Turks & Caicos: Top Attractions

Sail Away, Sail Away: Turks & Caicos escape vehicle  (Corbis)

Grace Bay Club
Encircled by palms, this unpretentious, chic abode beneath the palapas and the palms draws cognoscenti for blissful relaxation. Filled with tasteful art pieces and exuding a homely European flair, the all-suite, two-tiered Grace Bay Club bespeaks debonaire. Cavernous villas blend Spanish tiles and worldly, eclectic décor with hi-tech gizmos like flat-screen TVs. Views take in a silver lamé beach acclaimed as the world's finest. Celebs also gravitate to the island's finest dining and a world-class spa.

Parrot Cay Club
Shutterbug-averse celebs are drawn to Parrot Cay to indulge in pampered relaxation far from prying eyes. Secluded on its own private 1,000-acre island, the club is chic to the max—tasteful simplicity is the watchword. Melding mellow light-blues and celestial whites, terracotta floors, and muslin drapes over four poster beds, the rooms pervade the senses with sublime indulgence. Beachside villas feature more minimalist modern décor and hardwood verandas with plunge pools. Dine on a wooden deck overhanging an infinity pool, or enjoy the airy bar's postprandial pleasure. The Shambala Spa is its own luxe retreat, offering sophisticated Asian-inspired treatments and dedicated yoga and Pilates retreats.

Point Grace
An oasis of calm on the point of Grace Bay, this 32-unit condo/resort hotel was inspired by colonial British West Indian architecture. Even the hoi-polloi can opt to arrive by vintage Rolls-Royce (also available for tooling around Provo). And the owner's vast collection of African and Asian art and artifacts add a worldly dimension. Don an Indonesian cotton robe and sink into sheets as soft as a sigh. Rooms are awash in mahogany and marble. A noted spa, watersports, and recherché dining add to the appeal of this classy hotel with a breathtaking beachside location. Villas are to be added in fall 2005.

The Meridian
Perfect for island romantics pining for peace, privacy, and absolutely nothing to do, Pine Cay is a speck of an island whose only resort—the Meridian—snuggles against the dunes of a miles-long, talcum-fine sand beach. Forget TVs and radios and autos. Somnolent almost to a fault, the Meridian lacks even a phone! Barefoot informality is the key. No shoes are required at dinner, although collared shirts are required for gents—a tip of the hat to the old-money crowd that flocks here. Many patrons own the private villas that comprise the resort, furnished Tommy Bahama-style. Service is satisfyingly attentive yet low key.

Grace's Cottage
This breeze-cooled gingerbread restaurant edging up to turquoise waters earns laurels for its enviable setting and heavenly cuisine. Chef Craig James oversees the changing Caribbean-Asian menu with creative aplomb. Treats start with complimentary cocktail-hour canapés, sorbets, and wines. Locally caught lobster dishes are served perfectly tender, while other temptations from King Neptune's larder are guaranteed fresh—and enlivened with a twist of the Orient. Consider the pan-fried jerk wahoo with ginger plum sauce. Place settings are graced by bone china and silver.

Windmills Plantation
Dreaming of Tyra Banks in a skimpy bikini? You're excused. This reclusive, exquisitely laid-back, slightly offbeat sanctuary on farflung Salt Cay was the setting for a recent Victoria's Secret fashion shoot. Built amid the sugary dunes in the style of a traditional Great House, this "plantation" oozes weathered charm. Eclectic and minimally appointed guestrooms boast their own tropical color schemes and creaky mahogany four-posters. The Caribbean-inspired cuisine, served family style from a table d'hôe menu, is divine. If forgetting the cares of the world is simply not enough, set out along a lovely two-mile nature trail or cast a lure with local fisherman (and former baseball player), Ossie Virgil.

Anacaona
French chef Eric Brunel conjures up magical Mediterranean-Caribbean fusion dishes at this elegant eatery that comprises two circular thatched palapas in Amerindian style. Flickering candles and tiki torches add a romantic touch to the delightful alfresco venue. Dress up in your finest togs, and start the evening with delicious conch ceviche with smoked cucumber and plantation salad in ginger and teriyaki sauce. A local "rake ‘n' scrape" band plays thrice weekly, tempting guests to dance beneath the stars. On other nights, sip specialty martinis and savor sophisticated world music in the hip beachfront lounge.

Provo Golf Club
Svelte to a tee, this beach-hugging championship course is ranked among the Caribbean's top ten plays. Created by renowned designer Karl Litton, the par-72, 6,529-yard course is watered by 300,000 gallons of desalinated water daily. Limestone outrcroppings stud the course, putting a quarry-like dimension on things. Waterfowl flock to the 12 acres of lakes and marshland. Rippling fairways hug the shoreline, the stupendous vistas causing tantalizing distraction, though not quite so much as the flamingoes strutting across the fairways in hot pink.
Provo Golf Club: +649.946.5991, www.provogolfclub.com

J&B Tours
Plough through the waves in a powerboat or enjoy more serene seafaring sojourns under sail. Whatever your nautical bent, J&B offers a long menu of options. Commune with rays and sharks on a scuba dive excursion to the Coral Stairway. Create your own catch of the day on a sportfishing trip to the Caicos Passage. Lazy landlubbers can be skippered aboard their very own yacht (leased for your cruise duration) while licensed yachters can cast off in one of J&B's sailboats for forays into the briny beyond.
J&B Tours: +649.946.5047, www.jbtours.com

Whale-Watching
It's not the heatstroke or last night's excess of piña coladas messing with your mind—it really might be someone swimming with the humpback whales only a few hundred yards from the beach. The leviathans love the shallow bathtub-warm waters. Although the whales can be seen off many islands, Salt Cay offers prime viewing. Local outfitters offer swim-with-the-whale excursions, or you can pluck up your courage and virtually wade out from Salt Cay's North Beach to commune with Moby Dick.

Published: 26 Apr 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

Best Hotels in Turks and Caicos

$427-$853
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Seven Stars Resort
$508
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Beach House Turks and Caicos
$1425-$1750
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Grace Bay Club
$1105
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The Regent Grand Resort

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