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COMO Shambhala Retreat, Parrot Cay

Parrot Cay
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Does a place exist—a vacation destination so pristine in its beauty, so magical—that your boyfriend will be lulled into saying the words, “Sure, I’ll go with you to that pilates class”…twice? Indeed it does, and that fantasy land is called Parrot Cay.

I’d heard about Parrot Cay, the Turks & Caicos resort. Donna Karan owns a house there, “The Sanctuary”. Derek Lam often takes the quick flight down after his fashion shows, for a little R&R, and Tommy Ton documents his snorkeling pursuits (and Proenza “wetsuit”) in the clear turquoise water on JakandJil.com. I was invited to experience the crowning glory of Parrot Cay—the Shambhala Retreat—and, naturally, I couldn’t get there fast enough. Last weekend, armed with enough sunscreen to coat a family of five and an itsy-bitsy Lisa Marie Fernandez bikini, the BF and I scrambled out of rain-addled New York for greener (bluer?) pastures.

Parrot Cay is all about understated luxury. The main luxury being, at least for me, that it’s super private. The beachfront villas are flanked by walls of greenery, looking straight out to a pair of his and hers beach chairs. Breakfast is arranged in your sunroom, after which point you can take a dip in your own plunge pool. In fact, as one member of the attentive staff pointed out to me, there are guests who never even leave their rooms—you don’t need to.

But then, you wouldn’t experience Shambhala. The sanctuary is actually spread out into several treatment pavilions and, of course, the yoga and pilates studio. I’d like to say I spent most of my time fine-tuning my core, but that would be a fib. I ducked into the women’s changing area every chance I got, because it had an outdoor pavilion (totally walled off, of course) with a sun-dappled pool, waterfall showers, chaise lounges, and a steam room. “Relaxing” is an understatement. I went classic with my treatments: a “COMO Shambhala Massage” and “COMO Shambhala Purify Facial”. Admittedly, I fell asleep during the massage, but remember being thankful for the hibiscus flower/bowl situation on the floor beneath the headrest, not because it was visually pleasing, but because it would catch the drool. The facial utilized products from Shambhala’s own Purify skin care line, which is heavy on botanical and natural ingredients—rose hip oil, peach kernel oil, aloe leaf and yeast extracts among them. The practitioner was from Bali, and had worked at the sister site there (COMO Shambhala Estate). I don’t know what they’re teaching people in Bali, but let’s just say I think I’ll be asking for Balinese aestheticians from now on.

Back at the room, I eschewed my own haul of products in favor of the hotel’s line. The tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner, shower wash and moisturizer were surprisingly efficient and smelled incredible—their signature “Invigorate” scent blends Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lavender and Peppermint. I think the only other time I’d stockpiled as many in my luggage was with Acqua Di Parma at the St. Regis in New York, during a visit in my teens.

Even as summer rolls around, I’m already dreaming of heading back to Parrot Cay, and from what I’ve heard, it’s easiest now—the deals for June, July and August are the best of the year. Why wait?