These days, it’s not enough to jet off to a private island. Accommodations that mimic private homes, precise service by a personal butler, and experiences indigenous to the destination are the new musts. At Parrot Cay, you can have it all.
For the private-island experience, it has traditionally been necessary to travel halfway around the world to archipelagos like the Maldives or Fiji, on planes, yachts, and automobiles. Accessibility—or rather a lack of—has been part of the charm of vacationing away from the masses.
Yet one of the world’s most refined private islands is close to home: Parrot Cay, a 1,000-acre isle in Turks and Caicos, is so easily accessible (a short flight from Florida, plus a 20-minute boat ride) and yet so exclusive, it seems almost too good to be true—at least until you stand on its blinding-white sands in front of your two-bedroom beach house, while your personal butler mixes up a pitcher of rum punch.
Paradise? No question.
The private beach surrounded by native vegetation on one side and calm, turquoise waters on the other—and no neighbors within eyeshot—imparts a delicious feeling of isolation. It is tempting to never leave the confines of the Asian-style retreat, designed in modern Balinese rhythms and decorated with honey-toned woods and white fabrics. And why not? It’s all here: a private plunge pool with a wood deck for lounging and intimate dining; airy interiors; two-bedroom suites with dressing rooms, glass-enclosed bathrooms, and outdoor showers; and the aforementioned butler, ready to cater to his guests’ every whim.
Most of the butlers at Parrot Cay are Balinese or Bhutanese, and their Asian hospitality is gentle and unobtrusive. They have a talent for exceeding expectations. Ask them for a private poolside dinner for two, and they will come to your villa with dozens of candle lanterns and flower petals. The trembling candlelight, the fragrant breeze, and the sigh of the surf add up to the most romantic setting imaginable.
For more active days, the COMO Shambhala Spa is a must. The Shambhala wellness concept was pioneered by COMO and is offered at a handful of exclusive resorts worldwide. Shambhala combines ancient healing with modern science for a total approach to well-being. Nestled within the wetlands, the Parrot Cay retreat offers unique opportunities for Asian-inspired modalities, such as Ayurvedic lifestyle consultations, Abhyanga massage, shiatsu, Javanese royal baths, Shirodhara, Indian head massage, Pizichili oil treatment, and, of course, a full yoga and meditation schedule. The COMO Shambhala Cottage is a spa sanctuary for two that can be rented for four or eight hours.
The Shambhala notion also extends to food. An extensive menu with raw, vegan, vegetarian, and clean-dining options is available alongside the resort’s island cuisine—and is rather divine, both in creativity and taste.
Not surprisingly, Parrot Cay has been discovered by a few celebrities (Donna Karan, Keith Richards, Bruce Willis, Christie Brinkley) and A-listers who have purchased property on the island. So you never know whom you might run into—if only you could tear yourself away from your private slice of paradise.
3 Must Dos
- Stroll around the island and past the privately owned villas. Many of these spectacular retreats are offered for rental.
- Take advantage of the watersports, such as SUP-ing, deep-sea fishing, or sailing.
- If the COMO Ayurvedic doctor is in residence, ask for a consultation. He can structure a wellness program for you or simply give advice on holistic healing.