Today (May 7, 2014): Review of Parrot Cay by COMO, a spa heaven in the Caribbean (Turks & Caicos).
- Location: Google Maps
- Address: PO Box 164 Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands
- Hotel website: Parrot Cay
- Tip: enjoy exclusive VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso
Parrot Cay by COMO is an award-winning luxury resort located on its own private island of 1,000 unspoilt acres with a mile-long powdery soft beach in Turks & Caicos, an island nation which harbors some of the world’s best beaches. This exclusive island hideaway delivers foot-in-the-sand luxury with COMO’s service ethic, holistic therapies, yoga, diving and world-class cuisine. A favourite among celebrities are the private villas, with their own pools, direct beach access as well as the 24-hour service of COMO’s acclaimed butlers.
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 (Amanyara)
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Getting there includes a complimentary sightseeing trip. You will be escorted from the airport to the resort’s private dock by a van (20 min), and then it is another 40 minutes scenic trip by private boat to the resort.
- The hotel’s architecture is reminiscent of a Spanish hacienda and blends beautifully into the natural environment. The minimalistic and white design of the communal areas is very athmospheric, upscale and chic.
- The main swimming pool is not only magnificent (with gorgeous views over the turquoise sea), but also heated to the temperature of a warm bath, so you can take a dip at night if you want to.
- Accommodations are located either in one of the buildings around the reception area and a short distance – 5 minute walk – from the beach (these rooms come with their own large terrace), or in (semi-)detached villas that are located right behind the beach (these villas come with their own small pool). All 72 rooms, suites and villas come in different categories and have whitewashed interiors furnished with soft, cotton-covered chairs, airy four-poster beds and teak furnishing. This is understated elegance at its best!
- The impressive 1,5 mile (2,4 km) long beach is composed of powdery soft, sugar white sand. The ocean water is clear and features the deepest blue colour that you can imagine (the beach reminded me of the Maldives, although it does not have any palm trees). This is one of the best and most idyllic beaches in the Caribbean.
- Food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) at the resort is excellent and of very high quality (with change of the menu every 3 days). This is an area were Parrot Cay definitely outclasses its competitors on the island nation. The relaxed poolside Lotus restaurant serves light Caribbean-inspired dishes during the day and contemporary Asian at night, while the Terrace restaurant specialises in modern Mediterranean.
- The Como Shambala Spa should be on your to-do list when you visit the resort. The spa is one of the most exclusive wellness and health facilities in the Caribbean, in line with Como’s reputation as one of the best, if not the best spa resort group in the world). Holistic, Asian-inspired treatments are on offer, including aromatherapy, Pilates and other holistic approaches to mental quietude, physical wellbeing and spiritual balance.
- There is a budget for everyone, ranging from very expensive villas (more than 1000 USD a night) to more modestly priced rooms.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
Parrot Cay is a brilliant high-end resort, located on a gorgeous beach. I highly recommended it, but IMHO there is still room for some improvement:
- Pre-arrival communication with the resort was a disappointment: emails were mostly not answered, and when I did receive a delayed reply, it was in a very informal (too informal) way, with lots of grammatical errors. The resort should realize that this is the first impression they make, and that it may put off some possible customers.
- WiFi was available in the rooms, but there was no WiFi at the swimming pool nor at the beach. 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 were not comfortable, contrary to the sun loungers on the pool deck. Some extra cushions on the beach chairs would help a lot.
- From the beach, towards the east, you have a very good view on a couple of very ugly, quite high (I guess 4-5 floors) buildings, which does not help to make you feel like being on a private and secluded island.
- Beach service was virtually non existing (waiters were there but hardly noticed me).
- Upon arrival at the airport, I had to wait for about 20 minutes for other guests to join me for the transfer to Parrot Cay’s boat deck. I understand this is necessary from a logistic point of view, but somehow I don’t understand why the resort not simply transfers all their guests immediately to the dock upon arrival, where they can wait at the lounge for other guests to join them on the boat trip to Parrot Cay instead of waiting at the airport (although I realize that this may involve some extra drives for the resort). This is where an exceptional resort could distinguish itself from others. Also, the van that was used for the transfer from the airport to the dock was far from luxurious.
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 7/10
- Rooms: 8/10
- Food: 9/10
- Service: 7/10
- Overall experience: very good: 8/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read our tips on how to book a room at the cheapest price at a luxury resort like Parrot Cay (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 Parrot Cay via a Virtuoso travel agent.
- This is the place to splurge for a spa service if you never had one before in your life.
- Book a package inclusive of breakfast, or, even better, half board (since you are stuck to the resort’s restaurants, which is not a bad thing).
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
COMPARISON WITH OTHER TURKS & CAICOS LUXURY HOTELS
- Amanyara definitely feels 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 (and more) 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, 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 20 minute van drive + 40 minute boat trip 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.