Our family (5 adults and 3 children) just returned from a one week vacation spent at Bright Idea. Having never visited Turks and Caicos, we chose this villa based on limited reviews and limited options (due to late planning). This villa, while having minor shortcomings, was nearly ideal accommodations for us.
Throughout the planning and stay, we primarily interacted with the gracious property manager, Basia. From the start, she was friendly and welcoming, always conscientiously addressing our needs and issues. There was initially some confusion about the owner's desire to only rent weekly from Sat-Sat, but Basia ultimately resolved it to book our rental from Mon-Mon. She provided for all of our requests and had an escort, Myrtho, meet us upon arrival at the airport in order to lead us in our 2 rental cars to the villa.
After a short 10 minute drive, we pulled into the secluded driveway to arrive at the villa. Upon exiting the cars, we walked up some stairs to stand on the deck of the pool, overlooking the stunning turquoise waters of Chalk Sound. This initial experience creates quite a positive impression. Myrtho led us into the main house, explaining all protocol regarding the rental. Don't worry if you're too mesmerized by the view to pay complete attention, as all pertinent is contained in a well organized binder. He gave us a full welcome tour and left us to get settled.
The villa itself is pretty well described in the internet listing. Essentially, it is a comfortable home, well appointed for accommodating 8 people. Highlights for us were 1) the well stocked kitchen (could use sharper knives), 2) the gas grill and outdoor dining table, 3) the clean, refreshing pool, 4) the private beach with 2 kayaks, and 5) the separate cottages with ample amenities. Lowlights for us were 1) uncomfortable king bed in the main house 2) lack of light-blocking shades in all bedrooms 3) lack of an outdoor water source for rinsing bodies and gear, 4) worn outdoor lounge chairs, and 5) the malfunctioning Internet router which resulted in poor, infrequent connection.
During our stay, we had to call Basia for two issues, which she promptly addressed. Initially, the water in the shower of the westernmost cottage was yellow due to a lack of recent use. Myrtho came out and flushed the tank, and we had no subsequent problems. The other issue was the Internet router, which Basia first had serviced and then completely replaced. While it worked for a day or two, the last couple of days we resorted to going to Turtle Cove to the Green Bean Cafe (an absolute gem!) in order to get connected. We did not call Basia, who undoubtedly would have addressed it, purely because our stay was almost over.
As for the location, we found it perfect. We liked the seclusion of being on Chalk Sound, a purely residential area. Thankfully, we enjoy cooking our own meals and eating at home (even on vacation) because essentially all restaurants are a minimum of 15 minutes drive away. We thoroughly enjoyed relaxing by the pool and at the private beach as well as kayaking on the sound. The beach at Taylor Bay is a short walk away and is an idyllic scene, rivaling any other on the island. Regarding safety and security, we never experienced anything to give us cause for concern. The fact is that the island is fairly small, and most of what a traveler would want to experience is but a short drive away.
We'd like to share a few of our additional favorites of what the island offers. The main grocery store, Graceway IGA, which is about a 15 min drive away, has everything you need, albeit at somewhat inflated T&C prices. The wine shop on the way back from the IGA has a surprisingly extensive international selection of wines as well as beer and liquor (the local Bambarra rum is probably the best value). Keep in mind, a case of beer is outrageously expensive ($40 for local Turks Head, $60 for Heineken). Da Conch Shack is a sweet spot on the beach to grab some tasty fritters and rum punch. The snorkel park at the Coral Gardens is a tame shore launch to see some beautiful, healthy coral and a variety of local fish in Grace Bay. Provo Divers was a respectable dive operator with a great staff, boat, and rental gear. In town on the way to the airport, local fisherman sell fresh-caught grouper and snapper out of coolers on the side of the road - they'll even fillet them for you. You won't be disappointed!
Certainly, Providenciales offers plenty to pursue, and Bright Idea offers the perfect base to either launch your adventures or simply relax. Bright Idea was unquestionably the right fit for our family. Although it is somewhat isolated, we were seeking that experience for this vacation. Full-time rental cars are essential, but as summed up by my 10 yr old niece, "I wouldn't want to stay anywhere else." After some careful thought, we'd all have to agree.
|How easy was it to book the property?||How helpful were the directions to the property?|
|How easy was key pickup/access to the property?||Overall condition of the property|
|Bedding & mattresses||Kitchen & utensils|
|Bathroom cleanliness||Other facilities & amenities|
|Friends getaway||Families with young children|
We did not enjoy our stay here. The difficulty in reviewing a property is that so many things are subjective, dependent on the experiences of the traveler and that is certainly the case here. To be fair, some issues we have with the property are not the fault of the owner and are just part of the Turks & Caicos experience, I suppose. I will try to be as objective and fair as possible.
First, the good things, or, at least the things which were true to representation. It was very private. The view from the rear of the house is great. The exterior landscaping is beautiful. It is, relatively speaking, very moderately priced compared to other places I looked at. I was able to book it late when nothing else was available. The water around the Island was the most beautiful I have ever seen. Taylor Beach, across the road, is spectacular and secluded. I thought the property management was extremely responsive to complaints and helpful. There is a great restaurant only 1/4 mile down the road. The Island as a whole had a lot of very good restaurants.
Now, the things that made our stay not so great. Upon check in, you are instructed on the use of the security system. Part of the security system are "panic buttons" which are recommended to be with you at all times on the property. You are instructed to use them if you see something that makes you uncomfortable. You then sign lengthy waiver forms pertaining to third party criminal acts. I think it is commendable that the owner/manager place so much emphasis on security. It really doesn't, however, make you feel secure. Because of the villa's seclusion, you feel vulnerable. It is more than a little disconcerting. It doesn't help that within 1/2 mile of the villa are some of the worst parts of the Island, which you must drive through each time you want to go anywhere.
The kitchen is serviceable, but it is by no means "gourmet." The living room is cramped and the furniture very uncomfortable. The beds and pillows in the master are in serious need of replacing. The pool was green the entire time we were there, so the kids (girls, ages 12 and 15) didn't use it at all. Though the property manager had the pool company out several times, the condition couldn't be fixed. Water pressure in the showers is almost non-existent, as is hot water. Luke warm is the best you get. On a couple of days, there was no water at all for periods of time due to outages. I take it that the water problems are not the fault of management or owner, just part of Island life. I will add that property management was responsive to complaints, there was just nothing that could be done besides waiting it out.
If your kids want to do any activity (parasailing, snorkeling, etc...) you must make a 20-30 minute drive to the resort areas. If you want to eat anywhere else other than the one restaurant on Chalk Sound, or at the house, you must drive 20-30 minutes. This was why the property really didn't work for our kids.
To sum it up, though this house was moderately priced, we did not believe it to be a value. It is by no means a 4 or 5 star accommodation, maybe 2 1/2 at best. If you want a secluded vacation in which you cook all but one or two of your own meals, sit on a secluded beach, or sit on a patio overlooking Chalk Sound with your panic button in hand, this property is for you.
|Check-in / front desk||Service|
|Check-in / front desk||Service|
|Young singles||Friends getaway|
|A romantic getaway||Older travelers|
|Families with young children||Families with teenagers|