I cannot say enough good things about the Veranda for hosting us – they have bent over backwards to make sure we’ve experienced the best the island has to offer, from boat tours, to the Sabai Spa, to today’s excursion: lunch at Da Conch Shack. This amazing little restaurant voted by Conde Nast as the top 25 Sexiest Beach Bars and it’s made it into the book 1000 Places to See Before You Die. While I didn’t see anyone particularly sexy, it was some of the best seafood I’ve had. Super fresh conch, lobster, grouper, all in a pristine setting.
Our host, Eustace, told us more about life on the island – he mentioned how badly some people on the island want to be in a big city. “It’s like the things you’re running from, we’re running to,” he said, “you always want what you can’t have.” Even if people move from Turks, though, they usually wind up returning – it’s hard to get paradise out of your system. The island actually only has a 1% crime rate, which makes it the safest place in the Caribbean. “You’re more likely to get hurt on water sports than by someone else,” he informed us. That is a good thing to know – Turks feels like the kind of place you could just rent a car and drive around. That can’t be said of too many other Caribbean islands!
Check out some pictures from the day:
This afternoon, we hung by the pool and did a site inspection of Beaches Turks. Beaches is the family version of Sandals – a true all inclusive experience for families. It’s divided into three sections: Caribbean, French, and Italian. These are NOT created equal, so do your homework before just booking the cheapest thing possible. Beaches is known for catering to families, especially through its partnership with Sesame Street & the Pirate’s Island water park. Below are some photos of the property:
We wrapped up our day with a site inspection of the Veranda. Since I’ve been staying on this property for the past few days, I already knew a good bit about it – it feels like home! Still, it was nice to see some different room categories, especially the beach cottage (cottage is a misnomer – these villas are 2-4 bedrooms with 3 stories and a private pool). The resort really is amazing – very beachy casual in its decor with great food and service. Check it out:
There was some sort of mixup in our itinerary and we only just recently met the other agents here – there are 14 people including us on the trip, but it is a totally different kind of agent trip. We’ve had plenty of free time so we can experience the resort and the island as though we’re actual guests on property – I am SO thankful for this kind of treatment. The most recent educational trip I went on (to Costa Rica) was the total opposite – it was a chaotic, whirlwind tour of too many properties, most of which I would NEVER sell. The company I went with showed off properties with stains on the bed and were rude and aggressive when handling problems; their actions ensured that I will never, ever, ever, ever, go through them for a client. Ever. But that’s the benefit of educational trips – you really get to see the true colors of a company. The Veranda has been the most generous of hosts – we had one little kink with that itinerary mixup and they handled it with efficiency and friendliness. I think it’s a company’s ability to respond to problems that really sets them apart. Plus, they know what their guests want: they have given us just enough free time to enjoy ourselves, but they’ve also planned so many wonderful activities that I genuinely feel educated on the property and the island as a whole. I just can’t say enough good things about it.
Tonight, we enjoyed a private dinner on the beach with the other agents and the hotel’s sales rep (big thanks to Heather for everything she did to make this trip happen!), the General Manager, John, and Assistant Manager, Ramone. It was a blast – I’ve never met such a friendly team, they were cracking jokes and the entire group just meshed so well. It really makes a difference if the people you’re traveling with hit it off – I’m actually very sad that we aren’t spending a longer time with this group (maybe I’m just sad that we aren’t spending more time in Turks…we are NOT going to be ready to leave on Saturday!).
Honestly, I’ve not laughed this hard with complete strangers in a LONG time. It was like everyone had known each other for years – we were taking digs at how the General Manager sounded JUST like Jerry Seinfield (he really did) and somehow or another I was pawned off and betrothed to the brother of one of the agents here. Not sure about that whole marriage thing if it’s going to keep me from traveling…that might have to wait a few more years.
Well, now that everyone knows where MY priorities are, I just have to say how much I appreciate the generosity of our hosts and the friendliness of our peers. It has really been a fantastic trip so far (we are trying to find ways to extend our stay. Seriously).