Once again, pure shores and turquoise vistas beckon from a tranquil world of sun-drenched islands. As a plethora of Caribbean hotels competes to attract that ever-important VIP vacationer, we acquaint you with the season’s hottest picks
By Ayesha Khan
As the last chill of winter leaves the City, a quick getaway to pristine white sandy beaches is what every New Yorker is dreaming of. ‘Tis the season for the Caribbean. The trade winds are just right, temperatures are in the mid 80’s, the rains have let up to reveal sunny, cloudless skies and azure vistas, and, once again, the Caribbean is open for business. Here are our six picks for luxe lodging in this picturesque region of over 7,000 idyllic islands.
First stop: Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands where, just last year, destination resort guru Adrian Zecha chose to launch his latest instalment in the Amanresorts. Amanyara, a hybrid of the Sanskrit word for peace and the indigenous Arawak word for place, shuns everything you’d expect from a Caribbean resort (the water sports signup sheets, the generic beach loungers, branded towels, and over-the-top signage) for the rugged landscape and true character of its Northwest Point site. Designed by master architect Jean Michel Gathy (of Setai, South Beach fame), Amanyara celebrates the beauty in simple design statements- a perfect complement to the subtle, personalized service that is to be expected of an Amanresort. Owing to its prime location (directly above the coral reef walls of Northwest Point Marine National Park), Amanyara is the perfect spot for diving and snorkelling aficionados.
Needless to say, many a celebrity has sought solace on Cayo Espanto’s secluded shores in search of that ever-elusive private getaway.
For those who prefer to stay in, the forty timber-shingled pavilions at Amanyara offer the perfect respite. Set around the resort’s omnipresent ponds, nestled in its lush vegetation, or elevated 15-20 feet above the shoreline, each pavilion occupies a generous 1,250 square feet, and features floor to ceiling windows, large furnished patios, and a spacious open plan layout with sumptuous bathrooms- typical of Amanresorts.
There is a good chance visitors to Amanyara will be so taken by the resort’s indelible, infallible charm that they will never want to leave. Bearing this in mind, the resort group developed a total of 33 three and four bedroom villas which can be bought for those crucial, intermittent getaways from the perils of the real world. Laid out on a two-acre plot with a built-up area of 8,000 square feet, each villa features an array of pavilion-style rooms arranged around a 1,200 square foot swimming pool. These include oversized en-suite bedroom pavilions, a living/dining pavilion and a kitchen/laundry pavilion. Extra bedroom or office pavilions may also be added upon request. Each villa is serviced by two full-time, live-in members of dedicated Amanyara staff. Villa owners and tenants have access to all Amanyara facilities including the dive center, beach club, restaurant, and bar. What’s more, we’re told that the not-too-distant future of the resort complex sees an expansive golf course and tennis academy.
When Rosewood Hotels and Resorts’ founder and honorary chairman Caroline Rose Hunt needs a break from it all, she heads for Little Dix Bay, a Rosewood Resort on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. “I took my children there back when it was a Rock Resort. We like it so much, that we are building a vacation home there,” Hunt confides to us. And it just so happens that this exclusive boutique resort just underwent an elaborate five-year, $25 million renovation.