TURKS AND CAICOS IS TRADITIONALLY FOR THE experienced Caribbean traveler—mainly, couples who are not shy about spending a little money for that perfect trip to an exotic island. There are many great properties to book for those upscale clients. To help you narrow the options, we researched several of the destination's most notable resorts so you can determine which one is the best fit for your clients.
Parrot Cay Resort & Spa
First, actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner put this 1,000-acre private island resort on the map in 2005 by tying the knot here. Then Eva Longoria and Tony Parker re-energized the destination's celebrity appeal when they celebrated their honeymoon here in July.
Although the representatives of Parrot Cay (www.parrotcay.com) couldn't provide us with specific numbers, they did tell Travel Agent that the publicity from the two celebrity couples still draws guests. The mere prospect of seeing other stars might even clinch a sale. But don't rely solely on pitching this property as a celebrity hangout, as it has so much more to offer than a possible glimpse of some stars. In fact, Parrot Cay has long been one of the Turks and Caicos' most popular and appreciated resorts.
The best room here is the Three-Bedroom Villa at Rocky Point. Rates are $4,080 per night through December 20, 2007, not including 10 percent tax and a 10 percent service charge per night. Like at a lot of top properties at this point, there is no availability now for Christmas or New Year's.
One of Parrot Cay's most underrated rooms is Rocky Point's One-Bedroom Beach Villas, particularly room 1004, which is extremely private and secluded and has a heated plunge pool and an outdoor shower.
Parrot Cay offers a 10 percent commission. Agents should contact Richele Morgan, sales and special services manager of Parrot Cay Resort & Spa, at 649-946-7788 or [email protected] Another agent contact is Kiesha Meadows, reservations manager: 649-946-7745, 877-754-0726, or [email protected]
Regent Palms Turks and Caicos
We recently stayed at one of the finest properties we have visited in the Caribbean in quite some time. The recently re-flagged Regent Palms Turks and Caicos (www.regenthotels.com/thepalms) is perfect for couples looking for an unspoiled destination in the Caribbean and a resort that offers peace and quiet on just about every inch of its 12 acres.
We stayed in room 4203, a one-bedroom Oceanview Suite. Although it is not the top category, we highly recommend it. The suite has two balconies: one leading from the dining room, which has a small bed and overlooks the property's $1.8 million serpentine infinity pool with partial views of the ocean, and one leading from the bedroom, which is a little smaller and does not have a bed.
Check-in was done in our room. We were greeted by a welcome fruit and cookie basket and a bottle of water on ice, and noted that the kitchen was fully stocked with glasses, dishes and silverware and has a full-size refrigerator. The bedroom has a king-size bed, a TV (smaller than the one in the living room) and a DVD player. It also has a chair with a foot rest off to the side of the bed closer to the balcony. There are two closets in the bedroom.
This room costs between $625 and $1,800, depending on the season.
We also toured room 5504, a three-bedroom Oceanfront Penthouse that costs between $2,600 and $6,500 a night and could be closed off into a one- or two-bedroom penthouse as well. It's similar in design to the Oceanview Suite, but is more spacious. An outdoor Jacuzzi with front-and-center views of the ocean is its best feature.
The Regent Palms Turks and Caicos has two restaurants: Plunge, a poolside eatery, and Parallel 23. Both are open to locals and serve great food, but Parallel 23 is the best restaurant at the hotel and one of our favorites in the Caribbean as a whole. It serves local cuisine—mainly seafood, such as conch, and meat dishes. You can sit inside or outside, but, as is the case on all islands of the Caribbean, some mosquito repellent is recommended. The tables are lit with candles and a gas lantern hanging on the wall just outside the restaurant also lends a soft glow. This atmosphere is very old-fashioned and classy.
We had the Thai pumpkin soup as an appetizer and the char-grilled 14-ounce pork chop as our entrée. The soup is adorned with crispy tofu, pickled shiitake mushrooms and coconut cream and costs $15. It's worth it. The chop is soaked in garlic and thyme, topped with a foie gras torchon and served with a six-bean stew with caramelized red onions and asparagus. The stew gives the chop a sweet aftertaste. We recommend washing this $38 dish down with a bottle of Wishing Tree, a tasty chardonnay.
Commission here is 10 percent. Agents should contact Scott Hagan, reservations and revenue manager, at 866-877-7256 or reserva [email protected]
Nikki Beach Resort and Spa
This property will require a little imagination, as it is still about a year away from opening. Miami-based Nikki Beach recently announced Nikki Beach Resort and Spa Turks & Caicos (www.nikkibeachhotels.com) as the newest addition to its growing portfolio.
If this property is anything like its Miami counterpart, it should be a magnet for young couples and singles. Agents will be able to book this for guys' or girlfriends' getaways, as well as for young couples.
Just over an hour's flight from Miami, this Turks and Caicos resort could also attract many of the same guests as the Miami property does. Agents should note, however, that this property will most be luxury-oriented, not for your average spring breaker; and it will have a marina for yachters.
Nikki Beach Resort and Spa will rest on white sandy beaches within a gated 423-acre resort on the northeastern tip of the island of Providenciales and comprise a five-star hotel, spa, nightclub, signature Nikki Beach Club and eco-friendly marina. Nikki Beach Club, the Marina Club Villas and the marina will open in March 2008 and the 100-room Nikki Beach Resort and Spa will debut in 2009.
"Known for its natural beauty but lacking luxury resorts, Turks and Caicos has been a Caribbean destination for the adventurous traveler," Blair MacPherson, director of sales and marketing for Nikki Beach Hotels, tells Travel Agent. MacPherson says the new resort will have all of Nikki Beach's internationally well-known amenities.
As far as the commission for travel agents, Nikki Beach representatives told us they have not gotten that far yet, but are in the process of making such decisions.
The Tuscany Resort
The Tuscany Resort (www.thetuscanyresort.com) opened earlier this year on Grace Bay Beach, just 15 minutes from Providenciales International Airport on the northeast coast of the island.
Pitch The Tuscany to your high-end clients looking for an extremely upscale Caribbean vacation. The resort has 30 condominium villas along a 12-mile beach, each different in ambiance and décor. There's a night-lit tennis court, fully equipped gym, Italian-inspired courtyard, European-style swimming pool and extensive landscaping.
Each of the 30 villas is 2,000 square feet, with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. All units have extended screened patios with first-floor villas offering immediate beach access.
Upon entering the foyer, clients will find two guest bedrooms, each with full baths. Through the living room lies the master bedroom, which overlooks Grace Bay Beach. The master bath contains a platform-contoured soaking tub and a separate oversized shower with a European glass door.
In addition, villas have a laundry room, a fully appointed gourmet kitchen and dining and living room areas with floor-to-ceiling windows.
We were told there isn't any one room that is better than the others, since all the condo-hotel residences have the same floor plan, being three-bedroom units. Some clients might prefer the ground-floor suites, however, because of their easy access to the beach. Others may prefer top-floor suites for their panoramic views.
The property pays agents a 10 percent commission. Agents can call Terria Misick, general manager, directly at 649-941-4667.
The Somerset on Grace Bay
This 54-suite family-oriented property opened in June 2006 on nearly five acres along Grace Bay Beach. A fun offering is the unique Extreme Beach Croquet (which is particularly popular among families), tea parties, infinity pools with underwater sound systems and private outdoor hot tubs. For the kids, every room comes with an Xbox.
Rates at The Somerset on Grace Bay (www.gracebayclub.com) start at $500. The property's Estate Houses are the top accommodations; each has five bedrooms, making these the perfect option for big families. The Penthouse Estate is the best choice of all, as it has the same amenities as the other houses but is spread over two floors.
Estate House rooms have wraparound terraces with outdoor hot tubs.
The Penthouse Estate Room starts at $4,000 a night, while the regular estate houses go for between $3,000 and $4,000 a night, depending on the time of year. The property offers a 10 percent commission. Agents can call Karen Whitt, general manager, at 649-946-5900.
Grace Bay Club
On 11 acres of beachfront property, Grace Bay Club (www.gracebayclub.com) was considered one of the first all-suite luxury hotels in Turks and Caicos. The hotel, divided into two separate sections, comprises the adults-only hotel area with restaurant, bars and swimming pool, and the more family-friendly Villas with their own restaurant, bar and pool.
As part of an expansion, Grace Bay Club now has an additional 38 ultra-spacious suites, a new 5,000-square-foot Anani Spa and Fitness Center, an on-the-beach pool, a poolside grill and bar, a new reception area, entry court and children's eco-activity program at its Kid's Town child care center.
The 21 suites of the Hotel at Grace Bay Club range from 850 square feet to 2,150 square feet, each with one or two bedrooms plus a private terrace or patio with a direct view of the sparkling turquoise ocean. Accommodations are spacious: The average suite size is 1,200 square feet. Redecoration of all hotel suites was recently completed in spring 2007.
Hotel suites feature Turkish stone flooring throughout the living areas and hardwood flooring in the bedrooms. All bathrooms in the hotel have been expanded by 20 to 50 percent following the renovation and have Turkish stone floors, bathtub, glass shower with stone flooring and walls, double vanities and contemporary fixtures including granite vanity tops, custom wood cabinets and contemporary faucets and sinks.
For information and reservations, agents can contact Kathryn Kilburg, reservations manager at Grace Bay Club, at 649-946-5050 or [email protected]