Ever dreamed of escaping to a privately-owned island in the Caribbean? Incredibly, thereâ€™s a widely unknown, hidden gem in the southeastern portion of the Turks & Caicos island chain. Called Ambergris Cay, it is aÂ private island that offers such an exclusive and private experience for its guests that few people even know it exists.
The challenge for most private islands around the world is getting to themâ€”it can sometimes take a whole day to get to a private island in the Caribbean even from the East Coast of the U.S. But at Ambergris Cay, it couldnâ€™t be easier. Unlike most other private islands around the world, Ambergris Cay has its own airport with a 5,700-foot-long runwayâ€”the longest private runway in all of the Caribbeanâ€”enabling private jets, such as a Cessna Citation or a Gulfstream IV to land here.
The resort can arrange for a customs and immigration official to meet guests who privately fly directly to the island, enabling its guests to depart the U.S. and avoid having to first land at the international airport on Providenciales that services the Turks & Caicos islands.
Ambergris Cay makes it as easy as possible for those who choose to fly commercial into Providenciales International Airport. Upon arrival, they are greeted by a representative of the resort. After clearing customs and immigration (and bags claimed), guests are escorted to one of the resortâ€™s brand-new twin-engine prop planes that will transport them on a 20-minute flight to the island. So, it is possible to leave New York on a morning flight and be on Ambergris Cay in time for lunch.
There are daily non-stop flights to Providenciales International Airport from many major cities in the U.S., including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Boston, on such major airlines as Jet Blue, Delta, United and American Airlines.
Ambergris Cay is a three-mile-long, one mile-wide (1,100-acres) private island owned by the Turks & Caicos Collection, an experienced owner/operator of three beachfront resorts on the nearby island of Providenciales. The island is not to be confused with a similarly named, Ambergris Caye, which is located in Belize.
Ambergris Cay is an all-inclusive resort with a real estate component that also offers ten luxuriously appointed one-bedroom beachfront villas. Ambergris Cay is on par with the worldâ€™s most exclusive five-star resorts, such as Jumby Bay in Antigua, Mustique, Richard Bransonâ€™s Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, or Laucala Island in Fiji.
â€śThis is a great destination for people looking for a tranquil, rustic island experience, with all the luxuries and amenities of a five-star resort,â€ť says Kevin Matier, Director of Sales and Marketing for Turks & Caicos Collection. â€śWe want to keep it Caribbean here and we want it to feel true and authentic.â€ť
But unlike most others, this island is uber-exclusive and private. Certainly, as word gets out about this outstanding destination, more people will flock to purchase homes or book villas there. The island is so exclusive, it is possible to feel like you are on your own private island, as you can go a whole day without bumping into another guest.
The one inhabitant you are likely to see, however, is a the native (and docile) Turks and Caicos Rock Iguana, an endangered species that is protected on the island (no pets are allowed on the island, in order to protect the iguanas).
â€śThis is a place where families donâ€™t have to worry about security,â€ť says Matier. â€śThis is a place where kids can run around free.â€ť
A stay at Ambergris Cay is all-inclusive and includes butler service, and all food and beverages, including 24-hour room service and meals served at its restaurant. As each villa is equipped with its own golf cart, complete with GPS (and re-charged nightly by your private butler), it is easy for guests to get around the island, should you want to explore different beaches or the various amenities offered by the resort.
The rack rate (based on double occupancy) is $3,000 per night, while during the summer season it is $2,000 per night (there are some special packages offered, which can be seen at this link). Rates may be higher during the winter holiday season.
The resort currently offers one full-service restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating (additional restaurants are being planned for the future), which is a five-minute walk from the beachfront villas. Here, guests can dine on such dishes asÂ Black Angus New York strip steak, grilled Caribbean whole lobster, yellow fin tunaÂ or the catch-of-the-day. There is also a beautiful walk-up bar with a large patio and an outdoor fire pit.
The resort offers an infinity-edged swimming poolÂ with spectacular views of the sea.
Guests are pampered with a 30-minute massage every day. The spa, which boasts two private treatment rooms, is staffed by well-trained therapists, who offer a wide variety of massages, body treatments and facial treatments.
Beachfront villas are contemporary and airy. Luxuriously decorated, each is equipped with its own private plunge pool, covered outdoor seating area, and outdoor shower. Floor to ceiling glass walls on three sides of the villa offer spectacular views of the sea and magical sunsets (window treatments can be lowered and raised by remote control).
Each villa has a wet bar and in-room refrigerator stocked with complimentary water, soft drinks and beer. A flat screen television is discretely tucked away in a chest at the foot of the bed (it magically appears at the touch of a button). Villas are outfitted with central air. Bathrooms are stunning with showers that offer two shower heads and two entrances.
Relaxing on the island, which is surrounded by sand bars and coral reefs, is hard not to do, as it is tranquil and serene. The Caribbean sea is mesmerizing, and it is possible to see all kinds of aquatic life while wading through its crystal-clear turquoise water, just steps from the private villas.
For those who love flora and fauna, the island is known for its abundant supply of Turk’s Head Cacti (Melo cactus), the cactus species for which the Turks and Caicos Islands is named. The cactusâ€™ name is derived from its similarity to the Fez (a Turkish hat).
The island offers a wide variety of activities to its guests and members. All non-motorized water sports are included, including snorkel equipment, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and sail boats. The resort can arrange for a picnic on a nearby sand bar, deep sea fishing, snorkeling adventures, waterskiing and tubing.
There are two Har-Tru tennis courts and brand-new bicycles with which to explore miles of trails. Complimentary activities include bone-fishing, kite surfing lessons, guided nature walks, and kayak and stand up paddle board excursions.
The Clubhouse, which is located in a cove, offers an arcade, ping pong, billiards, and gaming stations. Here, there is also an arts and crafts studio that is ideal for young guests who want to paint or draw. It is possible to arrange for grilled light fare (burgers, salads and paninis, etc.) to be served at the Clubhouse.
For fitness buffs, there is a gym equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, a yoga studio and a weight room. On a daily basis, there is also a trainer who will lead groups through an outdoor fitness course.
Although there is not a golf course on the island, the resort will arrange for golfers to play on one of several courses located on Providenciales (“Provo”). The resort will fly golfers to and from the airport on ProvoÂ on a complimentary basis, though greens fees and golf equipment rentals are a separate charge.
If a guest or homeowner wants a shopping excursion or a day at the celebrated Grace Bay Beach, Ambergris Cay will fly them to and from Provo on a complimentary basis. While there, they can visit one of the other boutique resorts owned by Turks & Caicos Collection (Alexandra Resort, Beach House Turks & Caicos or Blue Haven Resort)Â where all food and beverages will be offered on a complimentary basis.
There are approximately 20 homes on the island and the resort is currently selling lots as well as building custom homes. As part of a homeownerâ€™s association fee, residents are given full access to all of the resort amenities. Homes currently for sale start at $4 million. For those who own homes, the resort is offering full service management, and will also oversee a rental program for owners who wish to participate. There are no property or income taxes to pay in the Turks & Caicos.
â€śOwners can have the dream private island home they want,â€ť says Matier. â€śAnd the home can be revenue positive if they choose to rent it out. Here, you have the ability to have the home maintained at zero cost, by renting it out.â€ť
The island features a full infrastructure already in operation, from a reverse osmosis water purification system to an independent electrical generation system. Thereâ€™s a cell tower that provides phone and high-speed internet access and a fully-staffed fire department. Employees of the resort, as well as construction workers, are housed in dormitories on the island, so there is never a shortage of staff.
A videoÂ about Ambergris Cay can be seen below.