I just got back from an amazing and much needed vacation at Club Med’s resort Turkoise in the Turks & Caicos islands. This was a bucket list item to take a vacation by myself. I also knocked off the scuba diving challenge as well. I chose Turkoise based on a recommendation from a colleague and booked it rather impulsively with out much research so I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I had use-it-or-lose-it vacation and had to take it between projects so I needed a place that I could travel to by myself and still have a good time. When I read that Turkoise was an 18+ resort that catered to solo travelers and friends groups, I was hooked.
I honestly didn’t know much about Club Med prior to the trip. I expected to get some guff from my friends when I mentioned the resort, but got little. In my mind Club Med was a dated chain of resorts that was all the rage for the twenty-some baby boomers in the 80’s and was still primarily occupied by those baby boomers today. I couldn’t have been more wrong! There was a large variety of age groups, and I had no problem finding some fun young travelers to hang out with.
Turkoise is like summer camp for adults – the entire experience is geared around making new friends and meeting people. When you first arrive, check out the events calendar near the main bar. Activities include, but not limited to, salsa dancing lessons, beach Olympics, snorkeling, Zumba classes, yoga on the dock, volley ball, pool floatie relays, trapeze school, scuba diving and soccer. There is always something to be doing! Its an all-inclusive resort which means the two bars will serve you a delicious concoction or beer any time of day. Hungry between main meals? Head over to Sharkies for a burger and fries!
Every night their is a show and a dance-club style bar scene. While the shows aren’t Broadway, they are entertaining. They become even more so as you get to know the staff members who put them on – its like watching a school play with all your friends! The circus show is especially impressive!
I found the food at Turkoise to be great. The buffet changes daily with themes such as Mexican, French and Mediterranean, with a few staples remaining every day. Honestly, my expectations for buffet food at an all inclusive resort wasn’t very high. I was continually surprised at the dinner options: Escargot in puff pastries, beef wellington, duck confit, and some of the most amazing desert spreads I’ve seen in my life! Admittedly, the last time I was at a real resort was with my family at the age of 13 or so, but I certainly don’t remember this quality of food at any of the resorts we visited.
The majority of the tables in the main dining room seat 8, so if you have a smaller group you’ll likely be sat with other guests. I was fine with this since it introduced me to new people. There was only one time when I was sat with an entire table of Italians who didn’t speak a word of English. Luckily a group of friends showed up soon after, and I ‘escuzied’ myself from the table and sat with them.
Its not a perfect resort though. Turkoise was built in the early 80’s and it is showing its age. The rooms could definitely use some touch ups. My bathroom was missing tiles and spots around the shower had some mold. A fresh coat of paint and new tiling would do wonders. I can understand how this might gross out some people used to more 5 star accommodations, but I didn’t plan on spending much time in my room, and Club Med clearly has this resort marked at 3 stars.
Word around the resort was that when Club Med has renovated their 18+ resorts, they often change to cater to families as well. If cleaning up the rooms means it will suddenly another Beaches filled with screaming-cannonballing-crying-poolpooping-buffetsneezing kids, I’ll take the sub-par rooms.
I’ll finish with just a small address to some of the negative comments posted on Trip Advisor:
- “Singles” resort doesn’t mean “sex/swinger resort.” Not that you can’t find it here if you’re looking and play that game, but its not going to be thrown at you like some other resorts.
- The “20 minute waits at the bar” are gross exaggerations. Lets be real. Yes at peak times it can be a bit slower, but 5 minutes tops. (I know, 5 minutes can seem like 20 minutes when you really want a drink and are being a negative-nancy)
- Club Med is not dishonest about its marketing about it being a luxury resort. Turkoise is clearly marked as a 3 trident (star) out of 5 resort in their brochures.
- Smoking is allowed at the resort, although I personally noticed very little of it. Sorry, you’re not in the USA anymore – smoking is still very prevalent in other countries.
- The grounds were clean and well maintained while I was there. Every morning when I woke early for scuba a section of the pool area was being repainted and grounds crews were up trimming trees and shrubs.
- If you’re going to spend the money, read about the resort first: Their brochures clearly state that All-Inclusive doesn’t include bottled drinks or premium alcohol (it does include Absolute, J&B, Jim Beam and Gimblys though if you ask for it by name – otherwise its Turks & Caicos island brand booze for you) and some activities such as scuba and massages.