24-hour butlers (for two-bedroom villas or larger)
Half- and full-board meal packages available
Prices among the highest in Turks and Caicos
Meal-inclusive rates do not cover beverages
Excursions are pricey
Expensive 30-minute boat ride from Providenciales
All diving must be done from the main island
Many rooms in the main buildings lack ocean views
Accessed via a 30-minute boat ride from Providenciales, this 1,000-acre resort on a private island is the definition of tranquility. With an incredible infinity-edge pool, world-renowned COMO Shambhala Spa, waterfront Balinese-style villas, doting service, and more than three miles of pristine beaches, it's easily one of the most luxurious and romantic options in the Caribbean. But hefty price tags put it out of reach for many, and the rare level of privacy comes as the cost of convenience -- a boat commute is required to reach any nightlife or shopping.
Located on a private Island, Parrot Cay is one of the most exclusive resorts in the world, highlighted by miles of private beach and amazingly lush grounds
Any Turks and Caicos resort worth its salt (or, perhaps, sand in this case) is on Grace Bay. That is, unless it is Parrot Cay, a resort on a private island located 30 minutes by boat from the Leeward Marina on Providenciales. Boasting more than three miles of private beach, lush grounds that are reminiscent more of the South Pacific than the Caribbean, and a world-class spa, Parrot Cay is arguably the most spectacular resort in all of Turks and Caicos.
Upon docking on the island, one of Parrot Cay’s personal butlers whisks guests through a winding path through the overgrown jungle that inhabits the majority of the island. Such tropical surroundings are surprisingly more lush than you'll find on the rest of Turks and Caicos, and it is easy to imagine that you are somewhere much farther flung like Bali or Tahiti.
With just 66 accommodations scattered across the 1,000-plus-acre island, solitude is easy to come by. Two large buildings near the main building (where the lobby, restaurants, and pool are located) house the garden-view and ocean-view rooms. Farther through the thicket, 24 villas and estates with one to four bedrooms are scattered. In each unit, teak Balinese furnishings, four-poster beds, and private decks or balconies are standard.
Gorgeous landscapes and expansive accommodations aside, the resort’s COMO Shambhala Spa is the major draw for many guests. A world-renowned sanctuary, COMO Shambhala focuses on holistic therapies like reflexology and Ayurveda, as well as massages and facial treatments. Each of the nine treatment rooms includes a Japanese soaking tub, and additional spa features include a separate infinity-edge pool, his and hers Jacuzzis and steam rooms, a yoga pavilion, a Pilates studio, and a boutique -- all with breathtaking views of the sea.
The rates are sky high, but if you can afford it, you’ll certainly consider it worthwhile, especially when taking into account the doting service. “I go wherever you go” is the way one butler describes her job. Nonetheless, privacy is easy to attain as butlers manage to do everything -- from freshening your poolside cocktail to cleaning your sandy flip-flops after a trek on the beach -- in a discreet and inconspicuous manner.
A 30-minute boat ride from Leeward Marina in Providenciales means total seclusion.
A 30-minute boat ride northeast of Providenciales is all it takes to find the utter isolation of Parrot Cay. The 1,000-plus-acre resort may be no tiny isle, but it’s easy to feel like the only person on it due to its expansive layout. (Some villas are located so far from the resort’s main buildings that I didn’t even know they existed until we passed them on the boat ride back to Providenciales.)
The flipside is that guests are removed from nightlife, an assortment of restaurants, and the main island’s colorful culture. The resort provides boat shuttles several times daily to make the 30-minute journey back to Providenciales.
30-minute boat ride + 20-minute drive to Providenciales International Airport
30-minute boat ride to Providenciales
30-minute boat ride + seven-minute drive to Grace Bay
30-minute boat ride + 10-minute drive to shops and restaurants at Salt Mills and Regent Village plazas
Spacious ocean-view villas are breathtaking, but garden-view cottages are slightly less impressive
Parrot Cay’s 66 accommodations are divided between the 31 garden-view and 11 ocean-view rooms in the main resort and an assortment of villas farther from the center, past Rocky Point. The rooms in the two main buildings are a good three-minute walk from the beach, and show just a few signs of wear and tear that aren’t visible in the villas; however, all accommodations feature Balinese-style furnishings, netted four-poster beds, whitewashed walls, and teak outdoor furniture.
If money is no object, you may as well spring for one of the Parrot Cay Estates, which include seven three- to seven-bedroom villas on an even more secluded part of the island. Each villa is privately owned (with Donna Karan, Keith Richards, and Bruce Willis among the reported resident list) and thus each has its own design flair. Standard features include: butler’s kitchens, private infinity-edge pools, tiki huts for outdoor dining, several patios and screened porches, beach volleyball courts, and private beach access.
Large flat-screen TVs with satellite cable and DVD players
Thirty-one garden-view guest rooms are quite spacious at 645 square feet; however, they show the resort’s age a bit more than any other rooms, and could be larger for the price.
Eleven ocean-facing guest rooms are the same size as the garden-view rooms, but include additional features like ceramic bathtubs and --naturally -- ocean views.
Four COMO suites measure 1,290 square feet each and include a spacious living room, two bathrooms, and a private balcony.
Twelve additional beach houses and villas range from 1,075 to 3,614 square feet and feature a variety of stunning layouts with Balinese-style furnishings, private pools, and expansive oceanfront locations.
Eight privately owned three- to five-bedroom homes are also available for rent.
Free nonmotorized water sports include use of catamarans, windsurfers, kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkeling equipment
World-renowned COMO Shambhala Spa focuses on Asian-inspired holistic therapies and Ayurvedic treatments, It's housed in its own complex of buildings, features an infinity-edge pool, male/female Jacuzzis, an on-site Ayurvedic consultant, boutique, and nine treatment rooms with stunning views of North Caicos.
Spacious library with hundred of books, an entertainment center, four computer stations (Macs and PCs) and a billiard table
Gym includes weight machines, tons of cardio machines, stability balls, and dumbbells; personal training also available.
Two restaurants and two bars with menus for those looking to indulge -- as well as options for more health-conscious travelers
Each morning at Parrot Cay starts in the Terrace Restaurant with an island breakfast. Here, the eggs might be the freshest you’ve ever tasted, and the fruit the sweetest. Such pristine ingredients are at the forefront of every meal, whether at Lotus, the poolside restaurant that serves Caribbean-inspired lunches and Asian-style dinners, or the aforementioned Terrace, where dinners borrow from traditional Mediterranean cuisine.
Both restaurants have their own bars; Terrace Bar is located adjacent to the hilltop lobby and features ocean views, and Lotus Bar is a breezy stonewalled hut by the pool with comfy sofas.
COMO Shambhala also provides a menu featuring healthful cuisine and vegetarian dishes for guests disinclined to give in to all temptation while on vacation. And for those wanting to stay as isolated as possible, room service is available for all three meals.