An Affordable Island Escape
Ocean Club West is a dreamy base for exploring Turks & Caicos, and it won’t break the bank
When it comes to travel, those of us who live in Atlanta are spoiled on a few different fronts, not least among them having the world’s busiest airport right here in our own back yard. Secondly, escapes to sunny destinations in the Caribbean are only a short flight away, which means we can put up our Out of Office reply and dig in to an alfresco dinner with our toes in the sand all in the same day. And although it’s true that those sunny island escapes often come with intimidating price tags, they don’t always have to. With a little planning, it’s plenty easy to enjoy a long weekend in the islands that won’t break the bank.
We recently hopped a flight to Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos islands, one of the Caribbean’s most celebrated beach destinations, and checked in to one such spot—Ocean Club West.
The condo-style resort is situated directly on powder-soft Grace Bay Beach and has rates in October starting well below $300 per night (as of press time). Condo-style accommodations are commonplace in Turks & Caicos, and they offer flexibility and the option to prepare easy meals any time of day in your own private kitchen. Just take a quick spin through a nearby grocery market to stock up on essentials, and you’ll spare yourself the eye popping expense of a week’s worth of restaurant outings. (Bonus: not having to change out of your swimsuit when it’s time for a bite!) Making the deal even sweeter? Ocean Club West’s accommodations have large, screened-in porches and balconies, which means you can enjoy a homemade meal and ocean views at the same time.
Of course, vacation is a time to splurge, too. At Ocean Club West, that means dining at the beachfront Opus restaurant, which serves up locally caught seafood, including snapper, grouper and lobster. If you’re in search of lighter bites or a more casual setting—between dips in the ocean, perhaps—head to Cabana Bar & Grill, where you can order anything from a cool, crisp salad to a plate of tender conch fingers, a TCI staple. For the ultimate conch experience, arrange an outing to Da Conch Shack, on Blue Hills Road. The laid-back beachfront restaurant is decked out in colorful turquoise, white and pastel pink, and the conch is arguably the best in the entire island chain. If you’re feeling more like fish, don’t miss the blackened mahi mahi plate or fish tacos. Whatever you order, be sure to wash it all down with a refreshing rum punch.
When it comes to enjoying the outdoors, Ocean Club West offers up a host of activities, ranging from half- and full-day diving and boating excursions through its Silver Deep activities concierge (they’ll cost you extra) to good, old-fashioned R&R and sunbathing on the shores of Grace Bay Beach. For a splurge worthy, ultra-romantic or fun family outing, book a private sailing with Sun Charters aboard the Atabeyra. Prices range from $1,200 for a two hour sunset cruise to $1,800 for a six-hour snorkeling excursion complete with a picnic lunch. Having the boat—and nearby sleepy beaches— to yourself is priceless. Turks & Caicos may be famous for snorkeling and diving, but landlubbers will have plenty to keep themselves occupied, too. The Provo Golf Club is within a few minutes’ driving distance, and the resort is home to its own lighted tennis courts complete with complimentary equipment. That’s an island vacation you can feel good about.
Ocean Club West
Da Conch Shack
HOW TO GET THERE
Delta offers direct flights from Hartsfield- Jackson to Providenciales (PLS). From there, it’s a quick, 15-minute drive to Ocean Club West.
STORY: Lindsay Lambert Day