Some 35 minutes by boat from Providenciales, sitting all alone on a 1,000-acre island with three miles of white-sand beach, Parrot Cay attracts a seriously moneyed clientele who care, more than anything, about its exclusivity and its spa. Parrot Cay is not exactly monastic: the long list of celebrity visitors has included Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck (they got married here), as well as Paul McCartney, Julia Roberts, Jerry Seinfeld, and Liam Neeson. But the spa, COMO Shambhala Retreat, is so successful at projecting a holistic way of life that a sense of peace and harmony embraces the entire resort. The central garden-view and ocean-view rooms, three minutes' walk from the beach, are acceptably chic, but the beachfront suites and villas are knockouts, and the handful of private homes for rent, some owned by celebrities (Bruce Willis, Donna Karan), are in the fantasy category. The food, by a chef whose résumé includes a Michelin star, and the service, performed by private butlers for some room categories, are of commensurately high standards.
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Although Parrot Cay runs a few daily shuttles to and from Providenciales, making it possible for guests to experience the Provo restaurants and nightlife, most don’t bother, preferring the tranquility of their own private isle. There’s still plenty for them to do, all organized by the concierge: tennis on one of the two courts (a tennis pro or hitting partner can be arranged), a visit to Little Water Cay to see the rock iguanas (with snorkeling on the way), private island drop-offs, beach picnics, a sunset cruise, catamaran sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, fishing (from bonefish on the flats to billfish offshore), and an ecotour of Parrot Cay’s mangrove-lined waterways. Scuba divers, or those wishing to learn, will want to head over to Big Blue Unlimited on Providenciales, where dive instruction and small-group diving is offered, with outings possible to all the best dive spots in the Turks and Caicos.
Need to Know
Rooms: 75 rooms, including 33 suites, villas, and beach houses. From $500. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options:The resort’s two restaurants are overseen by executive chef Stefano Cavallini, who was the first Italian chef in London awarded a Michelin star. Lotus, with a poolside setting, is the more relaxed of the two, serving light Caribbean dishes at lunch and Thai and Japanese-inspired cuisine in the evening. The ocean-view Terrace Restaurant is slightly more formal, serving breakfast and dinner, and in the evening has a more Mediterranean slant, with an Italian accent. For the more health conscious, the spa’s COMO Shambhala menu is served at both restaurants. And because life is about balance, both also have bars. The romantically inclined can share a private dinner at the spa cottage or the tiki hut on the beach. Spa and gym details:COMO Shambhala Retreat facilities are extensive. They focus on Asian-inspired holistic therapies, from Indonesian and Thai massages to Ayurvedic therapy and Dr. Hauschka skin-care treatments. Free yoga and Pilates classes are offered, and weeklong yoga and Pilates retreats are lead by some of the world’s top instructors. The gym is open 9 a.m.–9 p.m.; private fitness and personal training sessions are available.
Who’s it for: A-listers and the other one-percenters, including families, who can afford it. Our favorite rooms:Celebrity homes aside, families or small groups of friends will benefit from the space of the three-bedroom ocean-facing Como Villa, which has its own heated pool and butler service. Live large: To live like a celebrity, rent one of their villas. At last report, these were: the Residence (Bruce Willis); the Sanctuary (Donna Karan); Rocky Point (Keith Richards); and Lucky House (Christie Brinkley), recently on the market for $9 million.