Fall in Love...Again
Is there any more satisfying a string of words a man could hear from his beloved on their first night at a resort he's selected for its romantic allure?
Skyrockets in flight!
Parrot Cay, in the Turks and Caicos, had long been a place I dreamed of going for an amorous escape. Not because it's a well-known hideaway for the likes of home owners Christie Brinkley, Donna Karan, Bruce Willis and Keith Richards (though I wouldn't mind being a fly on the wainscoting when and if the latter two gents get together for a neighborly howl), but because the resort quietly projects an image of enlightened beauty and serenity. A castaway private isle where you go to walk hand-in-hand on a dreamy sweep of sand lapped by tepid turquoise wavelets, have massages, take naps and read books in cozy intimacy with the one you love – and Thing One and Thing Two.
Yes, this romantic retreat was to be somewhat ... enlivened by the exigencies and antics of two rascally lads under the age of five. Let's stipulate that the Thing brothers aren't yet attuned to the concept of serenity and that their attitudes toward mommy-daddy togetherness have not evolved beyond the Oedipal. And that is why their primary caregiver and I were so secretly thrilled to meet a delightful Balinese woman with the 007-esque name of Martini. When she was introduced as a butler we magically heard the word nanny, and by the time we had enjoyed dinner for two that night in the very grown-up Terrace restaurant, the second honeymoon was underway in earnest.
You know going in that Parrot Cay is going to be nice - but what's it like? You kiss the world behind at Provo's marina and embark on a half-hour boat ride that delivers you to a four-mile-long, one-mile-wide slice of Out Island loveliness incarnate. Golf carts transport you down lanes lined with bougainvillea and frangipani, passionflowers red and white. The main campus – a small hotel on a hilltop, a smattering of beachfront houses, a pool/bar/restaurant pavilion and a gym – is quiet, almost to the point of monastic (or at least it was till we got there). Rooms and furnishings are by no means opulent, but they are spacious, gracious and eminently comfortable. Teak Balinese-style pieces and pervasive white muslin establish a tone of simple, functional elegance that's just right for the beach. And what a beach: Just over the dunes lies a mile-long stretch of sand so soft it pampers your feet as you walk. Pairs of lounge chairs with umbrellas are set apart at discrete 20-yard intervals, and the A-list private houses are down past a rocky point, so there's plenty of privacy for everyone.
One afternoon, Martini took the boys out to hunt for endemic lizards, and the love of my life and I slipped off to the Shambhala Retreat – a veritable temple of the soothing arts – for a couples massage, a blissful hour of sensual healing all the better for having been shared. Another day, Martini patiently coached the youngsters in crafts while we sought out the "old spa," a mostly forgotten oasis where it's possible to pass a couple of hours in near-total privacy, rotating between a hillside Jacuzzi, a plunge pool and a steam room. Seldom since the blessed arrival of Thing One had we enjoyed such a peaceful and, yes, romantic afternoon together.
It was then that we understood why the guests who'd arrived before us were walking around with beatific expressions on their faces, and what makes Parrot Cay a favored destination for a clientele that can go pretty much wherever they want: Parrot Cay isn't just a resort; it's a sanctuary, a place that has what it takes to soothe the harried, metropolitan soul.
"This really is a paradise," said my bride as we floated back to the room from our secret rendezvous. "If I were dead I'd like to walk down this path forever."
And so would I, as long as we could do it together.
From $690 low season ($930 high); 877-754-0726; parrotcay.como.bz
Choose Your Next Heart's Desire:
Three More Romantic Escapes
Amid a compound of all-inclusive resorts, this stylish Puerto Plata luxury boutique exudes understated chic with sleek and spacious suites, a rooftop pool and bar, and prime position on a sandy crescent perfect for romantic sunset strolls. From $286 in low season ($350 high). 809-320-3232; casacolonialhotel.com
Nothing's more romantic than a private-island retreat in the limpid waters of the Caribbean. Palm Island shines with water's-edge suites, five beaches, and stellar sailing and snorkeling opportunities off its 135 acres. From $725, all-inclusive, in low season ($855 high). 866-237-2157; palmislandresortgrenadines.com
This adults-only, 10-room Harbour Island boutique offers attentive service, fine cuisine and a villa-like ambience that draws honeymooners and anniversary celebrants. From $300 year-round. 242-333-2053; rockhousebahamas.com
Choose Your Next Heart's Desire: