And although it’s just two and a half hours by air from New York and one hour by air from Miami, this is a place that feels worlds away. It’s that convenience of closeness, coupled with the resort’s anything-goes atmosphere (service-wise, at least) that make Amanyara an ideal and idyllic place to purchase a vacation home. Before buying, however, consider some basic facts:
Contrary to what many believe, Providenciales lies just within the Atlantic Ocean, rather than the Caribbean Sea, which it borders. Locals and travel-industry insiders say that Turks and Caicos—only eight of whose 40 islands are inhabited—enjoys refreshingly unaltered coast and hinterland, thanks largely in part to its more popular neighboring island-countries, whose heavy tourist traffic inadvertently has spared Providenciales much of the commercialization and visitor wear and tear. As for Amanyara, the resort’s secluded beachside setting and contemporary design, which is uncharacteristic to the Caribbean, combine to create one of the region’s most spectacular and unique resort settings.
Amanyara occupies more than 99 acres along the coast of Northwest Point on Providenciales and is cocooned by a surrounding national park. Its secluded location opposite the island’s more commercial eastern side means privacy is part of its blueprint. Speaking of blueprints, the contemporary, sleek, Asian-style design of the resort by architect Jean Michel Gathy is among the most refreshingly unique—if unexpected—locations in the Caribbean.
Amanyara’s 40 one-bedroom, timber-shingled, raised guest pavilions, which are tucked within low-lying tropical foliage, are constructed primarily of glass and wood, allowing for an uninterrupted blend with the natural surroundings. Floor-to-ceiling sliding-glass doors on three of each pavilion’s four sides give way to views of tranquil ponds, rugged shoreline, or the ocean. Throughout, expansive teak decks give guests a place to linger outdoors.
Here at Amanyara, investment-minded travelers or those searching for a possible new vacation home will find particular interest in the resort’s collection of 20 three- to five-bedroom Villa Homes, which are available for purchase or rent. Villa Homes are similar to pavilions in their construction, style, and immediate setting—each is situated alongside the ocean or ponds on more than 1.5 acres of lush landscape—but are designed to mimic the resort as a whole on a more intimate scale. That is to say, each villa comprises a series of nine pavilions arranged around a reflecting pond and a square or rectangular infinity-edge pool, the latter of which is made from the same black, Indonesian volcanic rock as the resort’s main pool. In addition to the four individual bedroom pavilions, each villa includes a main living and dining pavilion, a kitchen and staff pavilion, an office pavilion, an outdoor dining pavilion, and an entrance pavilion, for a total of more than 12,000 square feet of covered living space. Pursuant to the one-with-nature feeling guests are likely to experience here, some freestanding bedroom pavilions feature alfresco showers and tubs in addition to the standard indoor facilities. Select villas also come complete with an additional internal reflecting pond.
Villa prices start at a cool $13 million and top out at about $20 million, with options for furniture, fixtures, and equipment. (At press time, three villas were available for sale.) So what’s included in the multi-million-dollar price tag? Amanresorts, Amanyara’s parent company, administers payment of utility bills and other owner-related expenses on behalf of the villas’ owners and maintains accounting records. Property-management services, including maintenance, security, housekeeping, and gardening, are also provided, as are amenities like linens and toiletries. Exceptional care of the villa and its occupants is overseen by a minimum two-person staff (cook and housekeeper), which villa owners often report as among the highlights of owning a home here. “We bought our villa at Amanyara because we wanted somewhere easy to escape to with great weather year round,” says one Amanyara villa owner. “The setting and the architecture and the beach are all wonderful, but what really makes Amanyara special is the staff. The service is simply fabulous, so we can totally switch off and let them take care of everything. Although our villa has a team of two full-time people, we feel like we have the whole team of 250 at the resort at our fingertips.”
This type of white-glove service, for many owners, means less time spent handling the hassles of vacation home ownership and more time enjoying that much-needed escape to its fullest. “We treat our time there as spa time,” the owner continues. “We swim and play tennis, take long beach walks and have massages and [practice] yoga; we eat super healthy and we play lots of games with the kids or with friends. We watch lots of movies and take boat trips to neighboring islands for picnic lunches, or we just take a Hobie Cat or a canoe and splash about in the sea.” Another appealing option for would-be villa owners? “When we are not using the villa, we send friends and colleagues to stay, or we let the hotel rent out the villa for us.”
But the benefits of owning an Amanyara villa extend beyond the obvious creature comforts into a big-picture philosophy, according to John Vasatka, Amanyara’s general manager. “Amanyara offers an unparalleled ownership experience owed to a truly unique combination—a ‘beautiful by nature’ destination, with Turks and Caicos offering year-round warm weather, spectacular beaches, and unbelievably turquoise waters; and the Amanresorts philosophy of highest service excellence, giving owners not only a hassle-free experience but also going beyond their expectation level at all times. This is paired with a unique architecture and amenities for young and old, families, couples, and singles wanting to get away from it all,” Vasatka says. “Each villa owner [can take comfort in] knowing that the villa is managed and serviced by one of the leading hotel groups in the world, Amanresorts. These factors make Amanyara special and unlike any other destination.”
Of course, as Vasatka points out, villa owners do also enjoy privileges throughout the resort, where leisure options and amenities are many, from food and beverage to entertainment and media to outdoor recreation. Home to the planet’s third-largest barrier reef, Turks and Caicos is widely revered as one of the best dive destinations in the Caribbean, if not the world. As Amanyara is situated on the western side of Providenciales looking out over the pristine reefs of Northwest Point Marine National Park, owners and guests here are treated to an exceptional dive experience. A barrier reef also runs the complete 17-mile length of the island’s northeast coast, which residents and guests can explore underwater via Amanyara’s fully equipped Dive Pavilion, run by Big Blue Unlimited. New to scuba? Not to worry. Big Blue’s professional team of dive masters and instructors offers a range of courses for divers of various skill levels, from introductory scuba all the way up to advanced and specialty courses.
Eye-popping dive sites abound in the waters surrounding the island. In fact, below the surface, about 500 meters from the beach directly in front of Amanyara, dive clients will discover the coral reef walls of the Northwest Point Marine National Park, a five-mile fringing reef system that runs parallel to the coastline. Here, divers will spy Boulder Star coral, Elkhorn coral, and gorgonians of various species that provide shelter for schooling fish, turtles, and spotted eagle rays, as well as grouper, snapper, surgeonfish, butterfly fish, angelfish, and jacks. Eagle-eyed divers might spot a number of shark species that inhabit these waters, like scalloped hammerhead, reef, and lemon sharks, or even bottlenose and spotted dolphins.
Perhaps perfect for those who prefer to explore at a more leisurely pace, or if you want to witness Providenciales’s aquatic environment from both below and above the surface, Big Blue Unlimited offers guided snorkel tours, as well as kayaking trips through the Frenchman’s Creek Nature Reserve. Conveniently, one of the best snorkel spots lies just off of Amanyara’s beach, where the sea’s sandy bottom declines gradually until the reef wall falls away, revealing a dramatic, sheer vertical drop to nearly 7,000 feet. Here’s a tip for villa owners and guests who plan to stay at Amanyara during winter months: Humpback whales can be spotted here—from villas, pavilions, the resort bar, and other spots around the property—during their winter migration (January through April), and it is a beautiful, breathtaking display to behold. Rounding out Amanyara’s aquatic options are chartered boat trips to other Turks and Caicos islands, as well as fishing trips, during which clients can wrestle the rare and elusive bonefish, known as the Caribbean’s ultimate “fighting fish.” They also might hook wahoo, tuna, or kingfish.
Back on land, Amanyara villa owners and resort guests can while away their days in any number of ways. One of the most popular venues on site is The Serenity Villa, Amanyara’s combination spa and wellness center. The Serenity Villa comprises four double treatment pavilions, where spa goers are treated to a variety of massages, wraps, scrubs, facials, and beauty services (for added privacy, guests need only to request that staff administer services in their own pavilion or villa). Those focused on fitness can turn laps in The Serenity Villa’s swimming pool before stretching out on one of several surrounding chaise lounges; perfect their Downward-Facing Dog in an outdoor yoga sala; or take in a lesson on the Reformer in the Pilates studio. Amanyara guests vary in everything from their backgrounds to their physical and spiritual philosophies, and the resort’s physical fitness and wellness options also vary in order to meet their many different needs; for example, a Master in Residence can guide guests through the latest holistic healing practices, while private yoga, Pilates, meditation, or personal training sessions can also be arranged.
In addition to wellness, downtime at Amanyara can mean perusing the resort library’s collection of coffee table books, travel guides, novels, reference books, newspapers, or magazines (all best enjoyed on the adjoining reading terrace, overlooking the central reflecting pond), catching up on email, or checking out board games, CDs, and DVDs. A great spot to gather the kids for movie night or the perfect place to watch a big game is Amanyara’s multimedia screening room, which bears 30 leather seats and is equipped with a DVD and VHS player, cable TV, high-speed Internet, and video/data projection capabilities.
As happens during many a well-deserved getaway, dining at Amanyara tends to take center stage. The resort’s on-site dining venue, called simply The Restaurant, is as beloved by guests for its ambience as it is for its cuisine. Its dining room is divided into two areas: one open to the breeze and the other climate controlled. The former includes seating on a sunken terrace beneath two large trees, and the latter area opens to an outdoor balcony that gives way to views across the central reflecting pond. The Atlantic can be seen from each. Cuisine here showcases Asian and Mediterranean styles of preparation, but, of course, fresh seafood is always in the spotlight. For more casual fare during the day, try the Beach Club, situated on a dune above the southern end of Amanyara’s white-sand beach.
Providenciales offers plenty on its own, including sophisticated shopping and more down-home dining (and vice versa, depending on your mood). “When we explore the island we love to shop for local crafts at Belongings or have lunch with the locals at one of the great little conch shacks in Blue Hills,” says our villa owner. But villa owners, Vasatka says, “have grown into a unique and close community” and easily could go their entire stay on the island without setting foot outside the resort. And with a world of offerings, opportunities, and services at their beck and call, it’s easy to see why they might never leave this peaceful place. http://www.amanyaravillas.com By Lindsay Lambert