When you arrive at Providenciales International Airport in the Turks and Caicos Islands there won't be any haggling with taxi drivers or nonsense with a car rental agency. Instead your luggage is gathered up by a cheerful chauffeur in a Land Rover and you're given chilled hand towels for the ride to Amanyara.
Twenty-five minutes later, you arrive at the secluded beachside property on the edge of Northwest Point Marine National Park where members of the reception staff have gathered outside to welcome you. By some uncanny trick the soundtrack in the car comes to a natural end just as you arrive.
Uncanny is sort of a thing at Amanyara, actually. When you emerge from the water onto the sand after your swim or snorkel, an attendant will be waiting with a towel and chilled bottle of water. No bills are presented to sign after meals (unless requested); the staff know who you are and greet you by name. If you've stayed at an Aman resort before, they will also know how you like your steak cooked and your favorite drink. But be a sport and try something new: Amanyara's "it" cocktail this year is a Thai lemonade made with Japanese yuzu, acai berry and a French ginger Cognac-based liqueur. The range of rums on hand is also impressive, and Amanyara has even infused some spirits with local fruits.
The whole experience is as perfectly polished as the teak pavilions that constitute the architecture of the place and seem to float above ponds and reflecting pools. There are no arrowed signs labeled "Dining Room" or "Restrooms" for the same reason you have no such signs in your own home. Single-bedroom accommodations are surrounded on three sides by sliding glass walls and lounging mats facing greenery and water. If you've brought the family you'll want a multi-room villa, which comes with the services of a private chef and housekeeper. Moroccan food tomorrow night, or would you prefer Japanese? Just say the word.
Amanyara's splendid half-mile white sand beach is where you'll find kayaks, sailboats, paddle boards, sailing catamarans and gear for scuba and snorkeling.
The resort's humidor is stocked by Angelo Marconi, the charming sommelier who is a stickler for Cubans. "No compromises here," he says without apology, fondling boxes of Cuaba Salomones, Cohiba Linea 1492 (Siglo series), and H. Upmann Monarcas. You can light one up after dinner in the bar that overlooks the infinity pool perched above the Atlantic. But Angelo won't mind if you choose, as I did, to bring your Cuban (in my case a Sancho Panza Belicoso) back to your room to spend a memorable hour in waterside privacy counting your blessings and the stars of the tropical sky.
P.O. Box 901 Providenciales
Turks and Caicos Islands, British West Indies
For reservations: 649-941-8133
US toll-free reservations: 1-866-941-8133
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