At Parrot Cay, relaxation is favorite recreation

PARROT CAY, Turks and Caicos -- It took just one stay at a secluded, exclusive property like Parrot Cay here for me to realize just how unrelaxing, busy and stressful a holiday at many of today's large resort "vacation factories" in tropical locales teeming with tourists, can be.

During a brief (three-night, four-day) stay at this Como Hotels and Resorts property on nearly empty Parrot Cay -- just a stone's throw from busier North Caicos Island -- my traveling companion and I did little but sunbathe, dine, nap and swim, apart from one hour of exercise each morning in the fully equipped gym and a single massage session apiece at the on-site Shambhala spa.

No running between snorkeling, parasailing, scuba diving, banana-riding or water-skiing appointments for us, although resort staff could arrange those and other activities for motivated guests. No, we simply were, and enjoyed every minute of it.

Just as the couple who shared the boat ride with us from Providenciales -- repeat visitors returning for a second visit, without the kids -- had promised.

"You're going to love it," they said. "There's nothing to do."

More accurately, most guests seem to choose to do nothing; there are free yoga and Pilates classes at the spa each morning, and management can arrange activities such as spelunking on Middle Caicos or beach picnics on secluded island strands.

Our big decisions each day were whether to sun on the 3.2-mile white-sand beach or by the 5,500-square-foot infinity pool; it mattered little, as the clear, turquoise waters of each were indistinguishable.

Next on the agenda was what to have for lunch and dinner: Asian fusion at the poolside Lotus eatery first, then Mediterranean at the Terrace Restaurant in the hotel? Or vice versa?

The excellent meals at both ranked near the top of my Caribbean dining experiences, and reservations weren't a problem, as access to Parrot Cay is limited to paying guests.

They also ranked high on the cost scale: Each three-course meal, without alcohol, for two people cost more than $100 for lunch and $200 for dinner.

Agents should advise clients that room service is the only other dining option at Parrot Cay, and it isn't any cheaper. Items and notions in the gift shop are expensive, as well, so tell them to pack sunscreen.

Spa services, also pricey, are well worth the expense; a shiatsu session -- a $200 value, in a treatment room overlooking marshy North Caicos -- transported me to another plane.

Staff at Parrot Cay -- largely of Asian origin -- are accommodating and helpful to a fault.

When we did rise from our lounges, we wandered along Parrot Cay's beaches or through its dunes alone.

And though there was dining and dancing at the poolside Lotus restaurant one Friday night, we opted to linger on our suite's private veranda, gazing at the tropical skies before turning in for an early night.

To contact reporter Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].

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For more details on this article, see Parrot Cay resort relies on agents to fill rooms.

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