Today (April 30, 2014): Review of Amanyara, a taste of Asia in the Caribbean (Turks & Caicos).
- Location: Google Maps
- Address: Ports Of Call Grace Bay, Turks- and Caicos
- Hotel website: Amanyara
- Tip: enjoy exclusive VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso
Set on the beautiful island of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands, which harbors some of the best beaches in the world, the luxurious Amanyara resort is a secluded haven embracing the untrammelled elements of the Caribbean. Located along the pristine reefs of Northwest Point Marine National Park, acclaimed for some of the world’s best wall and reef diving, the resort draws its name from aman, the Sanskrit-derived word for ‘peace’, and yara, the word for ‘place’ in the language of the Arawak Amerindians. Offering 40 timber-shingled Guest Pavilions tucked along the coast and a number of Aman Villas, the resort enjoys a contemporary layout and design, open to the sights and sounds of the turquoise sea. The resort belongs to the portfolio of the Aman, the world’s most luxurious hotel brand.
Amanyara features in my top 10 lists of the most luxurious resorts in the Caribbean, the world’s most beautiful overwater bungalows, the world’s most amazing beach resorts, and the world’s most expensive hotels.
In this review (more info and photos below my slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Comparison with other Turks & Caicos luxury hotels (Parrot Cay)
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Amanyara enjoyes a hyper-exclusive and stunning location on a promontory on the western coast of Providenciales island. Backed by a vast wilderness of protected parkland and tropical dry bush, the property’s shore is composed of a sugar-white, powdery-soft sand beach to the north and rocks with inlets and sandy coves to the south. This comes close to absolute paradise.
- Located around the main reflecting pond, the hotel’s communal areas (lobby, library, restaurant, bar) are impeccably designed and tremendously impressive, in true minimalist Aman style. The indoor spaces all have very high ceilings, yet do not feel intimidating at all (focus is on a zen experience).
- The very large, darkly tinted and sleek swimming pool offers a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean. With some luck, between the months of February and April, migrating humpback whales can be spotted from the pool just off the coast of Amanyara. They pass by on their annual 25,000-mile journey between the frigid water of the North Atlantic, and the Silver Banks of the Dominican Republic where they mate and breed.
- The hotel’s secluded, 800-metre (0,5 mi) beach is truly idyllic and without any doubt one of the world’s most beautiful hotel beaches. The beach’s beauty comes close to that of its Seychelles and Maldives counterparts, albeit it does not have palm trees. The beach falls off rapidly to deep water, and is great for swimming (although there are some rocky parts). As the resort faces the Atlantic Ocean, the sea may be choppy from time to time (but still swimmable), but this does mean the added spectacle of watching the waves breaking onshore.
- You can witness impressive and romantic sunsets from the beach and the swimming pool as the resort is oriented towards the west.
- The private villas are pretty impressive and tastefully decorated. In total, Amanyara offers 36 timber-shingled guest pavilions and two pool pavilion suites. Pavilions are located either inland (on the edge of tranquil ponds with timber sun decks extending over the water) or along the shore with direct ocean vistas. Some of the inland pavilions feature private pools. All Pavilions have three-sided glass walls which slid away to leave the room open to cooling sea breezes, and feature a combined bedroom and living room separated from the bathroom area by a decorative wooden screen. A central king-size bed is joined by a writing desk, reading chair and an entertainment unit with flat-screen TV and CD/DVD player. The spacious bathroom features an elegant, freestanding bathtub, twin vanities and a rain shower. Dramatic overhanging rooflines shade terraces on three sides of each Pavilion.
- Minibar & all calls (even international ones) are complimentary.
- Staff is very helpful and friendly, as you would expect from Aman, the world’s most luxurious hotel brand.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
- The swimming pool is covered with stunningly beautiful, dark tiles, but also has several hardly visible steps on its floor, which is rather dangerous. I slept a couple of times as did others. It would be better if the hotel marks the steps in the pool, to prevent small injuries.
- WiFi was available in the rooms, but there was no WiFi at the beach and only a weak internet connection at the pool. This may not bother some, but I did miss it to surf the internet on my tablet while lounging near the pool or on the beach.
- Sun loungers on the beach are located a little too close one to another (given the size of the beach), hence disturbing the privacy of the guest. I could hear very clearly the conversations of my fellow guests. In addition, the sun loungers on the beach as well as the ones next to the swimming pool are not very comfortable; some extra cushions would help a lot.
- Air-conditioning in the room was too loud, as the noise woke me up several times at nigh. This is not acceptable when room rates at are in excess of 1500 US $ per night.
- Food is very expensive. 42 US $ for a disappointing continental breakfast (with orange juice not being available one day). 55 to 75 US $ for an entrée without side dishes. I do not mind paying a lot for exquisite food, but at Amnayara it became a little problematic since (1) the food was very good but not exceptional (although my gastronomic taste my differ from that of another person), and (2) portions were rather small as I was still hungry after my dinners (and I am not a big eater).
- Be prepared to pay big money as the resort is almost insanely expensive (as is the case with most Aman resorts). Don’t come here if money is an issue.
- Be prepared to become an Aman junkie as this will raise the bar for your future holidays.
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 9/10
- Rooms: 8/10
- Food: 7/10
- Service: 8/10
- Overall experience: very good: 8,2/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read my tips for getting the best hotel deal at a luxury resort like Amanyara (and receive many free perks).
- Save money: enjoy exclusive and complimentary VIP amenities (upgrade on arrival, daily continental breakfast, one a la carte lunch for 2 persons, early check-in and late check-out) when you book your stay at Amanyara via a Virtuoso travel agent.
- Book an ocean-view villa, as this will add so much more to your experience. Ocean-view villas are built one the rocky shore about 2 metres (6 ft) above the ocean, and offer an amazing vista on the waves breaking in the rocky coves.
- The best accommodation is Ocean Pavilion 115, since it enjoys sweeping ocean vistas and has direct access to a sandy beach in a secluded cove.
- Sunblock and aloe vera is readily available everywhere.
- Book a package inclusive of breakfast, or, even better, half board (to avoid unreasonable food costs). Those package are often offered in low season or when booking a minimum number of nights.
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
COMPARISON WITH OTHER TURKS AND CAICOS LUXURY HOTELS
- Amanyara feels definitely more exclusive (with fewer guests), has a marginally nicer beach (with sunset views), and has very impressive communal areas and accommodations.
- Parrot Cay has better food IMHO, a better spa, and is within reach of more modest budgets (when staying at one of the rooms instead of villas).
If you want to combine them both, as I did, then stay at Parrot Cay first, so that you keep the “best for last”.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Like other islands in the Caribbean, Turks & Caicos’ dry seasons and peak travel period lasts from December to March. However, the best time to visit Turks & Caicos is April and May, a sweet spot featuring lower prices and fewer crowds. The weather is pleasant year-round with average highs that hover in the 80s, but these islands do experience a rainy season, and the threat of hurricanes lingers from June to November.
HOW TO GET THERE
The resort is located a 30 minute drive (in Amanyara’s white Rovers) from Providenciales International Airport, which is served by the following airlines (click here for a direct link to their websites):
- British Airways: via London (UK) and Nassau (Bahamas)
- Air Canada: via Toronto
- Westjet: via Toronto
- American Airlines: via Miami
- US Airways: via Charlotte, Philadelphia, Boston
- United Airlines: via Newark
- Delta Airlines: via Atlanta
- Jetblue: via New York JFK, Boston
- Air Turks & Caicos:via Cap-Haitien, Grand Turk, Kingston, Nassau, Port-au)Prince, Puerto Plata, San Juan, Santiago (DR), Santo Domingo, South Caicos.