Enjoy quiet luxury and walks on the long white sand beaches

By By Katharine Dyson / Photography by Douglas Merriam
February 16, 2006

March 2006

Best for: Those in search of serene, quiet luxury and walkson the long white sand beaches

Location: The 1,000-acre private island is in Turks andCaicos, British West Indies.

Getting There: Fly to Turks and Caicos' ProvidencialesAirport via Puerto Rico.

Highlight: Rise with the sun and walk barefoot the 10 yardsor so from your villa along a path defined by waving sea grass tothe dazzling white, powdery beach. You might just run into JuliaRoberts, Sandra Bullock, Paul McCartney, or Bruce Willis; they haveall at one time or another sunk their toes in this very sand. Thismorning, though, you see no one, just one or two trails offootprints and a pair of sandals sitting at the foot of the path.Could it have been just yesterday when you were whisked by privatelaunch from the Providenciales Airport over the turquoise sea tothis idyllic island?

Allure: Ringed by more than three miles of beaches, ParrotCay (key) soothes and restores. You don't come here for nightlife,or casinos, or shopping. On Parrot Cay, life is purposely simple, astudy in refinement as many rooms have private plunge pools, dreamybeds encased in gauzy fabric, bottled water delivered by butlers,pristine warm sand, and privacy.

Parrot Cay's 60 rooms, suites, villas, and beach houses aredistributed along the beach and in its Mediterranean-style mainhotel, which presides over a hillside. Spacious villas decorated insoft whites and neutrals have pickled-pine vaulted ceilings,screened sitting rooms, living rooms, large decks, kitchens, and adiscreet array of entertainment equipment. The look is natural, thefurniture arranged according to feng shui principles. Baths havepolished pine vanities and large open tiled showers withrain-shower heads. Just outside, limestone walls surround anothershower where the water reaches you after tumbling over a slab ofrock.

Although the beach villas are the most luxurious accommodations,you can have a room in the main hotel that has water views, abalcony, and the same good taste in décor for a fraction ofthe price.

Local fare: The Terrace Restaurant in the main hotel is openfor breakfast and dinner, whereas the more casual poolsideBalinese-style Lotus restaurant by the sea serves lunch and dinner.On some evenings, you can listen or dance to live music. Cuisinefeatures Mediterranean- and Asian-inspired dishes.

Deluxe pampering: COMO Shambhala is the resort's spa. Manyof its massage therapists come from Bali, and options include anIndonesian-style treatment using Javanese essential oils andcombining rolling and long kneading strokes, Thai massage, shiatsu,Indian head massage, Reiki, and reflexology. Ayurvedic offeringsinclude the Abhyanga, where two therapists provide a four-handmassage and Shirondhara, in which a stream of warm herbal oil ispoured over your forehead. Couples can book Shambhala's secludedcottage, which has a private open-air tub, deck, and treatmentrooms for two. Parrot Cay has a well-equipped gym, aninfinity-edged pool, kayaks, windsurfing and canoes, tennis courts,and bikes. Snorkeling and diving excursions are also offered. Theresort's launch can take you island hopping, perhaps to IguanaIsland, inhabited by the prehistoric-like creatures (rates from$285 for rooms; from $1,425 for beach houses; 904-288-0036, www.parrotcay.como.bz).