Cigar Aficionado

Family Matters

If in a vacation one is looking for the chance to reconnect with family, this one at Beaches resort in Turks and Caicos showed high promise. Beaches is a version of the couples resort Sandals with the little ones in mind: plenty of kid-friendly activities, pools, eight water slides, X-Box gaming rooms, classes in how to become a scratch deejay and, of course, the beaches.

Since I, however, usually take my holiday with a view toward smoking and drinking, I wasn’t holding out much hope for this excursion that my wife, Ellen, had planned in favor of my daughters, Grace and Abigail, and their friend Arianne. With the kids in tow, I assumed a general health program would be the better course. In fact, I had so despaired of pursuing my usual high jinks that I left the States having packed no cigars.

On arrival, my instincts seemed spot on. Guests roamed the grounds in tidy little family units, earnestly on their way to avail themselves of cones from the cotton candy machine or to catch the next performance by the characters from Sesame Street who moved about en masque. When we returned to our suite each night we were greeted by a little dog fashioned from towels to amuse the kids. This was going to be a trying week.

But once again I had foolishly underestimated Ellen. First, of all, the all-inclusive policy of Beaches extended to the many bars (even the swim-up type) and to the well-thought-out wine program. But furthermore, my lovely wife had arranged for butler service in our suite. Our man Dwayne, it develops, might have been Jeeves himself in his constant anticipation of my needs. Not only did coolers of beer mysteriously arrive at our poolside cabana, but he somehow divined that a bottle of bourbon and plenty of soda water would be necessary provisions for our room.

Yet I still had one problem. I was jonesing for a smoke and I’d left those burners at home.

Photo by Arianne Norman
Well, Dwayne must have spied me glancing wistfully at the gentleman who were not so foolish as to leave tobacco at home as they strolled past our patio overlooking the Caribbean. One night as we returned to the suite for a sumptuous meal, we were again welcomed by a little towel dog, but this time man’s best cloth friend held in his mouth a Montecristo of the Havana variety.


I sent the kid’s packing to X-Box land and repaired to the patio sans relations. As I torched up my fumer, I reflected to myself, “The secret to a well-planned family vacation is the illusion of togetherness.”

"Jack, If you don't mind saying, where is that you are staying. My wife and I are looking for a good place to stay there." —April 9, 2009 21:14 PM
"Sorry didn't reply before. Just got back to my desk. It's the Beaches Resort in Turks & Caicos. website www.beaches.comBeaches is the family version of the Sandals Resort chain. The Turks & Caicos property is on the most populous of the islands, Providenciales, and is only 5-10 minutes from the airport, which is sweet." —April 13, 2009 11:20 AM