Caribbean’s Finest Spas in Turks and Caicos
Recent spa travels washed me up on the shores of the secret pleasure of the Caribbean: Turks and Caicos, comprising a chain of 40 islands in the British West Indies, including the developed Providenciales, home to the renowned Grace Bay, where my travel companion and I stayed. Popular with East Coasters in particular, Turks and Caicos is a mere few hours from New York and 75 minutes from Miami (which means you catch a flight in the a.m. and are splashing in the surf by afternoon!). It’s been said that celebs like Oprah, Bruce Willis, Keith Richards and Donna Karan all have homes here – and it’s easy to see why. Sparkling crystal turquoise waters, fine-powdered white sands and a Monet-esque palette of pink and yellow sunsets as vibrant as the island imbued with inviting charm. A slice of paradise? You bet.
I slipped into the rhythm of the Caribbean and discovered pure bliss at these paradise escapes of Turks and Caicos.
If you must escape somewhere, escape to Parrot Cay. A place of pure anonymity, we were taken by boat to a secluded isle, lush with tropical foliage, handsome craggy landscape and sugary beaches, where every beauty presented, every detail executed creates a sense of tranquil perfection. Our one-bedroom, whitewashed teak house led us straight to the surf, while closer to home, our private plunge pool offered its own refreshing respite. Complimentary yoga class (held six days a week in a spacious pavilion, exposed to nature’s breezes) immediately upon arrival was the perfect beginning to the Parrot Cay experience The class swept mind and body away on a truly sensory journey, as did my COMO Shambhala Massage, using the spa’s signature oil. Overlooking the island’s rich wetlands, abundant with birdlife, while lounging in the spa’s outdoor relaxation area, not far from the outdoor Jacuzzi garden, a content feeling of “this must be spa heaven” is impossible to ignore.
It’s not often a resort spa can evoke cosmopolitan appeal while offering an unsurpassed, inviting hospitality equivalent. Here, the mystique of classic colonial estates are brought to life in the Caribbean isles, as hand-cut coral stone facades fuse with gaslight fixtures and a lovely courtyard overlooks the Mansion, the resort’s central hub. Complementing the timeless elegance is Regent Spa, with a sophisticated design aesthetic in its own right and world-class spa treatments to boot. My spa therapist guided me around soothing water features and reflection pools, outlined by treatment areas, to reach a remote garden cabana, where my Zareeba treatment took place. One of the most authentic spa services I’ve experienced, this signature purifying ritual is a must, immersing me in the island culture as I created my own herbal steam from freshly handpicked, brewed indigenous herbs, which preceded a detoxifying wrap and massage. I also literally fell asleep during my customized Red Carpet Facial.
A vibrant, fun-loving mood immediately put us at ease from the moment we entered the airy, open lobby at the Seven Stars Resort and were offered a rum punch welcome drink, a carefree, spirited feeling that extended during our stay. Christened after the Seven Sisters star cluster, which dazzlingly shines over the islands, the resort is an amalgam of sorts: family friendly yet popular with honeymooners and romantics. A sense of an easygoing vibe bedecked in glitzy amenities (the island’s only heated saltwater pool is not too be missed and room configurations range from junior up to five-bedroom suites with wraparound balconies.) While the spa currently has just a few treatment rooms, thoughtful details like frond fans and YonKa products are reminiscent of what you’d find in luxury spas. And, if readily set for an island adventure, this is where to go – the surf beckons just steps away, with opportunities for non-motorized water sports, and when we felt like being land dwellers, we borrowed the resort’s complimentary bikes and headed to the nearby salt mills for some souvenir shopping.
Like the popular high school club everyone is dying to join, Grace Bay Club ranks among the in crowd of the island’s resorts. Modern luxe is in its element here, along with some of the best ocean views in all of Turks and Caicos. A signature color palette of red, white and black coexists, sweeping throughout the all-suite property, including the trendy outdoor lounge and pool area, and the resort is conveniently divided into three distinct sections, including the adults-only hotel and the family friendly villas; if you’re lucky enough, reserve one of the Penthouse Residences, part of the opulent Estate area, where decor was brought in from the property owner’s exotic travels. An Elemis-inspired Exotic Lime and Ginger Salt Glow at the Anani Spa, followed by a cocktail at the famed Infiniti Bar (which gives the impression of stretching into the sea) is the perfect ending to an island vacation evening.
Another scene setter is Grace Bay Club sister property, The Veranda. This all-inclusive resort is a calming force of the island, reminiscent of such with its soothing blue- and yellow-hued exteriors and low-key allure. Manicured walkways, gardens and water features give way to 800 feet of beachfront and the various British Caribbean-architectural accommodations, from studio suites to one-, two- , three- and four-bedroom suites and private cottages. The Sabai Spa offers a sensual escape, with an Elemis menu of offerings and Asian-inspired design.