Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A sumptuous beachfront resort highlighted by spectacular service, European panache, and two amazing pools with jaw-dropping views
With a stately fountain in the center of a grand circle, a crisp croquet lawn surrounded by lush gardens, and Mediterranean villa architecture, the Somerset exudes quiet sophistication. Once in the lobby, the only thing giving away your tropical location is the soft blue and green hues of the French chairs, fainting couch, and ornate hand-blown glass sculpture behind the front desk.
This nuanced version of island style is typical of the 53-unit resort. At any one time you may find design references to Italy (Roman busts adorned with seashells), France (Gothic-style sconces and chandeliers), and even Thailand (Asian-inspired umbrellas with tassels).
A glance at the spectacular oceanfront pool area, however, will quickly affirm that you are indeed on Grace Bay, one of the world’s most spectacular beaches. Complementing -- or perhaps even rivaling -- the turquoise ocean are two spectacular pools: one reverse current lap pool (the island’s longest) with an underwater audio system, and one sprawling negative-entry infinity-edge pool -- both with padded teak lounge chairs arranged ever so perfectly. The scenery is so impressive that guests tend to have a hard time sitting still. While in the pool, it’s impossible not to yearn for the crystalline ocean; yet, once on the beach, the pool looks too good to ignore.
The 4.6-acre property is small enough that the staff will likely remember your name (while I was checking in, the concierge appeared to have inside jokes with several of the guests that stopped by). And their warm demeanor and helpful attitude make it likely you’ll remember theirs as well.
Of course, the property is lacking a few key amenities, like a spa (though beachside treatments can be booked through an off-site location) and tennis courts. Nonetheless, a fitness center and two restaurants complete the resort’s offerings, for a fairly well-rounded assortment.
On the world-renowned Grace Bay, within walking distance of great shopping and restaurants
Located on a central portion of 12-mile Grace Bay, the resort is sandwiched between the upscale Regent Grand and the low-end Sibonné Beach Hotel. Though the area clearly covers a wide spectrum of quality, the beach itself is as pristine as you can get, with sand as fine as flour and the clearest of water. Off the beach, there are plenty of great shops and restaurants within walking distance, as well as additional attractions a short drive or taxi ride away.
Three unique sections, all with elegant furnishings -- but the cheapest rooms are painfully small
The resort is divided into three distinct sections: the Garden Cottages near the restaurant, which overlook a croquet lawn and range from one- to three-bedroom suites; the Stirling House, which features one- to three-bedroom units and suites with pool/ocean or garden views; and 16 ocean-view Estate Villas, each of which comprises an entire floor. All 53 units are elegant with travertine floors, granite countertops, Viking kitchen appliances (except for in the standard units, which lack kitchens), 42-inch flat screen TVs, and marble bathrooms.
Most units are individually owned, which means there is bound to be some inconsistency. For instance, in one of the three-bedroom beachfront villas, I saw a note in the master closet reminding guests not to steal the bathrobes, and a curtain in the twin bedroom that was locked into place over the window (likely to hide the parking lot view).
Two gorgeous beachfront pools and stunning grounds, but no spa or tennis courts
O’Soleil might just be the most impressive resort restaurant on the island, with an all-white dining room featuring soaring ceilings, leather-paneled walls, and ornate chandeliers. What’s more, the food is just as remarkable, showcasing local dishes with unexpected twists -- for example, the conch chowder laced with crème fraiche and Caribbean rum. The unfortunate, if somewhat expected, drawback, of course, is the restaurant’s expensive prices.
More affordable is Somerset’s poolside café and bar, LunAsea, which is open only for lunch from 11 to 6 and serves casual fare like fish tacos and jerk chicken wraps, though some portions are a bit small.
A sophisticated, modern resort with stunning views, the 53-room Somerset is a cut above most Providenciales properties. The food is overpriced (though excellent) and the property lacks a spa (but beachside treatments can be arranged via an off-site establishment) or tennis courts, but its two beautiful pools, elegant grounds, top-notch , and pristine beachfront allow it to rival some of the island’s more well-known luxury options like Grace Bay Club and the Gansevoort.