When Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart founded Sandals in Jamaica in 1981, he offered couples a taste of all-inclusive ecstasy. At least that’s what the ads have always wanted to convey. You could frolic in the waves, drink the minibar dry, not get dressed for a week – and it was famously childfree. It was happy hour all hours for loved-up adults. Hey presto and suddenly there were 16 Sandals across the Caribbean. But pity the poor couples after having children. They could no longer access Sandals’ adults-only multi-coloured pagodas, swim-up bars and poolside Greek temples. It was back to Disneyland. So Butch created a family resort, Beaches, so little Giles and Jessica could come, too. Children can try out every water sport under the sun, leaving grandparents to read in a shady cabana by the pool. Mum and dad might even manage a date night. There are now three family-friendly Beaches resorts in the Sandals empire. Our destination was Turks & Caicos, an unspoilt archipelago of islands south-east of the Bahamas. The Beaches is at Grace Bay, three miles of gorgeous palm-shaded white-sand beach, on the north shore of the island of Providenciales. The 750-room complex has four distinct themed villages – where you can ‘pretend’ you’re in Italy, France, Key West and the Caribbean – set against tropical gardens. There are six pools, 21 restaurants, a bar round every corner, not to mention the Mac ‘n’ Cheese lorry. And, helpfully, Beaches is painted in giant script across every swimming pool, towel and toilet roll, just in case you forget where you are. Children can try out every water sport under the sun, leaving grandparents to read in a shady cabana by the pool and mum and dad might even manage a date night We stayed in the Italian Village in a Concierge Family Suite, with a king-size bed and children’s rooms. The fridge was re-stocked every day. There was free Wi-Fi, TV and an old school coffee machine for duffers like me who can’t manage Nespresso. On the first day, I drew back the curtains and gazed out at the Italian Village’s triple-decker swimming pool. It was love at first sight. By 9am, most children were in the water park at the French Village, so this elegant ocean liner of a pool was empty. Each morning I’d do 20 circuits, then join companions for buffet breakfast at Mario’s and plan the day. Grace Bay is ranked as one of the top scuba diving destinations on the planet and there are up to two free scuba diving trips a day per person. You can also book in for snorkelling, windsurfing, kayaking, paddle-boarding or a glass-bottom boat trip. One balmy day we went out diving for conch; the boat anchored at a secret island and we had BBQ-ed conch for lunch. And even I – the girl who was never picked for games at school – managed an afternoon of eco kayaking at Little Water Cay. We paddled beside red and black mangroves, spotting turtles and lemon sharks, then rowed over to the iguana sanctuary. And it’s fun to try to eat the world at Beaches. The sushi at Soy is world-class; ditto Caribbean lobster tails at adults-only Sapodillas. Rooftop restaurant Sky offers spectacular sunset views over seafood. On beach days there’s jerk chicken and plantain at Jerk Shack in the Caribbean Village. Beaches are all about choices. You can join in enthusiastically, play every game of tennis and volleyball, sample the rum punch; or retreat from the mayhem and do your own thing. My day took me from pool to beach to cocktail bar. I loved Red Lane Spa, an oasis of calm in laid-back Key West Village. The 60-minute Lavender Massage cured my jet-lag. And after a day of freedom, it’s easy to get the family to turn up for supper at 8pm, without having a monumental row. Occasionally I did have to silence my inner snob. There are Aisle To Isle weddings and beach parties most days. But every family I spoke to raved about the resort. So no nude sunbathing or high jinx at Beaches, sadly. You’ve fallen out of paradise. But for frazzled parents nostalgic for the early days, pre-children, it’s clearly a brilliant solution. And Granny can come, too – especially if she’s paying. Published in Daily Times, February 5th 2019.