It makes sense that Amanyara, a resort that sets itself apart from the crowd, is literally set far apart from the Turks and Caicos crowd.
Turks is noted for Grace Bay Beach, a ribbon of white sand that stretches 12 miles along its main island, Providenciales, and is lined with dozens of resorts and villas.
Amanyara, an Aman Resorts property, is located about a half-hour from the main tourist strip, at the top of a rocky bluff on the very northwest point of the island, at the end of a bumpy dirt road.
As almost all guests do, I arrived at Amanyara in one of the resort's fleet of white Land Rovers. The reception area is part of an open-air, Asian-style wood structure that opens onto a serene reflecting pool surrounded by a library, the main restaurant and a circular bar with a soaring ceiling lined with individual sitting nooks that face the sea. Beyond that is the resort's 164-foot infinity pool and sun deck overlooking the coast.
Guests at Amanyara do not stay in rooms or suites but in pavilions and villas. I stayed in an entry-level pavilion, situated on the edge of a pond surrounded by mangroves. All pavilions have a combined bedroom and living room, and a large bathroom area with a full, free-standing tub, two vanities and a rainfall shower. The mixture of wood and stone is modern, clean and serene.
Every villa at Amanyara is private; it is virtually impossible to see or hear any other guest. And even though my villa did not offer an ocean view, I still awoke to the sound of waves crashing on a beach not far away.
The push of a button raised the blinds on the pavilion's three glass walls of windows. Morning sun spilled onto a small terrace jutting off the front of the villa over the pond, a perfect spot to perch with a Nespresso coffee, a fresh orange and a book.
I spent my three days at Amanyara making use of its complimentary bicycles to get around the resort, from the main restaurant and pool area, to its beach, the spa and the tennis courts and fitness center. If guests prefer, they can call for a pickup in a golf cart, which never meant more than a few minutes' wait.
Cycling around the resort, I never entirely understood the resort's layout of winding paths, which seems by design. It wasn't difficult to find anything, but the purposefully unmarked paths here give Amanyara a mysterious feel.
The combination of privacy and exclusivity makes Amanyara a favorite for celebrities. The staff is mum, but locals say that Roger Federer, Beyonce and Jay-Z have all been guests there, adding that nobody ever sees them because the resort is so private. That is except for Prince, who famously surprised guests with a poolside New Year's Eve concert in 2011.
The best place to see other guests is at the resort's restaurants. Both eateries offer fantastic settings and fresh, innovative cuisine. The main restaurant has indoor and outdoor tables, facing either the reflecting pool with its small islands of mahogany trees, or the ocean. It offers a small Asian- and Mediterranean-inspired dinner menu and a more extensive breakfast menu with an interesting assortment of teas and coffees. The Beach Club specializes in Wagyu beef dishes from a Robata grill, and local seafood dishes like South Caicos lobster, served up just above the waves crashing on the rocky coast below.
The beach itself offers the same turquoise water and white sand Turks is famous for, but in a wild, undeveloped setting. It is rocky except for a section where the staff puts out chairs and umbrellas. Several of the villas have private paths that lead right onto the sand. Amanyara offers a complimentary snorkeling trip every day to a site only a short swim away.
Whether staying at Amanyara or not, its spa is worth a visit. The treatment rooms are built around a reflecting pond out of the same woodwork and stone found in the rooms. The large rooms have bathrooms in the back for changing and outdoor showers. The spa's Asian theme goes beyond its look: Amanyara employs Asian masseuses and yoga instructors who offer Asian techniques. A platform over the pond with an ocean breeze is a relaxing and invigorating place to do yoga.
A great thing about Amanyara and all Aman resorts is never having to sign for anything or even say what pavilion or villa you are staying in. The staff somehow knows who you are from day one. Guests can get up and leave meals, drinks and spa treatments without thinking about tips, which are added in the final bill.
There are 36 one-bedroom pavilions, two two-bedroom pool pavilion suites and 20 three-, four- and five-bedroom villas. Rates begin at $1,700 in high-season and are inclusive of airport transfers; water sports and snorkel trips; tennis lessons as well as use of tennis courts and equipment; yoga classes; in-room minibar (except spirits); afternoon tea in the bar; in-room WiFi; and all telephone calls.
Follow Johanna Jainchill on Twitter @jjainchilltw.