By Nila Do Simon
Turks and Caicos is quickly embracing every jet-setter’s newly desired form of luxury: silence. If pristine turquoise waters that glisten against the Caribbean sun isn’t enough, this island conglomerate that’s just a short flight from South Florida adds privacy and seclusion to its long list of amenities. And no other property exemplifies that more than Parrot Cay by COMO.
So named after the native plant, Turk’s-cap cactus, and the island phrase, “caya hico,” meaning “string of islands,” Turks and Caicos is largely untouched by the big-name, high-rise tourism construction that has flooded the Caribbean. Parrot Cay distinctly underlines that point. A 35-minute speedboat ride from the Providenciales International Airport, this private island is wrapped by sand and peaceful seas. Luxury villas and guesthouses quietly dot the 1,000-acre island, while a soft return-to-nature ambience sweeps the property.
When the COMO Group, the Singapore-based company known for its bespoke, luxurious properties, founded Parrot Cay by COMO in 1998, it sought to provide an unforgettable, stylish beach experience for every type of traveler: couples, families and even girlfriend getaways. The accolades have been mounting for Parrot Cay by COMO: Five Star Alliance status, a Cocotraie Design & Excellence Award, multiple Condé Nast Traveler Gold List honors and being named to Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards.
Stay and Play
Parrot Cay is an Instagrammer’s dream spot. The 72 rooms and villas are an ode to the pristine ocean and its raw, natural surroundings. Balinese furniture and white cotton fabrics give a bright and airy feel, while the large windows and sliding glass doors allows for an uninhibited snapshot of the ocean or garden, which is filled with tropical foliage. Keith Hobbs, whose United Designers firm is headquartered in London, combines a colonial look with modern touches. The result is a warm, contemporary feel, complete with teak detailing, four-poster beds, terra-cotta tiles and Indonesian loungers.
Luxury accommodations range from oceanfront villas to three-bedroom beach houses. Each has its own private access to the unspoiled beach and shimmering turquoise waters, along with its own butlers. Private estates and larger compounds, complete with lagoon views and pools, are also available for rent, giving groups a chance to enjoy an even more secluded stay.
The main building boasts a range of activities and amenities. There are tennis courts, the Terrace restaurant, a library, a lounge with a pool table and even a resort shop to suffice an itch for retail therapy. The infinity pool is also steps away, flanked by cream teak sun loungers and two Indonesian-style thatched bales.
If COMO is anything, it’s a brand known for holistic rejuvenation that is completed in a remarkable destination. From Eastern wellness treatments at Cocoa Island by COMO, Maldives, to curated health experiences at its Metropolitan by COMO, London, the COMO brand has built its name around finding balance in a dynamic world.
Adopting COMO’s unique Shambhala wellness philosophy, the Parrot Cay property has become known as a sanctuary that focuses on nurturing the mind, body and spirit. Gaining its name from ancient Buddhist texts, Shambhala is loosely translated as “sacred place of bliss.” South Florida residents familiar with the newly opened Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach, will recognize the Shambhala philosophy, a concept that has been organically woven into both the stateside property and the one in Turks and Caicos.
Guests at Parrot Cay are encouraged to practice yoga with the many renowned instructors in the private yoga room filled with natural breezes or in the yoga pavilion. Pilates equipment and instruction are also available on-site. In addition, Asian-inspired holistic spa therapies were specially developed by COMO Shambhala, including reflexology, Ayurveda, massages and facials.
No Shambhala philosophy would be complete without incorporating wholesome cuisine. Designed to maximize energy and well-being, COMO Shambhala Cuisine is a special menu that features raw foods rich in living enzymes, vitamins and sea minerals. The healthy cuisine includes predominantly vegetarian selections along with steamed fish, available at both on-site restaurants, Terrace and Lotus.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Aside from the various on-property activities—including paddleboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking—Turks and Caicos is known for glorious water adventures beyond Parrot Cay’s shores. Considered by many experts as one of the best areas for diving, the crystal-clear water gives visibility up to 150 feet. A 14-mile barrier reef comprised of spur and groove coral formations borders Grace Bay, a popular dive spot near Providenciales, and is a favorite hangout for groupers, sharks and turtles.
Beyond scuba diving and snorkeling, boat charters are available for private sunset cruises and intimate secluded beach drop-offs to Turks and Caicos’ 40 islands and cays. Reflecting COMO’s organic mantra, eco-adventure tours serve as popular activities. Guests are able to traverse uninhabited cays, such as Iguana Island or West Caicos, which boasts some of the bluest waters in the island chain. For avid anglers, fishing trips can also be arranged from Parrot Cay. Options include bottom-reef fishing, bone fishing and big-game fishing.
Originally appeared in the Winter 2014 issue.