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Parrot Cay

Enjoy quiet luxury and walks on the long white sand beaches

March 2006

Best for: Those in search of serene, quiet luxury and walks on the long white sand beaches

Location: The 1,000-acre private island is in Turks and Caicos, British West Indies.

Getting There: Fly to Turks and Caicos' Providenciales Airport via Puerto Rico.

Highlight: Rise with the sun and walk barefoot the 10 yards or so from your villa along a path defined by waving sea grass to the dazzling white, powdery beach. You might just run into Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Paul McCartney, or Bruce Willis; they have all at one time or another sunk their toes in this very sand. This morning, though, you see no one, just one or two trails of footprints and a pair of sandals sitting at the foot of the path. Could it have been just yesterday when you were whisked by private launch from the Providenciales Airport over the turquoise sea to this idyllic island?

Allure: Ringed by more than three miles of beaches, Parrot Cay (key) soothes and restores. You don't come here for nightlife, or casinos, or shopping. On Parrot Cay, life is purposely simple, a study in refinement as many rooms have private plunge pools, dreamy beds encased in gauzy fabric, bottled water delivered by butlers, pristine warm sand, and privacy.

Parrot Cay's 60 rooms, suites, villas, and beach houses are distributed along the beach and in its Mediterranean-style main hotel, which presides over a hillside. Spacious villas decorated in soft whites and neutrals have pickled-pine vaulted ceilings, screened sitting rooms, living rooms, large decks, kitchens, and a discreet array of entertainment equipment. The look is natural, the furniture arranged according to feng shui principles. Baths have polished pine vanities and large open tiled showers with rain-shower heads. Just outside, limestone walls surround another shower where the water reaches you after tumbling over a slab of rock.

Although the beach villas are the most luxurious accommodations, you can have a room in the main hotel that has water views, a balcony, and the same good taste in décor for a fraction of the price.

Local fare: The Terrace Restaurant in the main hotel is open for breakfast and dinner, whereas the more casual poolside Balinese-style Lotus restaurant by the sea serves lunch and dinner. On some evenings, you can listen or dance to live music. Cuisine features Mediterranean- and Asian-inspired dishes.

Deluxe pampering: COMO Shambhala is the resort's spa. Many of its massage therapists come from Bali, and options include an Indonesian-style treatment using Javanese essential oils and combining rolling and long kneading strokes, Thai massage, shiatsu, Indian head massage, Reiki, and reflexology. Ayurvedic offerings include the Abhyanga, where two therapists provide a four-hand massage and Shirondhara, in which a stream of warm herbal oil is poured over your forehead. Couples can book Shambhala's secluded cottage, which has a private open-air tub, deck, and treatment rooms for two. Parrot Cay has a well-equipped gym, an infinity-edged pool, kayaks, windsurfing and canoes, tennis courts, and bikes. Snorkeling and diving excursions are also offered. The resort's launch can take you island hopping, perhaps to Iguana Island, inhabited by the prehistoric-like creatures (rates from $285 for rooms; from $1,425 for beach houses; 904-288-0036,