We love an out of the way destination as much as the next jetsetter, but some trips leave us feeling like we need a vacation from our vacation (did we have to hike to Machu Picchu? Was it really necessary to cross Antarctica off our continent list? Darwin did not warn us how long it takes to actually get to the Galapagos!). What we are itching for now is a true getaway—we want it close, we want it easy and we want it before the next polar vortex! Enter Turks & Caicos.
Turks & Caicos maintains a relatively low key, relaxed persona compared to its yacht infested neighbors nearby, yet its Grace Bay Beach, where most hotels are situated, is consistently voted best in the world. This crescent shaped slice of heaven’s sands are so powder soft and blindingly white, they are oft described as ‘porcelain’ and ‘snow’. Its warm turquoise waters are clear enough to see your reflection, and their protection by a barrier reef makes for both calm currents and excellent snorkeling.
Whether your desire to lay on a secluded beach with nothing more than a good book and the sun’s rays as company or want to spend a week surrounded by glamour, the Turks & Caicos has the perfect resort. Here’s what to book—and what to know.
COMO PARROT CAY
PARROT CAY, TCI
Thirty-five minutes from Provo, COMO Parrot Cay is an exclusive, luxury stay removed from the rest. Dreamed up by legendary hotelier Christina Ong, the property is a place of understated elegance, where luxury is all about lounging on a muslin-draped daybed or getting hooked on daily yoga lessons at COMO Shambala, all the while snacking on fresh seafood with your feet in the sand.
BEST FOR: Those who are looking to lounge in privacy, are in-need of some serious R&R, and are looking for some quality time spent with their loved ones. Also great for spa aficionados who want to take advantage of COMO Shambala.
ROOM TO BOOK: The private villas located on the island’s serene coast.
ON THE FOOD FRONT: There are two restaurants on property: Terrace, in the main hotel, and Lotus, the breezy poolside eatery. Lotus is the perfect place for lunch, for a relaxed meal of healthful salads or crispy fried seafood, while at dinner it transforms into a candlelit alfresco setting. The different menus are mostly Asian-inspired, including one featuring nutritious spa cuisine. The chef changes it regularly, but if you’re staying longer than three or four days, you’re bound to see some repeats.
FAVORED ACTIVITIES: Complimentary yoga and pilates classes, spa treatments, clay-court tennis, biking around on the complimentary cruisers.
NEED-TO-KNOW: Located on its own private island, Parrot Cay is remote and getting here is an endeavor (20-minute drive from airport & 35-minute boat transfer). This means you’re not leaving Parrot Cay while here. Plus, there’s not much to do on Parrot Cay—and that’s the point.
- Parrot Cay will be undergoing a renovation from August 26 to December 15. With a brand new beach club and tons of updates, there will be lots more to love about Parrot Cay come December.
GRACE BAY CLUB
Since it’s opening in the 1990s, Grace Bay Club has reigned as the Grande Dame and is the original hotel to introduce five-star luxury to the beautiful Turks Island. Set on 11 beachfront acres, the all-suite luxury property has recently undergone a renovation by celebrated designer Thom Filicia. Updating the 38-suites in the Villas with bright colors and bold patterns – al a Caribbean chic meets Nantucket classic. But whether you stay here or not, a sunset cocktail at the Infiniti Bar is an absolute must!
BEST FOR: Families or for those wanting a lively adults-only place, as they have separate sections on the property so that you can have your quiet time if you’d like.
ROOM TO BOOK: Our favorites for an ultra-luxury getaway are most definitely the stunning residences at The Estate section. On property but away from the rest of the hotel, these Residences offer more privacy with its’ own pool, poolside bar, poolside cabanas and lounges, beach beds, a kid’s splash pool and more — all of which is exclusive for The Estate guests. A resort within a resort, Estate guests have access to all of the hotel facilities.
For those wanting even more privacy away from it all, The Private Villa Collection offers spectacular beachfront villas with a floor plan that will continue to amaze you.
- Families – The family-friendly Villa Suites afford multiple connecting-room options. If your little ones are young, best to book the first floor with walk-out access to the pool!
- Adults – The Hotel Building is for adults-only, where you’ll find fabulous, spacious suites.
ON THE FOOD FRONT: Grace Bay Club hits the nail on the head when it comes to dining: there are tons of atmospheric, delicious dining options & experiences. It’s a place where we promise, no one will ever leave hungry!
FAVORED ACTIVITIES: You name it, Grace Bay Club has it. Tons of water sports, tennis, golf & complimentary sunrise yoga. It’s a playground for kids with endless options for all ages!
NEED-TO-KNOW: There’s a fabulous resort shop on property, for both women & men! Grace Bay Club’s prime location makes it easy to explore the excellent nearby restaurants...
- COCO BISTRO – One of the best restaurants on the island, Coco Bistro is known for its fresh local cuisine, excellent cocktails and idyllic setting in a palm grove.
- COYABA – Led by chef Paul Newman, Coyaba delivers eclectic, contemporary Caribbean food in a serene courtyard surrounded by a lush tropical garden.
- DA CONCH SHACK – The quintessential island beachside restaurant, Da Conch Shack is all the rage when it comes to TCI's ubiquitous seafood, conch. Served fried, grilled, raw or as ceviche, conch here comes fresh from the sea and is the best you'll ever have. It's not directly on Grace Bay, but well worth the drive!
Formerly Regent Palms and sister property to The Shore Club, The Palms is a 72-suite resort spread over 12-acres and evokes a Barbados meets Palm Beach feel with its colonial charm. It feels like a home away from home thanks to the more traditionally-styled suites, while the 25,000-square-foot spectacular spa is a haven for some serious pampering.
BEST FOR: Those looking for top-notch service similar to a Four Seasons or St. Regis and want to be a little removed from other properties.
ROOM TO BOOK: Our favorite suites are those that have comfy furniture–bedecked terraces and stunning views.
ON THE FOOD FRONT: Parallel23 is one of the best restaurants in Turks. Adjacent to Parallel23 is a chic bar. There’s a more casual family-friendly option, as well.
FAVORED ACTIVITIES: Spa, spa & more spa! Shopping at one of the four boutiques, with delivery to your room. Complimentary non-motorized water sports.
NEED-TO-KNOW: The property is family-friendly and has a great Kid’s Club for ages 4-12.
SOUTH CAICOS, TCI
Located on South Caicos, Sailrock Resort is one of the newest additions to Turks & Caicos. On the relatively untouched 8.3-square-mile island, Sailrock brings modern luxury accommodations (17 suites & villas) and plenty of adventure (conch diving, Hobie Cat sailing & fishing) to the sleepy and secluded southern isle. Undergoing three phases that are promised to not disturb, Sailrock will see a huge transformation and impeccable additions in the years to come.
BEST FOR: Those in search of quiet, privacy & activities galore. Sailrock is similar to Parrot Cay in that it’s the perfect hideaway for some quality time spent with your loved ones.
ROOM TO BOOK: We love the 4-Bedroom Beachfront Villas for the space, the views, the outdoor showers (and even a tub!), and the private plunge-pool to soak up tons of sun!
ON THE FOOD FRONT: At the moment, there’s only one restaurant & bar on property. Overlooking the clearest turquoise water, Great House Restaurant & Bar features a diverse menu with a wide variety of mouth-watering options. There will be many more dining options to come!
FAVORED ACTIVITIES: Get a massage with a view in the temporary ridgetop spa treatment rooms, go on a tour of South Caicos to catch a sight of the flamingos, and take on the shallow water with ever non-motorized sport imaginable. For those who love to scuba dive, enjoy the exotic views both beneath the water and on land as you explore the third largest reef system or unique flora covering the island with miles and miles of nature trails
NEED-TO-KNOW: The service makes this property a standout. Pair Sailrock with a property on Grace Bay to get a full Turks & Caicos experience!
An all-inclusive, all-suite boutique property, Beach House is a super-secluded stay residing on a two-acre site that overlooks the gentle curve of Grace Bay. The name says it all, as it feels exactly like you’re staying at your best friends beach house. At more than 1,000 square feet, the 21 suites in beach chic decor feel more like spacious apartments than hotel rooms.
BEST FOR: Beach lovers looking for a high-end all-inclusive with a low-key vibe.
ROOM TO BOOK: For a tad more privacy, opt for a second- or third- floor corner suite.
ON THE FOOD FRONT: The open-air, casual-chic main restaurant Kitchen218 sits right next to the pool and serves breakfast & dinner. The dinner menu always promises locally caught seafood & prime quality meats with ceviche as their specialty. Lunch can be had at the Beach Deck, a super cute deck that’s strung with lights and serves all things grilled.
NEED-TO-KNOW: Opt to retire to a "pampering pod" – a two-bed beach unit linked by table and parasol – for a private meal followed by a massage. If you’re feeling more active, the Beach House offers water sports including kayak rentals and snorkeling, or set out in the resort’s own catamaran to explore the coastline’s coves.
- Come September 2017, Beach House will turn into an adults-only property.