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Jules discovers the Turks and Caicos Islands (Part 2!)

Jules one of our travel specialists recently visited the beautiful Turks & Caicos in the Caribbean.

We were already half way through our week and so spoiled with the continuous view of beach and aquamarine waters which both the Gansevoort and Grace Bay Club guarantee from every room and suite. Having popped over to the Grace Bay Club for a cocktail at their incredible long bar (the longest in the Caribbean) we were looking forward to seeing the daylight version. Whereas the Gansevoort is all cool turquoise and white by their pool, the Grace Bay Club signature color is their scarlet and black which is dramatic and works incredibly well with the manicured lawns, emerald green palms and the longest expanse of beach ever which is why like the Gansevoort, every suite or villa has an ocean view.


The Beach at Grace Bay Club

The Grace Bay rooms are beautifully presented and overlook the three different pools, one section is for adults only, one is the child friendly and family oriented section and one is the exclusive gated Estates pool and three bedroom residences but all share the same magnificent expanse of beach. Three restaurants, all different, are scattered through the grounds which also house the original Grace Bay Club with its 22 suites which is where the soul of the resort started and grew from. A wonderful spa and every water-sport under the sun await the more adventurous, a sun lounger by the beach or pool for those who wish to simply sit and dream by the sea.


Pool with Ocean View – Grace Bay Club

We thought we had now sampled a taste for everyone when suddenly out of the blue we discovered yet another totally different delight at the Regent Palms which is yet again a gem of a hotel. Designed along the lines of the great house in the old plantations, this gracious property with antiques, contemporary but very French/English colonial style painted furniture, murals, frescoes, four poster beds and a panelled bar and cigar room from a bygone age was charming and perfect if you eschew modern chic and long for the style of a colonial era now long gone. Vast suites with one, two or three bedrooms look out to sea overlooking courtyards, gardens, two pools and a board walk down to a powdery beach. Bright turquoise loungers with covers line the beach and cool teak beds line the board walk decking which sits up beside the pool overlooking the sea. The chef inspired us with beautifully presented plates of the freshest ingredients which you can savour in their funky dining room overlooking the gardens or the beach restaurant by the pool. Their Spa has consistently won best Spa award and walking through pools and shadows, palms and courtyards you felt as if you were in a Moroccan or Indian palace with beautiful water features and a Zen like aurora. This was somewhere to relax and unwind in an oasis of peace.


Regent Palms Spa


View of their beach from the Presidential Suite Regent Palms


Lunch at Regent Palms

But before we gently wind through the island to the hidden secret of Amanyara we had a taste of the islands and their culture on a wonderful day of adventure.

Tracy spirited us away into the hands of Big Blue Unlimited who will fulfil any desire you may have to dive, explore, take a day trip around the islands or explore Middle Caicos and North Caicos by bike, boat, kayak or foot. They took us to the amazing beaches at Mudjin Harbour where you sit perched in the Mudjin Bar and Grill dining on fresh conch and lobster overlooking a perfect cove. Their tailor made tours and adventures are personal and for groups of 4 – 8 guests and it is a fantastic way to learn a little more of the history surrounding these islands, their pirate and colonial ancestors.

All the hotels welcome children and provide abundant activities to keep them happy which vary from hotel to hotel and depending on children’s ages, some are more suited to children than others.


The Old Slave Quarters at Wade’s Green Plantation and Cardinal.


Cardinal has every story to tell of the island and was a wonderful guide, driver and fun guy to hang out with!

Finally as all good things must end we turned our backs once again on the fun and funky vibe of Grace Bay and Provo and having been picked up by a fleet of immaculate white land rovers all bearing the license plate of Amanyara, we arrived shortly before sunset at what seemed the tip of the world but was in fact a short 20 minute drive from civilization. Nestled in an 18,000 acre nature preserve the resort stretches along a kilometer of soft powdery beach, tiny hidden sandy coves where the iron shore changes the landscape before finishing again on an endless beach. Amanyara means ‘peaceful place’ and not only is the architecture a work of art but the location is sensational. Private pools, dramatic ocean views, tranquil pond pavilions, soaring ceilings, teak decks that stretch to eternity, cathedral buildings of timber and glass seem suspended in space as the light disappears at dusk and the Aman world is illuminated by candles and illusion. 40 Resort Pavilions and 20 Private villas are all crafted from the finest materials, some with private black volcanic pools and others with tranquil pond views or dramatic seascape back drops. The service is unparalleled whether you have a personal butler or the delightful staff to look after your every whim.


The Bar and best sunset spot at Amanyara

Aman elves are there around every corner, you feel them; they know when you want something as if by osmosis but then disappear before you can even remember they have been there at all. We had a magnificent dinner in our villa with our personal chef Bar B Qing every conceivable delicacy one could dream off, twinned with a fusion of Asian inspired salads, and freshly grilled Mediterranean vegetables and delicious fruits. Whether you ate in your villa, dined in the glorious restaurant overlooking the sea side by side with the most dramatic bar or sipping ice cold rose and choosing a fresh pizza cooked in their pizza oven to order in the casual beach bar and grill – there is something to enchant everyone.


The Beach Club at Amanyara

Their beach, water based activities and snorkeling which we did each day was a treat, the Spa somewhere to lose yourself and never leave and should you simply wish to sit by their magnificent pool on the teak deck overlooking the ocean you could die a happy man. If you wish to have your own pavilion or villa with a pool they are there for the taking but should you choose a water or sea view without private pool their beach and resort pool with timber sun-deck will not disappoint.

Amanyara is an experience and this was simply sublime. The million dollar question is which one is for you as they are all totally different, but each property a rich and wonderful experience and that is the joy of the Turks & Caicos islands. Hidden away from much of the commercialism of the Caribbean, this was a discovery I am not sure I want to share.


View from the Dining Room deck and Bar Amanyara


Amanyara Villa


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