Sarah Mason has the career of our dreams: as the creator of bespoke travel experiences for her company Mason Rose Private, it’s her duty to travel to find the best places and experiences in the world for her clients. Luckily, she’s generous enough to share her secret spots with us. Whether you’re planning a truly once in a lifetime experience soon, or you’re just an armchair traveler (like us), enjoy her latest dispatch from Turks and Caicos (for free!) Read on for Sarah’s unique POV: we can already feel the warm wind tousling our hair. Bonus: we’ve got the perfect packing list.
As you fly over some forty coral islands which make up the tiny archipelago of the Turks & Caicos Islands, in the British West Indies, the color of the turquoise ocean and stretches of white sandy beaches simply take your breath away. I was lucky enough to spend a week there recently and divided my time between two very special resorts. My first few days were spent at Amanyara and then I went on to Como Parrot Cay. Both are so different but both resorts are family friendly, and in the quieter seasons, perfect for couples too.
Amanyara is on the island of Providenciales, about a 25-minute drive from the airport. It stands on a promontory on the western shore, in a protected nature reserve at the end of a dusty road overlooking the reefs of Northwest Point Marine National Park. Accommodation is made up of 38 stunning open-air bungalows and pavilions with ocean views and pavilions—some with pools—set in the gardens. It also has a number of stunningly beautiful four, five and six bedroom villas, serviced fully by the hotel. Rooms are all extremely private. Try to opt for a pool pavilion or a higher category if possible, as these are the rooms that make your stay special. We had a pool pavilion with a huge pool, set in a little garden; our living area was spacious, simple in design and beautiful. Asian-inspired, the resort is totally secluded and we never saw anyone other than hotel guests on its beautiful beach due to the remote location. You get around by bicycle, and there are pick-up stops all around the resort so most able guests cycle around quite happily.
I love Aman Resorts, apart from their beauty and wonderful locations, their levels of service are extraordinary. They have an uncanny knack of knowing what you are wishing for before you have actually asked for it. What sets them apart are the small but important touches; for example, at Amanyara I loved the fact that the do not disturb sign was a simple rope we placed across the entrance to our private hideaway, we never had to sign a bill, there were no set meal times, the staff knew our names from the moment we arrived, someone was always waiting with a cold pressed cloth and dry towel on the beach when we came back salty and water logged from our snorkeling trip, and there were fresh towels and an ice bucket filled with bottles of water the moment we sat down on our sun loungers, that the mini bar and all the snacks were included and when they realised we were using a lot of the Nespresso capsules, they simply gave us extra; it is all so slick, no fuss, job done, it makes you feel special and the delivery is discreet and highly professional. There is nothing quite like it, no wonder their followers are known as Aman Junkies.
The hotel has two restaurants, The Restaurant in the main part of the hotel and The Beach Restaurant and bar by the beach. The mix of Asian/Mediterranean food is really excellent; scrambled eggs and smoked salmon for breakfast, sushi platters for lunch, and Thai Green Curry for dinner… could it get any better?
Amanyara has four Wellness Pavilions with great massage therapists, a good gym, volleyball and tennis courts, golf simulator and complimentary yoga classes down by the beach and you can sign up for snorkeling outings and diving trips. The beach at Amanyara is absolute heaven with a kids club, Nature Discovery Centre for all ages, fabulous bar and restaurant and a little boutique selling flip flops, sun cream, hats, rash vests, casual jewellery, kaftans and bikinis. If you get the fidgets lying on the beach after five minutes as I do, then take out one of the Hobie Cats or tighten your abs on a paddleboard. If you feel like a night out, try Coco Bistro a 30-minute drive away, for good food and a fun party atmosphere.
My memory of lying on a Balinese bed by the pool, sipping a mojito, reading a beautiful book on Capri from their library and watching the sunset is one I dream of during rainy English days.
Como Parrot Cay
Como Parrot Cay is a 35-minute boat ride away from the main island, Providenciales. The drive from the airport to Leeward Marina takes about 15 minutes and the resort has its own arrivals pod on the quayside before you embark, with restrooms, water and snacks, plus you check in here. When you get to Parrot Cay, you are met by a receptionist with a golf buggy and whisked along a track to the hotel.
All the Como Resorts have a similar theme of wellness and this certainly shines through in their beautiful spa and yoga/Pilates pavilion. If you want a week of serious R&R, amazing Ayurvedic treatments, delicious aromatherapy massages, and other holistic spa offerings, plus complimentary Pilates and yoga classes then I would head here. The lovely massage and Shirodhara treatment I had were really outstanding.
The resort style is a mix of Balinese/Asian and white washed colonial in style. You can opt for one of the 46 standard room or suites in the main part of the hotel, which are in two story buildings set way back from the beach. These are pretty with dark wood flooring, simple furnishings, four-poster beds, good sized bathrooms (some a bit old fashioned) and large balconies or terraces overlooking the ocean or lush gardens on lower floors.
Their gorgeous spacious one, two and three bedroom Beach Villas, have large living areas, private plunge pools and direct access over a small dune to the beach. You could also rent one of their exclusive, larger private villas for the ultimate house party; all are set ocean side, some have up to eleven bedrooms and all are fully serviced by the hotel with private butlers. Walkways around the resort are surrounded by gently swaying palm trees, white orchids, and pinky purple bougainvillea.
There are two restaurants: Lotus by the beach (Caribbean by day and Thai/Asian inspired by night) and The Terrace (Italian/Mediterranean) and the food is all superb. At night, Lotus is truly romantic and atmospheric. The large infinity-edge pool is down by the beach. From here you can walk past the bar, and well-equipped gym, to a very pretty beach and the clear, waters of the warm Caribbean Sea. You can take out paddleboards or kayaks from the beach. There are also two tennis courts. There is not a kids club as such but children are made very welcome. The resort has a gorgeous shop selling lovely sarongs, swimwear, beautiful kaftans, dresses and cute kids clothing. Staff members are attentive and friendly and the Pilates and yoga teachers are nothing short of fantastic. Pilates at 8am on the beach was simply heaven.
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