid construction, great lay-out and the most comfortable beds and linens I have ever had the pleasure of sleeping on save for the ones at La Petraia in Italy.

The resort has three pools: one adults only and two for everyone else: a shallow one (pictured above) by the bar which was good for cooling off between beer and rum concoctions (very, very good bar drinks),
and another small pool (pictured below) which claimed to be 6ft deep but was more like 4.5 ft deep and situated right behind our villa. The temp of this one was hot (too hot) and was best suited for kids.
The Downside:

Food – The resort has two restaurants; both are outdoors giving guests no respite from the heat or the flies. Big no no: jerked mahi mahi taken out of the tandoor oven and left to sit outside for 25 minutes in the heat.

The menu looks/sounds good; the food is nicely presented but falls short in quality, taste and preparation. Some of the appetizers were laughable, as were the steak and the pizza. Thumbs up for the burger, the chilled potatoe & leek soup, and the gazpacho.
Every night features a theme buffet (outside unprotected): Lebanese, Chinese, Italian, Mexican, BBQ, Caribbean. I hate theme buffets. My experience with food has taught me that you can’t do it all and do it well. What was spaghetti doing there on Lebanese night? Resort food. Yuck.
Wireless Internet – maybe it’s the whole island, I don’t know, but the connection sucked. And for a writer, a good connection means the difference between a happy writer and a frustrated writer. Who wants to be frustrated on holidays? In all fairness, the connection at NWP Resort sucked just as bad.

Beach Services – the beach is what travel magazines put on their front covers: absolutely beautiful. The beach concierge service though was lacking and needed another staff member to help out. Also, a high end resort such as The Veranda needs some pretty smokin’ beach furniture and not the Wal-Mart style chaise lounges and wimpy umbrellas. Even Beaches Resort (part of which can be seen below) next door, offered better beach furniture.

Two very different resorts chosen for very different reasons. The thing with Providenciales is that you have many resorts to choose from so whatever your price range is and whatever your needs are, you’re bound to find something that suits you. Cheers!

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