The best kind of blues are found at
Amanyara on Turks & Caicos.
Written by Bridget Williams
Placing my paddleboard atop water no choppier than a country club swimming pool during adult swim, I rose from my knees to stand, moved my feet apart to steady myself and pierced the surface with my paddle. In short order, my breathing was keeping time with the rhythmic strokes as I left behind the dozen or so guests spread out on a remote stretch of beach. With the water beneath me in this protected marine sanctuary as clear as the blue skies above, I watched colorful fish dart about curious structures designed to stimulate coral reef growth. Rounding a bend, and with no one in sight, I paddled to shore and sat at the water's edge, allowing the gentle waves to lap at my toes. As I savored the quiet and calm, I pondered the difference between this moment of blissful solitude the months of baneful isolation so many have experienced.
With 120-acres surrounded by nearly 900-acres of nationallyprotected land above and below sea level, Amanyara on Turks & Caicos offers a blissful cocoon of relaxation and rejuvenation- an antidote to isolation despite its remoteness. Reached via a five-mile unpaved road and positioned on a promontory on the western shore of Providenciales, the resort looks out over the reefs of Northwest Point Marine National Park. Water, either the sound or sight of it, is omnipresent.
Amanyara's thirty-eight guest pavilions, which underwent a full refurbishment since July, and a collection of sprawling villas are cloaked in native tropical verdure. The foliage is manicured just enough but not too much to ensure privacy while providing unobstructed sightlines to either the ocean or a water feature.
The property started 15 years ago as a collection of twoto six-bedroom villas; today, 18 of the 20 villas are available to rent and include a dedicated full-time butler and private chef. Designed in a similar fashion to the pavilions, the bedroom units surround a communal gathering space and are artfully separate with a beguiling blend of water features and pathways.
Arriving on my birthday, I nearly shrieked with glee as we approached the glass-walled Balinese-inspired bungalow that would be our home for five days. A rough-cut path in the rocky promontory comprised of pitted limestone and lava led to the bungalow's best feature, a private horseshoe-shaped cove with a powdery sand beach and intoxicating ombré blue water. It was a spot we returned to again and again for a private sunset cocktail and canapé, yoga, a refreshing swim, and quiet contemplation.
As tempting as it was to camp out in our private cove, Amanyara offers a comprehensive lineup of activities and food and beverage options that appeal to all age groups. In fact, we didn't feel the urge to explore off property for the duration of our stay. "We realize that architecture alone isn't enough of a draw, so we cater to the diverse interests of guests, including fitness enthusiasts," explained Garrett Donovan, Resort Manager.
One would have to try really hard to take a bad photograph at Amanyara. The heart of the resort is the main bar, where the conical roof of the structure, which is surrounded by water features, is Amanyara's tallest feature. Secluded spots at the water's edge are carved out for private dining experiences, which we enjoyed for my birthday dinner.
Chef David Pooley is at the food and beverage program's helm, which employs a global perspective throughout its restaurant and private dining programs. With staff hailing from 19 countries, there is a great deal of culinary collaboration. "We can pool talent to fulfill our guests' culinary whims," said Pooley. An avid runner, the affable chef, who splits his time between the island and Modena, Italy, where his wife is from, knows the trails in the national park surrounding the resort by heart and often welcomes guests to join him for his morning jaunts.
At the spa, four self-contained treatment rooms are outfitted for two with shower and changing facilities. The stand-alone structures, situated around a pond with a seamlessly integrated pool, create a dreamy scene. Teena, the diminutive therapist who delivered my 60-minute massage, had titanium hands that I am quite sure could crush a coconut. The unique combination of deep tissue massage and stretching left me feeling like a rag doll in a good way.
Amanyara boasts a total of eight acres of open beachfront. In contrast to the Turks & Caicos' bustling Grace Bay Beach, you won't find jet skis or parasailing in this protected area. Attending to guests is a team of beach attendants ready to provide a cold drink or a boat ride to the nearby reef for guided snorkeling. After seeing the occasional dive boat just offshore, I was surprised to learn that the Grand Turks Wall was the attraction. Here, the crystal waters quickly turn dark as the ocean floor drops by nearly 7,000 feet. It was a fun quick stop on our guided snorkeling trip, but I have to admit I was on guard as I expected some ominous deep sea creature to emerge from the depths.
Facilities on property facilitate pursuits ranging from lacrosse to tennis. My favorite was the dedicated boxing gym, which came about when Michael Perez Liriano, a former pro boxer from the Dominican Republic joined the staff. Liriano is an excellent coach, teaching fundamentals and delivering a challenging workout that makes you want to come back for more the next day. Also extremely patient and positive is tennis pro Rue Galero, a certified Level 1 TELOSTM Tennis Professional. The simple approach of this teaching method significantly elevated my typically terrible court performance. Daily yoga is offered at the spa or in the privacy of your bungalow or villa. Those looking for a more traditional way to work up a sweat can visit a tricked-out workout facility offering everything from TRX to treadmills. Boredom, due to a lack of options, is outside the realm of possibility here.
While it may seem strange to travel to a remote place following months of isolation, the solace offered by Amanyara is soul-stirring, wholly restful, and just the right restart to tackle whatever else comes down the pipeline. Accommodations at Amanyara from $2,300/night in high season. For more information or reservations, visit aman.com/resorts/amanyara. sl