Disclaimer: Please excuse any hints of smugness in this post. But the place is bloody DAZZLING and you should all be insanely jealous. Sorry. (I’m not sorry).
This blog post is a little bit backdated as my husband and I stayed at Parrot Cay for a week in July 2011 as part of our honeymoon.
When we think back to that week, we still get huge grins across our faces as we try and fathom out just how we got to go to such an incredible, completely secluded and rather elite destination.
It all came about one day when a lovely lady at COMO (who I met through my day job), sent me the link to Parrot Cay and told me that it would be a wonderful place to consider. I opened the link back at home with husband at which point we both sat back, sucked in some ‘oh dear lord above’ breaths and consequently knew that we were in trouble. The turquoise waters, the baby powder white sand. The fact we had no idea where it was or had even heard of it. Perfect.
We booked, with a little discount from aforementioned lovely lady, the honeymoon package in an Ocean facing room consisting of:
Parrot Cay (pronounced ‘key’) is one of 40 small Cays around the 8 principal Turks and Caicos Islands, located in the northern Caribbean. Rich in hidden coves, pristine beaches and reefs, the islands are positioned some 575 miles south east of Miami and an easy flight from NYC. And it took our breath away.
Our trip to Parrot Cay came off the back of a 3 night stay in New York where we ate great food, stayed at a funky hotel (review of The Ace Hotel coming right up!) and dreamed of being full time New Yorkers. Our stay in the Big Apple, was so good that I for one was suitably peeved to be leaving it to go to the Caribbean! I was conjuring up images of living in a West Village brownstone with flower pots dotted up the steps of my very own stoop. Heading to Central Park to walk my mini dachshund, dashing around with take-out coffee to get to work and generally living my dream. I fell in love with New York last year. Deeply. It romanced me like no other City. And it remains my dream. One day, one day…
An early morning flight from NYC to the Turks and Caicos mainland of Providenciales (or ‘Provo’) took just under 3 hours. Incredible to go from the hustle and bustle of New York to a place so tranquil and still.
It rained. It bloody rained as we pulled our suitcases out of the airport to be greeted by our Parrot Cay transfer driver. Such a smiley giant of a man who talked so fondly of his home, telling us that the likes of Beyonce and Jay Z are known to pay a visit. Good sign! He reassured us that weather on the islands is much fairer.
We made our way to a little Parrot Cay port (I use the word ‘port’ lightly…it’s a gorgeously plush waiting room with a wooden stilted walkway leading out to where you board the Parrot Cay boat). We are greeted in the waiting room and offered a drink while we wait. The water looks almost that of a fantasy film. The brightest of blues, and as it gets nearer land, it is perfectly transparent. The small ripples in the water make it look crystal-like.
Our boat arrives, and smartly dressed Captain Albert and his (ship) mate take our luggage. Husband and I look around for who else is getting on the boat. No one. Our own little private voyage coming right up…
We sail passed another island (perhaps Pine Cay) and notice some unfinished luxury resorts and wonder if the credit crunch has effected even here. In the same moment, we pass holiday homes belonging to Keith Richards and Donna Karen.
Nothing though, can take away from the sheer beauty of the landscape here. As the misty water sprays up on to our faces, our eyes are delighted by the bright colours. The blues of the sky and sea. The whites of the sand and the glare of the sun.
We all know they’re important. And clearly, so do the staff at Parrot Cay. We are shown in to the lobby bar area as our luggage is whisked away from us and taken to our room. We are offered a rum cocktail and given a refreshing towel each. The towels smell nothing short of glorious, an invigorating medley of divine natural aromas. This smell will be what husband and I go on to describe as ‘a little bit of heaven’, even now.
Our ocean facing bedroom is also just right. Whilst there are suites and private villas in the resort, they are reserved for those with much heavier wallets than ours. But all the same, our abode is spacious, light and airy with views out to the turquoise waters.
Our bathroom boasts the ‘little bit of heaven’ scent via the complimentary Como Shamblaha toiletries; bath foam, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner.
The resort is peaceful and natural. Bedrooms are in ‘blocks’ and stepping out of our room, we head to some central steps that lead you on to a path where you then come across the gym, the restaurant area and infinity pool and lastly, the beach.
GOOD LORD, IT’S BEAUTIFUL
Time to let the photos do the talking:
The beach stretches on but you can easily (albeit leisurely in the heat) take a nice walk from one end to the other. I have vivid memories of walking along on the soft white sand, headphones on, Zero 7 playing, singing aloud because no one was around to hear. No one. Blissful, blissful happiness.
We came across starfish and something we later learned were ‘sand dollars’. Sand dollars are from the class of marine animals known as Echinoids, spiny skinned creatures. When they are washed up on shore, you will mostly see that they are in the form of white shell like discs with remarkable, almost floral markings. These are actually the skeleton of a sand dollar.
Parrot Cay is blessed with superb weather and what our transfer driver had touched on previously was absolutely true. Most threats of bad weather tend to completely skirt around the islands. On a couple of occasions when we were lounging on the sand, we’d see dark clouds rumble in, to literally dissipate before our very eyes just minutes later. We had one bout of rain one lunchtime that thunderously cascaded from the sky, within 15 minutes the sun had dried it all up and we were back thumbing our way through our holiday books, stretching back on our loungers.
I’m not a seasoned ‘foodie’ and actually more recently I have been sticking to a vegetarian/vegan diet but as I age I really do enjoy rolling my eyes over inspired menus, selecting dishes that shy away from the norm.
The cuisine at Parrot Cay, I would argue, is world class. Thank goodness I had lost a fair bit of weight for my wedding. It made way for guilt free daily gorging, yes, gorging on the mix of fragrant and imaginative pan Asian and Caribbean meals.
On a full board basis, you will not go hungry. It’s just not possible. From the burgers to the ‘Rainbow cooler’ drinks, you can be as healthy or as gluttonous as you so desire. And when you are lazing on your sun lounger on the beach, you are likely to be approached by one of the waiting staff who has probably noticed you’re a little hot and so has fetched a selection of freshly made popsicles for you – kiwi, lemon, ginger.
Enjoy these pics. ‘Food porn’ and then some.
Thamu – the Food and Beverage Manager at the time, possibly still – should be extremely proud and rewarded for his efforts at Parrot Cay. We spent a few hours on one of our final evenings in his company at the bar but wish we’d spoken to him before. He told us about his wife and family back in Malaysia, reminding us that there is a story and motivation driving everyone’s career choices. Here is this man you would consider privileged to be based at such a location. But he is away from his family, working hard to provide for them many, many miles away.
Generally at Parrot Cay you are made to feel so special. Almost star-like. And if you’re a middle class, English person like us, once you get over the initial embarrassment of being treated so, you quickly learn to enjoy.
The staff are so in tune with what is going on around them, a quality my husband was quickly grateful for one afternoon when he went a little too far out on a windsurfing mission. Cue new wife back on the sun lounger looking in the opposite direction whilst he was being rescued. Silly ruddy Englishman.
Parrot Cay is divine bordering on the ridiculous. In a good way.
Whilst we did feel a little cold at times at the sight of super rich families there with their children, showing very little warmth or even engaging with them (that was the nannies job darling), it was just a reminder that this life takes all sorts. Especially on an exquisite, luxury holiday location such as this.
For us it was one of those once in a lifetime, dreamy, special occasion jobbies. One that will never be forgotten. It can’t be. Because every time we sniff an aroma that remotely reminds us of the spa there we are immediately transported back to our dazzling honeymoon island.