IF BEING FETCHED from the airport via a grand, white motorboat zooming its way across the crystal blue water doesn’t tip you off to the exquisite honeymoon you’re about to enjoy, the scene that unfolds as you zip from the dock to the main hotel in your chauffeured golf cart upon disembarking should make it pretty clear: You’re not in the real world anymore.
You are, instead, on Parrot Cay, a 1,000-acre private island in the Turks and Caicos islands, nestled in the northern Caribbean. This sanctuary — an Indonesian-feeling resort with a mix of rooms, beach houses and private beachside villas (the owners of which range from Donna Karan to Christie Brinkley) — will do for your honeymoon what those extra hydrangeas in your centerpieces did for your wedding reception: It will simply make it. Lounge on the white-sand beach or in a white-cushioned cabana by the 5,500-square-foot infinity pool, breaking only for your midday massage at the award-winning Como Shambhala spa — or venture outward on a chartered boat. Everything is tended to with the utmost detail and care, with an aura of such subtle luxury — it’s the type of place where you won’t even notice that it’s a movie star who’s scolding his grandchildren at the table next to you — you’ll find it hard to imagine returning to a life without it.
BY DAY: Start the day with an on-the-beach, 8 a.m. Pilates class, suitable for all levels (meaning yes, you can drag your groom) with instructor Lynda Lippin (who happens to be a past Best of Philly winner), then continue on to a well-deserved breakfast at one of the Terrace restaurant’s outdoor tables. Then, explore or lounge: Once you’ve learned the grounds, and how to meander from the beach to the spa without getting too lost, look into the long list of private boat excursions. (We recommend the Sunset Cruise or the Dream Day Getaway, where you’ll visit Iguana Island, and then snorkel and lunch on a secluded, stunning beach.) And we’ve mentioned the beach and the pool, no? If you find yourself in a private villa, you’ll have your own of each. (Don’t worry — the friendly attendants will still carry your drink orders all the way down to your little private stretch, and room service is prompt and divine.)
BY NIGHT: If you’ve booked yourselves into the eight-hour Como Shambhala Cottage, the tucked-away, private spa paradise where you’ll enjoy treatments (the Indonesian massage with traditional Javanese essential oils is not to be missed) and a candlelit dinner side-by-side, well, you’ll still be there by nightfall. If you’ve limited spa-ing to the daytime, dine at either of the resort’s restaurants, and exit with a bottle of wine for your next destination — Beachside Lounge Chair For Two. Or, stay holed up in your room or villa, having that wine brought to you, and leaving only to flip the “Privacy, please” sign on the door.
WHAT TO EAT: The outside, by-the-pool Lotus restaurant has a dimly lit, outdoor bar with cushy, colorful banquettes perfect for canoodling before or after dinner. With the waves as background music, you’ll find light, Caribbean flavors by day, and Japanese- and Thai-inspired cuisine by night. At Terrace, you’ll find modern, Italian-influenced cuisine, and to truly get into the spirit of wellness promoted by the resort, the healthful, non-dairy Como Shambhala Cuisine menu, with its emphasis on raw ingredients (think fresh sashimi, raw honey, organic produce and nut milks), is available anywhere on the island.
WHERE TO STAY: Because Parrot Cay stands for both the name of the resort and the tiny island itself, it’s the only option for this particular destination (parrotcay.como.bz). To peruse options on other islands, the islands’ tourism website (turksandcaicostourism.com) allows you to search by accommodation (villas, all-inclusives), as well as by individual island.
WHAT TO PACK: Your passport, plus about $30 cash each; there’s a departure tax to pay when leaving. Sunscreen, bikinis, flip-flops, cover-ups, and sundresses for dinners, plus yoga clothes if you plan to take advantage of the in-residence masters and their classes. Plan for a style that’s appropriate for both lounging in the heat and being in the company of celebs; you won’t want to wear your new hubby’s Metallica t-shirt over your suit here.