We couldn’t have been happier to flee the frigid temperatures at home (1 degree, really??) for a brief four-night escape to Parrot Cay by COMO in Turks & Caicos in February.  After a three-hour flight into Providenciales airport followed by a 20-minute car ride to a private marina, our family was whisked away in one of the resort’s boats to the exclusive privatIMG_8239e island resort. The wear of winter instantly evaporated as we breathed in the salt air and felt the warmth of sun on our faces as we sped along unbelievably turquoise waters.

25 minutes later, we were greeted at the resort’s private dock by Coki, who would be our personal butler during our stay (a nice surprise indeed!). A short ride by golf cart (the only form of transportation on the island other than by foot), passing by the resort’s working coconut and banana plantations, and we arrived at our accommodation for the next few days.

Yes, it took a plane, car, boat and golf cart to get here but that is part of the exclusive appeal of Parrot Cay– the true sense of ‘escape’ from the winter’s brutality. Fait accompli: by the end of our stay, we felt truly restored – in every sense of the word – by our brief time on the island.

????????The stunning island of Parrot Cay was purchased by “Queen of Bond Street” Christina Ong in 1997. Under her helm, the Parrot Cay Resort was conceived and opened three years later. Parrot Cay is now one of 11 luxury properties under Ong’s new Singapore-based COMO luxury hotel brand.

Outside of the resort ‘proper’, much of the 1,000 acre island is wetlands reserve, open land and private beach villas accessed by sandy paths. Privacy, exclusivity and natural beauty always lures a high-end clientele and celebrities, and Parrot Cay is no exception. If you are lucky, you might spot a few like Christie Brinkley, Keith Richards or Bruce Willis at the pool bar. After all, they all have homes here.

parrotcay-gallery-Pool-Area-3
One of the villas to rent

Upon checking into our 1-BR beach house, Coki welcomed us with a refreshing fruit punch followed by home-made ice cream made on the premises for the kids. While she unpacked our bags, we made a mad dash out to the white sugary beaches and turquoise waters that was our back yard.  And that was pretty much where you would find us the rest of our stay.

At first sight, the 100-acre resort can feel expansive, especially as most of the private villas areIMG_8293 a several minutes cart drive from the hub of the resort. However, at Parrot Cay’s center – the pool, restaurants, tennis courts and beach – everything is within a few minutes walk.  That our kids could roam comfortably and freely around the resort was a critical factor in choosing to come to Parrot Cay.  

Apparently we are not the only ones who think so too. There were plenty of families at the resort during our stay. Parrot Cay certainly has plenty of features to appeal to the younger audience – plenty of activities, a refreshingly good kids menu (no chicken nuggets here), and an expansive infinity pool (in addition to private pools at the beach houses and villas). And, of course, the spectacular beach.

IMG_8270

There is a distinctive ‘East Meets West’ aesthetic throughout resort. Eastern influences are in the cuisine, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAattentive service (our butler was from Bali and much of the staff is from Asia) and many design details, creating a Zen vibe. This is complemented by the understated Hampton-style interiors – lots of teak, oak and louvered ceilings. The two styles combined creates an understated luxury that just works. You won’t find (thank goodness) marbled lobbies with chandeliers here.

Guests in 2-BR beach houses and villas automatically include a private butler. I find the term ‘butler’ liberally used at so many hotels where I have stayed – figures who we would meet but never see again during our stay. Not here.  We were fortunate to experience Butler Service with our beach house. At Parrot Cay, your butler is your dedicated person. Coki was our concierge, driver, waitress, and activity planner all in one. Butler Service here takes pampering to a new level and trust me, once you experience it, there is no going back.

Accommodations

parrotcay-gallery-Three-Bedroom-Villa-Exterior

There are essentially 3 types of accommodations at the resort:

1) Rooms: There are 45 rooms (Terrace, Garden view and Ocean-facing) with balconies – these are located on a hill and close to the Terrace restaurant but are not directly on the beach. These rooms, similar in design to the beach houses, are ideal for those coming to Parrot Cay for a retreat or for couples looking for a cozy hideaway. Families can certainly take advantage of the 4 inter-connecting rooms as an option.

2) Beach Houses. In high demand are the six 1-bedroom beach houses and three new 2-bedroom beach houses on the resort property. The spacious 2-BR beach houses, recently built due to growing demand for more family accommodations, indeed feel luxurious. Full size infinity pools, large floor-to-ceiling windows, are Brazilian hardwood decks are some of the features you will find. The 1-BR house have smaller pools and are a few more steps over the dunes to the beach.

2-BR beach house
2-BR beach house

Our family stayed in a 1 BR-beach house (#815) which was more than comfortable for our family of four. Our unit was spacious, attractive yet understated with a spacious and airy living room/dining area with 2 full bathrooms, kitchenette and screened in porch. Daybeds in the living area turned into comfortable sleeping beds at night. Outside we were elated to find a small pool, outdoor shower and backyard that blended seamlessly into the dunes and the Caribbean sea beyond.

3) Villas. There are about 13 private villas, of which four are on the rental pool (link). Villas range from 3-11 bedrooms and many sit on 2-acre plots with direct beach access. Each vary in layouts and design but are all uber-luxurious. I had the opportunity to tour the 3-bedroom Lucky House villa ($7,350/night) and Donna Karan’s Sanctuary Villa main house ($11,000/night) which comes with a screening room, live-in butler, and expansive pool deck. Words can’t describe.  See for yourself and check out all the rentable villa residences here.

Tamarind Villa
Tamarind Villa

Dining

juice

You have the option of dining inside or alfresco at both of the restaurants – alfresco at Lotus (Asian) and the Terrace (Mediterranean/Italian) where breakfast is also served. We enjoyed both. An extra perk – you can order from the uber-healthy Shambala spa menu which includes an intoxicating array of organic detox and cleansing juices and ‘skinny’ alcoholic drinks (I highly suggest the skinny mojito!) at only 110 calories. Complimentary full breakfast at the Terrace restaurant featured a buffet of fresh fruits, breads, and croissants in addition to the highly popular special juices and smoothies of the day.

I suspect many guests who come here for privacy also take advantage of the option to have meals on the decks of their villa or in a tiki hut on the beach.

Activities

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While Parrot Cay brings to mind for relaxation and wellness, there is actually plenty of activities to please both adults and children. At the beach’s watersports center, you will find plenty of complimentary paddle boards and kayaks (there are no motorsports – its bad for the environment, you know). Not far from there are two tennis courts with a ball machine or pro available upon request as well as a library toyoga  read, stop in for afternoon tea or shoot pool.

Should you find the strength to get up from your lounge chair, a laundry list of excursions outside the resort are also available from diving to tubing, all which are expediently booked by your butler. Lastly, of course, is the multitude of yoga and pilates classes offered through the Shambhala Retreat, the resort’s holistic and wellness center that attracts devotees (check the website for upcoming retreats) from all around the world. For regular people like us, complimentary yoga or pilates complimentary classes are offered at 9 am and 5 pm at the beach or yoga pavilion.

Shambhala Retreat
Shambhala Retreat

Jogging paths are throughout the resort but be warned it is easy to get lost (and find yourself potentially at Keith Richard’s villa…oops).

During peak holiday periods, there is a special schedule of activities for children. Unfortunately the program began the day we were leaving so we did not get an opportunity to check it out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

TIPS

  • During peak periods, lines can at Providenciales airport can be excruciatingly long. Consider the new Fast Track Service at the airport that is offered on arrival and departure where you are expressed through security and customs ($200 for the first person and $75 for each additional person).
  • Money no object? Go for one of the private villas and bring your own chef while you are at it. Check them out here.
View from Happiness Villa
View from Happiness Villa

WHAT WE LOVED

  • The unpretentious, laid-back ambience. No need to dress up (A straw hat and Havainas is the style here so leave the heels at home) or make a mad dash in the morning to reserve a lounge chair at the beach. Everyone has their own.
  • Being spoiled beyond belief by our butler, Coki, who seemed to anticipate our needs before we even knew what they were. (Note: 1 BR beach houses typically do not come with a butler. Now that we have experienced it, it is the only way to go. Go for the 2 BR beach house – butler included!).
  • The healthy gourmet cuisine – There is a wide array of options to satisfy aOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAll tastes (even my picky daughters) and everything was so fresh. We loved the ability to order from the Shambhala menu from either restaurant or at the beach. Want something not on the menu? No problem, they are there to please you. And don’t get me started on the vitamin-boost juices.
  • The ‘East meets West’ aesthetic. Part of the allure of Parrot Cay is its simplicity: minimalist decor in white and teak, and large windows to enjoy the beautiful views. Very Zen.
  • Did I mention the white sands and turquoise waters? I have yet to see a prettier or more pristine beach ever.  Lots of gorgeous white coral, shells and sand dollars to collect with the kids.

WHAT WE DIDN’T LOVE

  • Generally speaking, leaving too soon. Our stay was just too short!
  • While we love a good rainfall shower, ours was very small and door less, soaking the bathroom floors almost instantaneously. The 2-BR beach house showers do not appear to have this issue and are indeed very spacious (with both outdoor and indoor showers).
2 BR Beach house indoor/outdoor showers
2 BR Beach house indoor/outdoor showers
  • Even in paradise, one needs to be connected to reality sometimes. Wi-Fi can be a bit spotty (Tip: it’s best at the bar where you can drink and text!).
  • The island’s layout is perfectly designed with paths for jogging and bicycling. While there are bikes, they seemed in short supply and then are charged to guests at an hourly rate which seemed absurd for a luxury property such as Parrot Cay.

DON’T MISS

  • A visit to Iguana Island where you can visit a 116-acre island sanctuary where territorial but harmless rock iguanas endemic to the area will come to greet you. There is about 3-5,000 of them on the island so chances are pretty good you will meet a few! Book this in advance as a half-day excursion paired with snorkeling to complete the experience.IMG_8361
  • Grab some bikes and visit the resort’s working coconut and banana plantations. Don’t skip the opportunity for your children to plant their own coconut tree (with their own painted plaque).
  • It would be a tragedy to come to the resort and not try one of the Shambahla Retreat‘s dizzying assortment of holistic treatments – there is a reason it is continually rated one the best wellness centers in the world. Take a class in the pilates studio, yoga room or soak in a Japanese bath . I really enjoyed the morning yoga and stretch on the beach to start the day.
  • A tour of any one of the villas available to rent. You won’t want to leave.

ROOMS TO GET

While the villas were jaw-droppingly gorgeous (oh those media rooms!), we still preferred the new spacious 2-BR beach houses largely because they are closer to the pool, restaurants and watersports center. Villas are farther (requiring a golf cart) and more ideal for those seeking more privacy or with a larger group (you can rent a cluster of villas for 11 bedrooms).

2 BR beachhouse view
2 BR beachhouse view

THE LAST WORD

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We absolutely loved Parrot Cay. It surpassed our expectations in almost every way and we would go back with our family in a heartbeat. My 12-year-old daughter (and self-appointed Junior Editor) adds her two cents:

 Parrot Cay was an amazing trip for me. I had so much fun relaxing on the beach and swimming in the prettiest turquoise blue water. All of the food and drinks were delicious and the rooms were outstanding. Overall, I think the trip was a blast.

Take advantage of our partnership with Classic Travel, a Virtuoso agency to receive extra amenities such as complimentary full breakfast and a lunch for two at Parrot Cay here. Daily rates start at $500 for a Terrace Room, $2750 for a 1-BR beach house and $4,950 a night for a 2-BR beach house.

Coki and the girls
Coki and the girls
Loved Didn't Love
  • The unpretentious, laid-back ambience. No need to dress up (A straw hat and Havainas is the style here so leave the heels at home) or make a mad dash in the morning to reserve a lounge chair at the beach. Everyone has their own.
  • Being spoiled beyond belief by our butler, Coki, who seemed to anticipate our needs before we even knew what they were. (Note: 1 BR beach houses typically do not come with a butler. Now that we have experienced it, it is the only way to go. Go for the 2 BR beach house – butler included!).
  • The healthy gourmet cuisine – There is a wide array of options to satisfy aOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAll tastes (even my picky daughters) and everything was so fresh. We loved the ability to order from the Shambhala menu from either restaurant or at the beach. Want something not on the menu? No problem, they are there to please you. And don’t get me started on the vitamin-boost juices.
  • The ‘East meets West’ aesthetic. Part of the allure of Parrot Cay is its simplicity: minimalist decor in white and teak, and large windows to enjoy the beautiful views. Very Zen.
  • Did I mention the white sands and turquoise waters? I have yet to see a prettier or more pristine beach ever. Lots of gorgeous white coral, shells and sand dollars to collect with the kids.
  • Generally speaking, leaving too soon. Our stay was just too short!
  • While we love a good rainfall shower, ours was very small and door less, soaking the bathroom floors almost instantaneously. The 2-BR beach house showers do not appear to have this issue and are indeed very spacious (with both outdoor and indoor showers).
Don't Miss Skip
  • A visit to Iguana Island where you can visit a 116-acre island sanctuary where territorial but harmless rock iguanas endemic to the area will come to greet you. There is about 3-5,000 of them on the island so chances are pretty good you will meet a few! Book this in advance as a half-day excursion paired with snorkeling to complete the experience.
  • Grab some bikes and visit the resort’s working coconut and banana plantations. Don’t skip the opportunity for your children to plant their own coconut tree (with their own painted plaque).
  • It would be a tragedy to come to the resort and not try one of the Shambahla Retreat’s dizzying assortment of holistic treatments – there is a reason it is continually rated one the best wellness centers in the world. Take a class in the pilates studio, yoga room or soak in a Japanese bath. I really enjoyed the morning yoga and stretch on the beach to start the day.
  • A tour of any one of the villas available to rent. You won’t want to leave.
Rooms to Get Tips

While the villas were jaw-droppingly gorgeous (oh those media rooms!), we still preferred the new spacious 2-BR beach houses largely because they are closer to the pool, restaurants and watersports center. Villas are farther (requiring a golf cart) and more ideal for those seeking more privacy or with a larger group (you can rent a cluster of villas for 11 bedrooms).

  • During peak periods, lines can at Providenciales airport can be excruciatingly long. Consider the new Fast Track Service at the airport that is offered on arrival and departure where you are expressed through security and customs ($200 for the first person and $75 for each additional person).
  • Money no object? Go for one of the private villas and bring your own chef while you are at it. Check them out here.

Parrot Cay

PO Box 164 Providenciales
Turks and Caicos Islands
British West Indies

www.comohotels.com/parrotcay Book This Hotel

Why book Virtuoso?

  • Personalized travel assistance
  • 24/7 online booking
  • Special rates & exclusive offers
  • Guaranteed Room upgrade*
  • Complimentary full American breakfast
  • Early check-in, Late check-out*
  • Exclusive on-site amenities (varies by hotel)
  • * based on availability on time of arrival

Leave a Reply