Although set on the Caribbean isle of Providenciales, one of the Turks and Caicos Islands, the hyper-luxurious Amanyara hotel wouldn’t be out of place in the Far East. This soul-soothing island paradise, imagined by the Amanresorts group, is a collection of several magnificent pavilions with sleek teak terraces, all surrounding a massive infinity pool made of onyx-black volcanic rock and an architecurally impressive conical bar.
Thirty-eight pavilions, including two suites, as well as 16 three-, four- and five-bedroom villas
Noon; check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from $1550.00, excluding tax at 27 per cent.
Rates include daily morning yoga classes and non-spirit bar drinks.
Water-sporters and snorkellers are well catered for at Amanyara’s Beach Club; there are Hobie Cats, boogie boats, kayaks, paddle boards and snorkelling equipment freely available. The hotel offers a free snorkelling trip daily.
At the hotel
Swimming pool, private beach, dive centre, spa and salon, gym with personal trainers and yoga instructors, four tennis courts with club house, Nature Discovery Centre, screening room, library, DVD/CD selection, boutique. In-rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD player, iPod dock, minibar, Nespresso machine, bathrobes, signature Amàn bath products and free WiFi.
Our favourite rooms
Poised above reflecting pools, Amanyara’s pavilions are identically styled in glass, teak, taupe and cream, with platform king-sized beds, two terraces, slatted shutters and retractable windows on three sides. The only difference is location. The Oceanfront Pavilions, raised 15–20ft from the shoreline, offer covetable views of the water, with paths down the striated shore.
Lined with timber decking and anchored by two sink-into-and-stay-all-day lounging salas, Amanyara’s infinity pool is a 50m, onyx-hued oblong that becomes a shimmering, star-speckled mirror at night. Just a few steps further is Amanyara's private beach, a half-mile-long stretch of soft white sands and gently lapping waves, sprinkled with oversized sunloungers and umbrellas to which you can order snacks and drinks.
The Spa at Amanyara is an oasis with an oasis, a 6,000sq m compound of five treatment pavilions (four for couples) spread over reflecting pools, where you can give yourself over to holistic and Asian-inspired treatments that run the gamut from body wraps to water treatments to massages. Salon treatments are also available. Most treatments can also be in-room. The Spa also has a boutique, smaller pool with sunloungers, outdoor yoga sala with free morning yoga daily and a Pilates studio.
Keen underwater explorers should bring along their PADI certification so they make use of the resort’s excellent dive centre. If fun in flippers isn’t for you, then a bevy of beach reads will see you through.
There are compulsory gala dinners on Christmas day and New Year's Eve.
Dogs and cats are welcome in some rooms; beds and food are provided and there's no extra charge. You must apply prior to arrival with the Department of Agriculture – the hotel can provide the application upon request. See more pet-friendly hotels in Turks & Caicos.
Under-12s can stay free in extra beds or cots; older children can bed down for $150 a night. Amanyara has a range of baby amenities for use in rooms and its restaurant features a kids’ menu. Babysitting ($15 a hour) can be arranged.
On the terrace between the trees, looking out towards the water.
Chic but beachy – linens, wraps and strappy flats.
Like Amanyara itself, the elegant restaurant’s cuisine mingles seafood-heavy Caribbean flavours with Asian and Mediterranean motifs on a nightly changing menu. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available, so you can cool off either in the air-conditioning or sea breezes and enjoy ocean views with your meal. The Beach Club, a few steps from the white sands and requisite sunloungers, serves a selection of snacks and fresh, light meals throughout the day on its breezy veranda; children are more catered to at this casual restaurant.
Amanyara’s bar is the resort’s tallest building and striking centerpiece; a circular teak building reflected in its adjacent pond, where you can sip cocktails as the sun sets, listen to jazzy live music and marvel at the intricate slatted ceiling of the impressive conical roof. Afternoon tea is also served here daily.
Dinner ends at 10:30pm, but there’s a snack menu when the kitchen’s closed. The bar stops serving at midnight.
A version of the restaurant menu is available in your pavilion 24 hours a day. Villas have personal chefs who can prepare anything you want.
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands
British West Indies
Turks and Caicos Islands
Set on the serene eastern shores of the Turks and Caicos island of Providenciales, Amanyara is far enough from most of the island's development to guarantee that its half-mile of beach is untouched by anyone but hotel guests.
Providenciales Airport is the main gateway to the Turks & Caicos, and is a 25-minute drive from the hotel. It has services from London Heathrow via the Bahamas on British Airways and via Miami or New York on American, United or JetBlue. Round trip transfers to and from Providenciales International Airport and Marina (Turtle Cove, Blue Haven & Leeward) for up to four guests cost US$75 a car (plus tax) each way.
Hiring a car is recommended if you want to explore the islands during your stay; most major car hire companies have desks at the airport. The hotel offers free parking on-site and the main town is a 30-minute drive away.
Worth getting out of bed for
With its abundance of activities and places to lounge about with a good book, Amanyara gives you little reason to want to leave its grounds. Stake out a sunlounger on the private beach, go swimming in the warm Caribbean waters or pay a visit to the Beach Club and Nature Discovery Centre to take your pick of watersports, from paddle boarding the waves to diving along the renowned reefs of Northwest Point Marine National Park. The Nature Discovery Centre also has a full-time naturalist and organises activities for both kids and adults to explore the flora, fauna and natural surroundings of the island and its waters, from beach walks to turtle conservation. Between February and April, keep an eye out for migrating humpback whales who swim through the waters just off the coast of Amanyara. Play tennis or take a lesson on one of the four Har-tru clay courts at the clubhouse, which is also home to indoor games such as table tennis, pool and suffleboard. Private Pilates, yoga and meditation classes can be arranged through the spa. If you want to explore the island of Providenciales, the concierge can recommend and arrange a number of day trips, including to the ruins of the 18th-century Cheshire Hall Plantation or the Caicos Conch Farm.
Close by, longtime favourite Da Conch Shack serves succulent seafood and chicken curry.
Stepping foot off the plane, we’re instantly hit by that intense but inviting Caribbean heat. What better antidote to busy lives than a spell in the West Indies? I couldn’t think of a better way to press pause on a hectic schedule than with a time-out on the island of Turks and Caicos, especially as I'd never been to this part of the world before. Bags rounded up, and a great start gets better – waiting for us in arrivals is our friendly Amanyara driver. ‘Welcome to paradise,’ he says, smiling.
Soon we’re ensconced in his Land Rover, ice-cold face towels, chilled bottles of water and a music menu at our fingertips. Bob Marley selected – of course – and we’re heading to the luxury beach resort. Next in our fantasy-island welcome chain is a lovely lady who eases us into holiday mode with a quick tour of this five-star hotel. I’m soon feeling right at home – perhaps thanks to is revelation that the bar opens at 6am and doesn’t shut until the last person leaves. This is my kind of place.
Comfort is something Amanresorts does very well, and here at its only Caribbean outpost in a sprawling nature reserve, the hotel continues the tradition with aplomb. Like all Aman properties, the hotel – from its sleepy poolside salas to the recessed dining area on each pavilion’s private terrace – is architecturally inspired by the East. Hidden away in tropical gardens, the bedrooms are not only beautiful but they boast huge beds and old-fashioned bathtubs.
It’s pretty hard to imagine a hideaway one-upping our suite – especially when we discover that a quick swivel to our right has us stepping out onto that private swathe of beach. It may only be a small cove but it’s all we need to soak up those rays and swim in that crystal-clear sea in private. Set beside a vast sweep of untouched beach on the northern promontory of Providenciales, this stylish stay may only be 25 minutes from the airport, but truly feels as though we’ve stepped into another, incorruptibly tranquil, world. No surprise then that its name is the Sanskrit word for ‘peaceful place’.
‘Is there such a thing as too comfortable?’ asks Mrs Smith, inspired by Amanyara’s enormous day-beds, which sprawl beneath the Thai-style cabanas alongside the 165ft jet-black infinity pool. She has a point. There’s a very real danger that, once reclined, we’ll not be able to get up again for days. But with the sunlight beginning to retreat, we continue our pursuit for perfection with a stroll to find the ultimate beach. We find sand so soft and white, flanked by water so warm, we can see ourselves swimming well into the night.
While the look and feel of Amanyara may take breath away at every turn, it’s not making any dents on my appetite. Having been unsure what the Caribbean would have in store for us food-wise, as a chef, you’ll forgive me for hoping the meals on this isle don’t disappoint. By morning I’m ready for test number one: breakfast. Corn fritters, bacon and relish with the sweetest pineapple in the world served overlooking the beach – delicious. The tastiest part? Enjoying it all from our own private terrace.
Next up for these sybarites is the spa. Not only a trot from our pavilion, but thanks to a massage from a super polite, highly skilled therapist it’s like being transported to Bali. Fast forward to the afternoon, and the sun is softening so we pad down to the beach for a snorkel. One of the resort’s friendly staff soon has us hooked up with all the gear, armed with advice on where to get the best underwater eyeful.
Millions of anchovies lead us to brightly coloured exotic fish, spectacular coral and even a mighty barracuda. By now most people might be musing ‘Wow! What a sight!’ But this is me – I’m thinking ‘Hey! How tasty!’ Instead we make do with simple grilled seafood with lemon and parsley back in the restaurant, washed down with a crisp New Zealand sauvignon blanc.
By morning, breakfast beckons from a new rendezvous – set metres from the beautiful beach with its white sand and bright blue water. Scrambled eggs later, and it’s too hot to roast in those rays, so instead we snorkel back to our room. Relaxed as much as a pair could be from a day spent dipping in and out of the shade on our sandy cove, we decide to venture out of the hotel for the first time. (As it’s a 20-minute car ride to anywhere over bumpy terrain, it’s tempting to stay put.)
Our first stop is a Jamaican restaurant named, aptly, Hole in the Wall. Flavoursome goat curry, jerk chicken, oxtail, and rum punch is enjoyed along with lots of laughs with some of the local characters. Our driver Reynolds promises the full dose of the real Caribbean and takes us on a tour of the local nightlife. Visits to the Conch Shack rum bar and Horse-Eye Jack’s have us sipping more cocktails overlooking the sea.
By now, dear reader, you’re probably familiar with the drill: we eat something delicious in a paradise-like setting, sunbathe or snorkel, then plot up for supper. So today we’ll try mix it up. Well, a tiny bit. A poolside platter of fresh tropical fruit in our own giant cabana is followed by scuba diving. The first fish we see? Nurse sharks and Moray Eels! Then reef sharks. All very exciting, although if truthful, this surfer would rather not know all that lies beneath…
So, back to shore, and over to the beach club for its once-a-week dinner under the stars. Mouthwatering steak slathered in sea urchin butter seems a fitting culinary finale for our Amanyara experience. If the way to our hearts is through our stomachs, consider it fastracked there by the soul-stirring sea views. For dessert we choose the zingy key lime pie, which our waiter invites us to enjoy back to our room. If this is how being too comfortable tastes, we like it.
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