Slowing Down and Eating Well at Amanyara
Stepping foot off the plane, we’re instantly hit by that intense but inviting Caribbean heat. What better antidote to busy lives than a spell in the West Indies? I couldn’t think of a better way to press pause on a hectic schedule than with a timeout on the island of Turks and Caicos, especially as I'd never been to this part of the world before. Bags rounded up, and a great start gets better — waiting for us in arrivals is our friendly Amanyara driver. "Welcome to paradise," he says, smiling.
Soon we’re ensconced in his Land Rover with ice-cold face towels, chilled bottles of water, and a music menu at our fingertips. Bob Marley selected — of course — and we’re heading to the luxury beach resort. Next in our fantasy-island welcome chain is a lovely lady who eases us into holiday mode with a quick tour of this five-star hotel. I’m soon feeling right at home — perhaps thanks to the revelation that the bar opens at 6 a.m. and doesn’t shut until the last person leaves. This is my kind of place.
Comfort is something Amanresorts does very well, and here at its only Caribbean outpost in a sprawling nature reserve, the hotel continues the tradition with aplomb. Like all Aman properties, the hotel — from its sleepy poolside salas to the recessed dining area on each pavilion’s private terrace — is architecturally inspired by the East. Hidden away in tropical gardens, the bedrooms are not only beautiful but they boast huge beds and old-fashioned bathtubs.
It’s pretty hard to imagine a hideaway one-upping our suite — especially when we discover that a quick swivel to our right has us stepping out onto that private swathe of beach. It may only be a small cove but it’s all we need to soak up those rays and swim in that crystal-clear sea in private. Set beside a vast sweep of untouched beach on the northern promontory of Providenciales, this stylish stay may only be 25 minutes from the airport, but truly feels as though we’ve stepped into another, incorruptibly tranquil, world. No surprise then that its name is the Sanskrit word for "peaceful place."
"Is there such a thing as too comfortable?" asks Mrs Smith, inspired by Amanyara’s enormous daybeds, which sprawl beneath the Thai-style cabanas alongside the 164-foot jet-black infinity pool. She has a point. There’s a very real danger that, once reclined, we’ll not be able to get up again for days. But with the sunlight beginning to retreat, we continue our pursuit for perfection with a stroll to find the ultimate beach. We find sand so soft and white, flanked by water so warm, we can see ourselves swimming well into the night.
While the look and feel of Amanyara may take breath away at every turn, it’s not making any dents on my appetite. Having been unsure what the Caribbean would have in store for us food-wise, as a chef, you’ll forgive me for hoping the meals on this isle don’t disappoint. By morning I’m ready for test number one: breakfast. Corn fritters, bacon, and relish with the sweetest pineapple in the world served overlooking the beach — delicious. The tastiest part? Enjoying it all from our own private terrace.