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Lifestyle

Island Hopping

By Samantha Brooks

Arial image of Turks and Caicos’ remote northwest coast

Located on Turks and Caicos’s remote northwest coast, Amanyara feels like a Balinese getaway.

Turks and Caicos

The 40-island archipelago of Turks and Caicos offers endless turquoise-water coastline and pristine sandy beaches. Decades of development, especially on the third largest island of Providenciales, has resulted in a variety of popular tourist destinations and activities from water sports to the finest hospitality and dining.

You can’t mention Turks and Caicos without mentioning Grace Bay, and you can’t mention Grace Bay without mentioning the iconic Grace Bay Club. Don’t miss their Infiniti Bar, which runs perpendicular to the sea and is perhaps the liveliest spot on Providenciales for taking in the sunset.

Also holding court on Grace Bay, the Wymara Resort and Villas has just added four ocean pools, a new lobby and a renovated beachfront bar. Even those not staying on the property will enjoy their newly transformed restaurant, Indigo, where Australian Chef Andrew Mirosch offers gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options, as well as Caribbean-inspired dishes that celebrate the local fishing culture.

Image of the Wymara Resort and Villas showcasing the updated pools

Wymara Resort and Villas overlooks Grace Bay.

Those who wish to feel like they’re at a Balinese-style getaway (but much closer to home) will enjoy Amanyara, located on the island’s remote northwest coast. A collection of enormous villas (up to 6,250 square feet with sprawling outdoor space and 200 feet of private beach) and pavilion-style hotel rooms are the ultimate in privacy. The expansive wellness facilities, on-site cinema and restaurants almost guarantee you won’t be leaving the property.

Head to the quieter Long Bay where The Shore Club’s collection of suites, as well as 8,800-square-foot villas, can accommodate up to 14 guests. Should the wind pick up on the beach, there’s always the property’s four pools, four restaurants and five bars to enjoy. Limited beachfront doesn’t make the new Rock House, from the owners of Grace Bay Club, any less desirable. Just west of Grace Bay, the white-washed clusters of villas were designed by New York-based, AD100 interior designer Shawn Henderson and evoke Santorini with their cliff perch and use of local rocks. Serene and secluded, the boutique property is a welcome break for those seeking a quiet alternative to the activity of Grace Bay.

Rolling with an extended crew? Beach Enclave operates like a hotel with services (concierge, housekeeping, butlers, private chefs) and amenities (fitness center, tennis and bocce courts, yoga and a kids’ club) but offers groupings of stand-alone villas in three of Providenciales’s prime locations: Grace Bay, NorthShore and Long Bay.

Stone staircase and framed by coastal rock, leading down to the water

A private beach cove entrance from one of Ambergris Cay’s villas.

Big Ambergris Cay­: Surprisingly accessible, completely private.

Launched in 2018 with just 10 beachfront suites, the private,3-mile-long island of Big Ambergris Cay has slowly been developing into one of the Caribbean’s most idyllic escapes, now offering an additional seven three- to six-bedroom villas. As of 2020, the island has the longest private airport runway in the Caribbean—ideal for those whose private jet is always at the ready. Those flying commercial will need to arrive in Providenciales before a 10-minute transfer to an FBO on Turks and Caicos, where they can board for the 20-minute flight to Ambergris Cay on the island’s plane, which is complimentary for guests. While the privacy and serene beach are the main draws, there’s also the added bonus of inclusivity, elevating your experience with seamless access to activities and meals.

Barbados

Two beach chair perched abover the water with a pink and white striped umbrella and matching towels

A pretty pink perch awaits at Cobblers Cove.

This 167-square-mile island, located in the southeast Caribbean, has long been known for its English charm and fiery Caribbean spirit—as well as being home to Rihanna. An evergreen escape that continues to lure us back for more, its latest offerings from new and storied properties alike are captured here.

Last winter, the island’s south coast turned into a coveted wellness destination with the debut of O2 Beach Club and Spa. The 130-room property is designed with contemporary comforts in mind—floor-to-ceiling windows, sleek furnishings, pops of color, a 24-hour fitness center—while also catering to those seeking an indulgent escape.

Cobblers Cove recently underwent a five-year renovation by owner Sam de Teran, who used natural fibers, an array of brightly covered wallpapers and a collaboration with British furniture maker Soane Britain to give the property new life. The 40-room, all-suite hotel is now chicer than ever.

An icon since its debut in 1961, Sandy Lane continues to welcome guests to its 102 rooms and 45 holes of golf (36 of which are on two courses designed by Tom Fazio). Set on the island’s west coast, the property has long been favored by celebrities and the British elite—many of whom opt for its7,300-square-foot villa, which sleeps 14 guests and has a private pool and dedicated staff.

Water views from a villa at the Mandarin Oriental

A sweeping ocean view from one of the Mandarin Oriental’s 13 villas.

Outside of the five-star hotels, there’s also an array of new dining options. Head to Deia Beach for a Mallorca-influenced experience, complete with seasonal and locally-sourced menu items like Turkish lamb kofta, market fish cakes and Mediterranean-style flatbreads.

One of the newest venues, QP Bistro, opened in late 2021 on the island’s west coast, offers a taste of Italy in the Caribbean. Culinary director Matt Worswick brings his 17 years of experience at Michelin-starred restaurants in the UK to the venue, which includes a bakery for morning pastries, live music in the evenings, and an elevated setting overlooking the water.

Canouan Island: The harder-to-get-to-but-that’s-the-point-isle.

With flights into the island limited to private transfer or with Grenadine Alliance (reservations need to be made 30 days in advance), Canouan Island has always been a challenge to get to, but doesn’t that make it all the more enticing? Just 3.5 miles long and 1.25 miles wide, the quaint locale, a 25-minute flight west of Barbados, is having a moment. Soho House opened its 40-room boutique hotel on the island’s southwest coast last year, and suddenly the secret was out about this chic getaway. No TVs and not entirely open to non-members (you’ll have to get a Soho Friends membership to go), the property charms guests with vintage rattan furniture and a powder-sand beach. Those looking for a more traditionally luxurious experience will find comfort at the Mandarin Oriental, previously the Pink Sands Club. Surrounded by the Caribbean’s largest natural coral reef, the 26 suites and 13 villas are within a 1,200-acre estate, but don’t miss what’s offsite: their spa features treatments in two over-water bungalows just off the shore, while golf can be arranged at the only championship course in the Grenadines, designed by Tom Fazio.

 

Images courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, Wymara Resorts, Cobblers Cove, Ambergris Cay, Amanyara.



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