If you are interested in planning a tropical resort vacation with children, this post is for you. Of course, you can go to this resort without children, but this resort chain has the best offerings for little ones that I’ve seen!
For context, at the time of this vacation I had 3 children, ages 5, 3 and 11 months. We traveled with other family as well, so there were 12 of us total, 5 of whom were 10 and under.
I am going to go through the notes I have on the features of this resort and elaborate as much as I can on each one to give the full picture of our experience, in the hopes that it helps you make a decision! If you have been to this resort and have feedback for me, that is welcome- feel free to comment here or message me. Questions on things I didn’t cover are welcome as well, and I can update this post as needed to include things I left out.
Let’s start here:
Why we chose this resort- Once we discovered that the Beaches chain had daycare/babysitting options that didn’t require the children to be potty trained, we had to decide on which one looked the best to us. There are options in Jamaica, and they are less expensive than Turks & Caicos. However, In Jamaica you have to travel much further to get to the resort from the airport. Also, the reviews of T&C location were better at the time that we looked. The T&C airport is also less than 15 minutes from the resort.
- Schooners– fresh seafood, nautical theme. Enjoyed the meal overall, fish was overcooked though.
- Bella Napoli– takeaway pizza by the pool! Takes a while, order before you want it.
- Sapodillas (adults only- 16+, resort evening attire)- traditional gourmet fare. We had a delicious, kid free meal here.
- Reflections- Buffet style, family friendly. Can get takeaway boxes and go eat by the pool or beach, or you can dine inside or outside. Daily theme for the menu, food ranged from excellent to meh. There is a kid’s food section in here.
- Arizonas– Southwestern, right by the beach. Delicious buffet that includes burgers, hot dogs, nachos, fries, variety of proteins, taco bar. We LOVED this place for lunch. Dinner had an a la carte menu but we never ate there for dinner, sadly!
- The Jerk Shack– Right on the beach, at the far end of the resort. They had a beach party here with a huge buffet while we were there and it was pretty decent! Had some conch curry and goat curry that was spicy but delish.
- Cafe de Paris– Cute little coffee shop with lattes, iced coffee, hot coffee, tea and a variety of pastries and muffins that changed daily. I went here every single morning for a caramel latte and a pastry, and it was the best way to start the day. Perfect to take little kids as well, because they get up early and you can give them something before heading to a bigger breakfast. My only complaint is the cups are kind of flimsy paper, though they do have lids.
- Guiseppe’s– Italian restaurant- we never went for lunch or dinner, only the breakfast buffet which was delicious and had something for adults and kids. You can get a mimosa there as well.
- Mr. Mac– Mac and cheese truck! It’s right by a few of the pools and the water park, and there are several varieties, plus fried mac and cheese balls. We loved it if we needed a quick meal or to feed the kids before evening camp.
- Curls & Swirls– Milkshake and frozen yogurt truck. Located at the water park, delicious. Only complaint is you cannot suck a milkshake through a paper straw.
- Bobby Dee’s– diner food plus ice cream, popcorn and cotton candy! Can get takeout or eat there. Lots of kid-pleasing food.
- Le Petit Chateau (adults only 12+, resort evening attire)- French cuisine. Sadly, we never made it here for dinner, but the menu looked good! The Sesame Street Character breakfast was located here, which was a standard breakfast buffet.
- Kimonos– Hibachi! Must make a reservation, because the hibachi tables seat 12 or so, so you may be sharing with another group. This meal was DELICIOUS, they can make it kid friendly and they accommodate for allergies. This is a must!
- Soy- sushi! The appetizer and sushi roll portions are somewhat small, so order plenty! Appetizers aren’t really share-size, so each get your own, and I’d say a full meal for me was an app and 3 rolls. They don’t love to make substitutions, but they did for my niece. As a side anecdote, they only had one song that they played on repeat for the entire night and there were multiple resort cats roaming around.
- Barefoot by the Sea- Seafood fare, by the beach, where the floor is all sand and it’s mostly picnic tables. Nice atmosphere, slow service. We came for breakfast which was good, but didn’t go back because we didn’t want breakfast to take so long every day.
- The Cricketers Pub- traditional English fare! Fish and chips were delish, and they have British beers and cocktails like Pimm’s Cup. 18+ years old after 10pm. Karaoke at 10 most nights.
- Mario’s- Italian restaurant with an adorable Medieval-themed kids section with small, fancy tables and Sesame Street Statues. We never ate dinner here, regretfully.
- Bombay Club- They call it “exotic fare-” the menu had Chicken Tikka and Lamb Samosas. We never made it here but it sounded good!
- Dino’s Pizzeria- dine in or take out, wood-fired brick oven pizza, salads, burgers and paninis. Never ate here.
- Bayside- Buffet restaurant, with the same theme as the other buffets, but the atmosphere is amazing. Views of the ocean are just gorgeous, we ate breakfast here several times, complete with mimosas. It’s great for breakfast especially if you’re coming to Key West village to drop your baby off at daycare for the morning!
- Sky- (adults only- 16+, resort evening attire). Sadly, again, we never made it here. It is directly above Bayside and must have amazing ocean views. It’s open for breakfast and dinner, but it’s adults only so we didn’t make it.
- Neptune’s- Seaside seafood restaurant right next to Bayside and Sky. We had a delicious, leisurely dinner here where we each ordered our own appetizer, entree and dessert. Highly recommend.
- Turtles- adults only bar, nice and cold in there. We popped in for a drink before one of our adult dinners and it was good, the staff was nice. No food.
- Le Bar de Musique– tons of good quality spirits, good atmosphere. Connected to the French restaurant.
- Evening Attire: I wasn’t sure if it was going to be necessary to pack a different dress for each night, but I’m so glad I did. Since drop-off for evening daycare was 6 pm, we made sure to go shower by 4-5pm each day, when we normally may linger longer on the beach or at the pool. I was happy to have an evening outfit for each night! Of course, you could always go drop the kiddos without getting ready yourself, but we found that a leisurely adult dinner could take nearly the full time from drop-off to pick-up, so you don’t want to waste time! Our group was big, so that did make meals take longer.
- A note for Men: Even if you don’t need the nice shirt and long pants for meals, it is nice to have some clothes packed so you can get nice photos before dinner! It seemed to be “Golden Hour” each time we showed up to dinner, and we got some great photos during those times. There are 3 restaurants that require long pants and closed-toed (non-sneaker) shoes for dinner.
- Cup/Straws: Insulated cup for drinks, reusable or plastic straws. The cups are somewhat small there and the straws are paper. The takeaway coffee cups at the cafe are flimsy.
- Meds to bring: Tylenol, ibuprofen, cortisone, diaper cream, bug spray and bug bite aid, cranberry pills (if you have a tendency toward UTI), aloe, band aids, chewable pepto, antacids, baby powder/ gold bond. There is a nurse’s office on site as well and a store with meds if you need them. Our baby was teething and another kid had a fever one day, so we were glad to have meds for them.
- Outlets: hair dryers are provided in the rooms. Plugs are standard American outlets, so feel to bring all your appliances and chargers from home without adaptors.
- Footwear: the resort is large, so I would bring at least 2 shoe options for yourself in case one becomes uncomfortable (I brought 5 and felt like I needed 4 in hindsight). There is a lot of walking to be done. I did not bring running shoes and did not need them. I had a pair of Sperry boat shoes, 2 pair of flip flops (one rubber, one leather), a nice pair of thong sandals and a nice pair of slide sandals (the slides, thongs and leather flops were for evenings). That was all I needed, personally. My nice thong sandals hurt me the first night, though, so I never wore them again and was extremely grateful for my Reef slides and Rainbow leather flops.
- Towels: we contemplated bringing our SandCloud towels as they are compact, but we didn’t, and we didn’t miss them. There are towel stations all over the resort that were consistently stocked.
- Stroller: we got by with an umbrella stroller for the 11-month-old. On resort, it was a little flimsy and the wheels weren’t the best, but it was better than having to bring a bigger stroller on the plane. I read that you can rent strollers there, so I recommend looking into that once you’re there in case theirs are better.
- Pool Floaties: they don’t have them there. If your child is not independent with swimming, bring them! They were the MVP of vacation.
- Sunscreen: the sun is strong in the islands, and sunscreen is expensive on vacation. Bring enough!
- Rash Guards/Hats: These were helpful to reduce the amount of sunscreen we had to use on them, and for days when they really needed a sun break.
- Beach/pool toys: If you have space in your luggage, some beach toys could be useful! I saw some pool floats out and about, but they seemed to belong to people. They sell some at the store there.
- Sound Machine: honestly, we didn’t really need it. We used the nightlight part, but the air conditioner was loud enough for us. It depends on if you want to drown that out or if your kids need a certain sound.
- Baby Carrier: We chose not to bring our Ergo360 babywearing carrier, because our 11-month-old was pretty big and it was really hot there. However, if that’s easier for you than wheeling a stroller everywhere, definitely consider it!
- Water Cups: We brought our kids’ reusable water bottles from home and were glad we did, though they do have bottled water at the resort and they will stock some in the room fridge for you.
- Small backpack: If you send your kids to Camp Sesame, it could be helpful to have their stuff in a bag. We mostly only sent their water cups, but if there were water activities we did sent their pool floaties. For the baby, we sent snacks (puffs and also fruit in a container), diapers, and wipes, so a bag could have been helpful.
- Small, airtight plastic container: we were so happy we brought this! We did it purposely, so that at the meals we could take some food away with us and then send it with the baby to daycare. We would mostly just cut up fruit from the breakfast buffet and send that with puffs that we brought or Cheerios from the buffet.
- Baby snacks: Puffs, pouches, spoon. Do this if your baby will need something at daycare. Of course, this will depend on their age.
- Pump/Haakaa/Breastfeeding covers: My breastfeeding babe was 11 months old at the time of vacation and my supply was just what he needed at the time. He needed to BF every 3-4 hours or so with meals mixed in. This is obviously very person-specific regarding supply and schedule, but I did not bring a pump. I did bring a haakaa and a bottle in case I pumped milk, but I never used either. I also did not use or even bring a nursing cover. That’s just me, though. There was always something around to use if I felt like I needed it. No one said anything or seemed to care.
- Sesame Street stuff: See below!