A rum punch laced with papaya? Your bartender, Gerald, has been waiting all day for such a challenge. A new pair of shades? Allow Miss Marion to select the right pair. Then, a deep tissue massage might be in order. And that’s just your first few hours.
Ambergris Cay, a private resort in the southeastern region of Turks and Caicos, features 10 Beachfront Suites each with its own butler, pool, GPS ready golf cart, boat and crew—and is touted as all-inclusive. The trick is learning just how expansive this offer really is. “There’s unlimited potential,” says island general manager Paul Mahoney, who swapped the mainland for island living 14 years ago. “We want you to treat this as your own private island.”
Up until eight months ago, it literally was just that for some: 1,100 acres (3 miles long, 1 mile wide) of a handful of privately owned homes with access to an island staff, restaurant, marina and clubhouse. The island is entirely self-sufficient, with its own Gulfstreamfriendly airport (the largest private runway in the Caribbean), fire station, and power and water plants. In late 2017, the esteemed Turks and Caicos Collection, an empire of boutique hotels including Alexandra, Beach House and Blue Haven resorts, took over the island. The priority: creating a world class experience. “It’s the first time the public can stay here,” Mahoney says. So far so good. “The first guests who visited ended up buying their own house,” he adds.
Why wouldn’t they? Surrounded by sugar sand and the perfectly transparent turquoise sea for which Turks and Caicos is famous, guests can fish (a tuna catch is not out of the question), snorkel (yes, that was a stingray!), enjoy a catered picnic on the abandoned beach on Little Ambergris Cay, kayak, sail, bike, play tennis... and the list goes on. For nonsporting types, the resort offers arts and crafts, movie nights, a library, and pretty much any spa service and activity you can think of. The staff, in other words, aims to please.
Canadian businessman Henry Mensen had the luxe life in mind when he co-bought the island back in 1995 and set up home there. He explained his vision to Times of the Islands magazine: “Owners need only inform us of when they will arrive and what they want waiting for them, and it will happen,” says Mensen. “From opening and stocking their homes with food and beverages to making appointments at the wellness spa or arranging for charter fishing or excursions to the other islands or planning and catering a party, while they are here, their every wish will be provided for.”
Those words remain the mantra of life at Ambergris Cay now more than ever. As Francisco Hodge, operations manager, puts it, “We simply want to give our guests and homeowners a wow effect.” Rooms from $1,800 per person, per night, ambergriscay.com