My husband and I stepped off the plane at Providenciales International Airport (PIA) not knowing what to expect. We had first heard of COMO Parrot Cay only a few weeks earlier. Inadvertently we “discovered” this paradise while watching Private Islands on the AWE (A Wealth of Entertainment) network. Looking for a romantic getaway at one of our all-time favorites, The Four Season’s Resort in Maui, Hawaii or making our way to the Greek Isles to see
stucco-white cliffside houses overlooking the Mediterranean was on our agenda. But, COMO Parrot Cay intrigued us with its pristine beaches, A-List clientele and beachside villas with private plunge pools. We decided to take the chance.
Upon landing, we were greeted by a chauffeur who whisked us to a private boat that was waiting for us at Leeward Marina. The hotel manager handed us glasses of champagne and encouraged us to try the light snacks which included freshly baked banana-rum muffins with bananas grown on Parrot Cay in the resort’s own banana plantation. Little did we know that this was just a hint of the pampering that we would experience on our getaway. We stepped aboard the cabin-cruiser and swiftly sailed across the crystal-clear water leaving any thoughts of reality in the waves of the wake that trailed behind like a wagging white tail.
Once on Parrot Cay we were escorted by golf cart to our 1-bedroom “house” sitting on a dune with beach grasses blowing in the breeze next to the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Inside the charming abode, calming colors of crisp white, sand and teak soothed the soul. Textural organic elements of organza, stone and wood brought a sense of grounding to the space. It became evident that this was a place to unwind, recharge and disconnect from the outside world. It made sense that a handful of A-List celebrities like actor Bruce Willis and model Christy Brinkley own estates and call Parrot Cay home when they want to escape the frenetic pace of their celebrity life.
Sitting down for our first meal, we discovered that COMO Parrot Cay had a desirably different take on the typical cuisine, service and holistic orientation found across the Caribbean islands.
When traveling in the islands we are accustomed to leaving our healthy lifestyle behind. The typical Caribbean fare includes food choices of heavily breaded conch fritters, fried plantains and sugary Pina Coladas that pack on quick pounds and leave one feeling sluggish. We also know that we need to discard our fast-paced expectations and adjust to the standard “island-time” service that moves at a frustrating snail’s pace. Thankfully COMO Parrot Cay is different. The COMO company’s guiding principles are based on holistic wellness, exquisite culinary experience and extraordinary service.
The staff goes above and beyond to anticipate and deliver quickly on any desire. When the staff found out that I am gluten-free, the chef made a point of making freshly baked breads at breakfast and desserts at dinner to accommodate my dietary needs. We realized that we had a choice of two menus, the standard menu that was filled with healthy options and the Shambala menu that included nutrient-dense clean eating or raw food options. We fell in love with the fresh juice and smoothie menu that had choices designed to encourage body wellness and optimization. My favorite juice was the “Cool Down”, which was a perfect concoction of watermelon, cucumber and mint that I savored after my morning workout. It professed to “reduce internal heat, hydrate and relieve headaches”. My husband’s favorite was the “Lean & Greens” that stated to “Build lean muscle, boosts energy, immunity, bolsters detoxification systems”. We both agreed that we could have come on this vacation and actually lost weight and become healthier… this is a far cry from the standard Caribbean vacation that can pack on the pounds!
The Shambala holistic experience is not only related to healthy food options but also wellness experiences like yoga classes offered in the Yoga Pavilion and spa treatments in the serene Spa Pavilion designed to balance and heal the mind, body and soul. The yoga culture at COMO is heavily influenced by Rodney Yee who is one of the most prolific modern-day yoga teachers. COMO Parrot Cay also has a holistic ayurvedic and naturopathic doctor on staff. The Fitness Pavilion is a modern facility containing a full assortment of cardio and strength training machines perched on top of a hill with waterway vistas and views of the neighboring North Caicos Island.
We were given a private tour of a few of the Private Estates located on the island. I learned that Donna Karan not only owns The Sanctuary Estate on Parrot Cay, she has also been an integral part of helping her dear friend Christina Ong, owner of COMO Resorts, establish the beautiful design aesthetic of COMO Parrot Cay. Donna Karen describes her collaboration in the resort interior design saying, “I see Chris as the Zen and I am the Urban.” Her influence is seen all over the resort and most notably in the other Private Estates. Rolling Stone Keith Richard’s Rocky Point home has an iconic DK Pouf. Balinese furnishings were arduously transported to the island and can be seen throughout the property. Christina Ong and Donna Karan have meticulously curated a refreshingly harmonious environment throughout this beautiful island.
The Shambala foundational pillars of wellness, cuisine and service that Christina Ong built the Como Parrot Cay experience on, rejuvenates the mind, body and spirit. The white sand and warm crystal blue waters of the enchanting Caribbean Sea soothes the soul. The tranquil design elements within the resort and estates create a rejuvenating oasis. The combination of these elements produces a dynamic holistic escape allowing one to recharge and connect to the natural rhythm within.