The Location: Turks and Caicos Islands, Caribbean
Perhaps one of the least known, but most laid back luxurious island getaways, Turks and Caicos is a perfect travel destination for those who want full access to amenities and the pampered experience without being overcrowded by too many tourists.
My favorite island getaway destination thus far, I first experienced Turks and Caicos as a teenager, and I can definitely say it was life changing. I fell so deeply in love with the islands that I threatened to chain myself to a tree rather than get on the plane to leave. I planned to snorkel and spearfish to make a living, and I’d live the bohemian poet life.
It was here that I was first introduced to anything other than the American rat race as a way of life. It was also here that I discovered an abundant underwater ecosystem that left me awestruck. I went ziplining, spelunking, cave diving, and went island hopping to a where the islands got smaller and smaller, until they were eventually deserted, where we hiked to a hidden natural “jacuzzi”. It was, in many senses, an awakening. A new awareness of how incredibly big the world was, and how much I wanted to explore it.
Alas, I couldn’t find a chain/rope/scarf/statement necklace, so I had to go home.
The islands have evolved and built up a bit since then, but it still is an amazing experience that can’t truly be understood until you get there yourself. You’ll start to understand as soon as you walk out onto the white sands and see that beautiful crystal blue water, as well as the vibrant fish and coral that just pop against the blue. Of course, there are luxurious hotels and spas, and enough activities to keep you occupied when you decide to peel away from the relaxation of the pool or beach cabana.
A few personal favorite activities are the snorkeling, beach horse back riding, and touring a local conch farm. If you snorkel, do not be surprised if a curious sea turtle comes by to check you out. I was constantly amazed with how social some of the sea turtles were while snorkeling (and how giant they can get). It really is a different experience than many well-trodden locations. And if that’s not your thing, lounging by the pool or beach with a pina colada sounds like the perfect afternoon to me. So here are 5 of the top luxury vacation must stay resorts at Turks and Caicos:
Adjacent to the Alexandria National Marine Park, the Venetian on Grace Bay is close to other resorts and local attractions, yet has a bit more beach space per person compared to other hotels in the area. The resort has several dining options, tennis courts, and a pool. The spa offers massage, facials and manicures in the privacy of your own suite.
The Penthouse at the Venetian on Grace Bay is a 3,100+ sq ft, 3 bedroom luxury suite outfitted in modern, chic decor. A striking outdoor terrace boasts expansive views of the Turks and Caicos clear blue water.
The Palms Turks and Caicos offers absolute relaxation with 72 suites across 12 acres of Grace Bay Beach. Amenities include a stunning infinity pool and poolside wifi, a hot tub island, a kids’ club, beach side loungers, tennis courts, water sports, and several restaurants & bars. The resort boasts a massive 25,000 sq ft spa, nestled on over an acre of expansive island grounds with a serene pool enclosed by the private treatment cabanas. Now that’s my speed. Stand alone treatment rooms each have their own water and fire features. If the space itself isn’t relaxing enough, the treatment will certainly put you over the zen top, with offerings like massages, facials, manicures and wellness treatments.
The Penthouses at The Palms resort offer up to 3 bedroom suites starting at over 3,400 sq ft. Each bedroom has a king bed and the master bedroom has a private covered sun suite with an outdoor shower. The decor is unique to the Regent, with a French country meets modern island chic motif. With a keen edit, this style actually works very well and the rooms, while busy, seem quite luxurious and cozy.
For an exclusive, rustic-chic island experience, Parrot Bay by Como provides a luxurious experience tailored to a vacationer’s every wish. With a private residence, you have your own private pool, butler service and can lounge on the Rocky Point private beach, secluded from the rest of the resort.
The restaurants feature Asian, Mediterranean and Caribbean-inspired fare. Of course, no luxury resort would be complete without a spa experience. The Shambhala Retreat offers open air yoga, Pilates, outdoor jacuzzis, massages, aromatherapy and Japanese baths.
Comfortably modern, and a bit of a more social stay, the Gansevoort is a chic party. The suites have outdoor ocean or pool facing terraces with a jacuzzi. The suites are small, but sleek and modern. And with that kind of outdoor space, this hotel really is perfect for those looking to relax, vacation, and meet some neighbors over a margarita.
The Gansevoort boasts other amenities such as a rainfall shower, a scrumptious full hot beach-side breakfast, candlelit poolside dinners under rustling palm trees, open air yoga and a full service spa for all your relaxation and pampering needs.
The Aman Villas are the stunning epitome of tropical luxury. Each villa boasts 1.5 acres of enhanced privacy, a private infinity pool, a second dining terrace and outdoor kitchen, outdoor showers, and a reflective pool.
If your villa’s sheer decadence isn’t enough, the resort can also set up beach-side dining lit by tiki torch, a library, several dining options, a bar, a movie screening room, pilates, open-air yoga, and tennis courts. The spa is set by a serene pond with treatment pavilions and a separate spa swimming pool. The spa offers massages, facials, wraps and beauty treatments for the full pampered experience in the spa or privately in your own villa.