Four World-Class Private Island Resorts

written by | Posted on October 2nd, 2012

peter island resort & spa

Peter Island, also in the BVI, is bigger than Guana Island. Not only does it accommodate more than 100 guests in its 52 rooms and suites, plus three villas, but it has a marina with 15 slips, four moorings, and dock space for three megayachts. There’s a helipad for your clients’ choppers, but failing that, a driver meets arrivals at Tortola (EIS) and takes them to Peter Island’s boat for the short ride to the resort ($60 pp, roundtrip).

The 10,000-sq.-ft. spa, with its 10 treatment rooms, two Ayurvedic physicians, meditation garden, couples’ suites, fitness center and yoga classes, is one of the best in the Caribbean. Peter Island offers a choice of restaurants and lounges—this private island is big on choices—and even holds a weekly Vintner’s Wine Pairing Dinner. Outdoors, guests enjoy typical private-island activities like snorkeling and biking, but Peter Island also has its own dive shop, four tennis courts, and a yacht charter operation (contact Judy Rydburg at 284-441-3289, silmaril41@hotmail.com).

The Ocean View rooms, a 5-minute walk from the beach, start at $775 a night Jan. 4-March 31; add another $95 pp for MAP or $140 pp for FAP, $85 pp for a beverage package, and an 18 percent tax and service charge for a maximum $1,445.50 per couple a night, plus $120 for boat transfers from Beef Island Airport. Sue Kang, product manager of luxury travel agency Island Destinations, describes the rooms as “rustic looking with accents of Caribbean decor. There are no TVs, as the island offers so many activities, you don’t have time to watch TV!”

The 3-bedroom, 3,626-sq.-ft. Hawk’s Nest Villa isn’t cheap, but it offers good value: With FAP and transfers, it costs $4,600 a night plus 18 percent. All three villas come with expansive terraces and private pools. Naturally, single-resort islands attract honeymooners and other couples. Peter Island also accepts kids over 8 years of age (younger by request), but, Home-Phillips advises, “clients are on their own to entertain them.”

“We offer FAMs in collaboration with our tour operator partners, the tourist board, and sales partners,” says Marike Friends-Fifield, the resort’s director of sales. FAMs don’t include air, and typically they don’t include spouses, either, “but they may if arranged on an individual basis.” For island buyouts, contact Friends-Fifield at (284) 495-2000, mfriends@peterisland.net.

Parrot Cay in Turks & Caicos boasts more than three miles of secluded beaches

parrot cay

The newest of these four resorts, chic Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos is a Como Hotels and Resorts property with 74 rooms and villas, plus Parrot Cay Estates, also part of the rental pool. It’s the kind of hideaway that has attracted Paul McCartney, Madonna, Liam Neeson and other celebrities.

The closest international airport is Providenciales (PLS), where arrivals are picked up and driven to a Parrot Cay boat, which takes them to the resort (35 minutes). Transfers are included for passengers on scheduled flights, but there is a charge for arrivals by private plane. Given advance notice, helicopters may land on the island, too.

Parrot Cay boasts more than three miles of beach, 175 species of birds, and chefs who please sophisticated palates. The Coma Shambhala Retreat offers holistic Asian and Western treatments, beauty therapies, yoga, Pilates and even acupuncture. Like Peter Island’s spa, Parrot Cay’s is one of the best in the region. Home-Phillips neatly characterizes the resort as “luxury with a Zen twist.”

The Terrace Rooms are surprisingly affordable for such a stylish destination—just $475 (plus 21 percent tax and service charge) Jan. 4–April 4, including breakfast, boat transfers from Providenciales, yoga, Pilates, non-motorized watersports and more. (Guests may spring for diving, fishing, and eco-tours, too.) Each Garden View room ($750) includes a four-poster king with white voile, air-conditioning, minibar, verandah and Balinese furnishings. Rates rise above $3,000 for a 1-bedroom beach house. For family vacations, the 5-bedroom Tamarind Villa ($13,700 a night starting Jan. 4) is splendid; inquire, too, about Donna Karan’s 8-bedroom, wood-and-glass Sanctuary compound. Parrot Cay accommodates wedding parties and other groups of 50-120; e-mail groups.parrotcay@comohotels.com. “Revenue manager Keyona Coward has been very helpful in fulfilling special requests,” says Kang. FAMs are available on a case-by-case basis.

P.S. Parrot Cay is also, Home-Phillips notes, “the most kid-friendly of the four resorts.” The staff customizes family activities, and the chefs prepare special meals for children. Bonus: Those fries may be made from organic potatoes.

the meridian club

This Turks and Caicos resort on 800-acre Pine Cay is a smaller, more traditional getaway. With its perfect 2-mile beach, 12 beachfront Club Rooms (suites, really), Sand Dollar Cottage, and villas, it’s the sort of place where “guests may come to dinner dressed conservatively but with bare feet,” says Home-Phillips.

When The Meridian Club recently added a new spa and updated its pool deck, outdoor dining areas, tennis facility, and other amenities, it was careful not to radically change its look, and for good reason: The Club has 60 percent repeat bookings; its guests are so loyal, you generally have to book February a year in advance. Like Parrot Cay, The Meridian Club arranges for a car-and-boat transfer from Provo to the resort. There’s no charge for hotel guests; villa guests must pay for a taxi (about $35) and $200 for the boat ride, although they pay less if they’re sharing the boat with guests of the hotel proper.

Among the many activities included in the rates are biking, kayaking, paddle-boarding, Hobie Cat sailing, and boat trips for snorkelers (underwater visibility here is more than 100 ft.).

Beachside tiki hut at Parrot Cay

The diving and fishing—flats, reef, deep-sea—are superb, the staff can arrange golf on Providenciales, and the glow-worm boat tour, offered five nights after each full moon, is not to be missed.

Children age 12 or older are welcome, but most clients are sophisticated middle-aged people. Instead of relying on TV, says general manager Beverly Plachta, “We create an atmosphere that encourages people to engage face-to-face, not electronic device to electronic device.” New guests may arrive as strangers, but they leave as friends.

Although The Meridian Club does not offer an extensive dinner menu, the chef still manages to please everyone, in part because the reservations staff ask the right questions before guests show up. “We are not for everyone,” says Plachta. “We are perfect for the person who truly appreciates the old-style Caribbean.”

The Club Rooms (jr. suites), feature tropical decor, screened porches, cool breezes instead of air conditioning, and precious beachfront. They cost $1,140 a night for seven nights plus 11 percent tax and a 10 percent service fee. The Sand Dollar Cottage costs $1,290 plus 21 percent. Those rates include transfers from the airport and meals, although not beverages. Meals are not included in villa rentals, but villa guests may buy a meal package for $100 a day plus the 21 percent fee.

The Ultimate Island Wedding Package includes all 12 beachfront suites and the cottage (13 rooms dbl) for seven nights. April 1 to July 31 it’s $65,000 plus tax and fees. Beyond the weddings, Plachta recalls “only two necktie sightings in 10 years.”

The Meridian Club encourages FAMs, but air is not included. Depending on the season, it offers agents a night at 50 percent off; spouses are welcome. The hideaway also hosts agents for the day, and the visit includes lunch.

Archived related articles (available on recommend.com):

Private Islands Sizzle (November 2011)

contact information

Guana Island: (800) 544-8262 or (212) 482-6247; guana.com

The Meridian Club: (866) 746-3229 or (649) 946-7758; meridianclub.com

Parrot Cay: (866) 388-0036); parrotcay.com

Peter Island Resort & Spa: (800) 346-4451; peterisland.com/index.php