Travel Blogs from Providenciales
... to start a large scale development only to halt after permanently altering the face of the island. The settlements are few and far so cruisers tend only to come here if they are in need of rest from easterly winds.
We navigated through Abrahams's Bay which is littered with coral and rocks. It is important to get a clear day with the sun overhead to reveal rock heads from the shallow depths of the bank/shoal. In our navigation books it is suggested ...
... gear, we didn't see it again. There really isn't anything to see so snorkel gear is not needed for exploring this cay. There were quite a lot of waves here and shallow areas with many rocks. On my swim back to the beach, my leg grazed over one of the rocks and it did draw a tiny bit of blood. I hoped I was not bleeding so much to attract any sharks, but we were leaving anyway and the bleeding was minimal. Brian was already on ...
... and then we tried the jerk chicken. PJ was less than impressed and he thought, "well we ARE at a fish fry, let's get some fried fish!" Well.. When he realized that the fried fish came with the head still on he was no longer enthused to have fried fish! We had a rough start at the fish fry but by the end of the night we were dancing and having fun! The street band and other local acts were there for entertainment. Seeing the locals dance was really fun ...
After all the planning, I forgot the calendar at home. Is dinner at Caicos Cafe or Cocoa Bistro. I don't know. Sean calls Caicos Cafe, no, no reservation for tonight. Grrr. Cocoa Bistro? Yes!
I call Bert and ask him to run to our house and look up the calendar. A few missteps but before you know it, I duplicate our calendar.
Dinner at Cocoa Bistro is a lovely thing. ...
Wow, I've been really bad about updating this...whoops. On Wednesday I went kayaking, which
turned out to be physically one of the hardest things I've ever done. In the morning, a taxi came to pick me up and drove me out to the marina area where the kayak company is based. I ended up on the same trip as a couple from Vancouver as well as a very outdoorsy older American couple.
We were assigned our kayaks and set off, ...
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Historical Traveler Reviews Alexandra Resort Providenciales
Alexandra - could be more
We stayed at the Alex from June 5-11. The area is going through a huge growth spurt.
The rooms, pool, and grounds were very nice and for the money, a very good decision. The resort is in a very good location. It is within walking distance to snorkeling at Coral Gardens, and fine eating at the Sands, Palms, Sibonnes, and Coral Gardens.
The beach, sand and sun were fantastic. We booked an excursion with Caicos Dream Tours and rode Provo Ponies.
However, the Orchid was a disappointment. All they served was a lunch menu and there was no candle lit dinner on the deck over looking the ocean as advertised in the specials. Our free dinner consisted of an $80 lunch. The Orchid servers are responsible for towels and swim up bars and since they are the face of the resort, you would expect a few more smiles and personality. This was not the case.
Sandy tried to help our impression of the Alex and had us moved from a 1 bdrm Silverlight suite to a 2 bdrm condo. Both rooms were very nice. Oh, BTW, house-cleaning and baggage handlers were very nice and friendly.
The reception was not very informative and a bit cold. We hear that there is a welcoming get-together on Sunday mornings but we missed it. We were not told about the shuttle to IGA or the convenience store on the grounds. We also have to fine our way around without any maps.
It is a beautiful resort in a fantastic area and as we told Sandy, it is the little things that could separate the Alex from others. Smiles, a nice welcoming from the front desk and map of the resort would have gone a long way to make our stay pleasant and rewarding.
This place is awful, save yourself.
Be warned, this place is terrible. Not only is it simply a condo unit/timeshare they tried to book my credit card the full stay before I even got there!!
The bottom line about the Alexandria resort is it's a condominium unit, not a resort and spa. If you don't mind going there and shopping like you would at home for food and the like, you may not mind it but that's certainly not the reason I go on vacation. The place has no restaurant at all, they tell you they have a restaurant called the Orchid bar and grill and list it as being for the casual diner, but in reality it's a pool bar with 5 things on the menu.
Here's the best part. We checked out early because we couldn't stand the place, and the hotel charged us the full amount for an 8 day stay even though we stayed for four days. They tell you on the phone you have to give a 3 day deposit due to cancellations hurting their business and if you want to check out after that no problem. That's not the way it works however, they actually charged my credit card the amount for my supposed 8 day stay 1 week before I even got to the resort!
I could go on and on, but the simple fact of the matter is the Alexandra is terrible. There's only one place to stay at Turks and Caicos and that's Parrot Cay. The problem with Parrot Cay is it's really expensive and I mean REALLY expensive. In reality though, if you plan on travelling a long way for a true Carribean experience Parrot Cay Resort is the only way to go. It's 5 star service all the way.
Its a timeshare
I was not a huge fan of the Alexandra. I expected so much more for the billing of this resort. Perhaps for those in to timeshares, it was ok, but was not thrilled. Everything just seemed a tad too ordinary for what I was looking for. The spa was mediocre, as were the rooms. Service was just ok.
Ideal beach vacation
We stayed at the Alexandra the week after Christmas (2004). It was our family's first visit and I was very concerned about finding a location that would suit all of our needs - great beach, some seclusion but proximity to activities and other people, and an ocean front condo. The Alexandra greatly surpassed all of our expectations. They were able to put us in one of the new condos (not timeshare) that fronted the beach - it was extremely tasteful (teak and grantite, etc.), comfortable and had a wonderful patio that was a few steps from the beach. The beach lived up to its reputation - soft, white sand and beautiful aqua water. We really liked the pool area with bar/restaurant and got to know several of the staff (who were great). The weather was a little windy and cloudy, so we had to cancel snuba and deep sea fishing. But when we were finally able to go on the sailing trip with Sail Provo, it was perfect and we also got in some parasailing the last day of our visit. My (college aged) sons were able to go to Club Med (within walking distance, altho I would recommend more for the 25+ crowd) and walk the beach to other resorts, etc. or take a cab to Ports of Call or the village area. My husband and I walked the entire length of the beach - wonderful! We went to the marina area which was old-style carribean, stopped at some of the beach vendors at Beaches and some of the other resorts.
The staff at the Alexandra was tremendous - they arranged all of our trips, called taxis for us and hosted a very nice New Years Eve dinner. We went out to dinner several nights. Hemingways was okay, Gecko Grill was terrible (overpriced, rude staff, tired atmosphere, so-so food), Coco Bistro was fantastic (great atmosphere, wonderful food, excellent service), and the Orchid Grill (at the Alexandra) was great for casual lunch or dinner.
We liked it so much we looked at the timeshares - which are a little older and not as luxurious as the new condos. We were sorry that we didn't reserve a car before-hand as none were available the whole week, but getting around by taxi worked out okay (we also took the shuttle to the supermarket the first day - which is something I would definitely recommend) We will return, I just hope that it doesn't change too much! There does seem to be alot of building going on and it is expensive. But for now, there is a nice mix of excellent accomodations with lots close by to do; and no gaudy, crowded resorts. I've heard the diving is great and also the other islands are supposed to be different and fun.
Lastly, my husband travels all over the world and has stayed at some of the finest resorts and most renowned beaches - he said this was by far the most beautiful beach and ocean he's seen.
Great Hotel, great diving and beaches, expensive island
My wife and I just returned from a week at the Alexandra on TCI. The condo development is new, clean and well run. The only complaint I have about the Alexandra is the construction noise next door during daylight hours. The good news is that you really can not hear the noise on the beach due to the breeze off the bay. All of the rooms have an ocean view of Grace Bay and the beach is awesome. It is very quiet at night though.
We had a one room condo with a kitchenette. The kitchenette is important because eating out in TCI is very expensive. We only ate out 4 times in 7 days. Our cheapest meal out-a great burger, pizza and a beer at the Tiki Hut was about $35.00 for two people. The most expensive meal was about $150 at Bella Luna for two people, but this was with appetizers and some wine.
There is a well stocked IGA on the island and when considering any accommodations on TCI factor in the extra cost of a condo room with a kitchenette vs. a cheaper room that will push you toward eating out more often. We brought snacks-power bars, peanut butter crackers, trail mix, microwave popcorn, stuff like that with us and still spent about $120.00 on groceries for the week at the IGA which saved us probably $500.00 in restaurant meals.
Beer, wine and liquor is taxed heavily and expensive-about $13.00 for a six pack of Corona at the IGA.
Also, bring OFF, or some other bug spray. The bugs are not an issue during the day, but at night they can be a pain, and bug spray is an expensive commodity at the IGA.
The diving is outstanding. I used Flamingo divers for three days:
They have a very knowledgeable, genuinely friendly, highly experienced staff, and unlike many of the other larger operations, only allow 8 divers on the boat, so the diving is more like a guided tour. They have one divemaster in the water and one on the boat whether they have three customers or eight. The divemasters also took great underwater digital pictures which could be purchased for $10.00 per day, big plus because the equipment for underwater photography is expensive.
I also did a night dive with Dive Provo, one of the larger operators on the island. They have large, well-appointed boats, but they still only used the one divemaster in the water, one on the boat for a group of 12 divers at night. It was a little like a "cattle call". They were safe-they did a headcount within 5 minutes of the last diver exiting the water, but overall I felt that Flamingo had a better handle on the entire process and provided a more complete experience.
I would say that if you dive a lot and travel with an experienced dive partner that Dive Provo is fine. If you only dive a few times a year, or just want to know more about the dive sites you are visiting, then Flamingo Divers is definitely the way to go. The cost difference is marginal.
We also took a half day snorkel/iguana island tour with Sail Provo. My wife does not dive, so it got her out to some different snorkeling spots. We had a good time, but I do not know if it was worth $58.00 per person. The snorkeling in front of the Coral Gardens hotel is very good and does not cost anything.
Taxis are expensive-about $20.00 for a 10 minute ride from the airport to you hotel. We rented a tiny car from AVIS for about $275/wk including taxes. The cars are left drive like in the US, but you drive on the left side of the road like in the UK. The dive and tour operators will pick you up at your hotel, but having a car is nice just for exploring the island. If I were at an all-inclusive like Sandals, Beaches or Club Med, I probably would not have rented a car, or I might have just rented a Jeep for a day or two to check out the parts of the island that have roads too rough for a small rental car.
Anyway TCI is great if you want to avoid the tourist crush of the Bahamas or the party life in Cancun. TCI missed all of the Hurricanes this year, so it is likely to be busy in the next year as many other Caribbean destinations like the Cayman Islands are not back up and running yet. My wife, a non-diver, determined that about 4 or 5 days of beach and snorkeling was enough time there, but I could have easily stayed another week for the diving.
Fantastic - Perfect - A vacationers dream
We have been to so many islands now that we've lost track. We've stayed at almost every 5 star resort in Hawaii, all over the Caribbean and Mexico but we've been the most impressed with the Alexandra Resort in the Turks & Caicos.
We originally stayed at the Grace Bay Club, but we weren't completely satisfied with it (too expensive for the mediocre service & food). So we took a walk down the beach and looked around at the Alexandra and completely fell in love with the place. So much so, that we did something we said we would never do and that is we bought a timeshare there for the whole month of January. For us, this is the perfect place. We don't need to look any further.
It has the most perfect beach we have ever seen, lovely ocean front suites, fantastic pool, great food and the nicest and most helpful people around that work there.
We just can't say enough good things about this place and we are counting the days until we can go back.
Best Beach in teh WORLD
This place is heaven on earth - we have found the ultimate beach location! I am an experienced traveller, there are very few places my husband I have NOT been to. We love the caribbean, and after 20 years of frequent vacationing in the caribbean - nothing beats the Turks and Caicos and nothing beats the Alexandra Resort (my second visit to the resort!) Someone mentioned construction being nearby and yes there is, but that is true of the whole island! And the construction did not bother me or my family at all. The beach is increadible. White powdery sand, aquamarine waters that is as calm as a swimming pool - and the best thing about it all is that the VIEW from the spacious rooms is stunning!!!! The economy is great here, no harrassment and US$ currency is convenient albeit a little more expensive but worth it! The retaurants here are wonderfula nd worth it - no more expensive than eating out in NY.
Great Location, friendly staff, big rooms, fantastick beach
Enjoyable stay in TCI
We just returned from 3 nights at the Alexandra. Overall, we had a great time. The Alexandra is definitely a work in progress. Right now, it is a 32 room hotel/timeshare, and they are building 3 condo buildings and the spa as well. The noise is constant. Not necessarily terrible, but constant. If you want someplace really quiet, look elsewhere until they finish (looks like another year til done). The room was great though. All rooms are oceanfront, and for $129/night, this was the best deal on Grace Bay. The pool was incredible as well, with a nice swim up bar and good cafe for lunch (no dinner yet). The staff were very nice as well. They also have snorkle gear and kayaks for guests, along with umbrellas on the beach.
Other hotels we saw- SIBONNE-next door to Alexandra, small, cute, really quiet, but small pool and no ocean front rooms, and BAY BISTRO was nice but high end, even for TCI. THE SANDS- large resort, free sailboats and snorkle gear, 2 large pools, few oceanfront rooms (cheaper ones far back from ocean). HEMINGWAYS at the Sands was excellent. Great Mango daquiris, good food, awesome beachfron location. Big tip- go to eat there right around 5 or 520-they are still serving lunch, so the food is cheaper but still good, and you can watch the incredible sunset. BEACHES- very big resort, very crowded. The beach was packed and people are right on top of each other. If you are at the front of the resort its probably an 1/8 mile walk to the beach. But, if you want the all-inclusive, this looks the way to go. Lots of kids though-good for families. TURTLE COVE INN is at the marina, kind of older looking but nice pool. Also, lots of restaurants nearby. Not oceanfront, but they alledgely have a shuttle to take you to the beach.
Grace Bay Beach is supposed to be one of the worlds best beaches. Now, on a good day this may be true, and from looking at the postcards, it is nice. However, there was a lot of wind when we were there. Apparently it kicked up right when we arrived. This caused the ocean to be rougher than ususal, and kicked up lots of sand. It made the water cloudy so snorkling was not that great, but still good. It also washed a lot of seaweed up on shore. But the sand is incredible, very sugary, and the water was still an incredible color blue. Snorkling was really good past Beaches in front of the Coral Gardens (short walk), reef right of shore, lots of parrot fish. Just wish the waves were less. Beaches wasn't even letting their sailboats out it was so windy.
GETTING AROUND- Alexandra is in a pretty good location. However, there were only a handful of restaurants within easy walking distance. Sibonne, Sands, Coral Gardens, and Beaches are easy walks. Ports of Call and Grace Bay Plaza are pushing it, but do-able. Turtle Cove Marina is to far, and there are a lot of good places there. We rented a car when we arrived. 62$ from Avis. We figured by the time we paid for a taxi to the hotel and paid to stop at IGA for groceries, this was not a bad deal. We kept it for one day and did some exploring. Also made sure to go to Turtle Cove since we knew we could not walk there. The ROADS are pretty much horrible. Lots of potholes, only a few sections are paved. I did not mind driving on the left, but that is an issue also. Bring flashlights because it is very dark after the sun goes down.
DINING- Eating out in TCI is VERY expensive. Lunch for 2 with a couple beers was around 40$, dinners $50 and up. We were kind of prepared for it, being an island and all, but TCI taxes EVERYTHING 10%. There is no income or property taxes so that's where they get their money. Now, we went to IGA market and bought some things, and also brought A LOT of snacks from home (1 whole carry-on). This cut the cost down some. Our room at the ALEXANDRA had a kitchenette and if we were staying longer we would have cooked in more. RESTAURANTS- TIKI HUT- AWESOME! At the turtle Cove marina, $2.50 Miller lite all day, every day, the Ultimate Burger is. SHARKBITE-also at marina, the almond crusted grouper is excellent, have nice bar with espn on tv. Right on water. I mentioned a couple other places above.
Overall, we had a great time. The people were nice, no panhandling or crime. We felt very safe. All the islanders speak English, and the US Dollar is the currency so no exchange to worry about. Wish the weather had been better, but we had no rain at least. I think the Alexandra will be a 5 star place once they finish. For the current price, though, it cant be beat. But if you want quiet right now, I would recommend SIBONNE-small, quiet, intimate. But no oceanfront rooms. If you are going to party and drink a lot, look at the all-inclusives. More expensive, but probably better deal in the long run. Driving around was an adventure and also gave us a chance to eat at some far away places. Taxi is about 18$ from Alexandra to airport. Bring flashlights and snacks. We like to go to new places for each vacation, but I could see us going back to TCI in the future.
The Alexandra is the best.
I visited the resort in Dec. In fact had a wonderful Christmas Buffet at the Orchid Bar and Grill. The staff is excellent and they really try to please. The swim up bar is great and one of the nicest pools on the Island. The rooms are large and spacious and the resort sits on the best beach I have even been to. We will be back. GSH