We sat down with our Director of Sales, Leah Marshall, to find out about her recent trip to Beaches Turks & Caicos, including her top tips for travelling during a pandemic.
Getting organised certainly helps. I’d talked with fellow colleagues who had recently travelled to Turks & Caicos in preparation for the trip, too. I packed the weekend before we travelled and read up on the policies such as the Island Protocols and Requirements* in advance. British Airways they made it easy by providing a list of recommended COVID PCR testing centres for our pre-arrival test. They also recommend downloading the VeriFLY app which was useful as it stores all of your documents in one place on your mobile. We booked our PCR tests within the three-day window before arrival as the Turks and Caicos Islands tourist board (TCI) suggests. This all went smoothly, and we all got our negative results back the following morning. We then had to fill in the TCI authorisation form.
As long as you have travel insurance with comprehensive COVID cover, proof of a negative PCR test and certificates to prove that you’re fully vaccinated ready to upload, it’s all very straight forward. Once you have completed the form for the first passenger, all the others are easier. From there it was a waiting game for the travel authorisation. The first two came back the following morning. After a further few hours of waiting, I chased the final two forms which were then approved straight away. From there it is just a case of printing everything off and carrying all the forms and documentation with you.
Yes. This is a requirement to enter the Turks and Caicos Islands.
We stayed overnight at London Gatwick the night before we flew. The South Terminal is still closed but we did transit though there to get to North Terminal so that was fine and we didn’t experience any issues. If anything, the whole experience was better as it was not as busy at the airport. The same goes for the check-in process. As long as you have all your documents to hand it is seamless. We booked the No.1 Lounge and received a warm friendly welcome from the staff before being escorted to a quiet area, by Mike, our server. There was only one thing on the menu, a full English breakfast, so it had to be done!
When our flight was called, everyone at the gate was professional and made boarding in small groups manageable. The idea of wearing a mask for 11-hours was challenging but I’d recommend changing masks regularly and making sure that they aren’t too tight. I can still remember the feeling of excitement as we stepped off the plane in Turks. The warm breeze was just amazing. When you disembark the aircraft, make sure you have all your printed forms at hand as they will be checked before going through security and customs. A member of staff was on hand quickly to assist us and our name was on the list for the Beaches Turks & Caicos taxi transfer. The driver and staff were polite, courteous and professional, and they all had masks on.
The transfer to Beaches Turks & Caicos was smooth, and only took about 15 minutes. Staff conducted a temperature check on arrival and we sanitised our hands before being welcomed into the resort.
The staff’s warm, friendly Caribbean smiles were hidden under their masks but the badges of their full faces made up for it! We had already completed check-in on the Beaches.co.uk website so we didn’t need to complete anything on the iPads on arrival. We were just handed our keys and escorted to our rom, after our welcome glass of champagne, of course!
It was a family holiday.
The best thing has to be the 12mile stretch of beach. We took advantage of the all-inclusive water sports and snorkelled from the beach at an area known as the ‘white gap’. You just walk along the beach on the left of the resort, pop your gear on and walk into the sea. It is all roped off, so ideal for those who aren’t confident swimmers because you can hold onto the rope and be guided around this amazing snorkel area.
Soy! With 21 restaurants to choose from, we decided to plan what restaurants we wanted to try each night. We went back to Soy on quite a few occasions during our 10-day stay. The outdoor, breezy, and central location made it one of our favourites. The ‘welcome back’ on the second occasion by the maître d’ was special. The food presentation was excellent, along with the authentic ichiban beer. We always made a point of saying thank you to the chefs and because they are in the middle of the restaurant. It’s an open plan kitchen so it was easy to build up a rapport.
Beaches Resorts as a brand is always evolving and changing. It is great to see it as a leading setting the trend for others hotel chains when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene. The platinum protocols of cleanliness was very impressive. The whole resort was super clean and the staff were all attentive and happy. Nothing was too much trouble. Information about the protocols were in our room on arrival and the rooms were cleaned thoroughly every day. I would definitely advise using the Sandals Loop, a great online tool. There are also QR codes on all of the menus should you wish to view the details on your phone. We all had a blast at the Pirates Island Waterpark and really enjoyed the food trucks offering mac and cheese and frozen yoghurt.
I didn’t need to organise a second COVID-19 test as it was not applicable when I travelled.
Just do it!
It can be daunting but if you are organised you will be fine. Print everything out and carry it with you and use the tools that travel companies recommend, like the VeriFLy app, and it’s a very straight forward journey.
Absolutely! I can’t wait till our next trip to Sandals Ochi in Jamaica next June.
*Island Protocols and Requirements are subject to change, please check all the information before departure to all Caribbean Islands.
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