Finding Serenity in Turks and Caicos
In a remote part of the destination lies Amanyara, the ultimate private luxury retreat.
by : Joanna Fox- Jan 9th, 2023
PHOTOGRAPHY, COURTESY OF AMANYARA
As we make our way along a winding, sun-bleached road on the northwest tip of Turks and Caicos’ Providenciales island, our driver tells us that when you visit an Aman resort, no matter where it is in the world, there’s always a dramatic entrance. Amanyara is no exception. My family is teased with spectacular glimpses of blinding white sandy beaches and slivers of electric-turquoise waters as we slowly approach this very exclusive—and secluded—tropical escape.
Let me be clear: “Escape” is an understatement. Amanyara is a different world—an experience like no other. As we pull up to the reception area—an airy sun-dappled pavilion with eight-metre-high ceilings—we’re welcomed by resort staff bearing refreshing glasses of grapefruit juice with lime, soda and mint. Our bags are quickly whisked away, and we’re taken on a leisurely stroll to get acquainted with our luxe new surroundings.
Amanyara is made up of a sprawling series of sloped-ceiling pavilions and villas of various sizes, all of which have a similar open-plan style that gives new meaning to the term “indoor-outdoor living.” Spread along the isolated shores of a 7,300-hectare nature reserve, the resort overlooks almost a kilometre of white-sand beaches and the sparkling cerulean waters of Northwest Point National Park. Built around a reflective pond and connected by walkways, all the main buildings from the reception desk to the bar to the resort’s fine-dining restaurant—seem like they are floating. To get around the resort—to the spa, the gym, the sports area, the clubhouse (complete with tennis courts, soccer pitch, Pilates studio and boxing gym), the movie theatre or the guest accommodations—you can walk, bike on one of the resort’s many beach cruisers or ride in (or drive) a golf cart on the paved pathways throughout.
As we’re driven to our room, I see little footpaths that disappear into the tropical foliage to the left and right of us; all of the accommodations are spaced out enough that you can literally go a whole day without seeing another guest. We hop off the cart and, making our way under a ceiling of overhanging trees, come to a stunning pavilion (like a mini version of the resort’s main building) with its own heated black-volcanic-stone saltwater pool. The 65-square-metre living space is surrounded by three walls of floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors and has a king-size canopy bed that overlooks the pool and its verdant surrounds. Behind the bed, there’s a separate area with a big soaker bathtub, vanities on either side and three little rooms along the back for the bathroom, a walk-in closet and a shower. Everything you might need has been thought of, from a drinks fridge with unlimited still, sparkling and coconut water to coffee and tea to snacks that are replenished every day. There’s a desk if you need to work (gasp!) and a table outside for outdoor drinks or dining as well as loungers under an umbrella on one side of the pool and plush bench seating on the other. The furniture is mostly teak, and the decor is in neutral earth tones, so the inside and outside blend together seamlessly for some seriously stylish Zen vibes, while the pavilion’s high ceilings make it feel bright and spacious.
Amanyara not only puts an emphasis on style and design but it was built for privacy. We were lucky enough to be given a tour by Christina Rigby, the resort’s guest-experience manager; it was a thrilling opportunity to see how those with endless means (such as past guests like the Kardashians, Drake, Kevin Durant and Brad Pitt) holiday. Beyond the “basic” pavilion rooms are the larger villas, which have two to six bedrooms. These expansive (and very secluded) accommodations are each made up of several buildings that house a main dining and living area and separate bedrooms; several of the villas boast ocean views and a private chef, and all have a private beach, a pool, a massage room and a gym. It’s no wonder some guests never set foot in the main area and stay completely out of sight of the other well-heeled Amanyara patrons.
A global hotel chain with 34 properties and counting, Aman was created to provide exactly this: a resort that is just as stunning as its surroundings and has an emphasis on exceptional service and the utmost discretion. Aman’s owner and chief executive is real-estate developer Vladislav Doronin, a Soviet-born Swedish citizen whose name you might recognize for being famously linked to Naomi Campbell’s. Although the first Aman resort, Amanpuri, was opened in Phuket, Thailand, in 1988 by Adrian Zecha (an Indonesian publisher and hotelier), Doronin purchased the brand in 2014 and recently opened the much-talked-about über-elite midtown-Manhattan outpost, Aman New York. There’s a certain minimalist warmth and organic flow to the design of all the Amans as the company only works with a select few architects, including Kerry Hill Architects and Ed Tuttle as well as Jean-Michel Gathy, the creative mind behind Amanyara’s serene style.
Once you get into the rhythm of Amanyara, the stresses of life on the “outside” (what reality?) begin to melt away. Breakfast is served at the main restaurant or brought to your room (our preference) and served poolside in the shade of the pavilion while the local birds cheekily watch on, hoping for scraps of toast. After scanning the daily Amanyara-tailored newspaper—which featured the day’s activities, top New York Times news stories and stock-market highlights—we would take turns going to the fully equipped gym and watching my son play in our pool and then head to one of the most pristine, breathtaking beaches I’ve ever set foot on for some snorkelling or a swim before making our way to lunch. After a bit of lazing about in the room post-meal, we would head back to the beach or the pool and then perhaps go for an afternoon massage at the spa, take a Pilates class or play some tennis or basketball; this was followed by more lounging, then dinner. Repeat.
Although there are only two restaurants here, meals are delicious and diverse. The beach bar serves everything from lighter salads and bowls (like tuna poke or quinoa falafel) to sushi, fresh fish, burgers, tacos and steak for lunch, and at night, the entire menu takes on an Italian twist, with antipasto items, pizzas (from a proper pizza oven), pastas and meat- or fish-based mains. The main restaurant serves breakfast and dinner; the evening menu has an impressive international bent, offering everything from ceviche and caviar to Thai and Indian curries to rack of lamb and grilled fish and meats, including several choice cuts of beef.
One might wonder whether a place like this would be welcoming for children, and I am happy to say that it very much is. In fact, there were many children staying at Amanyara, and the parents I spoke to who had left their little ones at home regretted it after seeing how family-friendly the resort is. There’s a kids menu (which is very flexible) available at both restaurants, and there are lots of activities for them, from visiting the Nature Discovery Center for kayaking, sailing and snorkelling—definitely the vacation highlight for my son—to cooking classes to games and sports to seaside exploration. Plus, there’s a new offering at Amanyara in association with the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami: a set of programs called SEEK (Science Explorers and Environmental Keepers) Camps, designed to cultivate enthusiasm for the environment and a passion for conservation. The resort also has its own theatre; it has nightly film screenings, but you can also reserve it for private viewings. My son has always been afraid of big theatres, but he fell in love with the intimate one here and watched a Harry Potter film from the onsite library while enjoying drinks and freshly made popcorn.
In the late afternoon, we would often end up at the resort’s stunning 50-metre-long black-volcanic-stone infinity pool, which overlooks the ocean and is flanked by a long row of beach chairs and three salas—giant canopied bedlike loungers that provide private and spacious places to relax (and drink champagne and watch the sunset). This area was always quiet, despite the fact that the hotel was almost full. Shallow enough to wade in, this pool is perfect for kids as they can always find a place to stand or they can sit on the built-in benches. And since it’s heated, they never want to leave. My son swam like a fish, diving around for hours on end while we watched on from our chairs. He would finally emerge, exhausted, as the sun began to set, his fingers and toes looking like little prunes. Wrapping him up in a fluffy white towel as we bathed in the orange glow of the last of the sun’s rays was my favourite part of the day.
“Aman” is the Sanskrit word for “peace,” and Amanyara is designed to make guests feel tranquil and calm. There is no loud music or rowdy parties late into the night—and that is exactly why people come here. There is something truly magical about this place. The feeling it elicited in me was like a drug—something I’ve never felt at any other resort. I literally never wanted to leave and clutched onto every second of the three days we were there. (It’s no wonder there are people who visit as many of the Aman resorts as they can, trying to recapture this sensation at different locations.) As we climbed into the resort’s SUV and the staff gathered to send us back to our real lives beyond that winding road, I turned around to get one last glimpse, wanting to take in my final moment in a place that truly exceeded all my expectations.
Join our mailing list for the latest and biggest in fashion trends, beauty, culture and celebrity.
Anna Kendrick on the Toll of a Psychologically Abusive Relationship in Alice, Darling
Kendrick plays a woman in a toxic relationship that comes to important revelations while on a weekend getaway.
by : Marriska Fernandes- Feb 3rd, 2023
10 New Sex Toys to Please Yourself
We’ve found a selection of innovative naughty tools, which promise to take us to seventh heaven.
by : ELISABETH MASSICOLLI- Feb 2nd, 2023
This Highly Anticipated Retinol Serum Is Perfect for Sensitive Skin
by : ELLE Canada- Feb 3rd, 2023