Island in the Sun
Ican’t go to sleep at night without checking to make sure my door is locked. Ever. I’m an overly paranoid, light sleeper who gets stirred by the slightest noise.
That changed last month. I traveled to Parrot Cay, a private island in the Turks & Caicos. For the first time ever, I felt safe and comfortable enough in my surroundings to go to sleep without locking the doors.
Parrot Cay is an undeveloped, 1,000-acre island home to a COMO luxury resort and beach villas, as well as private, million-dollar houses owned by celebrities. Visitors are accustomed to seeing the likes of Bruce Willis, Keith Richards and Donna Karan on the island, who all own homes there.
Parrot Cay is a total escape from civilization – but still has all the luxuries you could ever want. My two-bedroom beach house had a private pool and stretch of beach, plus two secluded outdoor showers. Even during the mornings I spent swimming in the island’s clear, shallow, ocean waters, I never saw another person on the beach.
The one person I did see consistently throughout my stay was my own personal butler, Hakim. He was at my beck and call for three days, bringing me things I didn’t even know I wanted. He was so observant that by the second morning, he brought me breakfast from the hotel’s morning buffet – and replicated every single item I had eaten the morning before.
Hakim transported me around the island on a Kawasaki golf cart. I never saw a car during my stay. There is no grocery store on the island, either. Guests and locals can request groceries and COMO will stock their refrigerator before they arrive.
Truthfully, though, groceries aren’t necessary. There are two great restaurants on the island – and healthy options are even available through COMO’s Shambhala wellness menu. The food is predominantly vegan, prepared with little salt and no dairy, and unprocessed honey is substituted for sweeteners.
I was amazed that food so healthy could taste so good. The corn tacos, and the pumpkin and macadamia-nut-crust pizetta with mango, tomato, avocado, pineapple and basil, are must-tries. I was especially enamored with Parrot Cay’s 14 different fresh juices. My juice of choice was the “Digest” with papaya, pineapple, fennel, orange and mint.
The wellness concept also reigns at COMO’s spa, yoga and Pilates studios, which overlook the island’s wetlands, surrounded by lush greenery and trickling waterfalls. The Asian-inspired holistic therapies the spa practices are the most relaxing I’ve experienced.
As I unwound after my treatment, I was treated to ginger tea and the spa’s addicting dehydrated cookies, which are made of coconut flakes, coconut oil and nuts – totally guilt-free.
A short golf cart ride from the spa, there’s a banana and coconut plantation. Every December, Parrot Cay encourages visiting children and families to plant coconut trees and place a hand-painted sign next to the tree, marking it as their own. I heard the story of a couple who visited Parrot Cay every year; it was their special sanctuary. Then the wife passed away. Her husband came back to visit and left a bottle of wine, her picture and seashells next to her coconut tree. It’s still there today.
The story of the husband and wife showed me that a vacation to Parrot Cay stays with you for a long time.
As for me, I was thrilled when I realized I would get to take some spa cookies back with me on my flight. Ever attentive, Hakim noticed how much I liked them and brought a bunch back for me to take home as a reminder of the island. Though the cookies were gone before I arrived home, the memory of one of the most magical places I’ve visited will stay with me forever.
IF YOU GO
Before heading to Parrot Cay: Make a stop by the newly opened Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach, for a facial at the spa, dinner at the Traymore seafood restaurant, and a dip in the rooftop Hydrotherapy Pool. It is Parrot Cay’s sister property and represents the quiet side of Miami Beach – making it an ideal stopover before moving onto the Caribbean. Rates: from $175 to $1,000/night. More info: comohotels.com/metropolitanmiamibeach
Getting to Parrot Cay: Take an easy, 70-minute flight from Miami to Providenciales. From there, it’s a 35-minute speedboat ride to the island.
Rates: Parrot Cay by COMO accommodations can range from $475 to $30,000 a night. Two-bedroom beach houses range from $3,300 to $7,750 a night.