Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed one day, I came upon a travel-themed page asking its readers to name a place they would love to visit for a second time. There were 149 comments.
Barcelona, Kenya, Bali, Thailand, Maine, Prague, Iceland, Burma, Marrakech, Portugal, The Cook Islands, New York, Paris and more. The comments seemed endless.
And then of course, I started thinking about all of the places I’ve never been (worthy of more than 149 comments, that’s for sure) and the places I go back to because I love them so much. Paris is one such place. In fact, it is from Paris that I now type.
But when I started thinking about where I have been just once and would love to re-visit, I didn’t have to think about it for very long at all.
I would go back to Parrot Cay.
For years I had heard about Parrot Cay, that exclusive private island in the Turks & Caicos Islands where celebrities like Bruce Willis, Donna Karan, and Keith Richards all boast vacation homes, and on which you can’t step foot unless you’re an employee or you have a reservation.
As a North Caicos land owner that has made frequent trips to hang out and check on my little investment, I could see Parrot Cay in the very near distance (ends up it’s only a 10 minute boat ride – if that) and vowed to get there one day.
And then guess what? One day came.
My Mr. Wonderful and I flew into Providenciales, the main hub in the T&C Islands, where we were met by a Parrot Cay van driver who whisked us away to a private boat dock behind a locked and guarded fence. A warm greeting and cold drinks awaited us as we hung out in a lovely air-conditioned waiting area, until we were ready to board for our short and scenic 35-minute water taxi ride to Parrot Cay, a true oasis with 1,000 acres of unspoiled nature.
“Ms. Friley?” I heard as we disembarked from the boat on the back side of the island.
“Yes,” I smiled back to the woman smiling at me, “That’s me.”
“I’m Ary and I’d like to welcome you to Parrot Cay. I am your butler during your stay.”
Okay, wait. Did she just say my Butler?!?!?!
It gets better.
Mr. Wonderful and I followed Ary – a native of Bali, Indonesia – to our assigned golf cart and headed towards our digs on a 2-mile path as she drove and pointed, explaining the lay of the land.
Parrot Cay Estates, which is 5 minutes away from the resort area, boasts privately-owned homes that are available for rent if you’ve got deep pockets, but like the rest of Parrot Cay, appear low-key from the outside in a rather spectacular way.
So when Ary pulled the golf cart up in front of a villa smack dab in the midst of a breathtaking, white sand beach, I thought we would be getting a more personal tour of what Parrot Cay had to offer its guests before we headed off to one of the resort’s fantastic Balinese-inspired guest rooms. But alas, no.
“This is your villa,” Ary announced. Whoa.
Holy upgrade, Batman! Our one-bedroom beach villa was heavenly to say the least. Four-poster bed, private deck with heated plunge pool, indoor and outdoor garden shower, high ceilings, kitchenette, two bathrooms, screened porch. And Ary, our 24/7 butler. OMG. Four days was simply not enough.
And yes, there’s more.
On our first night, we ate in. Ary brought our food to the villa and set up a lovely table where we dined on a few room service selections (see also here and here). But it was at The Lotus Restaurant, which is next to an infinity pool to die for, where we ate our remaining meals.
To describe the food as good (or even “great” for that matter) does the food and the chef an injustice. In addition to the traditional (yet, not really) selections, the Shambala menu and its unique and healthy ingredients made me swoon.
And because we spent so much time behaving like lazy lima beans, we never made it to The Terrace Restaurant to dine, although Ary did pick us up and take us to the main building, where we were able to roam around and take in the luxuriously beautiful surroundings. Sigh. I want to go back so bad.
There was no way I was going to spend time on Parrot Cay and not get a spa treatment at the COMO Shambhala retreat, an award-winning, knock-out spa retreat dedicated to the wellbeing of its guests. Besides the sheer beauty of the peaceful surroundings that overlook the wetlands and the outstanding massage and service, their signature ginger tea had me attempting to duplicate that sublime taste as soon as I got home (and no, it didn’t happen. Grrrrr…).
Look. Parrot Cay is fabulous. Wonderful. Spectacular, even. But in a quiet, luxurious way that suits me just fine. If you are looking for a special place to unwind, de-stress, eat well and to be pampered, a trip down to Parrot Cay in the Turks & Caicos Islands (only 1 hour and 15 minutes from Miami!) will not disappoint. I promise.
And if Ary is your butler, lucky you. My life hasn’t been the same since she spoiled me rotten.
*Cheers* to Parrot Cay, a private island I hope to visit for at least a second time.
Disclosure: I paid a discounted rate to be a guest at Parrot Cay and was upgraded as a courtesy. Lucky me! All opinions, as usual, are my own.