Last summer we spent a week at The Somerset on Grace Bay in Turks & Caicos. It was by happenstance that we found ourselves here. After a whirlwind 5 days in Orlando visiting Disneyworld, we were looking for a relaxing beach vacation to decompress.
Our criteria for choosing a destination was fairly simple: it needed to be on the East Coast or in the Caribbean/Bahamas, it needed to fit our dates (late June), and it needed to be a property available on Inspirato (we had just become members and were eager to test it out). And that’s how we came upon The Somerset. After we booked it, TripAdvisor released their list of “Best Beaches in the World” and Grace Bay was rated #1. Needless to say, Mike and I were pretty giddy and patting ourselves on the back for a decision well-made.
First, let’s talk about The Somerset. We stayed in one of their 3 bedroom villas which had a balcony overlooking the ocean, a full kitchen, and a washer/dryer to make our stay really easy. They had a restaurant on-site where we had breakfast a few mornings, but mostly we ate breakfast in our villa and left the property for dinner. Some of the room packages included a daily breakfast, but ours did not.
There was also a restaurant/bar at the pool. We had lunch there several times and ordered our fair share of fruity drinks.
The Somerset was not a huge property which I really liked. At first I was concerned that the pools were a little small, but they were never crowded and the beach was just steps beyond.
Just outside the main restaurant, there was a large lawn with croquet set up.
There were bikes available on a first come first served basis. Kate and I took a long ride into town and beyond one afternoon.
Just on the other side of the pool, we had access to the amazing beach at Grace Bay.
Grace Bay was everything we had hoped for. The water is an amazing turquoise blue that at first glance appeared fake, but that was just how blue it was! And clear. The water was so unbelievably clear. The sand was soft and clean, like walking through sugar. The Somerset had kayaks, standup paddle boards, and catamarans for us to use.
There were also bins filled with sand toys that the kids could use. They spent hours building forts, castles and tunnel systems in the sand.
We enjoyed every dinner we went to on the island. Not only was the food great, but most of the restaurants were on the beach so the views were amazing and the kids could run down and play in the sand while Mike & I finished our cocktails. One of our favorite dinners was a beach BBQ put on by The Somerset. There was live music and a fire dancer who entertained us with crazy tricks including breathing fire – it was truly mesmerizing!
We did venture off the property for most dinners and a couple of excursions.
We arranged a trip on a submarine boat to check out the coral reefs in the area. It was a boat, but we sat underneath the water with windows looking into the water.
We saw coral, fish, and sea turtles.
We even saw a mermaid! Although our kids didn’t fall for this (as some of the younger kids on the boat did) and they spent the entire time trying to figure out how she had gotten from the boat into the water without us seeing her jump in.
Snorkeling & Lizard Island:
The highlight of our trip was our snorkeling adventure with Caicos Dream Tours. They picked us up and dropped us off right on the beach outside our hotel. There were quite a few tour options & operators to choose from. We went with Caicos Dream Tours since it was suggested by our concierge. We also chose the morning half day option which turned out to be plenty of time. They kept us busy and engaged so the time flew by, but the sun was so hot we were eager for some shade and a rest at the end.
On our way out to the coral reef, they stopped the boat so our guides could jump off and dive for fresh conch which they would later use to make conch salad for all of us. Kate was chosen to show everyone on the boat what a conch shell looked like.
We made a second stop so everyone could go for a swim. They had a slide down the back of the boat.
And they let people jump over the side of the boat. Would a tour in the US let us do this? Probably not.
We made a third stop to snorkel along the third largest barrier reef in the world. Mike went off with Jack & Kate and I stayed with Ben who was very apprehensive about getting in the water. He had never tried to breathe through a snorkel before and I think it was scary for him. In hindsight, I wish I had let him practice with a snorkel & mask at the beach beforehand so he could get used to it. We briefly got in the water with our gear, but I was so focused on Ben that I didn’t have a chance to appreciate the reef. But everyone else thought it was amazing!
Approaching Half Moon Bay at Lizard Island.
Getting ready to get the freshly caught conch out of the shell.
Ben was nominated to pull the conch out of the shell. He tried to pass the honor onto someone else, but our guides would have none of that. So he pulled it out and was pretty proud of himself.
Kate got to keep one of the shells so she scrubbed it clean. It’s a gorgeous shell and now has a prominent place on our bookshelves back home.
We had a bit of time to explore the island on our own. It felt like we were alone on a deserted island, with the exception of all the iguanas.
Our time in Turks & Caicos was exactly what we needed. We left feeling relaxed & rejuvenated. On our way out, we got to board the plane on the tarmac which is always fun and feels a bit old-school.
As we flew off, I just couldn’t get over how amazing the reef looked!