We recently returned from a 5 night stay at Beaches Turks and Caicos. The resort is absolutely beautiful. The color of the ocean is really as turquoise as it appears in the pictures. Traveling was myself, my husband and our 3 year old. I’m celiac so I medically have to eat gluten free. Beaches did a great job with my “allergy”. Yes, it’s not technically an allergy, but it is easier to call it that. People understand allergy. I would not hesitate to recommend this property to someone with a food allergy and definitely to someone with celiac. This article will describe my experience eating gluten free at the resort, plus our overall thoughts regarding each venue.
Prior to my trip I emailed the resort to alert them of my allergy and to figure out the process. I was advised to contact firstname.lastname@example.org. I sent them my reservation number, arrival date, and my allergy. I received this detailed response in return.
My flight happened to be arriving to the island at 4:50- means we wouldn’t get to the property and checked in until 5:30. During my pre-trip research I learned that the culinary concierge is open until 5:30 pm each day. I knew my son would be starving from his long day of travel so I emailed back requesting to have my first dinner and breakfast lined up in advance so that I wouldn’t have to worry about jetting across the property upon my late arrival to secure a dinner. I also requested to eat at Mario’s. It is located in Italian Village and is centrally located on the property. Andrea, the head culinary concierge, responded that they will have everything set up for me to dine that first night at Mario’s and the first morning at Barefoot by the Sea. I was then advised to meet with Andrea in the Culinary Concierge office before 10:30 a.m. to set up my next set of meals.
I will admit that the first meals were slightly disappointing to all of us. (My husband and son included. They are not gluten free.) The ease of Mario’s didn’t outweigh the incredibly disappointing meal. And Barefoot by the sea, with its picnic tables and sandy floor (it is literally just sand) made for a bit of a messy meal, especially with a 3 year old. Although the location of Barefoot by the Sea was gorgeous, the meal was just so-so.
Fortunately, the remainder of our meals were great. I’ll be honest, we were concerned after those first couple of meals, but the meals after were mostly quite good to excellent. But back to the process. After breakfast, I went over to the Caribbean Beach lobby, which is where the Culinary office is located. I met with Andrea. She was terrific. They print off sheets for each meal of the day during your stay, plus one for a snack. The sheets have your name, allergy, and room number. You then pick where you want to dine for the next 24 hours. (Due to my lack of desire to do this every day, I did 2.5 days at a time.) You fill out when you think you will arrive and what you would like for that meal. They have the menus of all of the restaurants to look at. They can basically make whatever you request with the proper advanced warning. The only item that I couldn’t get was onion rings at Bobby Dee’s, the old time soda shop restaurant.
I will list out my dining choices, and my thoughts about each place below:
Sunday Lunch – Dino’s, Italian Village. I ordered the nachos. This would have probably been better as a snack. None of us loved this restaurant choice. My son’s gluten containing pizza was good according to my husband but it literally took a half hour to come out. (To their credit, we were warned that that would be the case.) The service in this restaurant was incredibly slow. It took them over 10 minutes to seat us and we were the only ones waiting. This was not because the place was full, they just didn’t have enough staff. My nachos were good, but again, it would have been better enjoyed pool side. A point regarding snacks- you can pick up a snack of really good cupcakes and 2 cookies at the Culinary office off the Caribbean Beach lobby, or you can pick a place that is open to receive a snack each day if you want one. You just need to fill out the form to indicate your choice.
Sunday Dinner- Neptunes, located in Key West, right on the water. This was one of our favorite meals of the trip. I highly recommend this restaurant. The service was excellent as was the food. I had an amazing lamb shank with mashed potatoes and vegetables. The lamb included a delicious gravy. Mmmm… my mouth is watering over the memory!
Monday Breakfast- I had prearranged our family to eat at the Sesame Street Character Breakfast, at Le Petit Chateau in French Village. There is an additional charge for this experience. For my family of 3, the charge was $40. My husband and I both felt it was reasonable for the experience. They had Sesame Street plates, and a fun cup for the kids to take away which included a sticker and a whistle (maybe not the best gift for little kids, well at least from their parents’ perspective). Each character in attendance came to our table, and they had a dance party at the end. I would recommend arriving early because they have characters in the courtyard before the breakfast begins. The breakfast meal itself was nothing to write home about, but it was fine.
Monday Lunch – we were supposed to go to Bella Napoli which I believe is the place that only has pizza, nothing else, not a salad to go with it, just pizza. We were swimming though in a pool in Key West and didn’t want to go all the way over to Caribbean Village for lunch so I asked to speak to the chef at Bayside to see if I could eat there. This was a buffet and the selection was great, most of the food was naturally gluten free and the view was outstanding! This ended up being where we would dine for most of our remaining lunches and breakfasts.
Monday Snack- I choose to have a snack of a milk shake at Bobby Dee’s as my snack. They scooped my ice cream from a fresh container, with a new spoon, and made my shake in a cleaned out and sanitized blender. It was a fun treat that we don’t always get to enjoy gluten free.
Monday Dinner- Kimonos, (a traditional hibachi grill Japanese Steak house) in French Village. This is the only place that you can actually make a reservation for dining. They handled my allergy really well here. They just used gluten free soy sauce for the whole table’s meal. Once he served my meal, he added additional sauces to the food on the grill for the others. I thought my meal was excellent, but my husband did comment that theirs had more flavor than my meal. My 3 year old loved his meal as well which made us all really happy.
Tuesday Breakfast – Sky, Key West. Sky, on the roof of Bayside, is adults only in the evening but is open to all for breakfast. The view was stunning, and the food was really good here. They had a seafood eggs benedict that is probably a big crowd pleaser for many. I choose not to eat seafood because I don’t like the taste so I ordered traditional eggs benedict. It was really tasty. My husband had a gluten filled stuffed French toast that looked amazing. The day we ate here was completely blue skies and warm. It would not be my first choice again on a sunny day, we all were cooking a little up there even with the umbrellas over the tables.
Tuesday Lunch- Bayside, Key West. This was covered above. Although I did not mention that they serve sushi here at lunch and it was really good! They had gluten free soy sauce as well which is always nice.
Tuesday Dinner- Arizonas, Caribbean Village. This is a tex-mex restaurant. The food was really good, but the service started out incredibly slow. I am not sure it is possible to walk slower than these servers were moving. It is a huge departure from what I am used to – cruising where the crew practically runs wherever they are headed. The meal starts with chips, salsa and guacamole. I also ordered the queso appetizer and a small serving of it was included with our chips and salsa. My husband and I both ordered steaks that were served with mashed potatoes. It was a very good meal that we were all pleased with.
Wednesday and Thursday Breakfast- Bayside, Key West. We just loved the location and the offerings. The view is incredible as well.
Wednesday Lunch- Bobby Dee’s, French Village. This was your typical burger, fries, ice cream type meal. We all enjoyed it. My son LOVES the popcorn machine and would get a small bag whenever we were here.
Wednesday Dinner- Schooners, Caribbean Village. This was another favorite meal by the 3 of us. Although my steak was slightly overcooked, it was flavorful and the service was excellent. The ambiance made for a really lovely last dinner on property.
Thursday lunch- Bobby Dee’s and Bayside. We had to be in the lobby to head to the airport at 12:30 so we needed an early and quick lunch. Our plan was to get carryout from Bobby Dee’s to eat in the room, and then I would get a to go order of sushi to have as a supplement to my lunch to eat on the way to the airport. Bayside was kind enough to accommodate my gluten free carry out sushi just a few minutes before they opened, and my chicken sandwich from Bobby Dee’s was a good start to my farewell lunch.
I would absolutely feel comfortable returning here and I was incredibly happy that I was not glutened during the trip! Have you already traveled to Beaches gluten free? What were your favorite places to dine? Or are you getting ready to travel to Beaches gluten free or a with a different food allergy? I hope this article takes away some of your concerns about traveling to Beaches Turks and Caicos gluten free or with a food allergy.