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Escape winter at Caribbean getaway

By Bob Taylor
Travel Better

Now that Old Man Winter is offering blustery weather, the Sands at Grace Bay may be your perfect getaway.

No imagination is required to see how this 114-suite resort in the Turks & Caicos Islands derives its name. The moment you cast your eyes on the expanse of white talcum-powder beach that seeps into crystal-clear, turquoise and ultra-marine water, you are beguiled.

The Turks & Caicos are an archipelago of 41 islands and cays in the British West Indies that can be easily reached from Charlotte by air in less than 2 1/2 hours.

Nestled along the boomerang-shaped island of Providenciales, the Sands with its Caribbean plantation-style ambience guides guests through a tunnel of time into a different realm. Six three-story buildings line the resort past serpentine garden walkways and sequestered pools united by tranquil, meandering canals.

Ultimately, all paths lead to the 12-mile stretch of white sand beach known as Grace Bay.

The Sands offers great value, with accommodations in four categories: studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom suites. All rooms, except Studio Courtyards, feature a washer and dryer.

Amenities include air conditioning, cable and free wireless Internet. Suites are equipped with kitchens and a microwave. There’s also a convenience store on the property to purchase bread, snacks, drinks and toiletries.

Rooms are spacious, and oversize balconies complement the ample living accommodations.

Hemingway’s Restaurant is open for all three meals and features island delights such as fresh conch dishes and spiny lobster.

Spa Topique provides a range of therapeutic services.

Complimentary amenities include a welcome cocktail, weekly manager’s rum punch party, beach towels and bicycles and non-motorized water sports. More adventurous optional tours can be arranged.

Not only are the Turks & Caicos accessible, but English is the language, American dollars are the currency and electricity is the same as the U.S. Perhaps the biggest adjustment is driving on the left side of the road.

Details: www.thesandstc.com.

Bob Taylor of Charlotte leads group tours and organized the Magellan Club.
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