Now that About.com has named Seven Stars Resort the best resort in the entire Caribbean—and just last year this Turks and Caicos getaway was hailed as the most romantic resort in the world—you might be wondering, is it really that good? And can it maintain its, uh, “star” billing?
A 107-condo/resort on Providenciales with three 7-story buildings on gorgeous Grace Bay Beach, Seven Stars Resort offers superb accommodations, cuisine, service, spa treatments, and sporting options, notwithstanding a quirky history. A developer who specialized in upmarket 7-story buildings (really) built Seven Stars Resort, named after the constellation Pleiades, with the idea that he’d put up seven mid-size condo buildings. But the 2008 financial crisis hit just as he finished the third, he couldn’t sell the property, and he got stuck managing it himself, which was not a good fit. Enter Ken Patterson, a mergers-and-acquisitions specialist who was one of the condo owners. In the spring of 2009 he formed a consortium of 50 owners to buy the whole property and take over its management. “Our aim was not to make money,” he points out, “but to improve the property.”
Patterson was in awe of the condos’ construction, and for good reason. Not only is it rock solid, from the sturdy foundation to the sea-blue roof tiles to the way sliding doors to balconies click shut just so, but the interiors sparkle, too. Seven Stars’ 107 accommodations, which range from 52 jr. suites to seven 4-bedroom condos, feature handsome wicker and dark wood furniture, four-poster beds, fine botanical prints, kitchens with cookware that inspire you to redo your own kitchen, marble floors, and marble bathrooms with hot tubs, glass-door showers, bidets and Kohler fixtures. Ground floor accommodations offer direct access to the pool and beach, but the views of the blue-and-green ocean from the higher floors are irresistible. The pool is heated in winter so guests can enjoy it even on a chilly (by Provo standards) February day. Speaking of weather, the tennis courts are lit at night so guests can play on hot summer nights.
we want watersports
When Patterson’s group, aka Santral Ltd., took over, Seven Stars had no watersports, so Santral added Hobie cats, windsurfers, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards. Patterson also assembled a team of skilled instructors, making Seven Stars a good place to learn a new sport. Santral bought a tender to ferry snorkelers to nearby reefs, and a 29-ft. private catamaran to take guests on half- and full-day snorkeling trips, sunset cruises and other excursions. The snorkeling here should not be missed: Providenciales’ reefs are teeming with tropical fish, turtles, barracudas and more, in part because the reefs have not been loved to death, and in part because it doesn’t rain much on Providenciales, so there’s little runoff.
Another day-trip, the Beach Getaway, is popular despite its $500 price tag: the catamaran drops a couple off on a deserted island beach with a sunshade, quality beach furniture, a gourmet picnic lunch, and a cooler with all sorts of drinks. Oh, and a mobile phone so they can call for a pick-up. “There’ve been a number of proposals on this excursion,” says Patterson with a smile, so the resort regularly prepares a second cooler labeled, “To be opened in case of emergencies.” That one has the champagne.
Back at the pool, a guest is overheard telling a new arrival, “We’ve bounced around a lot of resorts, but we landed here. This is our fifth stay at Seven Stars, and we’re planning our sixth.” His three children, well-spoken and well-behaved, entertain themselves swimming, snorkeling, playing volleyball, and admiring the local lizards. Seven Stars Resort guests, even the young ones, aren’t people who seek razzle-dazzle; that’s what they want to get away from. That said, there is a complimentary Stars Kids Camp with experienced counselors and facilities—Stickley-style furniture for the little kids, fine arts-and-crafts materials, a playground with a super-soft rubber floor—that make you want to be a child again. As Bryan Guillot, of the Thomas Lee Group, Seven Stars’ marketing company, explains, “Seven Stars Resort is kid-friendly, not kid-focused.” To that end, Patterson’s team just expanded the deck, an elegant, polished-wood boardwalk with private cabanas, and added an adults-only hot tub.
Seven Stars’ gym and spa look almost too well-equipped for a hotel with only 107 accommodations. The spa menu of massages, facials, and body treatments is extensive; the signature treatment, the 90-minute Island Dream ($180), features a full-body Swedish or aromatherapy (our pick) massage and a mini-facial.