Now that 2011 is off to a rocking great start, it’s time to book a Valentine’s Day getaway under the tropical sun. Fronting one of the finest beaches in the Caribbean, the two Ocean Club Resorts in Turks and Caicos marry stylish seaside décor with casual elegance. Along Grace Bay revered for its white talc sand, spectacular coral reefs and azure waves that lap the shoreline, the twined resorts are just a fifteen minute stroll from each other. Guests at either Ocean Club or Ocean Club West can enjoy the facilities, amenities and dining options at both resorts with a ‘Stay at One, Play at Both’ policy.
With breezes that are reliably hot and dry and water temperatures that feel like a delicious warm bath, this British Crown colony is a perennial favorite of couples seeking a winter respite. Action-central, if one could call it that, is Providenciales or Provo, as it’s known. Charming and compact, cycling is the transportation of choice, English is the language of choice and the US dollar is the currency of choice.
Suites at both resorts are deliciously spacious with kitchenettes and screened-in terraces or balconies with doors you can leave open at night for a lullaby courtesy of the beguiling beach below. “We do at least four dozen weddings a year, all the couple has to do is smile and say ‘I do’ by the water’s edge,” said Tom Lewis, managing director, “We even have couples returning for their anniversary asking for the same room they had on their wedding night.”
Nadia Pean has been organizing weddings at the resorts for nearly fifteen years and embraces every opportunity to set up a barefoot on the beach ceremony. “We decorate the beach altar with conch shells and fuchsia and pink bougainvillea,” she smiles, “and to calm down nervous brides, a massage before the ceremony works wonders.”
Friendly front desk staff can arrange a myriad of massages either en suite or inside the aptly named Spa Tropique with its warm colors, aromatic scents and a jazzy soundtrack that is never too loud. Massages worth the splurge include aromatherapy rub downs pour deux and a “Caribbean Calm” massage that invigorates with hot stones and island essences. Visit www.spatropique.com
Although the ocean is a seashell away, three freshwater pools appeal those who prefer not to dip their toes in the sand. For those who enjoy getting out on the waves, there are plenty of options from diving and kayaking to a sail to one of many nearby deserted cays aboard the Atabeyra trading schooner.
Dining at the Club include Opus with an inviting single malt menu and superb seafood menu. The sea view Cabana Bar & Grille tempts with a healthy yet potent beet mojito and platter of perfectly fried conch fritters and at Ocean Club West, Seaside Café is barefoot on the beach par excellence with divine dishes from conch fritters to lobster wraps. “Our Caicos Mama is the most requested cocktail for honeymooners,” says Hans Eyma, bartender, “it’s a sweet and tropical drink made with rum, orange juice and strawberry puree and puts a smile on every face after the first sip.” Check out Ocean Club Resort.
The Grace Bay Beach Wedding Package includes
- Ceremony on the beach with custom floral arch and draping tulle
- Bougainvillea bridal bouquet and groom’s boutonniere
- Wedding cake
- Two bottles of champagne
- Decorated table for guestbook signing
- Marriage official
- Processing of legal documentation and marriage license
Brides who book a beach barbeque reception at either one of Ocean Club Resorts’ restaurants for 25 guests will receive The Grace Bay Beach Wedding Package for a rate of $1,500.
Couples wishing to marry in the Turks & Caicos must arrive 48 hours prior to the ceremony in order to present notarized copies of passports, birth certificates and divorce decrees to the Registrar. Marriage certificates will be given the couple two to three weeks after the documents have been submitted.
When wedding parties’ book at least twelve rooms for four nights, the bridal couple will receive a three-night stay in a Junior Suite at no additional cost.
JetBlue kicks off weekly service from JFK Airport in New York on February 17 and once a week service from Boston Logan International to Provo beginning February 19.
Continental starts service from Newark on February 18, with fares as low as $328.00 round-trip. Delta flies daily from Atlanta on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays with two daily flights on Saturdays. From Miami, American Airlines offers two daily flights– each only 80 minutes from take-off to landing as well as non-stop flights from New York’s JFK airport on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays and a Saturday flight from Boston.
Bottoms Up – Beet Mojito
Served at Cabana Bar & Grille at Ocean Club West
- 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
- A few sprigs mint
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon beet purees (boil beets until soft and puree in a blender until smooth)
- 1-1/2 ounces rum
- Garnish with fresh mint, lime wedge and sugar cane stick
In a tall tumbler or highball glass, muddle 5 lime wedges with mint and sugar until well crushed and juicy. Fill glass with ice. Add rum and beet puree. Stir well. Fill remaining glass with Sprite. Stir gently and add garnish.