Back to the beach at the Ocean Club West
Provo Golf Club.
“We offer deluxe accommodations, but
we are not a deluxe property per se,” said Ian
McLeod, director of the Ocean Club West.
“I’d say we are a midmarket, family-afford-able resort on a beautiful beach with all the
amenities and facilities that our guests want.”
There were more facilities and activities
than I had time to
sample in my short
stay, including spa
parasailing, paddleboarding and kayaking, but I did find
time for my place in the sun under one of
the resort’s signature pink beach umbrellas.
The resorts offer a Stay at One, Play at
Two promotion, so at the Ocean Club West
I had eggs, bacon and Caribbean fruit for
breakfast at Solana, sampled a couple of
rum punches and a conch salad for lunch at
Cabana Bar & Grille and dined one evening
at Opus at the Ocean Club.
By Gay Nagle Myers
Grace Bay Beach on the northwest coast of the Turks and Caicos is dotted with more than 30 resorts, villas, private residences, funky
thatched-roof bars, stretches of
beach grass, driftwood and foot-
prints in the sand.
Bookended on one stretch of beach by
the Tuscany and the Venetian on the east
and the Gansevoort on the west sits the
Ocean Club West, a one-mile, 15-minute
walk down the beach from sister property
the Ocean Club.
Several years ago, I stayed at the 86-unit
Ocean Club, which opened in 1990 and
completed all buildings in 2000, and I recently spent several warm, sunny days and
full-moon nights at the 68-unit Ocean Club
West, which opened in 2000.
There is no room service at either resort,
but guests can stock their kitchens at nearby
markets and stores.
Both resorts had some minor damage
from the hurricanes last September, mainly landscaping, but the grounds are green
again, flowers blooming and newly planted
palm trees swaying.
“The U.S. and Canada are our main markets, and we have many repeat guests coming with families and we have support from
travel agents, as well,” McLeod said.
“We’re looking at a pretty strong winter
season, but we need to keep getting the message out that the Turks and Caicos is fully
open for business this winter and to please
come visit us,” he said.
Rates at the Ocean Club West start at
$399 per room, per night for a studio and at
$539 for a one-bedroom unit.
Ocean Club rates are $369 for a studio
and $519 for a one-bedroom unit.
A winter special for stays through Feb. 16
offers a 20% discount on all rates, commis-sionable at 12.5%.
Both are beachfront properties with several suite categories ranging from studios to
cavernous three-bedroom units with views
of the beach, pool or gardens.
My large condominium-style, one-bedroom suite had all the comforts of home,
I wish more resorts
offered. Screens keep
out the bugs, let in
the breezes and the
sounds of the ocean at night.
Another big plus was the loaded bike rack
near the resort’s entry. I grabbed a bright-green bike one morning and pedaled down
the road a bit to explore the neighborhood
and take in the sights.
The resort is closer to the shops and restaurants in Providenciales than its sister
resort, which has the bonus of the adjacent
On a somewhat cloudy evening at 5:30
p.m., on the third day after the full moon,
I boarded a 70-foot yacht named Atabeyra
(the Taino goddess of fertility) at a marina
not far from Grace Bay Beach.
The yacht name was certainly appropriate for what I was about to witness.
Precisely 55 minutes after sunset, and for
five to 15 minutes after that, the surface of
the water around me was awash in bioluminescence from the coupling of thousands of odontosyllis enopla (glowworms
or Bermuda fireworms).
“These worms, unique to the Turks
and Caicos, have been performing their
bioluminescent mating ritual from the
beginning of recorded time,” said yacht
captain Matt, adding that Christopher
Columbus, who was the first European to
sail through the Turks and Caicos in 1492,
wrote in his logs of the “remarkable fire
What happens is that the female worms
rise from the bottom and rapidly swim in
circles on the surface while releasing a
bright green fluorescent substance.
A female can glow for up to eight seconds and can repeat this process up to 33
times over 12 minutes or until she attracts
a male. When a male worm recognizes the
cues, it emits short bursts of light while
swimming toward the females. When they
meet … well, we all know what happens
When not mating, it’s a boring life. The
worms live in tube-like structures on the
sandy bottom of shallow bays to await the
next full moon.
The 50 passengers on my glowworm
tour certainly were entertained, as was I.
The two-hour tour, run by Sun Charters, is
priced at $50 for adults and $30 for kids
and includes drinks.
The company also offers a Friday sunset
cruise downwind on Grace Bay with bottomless rum punch and music, $40/$20; a
Night With the Stars cruise that highlights
planets, stars, constellations and satellites
from the deck of the yacht, $60/$40; and
a five-hour sail and snorkel cruise with
beachcombing, diving for sand dollars and
Ahoy, mating! Birds, bees and worms on yacht excursion
Aboard the Atabeyra for the glowworm tour. The critters perform a bioluminescent dance when mating.
‘The Turks and Caicos is fully
open for business this winter.
Please come visit us.’
— Ian McLeod, Ocean Club West
Clockwise from far left: the view of Grace
Bay Beach from the Ocean Club West on
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos; the fine sand
and clear waters of Grace Bay Beach; screened
porches at the Ocean Club West; the interior
of a one-bedroom unit at the Ocean Club West.