Island Hideaway

Part of the Turks and Caicos chain in the West Indies, Parrot Cay is an idyllic Caribbean escape.



The resort’s beach villas have private pools that face the ocean.

Courtesy of Parrot Cay by COMO

Simply put, there's nothing quite like Parrot Cay. This high-end, understated resort has all of the beauty and serenity of an uninhabited tropical isle. 

Just 575 miles from the Florida coast, it’s a private island retreat with the feel of an exotic destination halfway around the world. Singapore hotelier Christina Ong, who began developing Parrot Cay 17 years ago as part of her luxury COMO Hotels and Resorts group, has created premier luxury properties in a similar vein in remote locales such as Bali, Bhutan and the Maldives. 

HANCEL DEATON

The Terrace restaurants outdoor patio is reminiscent of a European plaza

Adding to the international flavor are guests who come to Parrot Cay from as far away as Switzerland, Germany and Brazil. On a recent visit, several U.S. visitors from New York, Connecticut and South Carolina who had come here for the first time were already planning their return trip. The island getaway also has captivated A-list celebrities, such as Keith Richards, Bruce Willis, Christie Brinkley and Donna Karan—all of whom have built spectacular vacation homes here and are sometimes seen dining at the resort.

The real star, though, is the beach, with its unbelievably crystal turquoise water and long stretches of powdery white sand. The best way to experience it is to stay in one of the beach villas—most come with heated pools just steps from the ocean. The interiors are chic and stylish with Balinese-style décor, white furnishings with teak wood accents, lots of windows, and plush four-poster beds draped in light cotton netting, plus comfortable daybeds on the sundeck and secluded outdoor garden showers. 

One of the added amenities available for the villas is private butler service, which is outstanding—polite and attentive with a personal touch. Most of the resort staff are from South and Southeast Asian countries, such as India, Bali, and Thailand, and they have a soft-spoken gentility that is in keeping with the peaceful nature of Parrot Cay. 

The resort makes it easy to be as active or inactive as you choose. There’s plenty to do from Parrot Cay’s main beach—kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing and catamaran sailing. If you want to explore further, try one of the boat trips to Sand Dollar Beach off Pine Cay. Locals Andrew and Jimmy Lee will show you where to snorkel in the shallows so you can find a few of the delicate sea urchins. For experienced divers, the resort offers excursions to the barrier reef, where huge fish are plentiful and schools of manta rays glide through the water alongside dolphins and sharks. It’s not uncommon to spot a giant sea turtle gently riding the currents or a spiny lobster peeking out from a cluster of coral.

COURTESY OF PARROT CAY BY COMO

End your day with a soothing soak in the jacuzzi.

Leave time in your day for a little rest and rejuvenation. Health, fitness and well-being are a way of life here, and there are numerous opportunities to put your body, mind and spirit in balance. Yoga and pilates classes are offered at the COMO Shambhala Retreat, where you can stretch your limbs while overlooking the island’s dense mangroves and wetlands, a sanctuary for 175 species of birds. Afterward, nurture yourself with one of the spa’s Asian-inspired therapies or simply quiet your mind with a soak in the outdoor garden Jacuzzi. 

The spa’s approach to holistic wellness extends to the resort’s two restaurants: the Mediterranean-style Terrace and the more casual Lotus Poolside. Both feature COMO Shambhala cuisine in addition to their regular menu offerings. The spa cuisine selections are mainly vegetarian, organic and locally sourced. Wellness juices with names like “Lean & Clean Greens,” “Cranberry Healer” and “Muscle Mylk” promise to boost energy, prevent infection and speed recovery, but just as important, they taste good.

The Lotus restaurant is a popular spot to catch lunch after a leisurely morning at the beach or at Parrot Cay’s stunning infinity-edge pool, which measures 5,400-plus square feet. It’s a beautiful mirage, with the blue of the pool seeming to mingle with the ocean and the sky above. It’s just one of many lovely illusions here. 

If you dream of living the island life, Parrot Cay by COMO is building four three-bedroom beach houses to be completed by the end of 2016. The houses are part of Parrot Cay Estate, the island’s collection of privately owned residences, and come with all the amenities available to guests of the resort. Just picture yourself in paradise. 

Planning your trip

Easily accessible from Florida, Parrot Cay makes a great beach getaway for vacationers looking for privacy and a little R & R.

Start your trip with a night in Miami at the Metropolitan by COMO. Designed in 1939, the historic hotel sits in the heart of the Art Deco district and is just steps away from the Miami Beach boardwalk and Lincoln Road shopping district.

The direct 70-minute flight from Miami (American Airlines has 3 flights per day) lands in Providenciales (known as “Provo” to locals). Once on the ground, guests of Parrot Cay are taken on a short shuttle ride through the outskirts of the city to a private dock and ferried via speedboat to the island. Resort staff will meet you at the boat dock in golf carts—the preferred mode of transport on the 1,000-acre island.  

Foodies will want to plan a trip around lobster season, which typically runs Aug. 15-Mar. 15. Or try one of the staples of the islands—conch. 

Don’t worry about the drinking water—Parrot Cay produces its own water supply through a distilled process at the island’s water plant. 

Mosquitoes are never a problem since the resort keeps the insects under control with daily herbal fogging using extract of chrysanthemum flower. 

Parrot Cay is pricey, but the resort offers great travel packages that may include meals, spa treatments, water activities and more. comohotels.com/parrotcay

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