Amanyara Near+Far rating: 9/10
Why stay at Amanyara
Aman opened its first Caribbean Sea outpost in 2006, bringing the Asian-born hotel group’s elite and discreet experience to a new corner of paradise – the British protectorate of Turks and Caicos. 17 years later and Amanyara is the most exclusive property in the archipelago, if not the entire Lucayan Archipelago. Set in 18,000 of protected wild nature reservice in Providenciales’ North West Point Marine National Park. This is a resort I wish everyone could visit in their lifetime. There’s a certain golden-bubble feeling to it, celebrities and VIPs come here to switch off, and like most Aman properties, it feels more like a private members club than a resort.
The beaches and turquoise waters are so beautiful they spark intense emotion, the level of attentive service – especially in the sprawling villas – is incomparable, and the personal butlers, chefs and general attention to detail are astonishing. This is a resort for long and languid vacations, where days are spent diving, snorkelling, sunbathing, playing tennis and feasting on fresh seafood, with both the option to hide away at the resort or pop out for a rum at the local conch shack for a taste of Turks and Caicos life. Amanyara is the brand’s go-to for monied Americans, but increasingly international elites, and it’s no wonder, as everything is perfection, without exception.
The location: 8/10
Turks and Caicos is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean Sea – a two-hour flight from Miami, 3.5-hour from New York City and a direct flight from London. Though technically not in the Caribbean itself (part of the Lucayan Archipelago along with the Bahamas), travellers come to Turks and Caicos for those Caribbean sands – white and soft as caster sugar – and endless turquoise blue. Amanyara has this in droves, sitting on a peninsula in 18,00 of rugged, yet refined, Point Marine National Park with cliffs, vegetation and unspoilt beaches, which hide luxury pavilions and villas (clusters of pavilions), along with coral reefs. The resort is best designed for guests who prefer to fly and flop, which means it’s set away from the island’s main towns. That being said, it’s secluded but not completely isolated and is around a 30-minute drive from the island’s more built-up Grace Bay area and close to a handful of local bars and shops. Head to the nearby Conch Shack for rum cocktails, good vibes and conch fritters.
The vibe: 9/10
Tech billionaires, Hollywood celebrities, and business moguls (all of which were on our stay) wander happily around in flip flops and swim on the open beach, with the air of exclusively, meaning no guests have to hide away. Aman’s exclusive brand draws an elite crowd, but the relaxed resort strips any pretence and egos away, and guests happily chat with each other while retaining an air of privacy. There’s a country club vibe at the tennis courts and public spaces, and the resort comes alive at beachside lunches and sundowners before many guests retreat to their pavilions or villas for private suppers.
Rooms and suites: 9/10
Amanyara’s rooms are utterly superlative – the brand’s attention to detail and ingenuity to craft private yet connected group travel experiences is unrivalled. Guests stay in large private pavilions or villas – collections of pavilions around an infinity pool and your own resort within a resort. All are hidden in lush vegetation for the ultimate intimate expert. Pavilions are perfect for couples and small families, some with craggy paths leading right onto the sand, others with manicured gardens and private pools. Inside is soothing with king-size marshmallow beds framed by billowing white nets, creams and lots of natural wood.
The epitome of the Amayara experience, however, are the villas, offering two to six bedrooms made up of separate pavilions centres around a dark and glossy infinity pool, reflective ponds and tropical gardens. These mini resorts offer each guest their own private stand-alone accommodation but with communal living space. Villas are serviced by a villa host and personal chef, who truly becomes part of the family during your stay. Our four pavilions villa backs out onto the ocean, with multiple outdoor dining spaces, including a look-out dining area overlooking the beach – which, after languid lunches, we trot down to our own slick of sand.
The pavilions have the same natural cream and wood theme, with stand-alone bathtubs and huge rainfall showers. At first, the no in-pavilion coffee and tea-making facilities seem bothersome, but there’s a reason. Why? Because your personal villa attendant – based permanently on site – is somehow ever-present, without being present at all. A quick Whatsapp or even a gentle call of their name, and they appear smiling and gracious. For us, morning matcha lattes are delivered on cue – the precise measurements perfect every time – and welcome drinks are turned into nightly sundowner cocktails. Villas also come with a personal chef for the stay, going off-menu with whatever breakfast, lunch or dinner you fancy that day.
Food and drink: 10/10
Guests can eat at the main hotel or in their pavilion or villa, with the latter being the most popular for breakfast and supper. Three spots – The Restaurant, The Bar, and The Beach Club – take guests from breakfast to dinner with seasonal menus, Caribbean-Asian fusion flavours and fresh seafood – best served beachfront. Each villa is matched with a private chef -a group of culinary masters from worldwide who own each cuisine. Chefs are matched beforehand on guest preferences and can villa hop on request for feasts that include Thai, Indian, Creole, seafood or something casual like pizza or burgers. Meals can be taken anywhere in the villa, and many have multiple spots, including indoor dining rooms and high terraces overlooking the beach.
Spa and facilities: 10/10
The Aman Spa is renowned worldwide, and even with no hotel, it’s an entity in itself (think London’s The Connaught’s Aman Spa). Touches from the brand’s eastern resorts are brought to the Caribbean at Amanyara, and the spa feels almost Thai or Balinese – made up of spa pavilions centred around a reflecting lake shrouded by greenery. Treatments are innovative and delightful, and guests can also choose to embark on a personalised wellness programme – where the in-residence wellness practitioner devises a schedule of treatments after consultation, which can include meditation, various well-being and health treatments, and a meal plan brought to life by the Amanyara chefs.
There’s seemingly an incredibly photogenic swimming pool at each turn at Amanyara, in the villas and pavilions, at the spa and main hotel public space. Multiple tennis courses add to the air of an exclusive country club, and there’s a small yet well-equipped gym. Watersports are available from the beach, and you can paddleboard anytime for no extra cost. Diving and snorkelling excursions can be booked, along with boat trips.
The service: 9/10
Utterly faultless. Butlers are ever-present, without being invasive (a tricky trait to master) and ours perfectly masters our complicated ratio of oat milk-to-water morning matcha orders in a heartbeat. In the main resort, staff are smiley and attentive while being discreet – essential with Aman’s calibre of guests. Many staff come from other Aman properties in the Far East and completley understand, know, love and are loyal to the brand – which is truly infectious.
Northwest Point, Wheeland Settlement, Turks & Caicos Islands; pavilions from about AED9,300 per night ($2,535); aman.com