I travel a lot, checking out hotels and venues for our honeymoon and destination wedding clients. But I usually travel solo (to cover more ground), and certainly don’t celebrate like a wedding guest when I’m working! So when I got the invitation from my friend JoAnn Gregoli of Elegant Occasions (who also happens to be one of the country’s premier luxury destination wedding planners) to join her in Turks and Caicos to see how they do destination weddings at two of the Caribbean’s top resorts, I couldn’t resist the chance! Here’s part one of my recap, from Amanyara.
Amanyara is arguably the most exclusive resort in the Caribbean. Part of the luxury Singapore-based Aman hotel brand, it’s set on the northwest point of Providenciales, accessible by a long unpaved road that keeps everyone else away. The vibe is Asian zen, so it doesn’t really feel like the Caribbean; it feels like a luxury escape at the end of the earth, far away from the real world and all of its stresses.
The resort spans 110 acres but there are only 36 rooms, 2 suites plus 20 three- to six-bedroom residence villas. Every accommodation is sumptuous. The “rooms” are actually sexy standalone pavilions, with a platform king bed surrounded on three sides by floor-to-ceiling glass, and perks like outdoor bathtubs/showers, plunge pools and up-close ocean views, depending on room category. Our four-bedroom residence was more like a compound, actually; the wide yard was surrounded by hedges and had four standalone bedroom pavilions centered around a main living/dining pavilion, plus a ginormous full-length swimming pool with deck chaises and floaty rafts, and a flagstone path that led over the dunes to the beach. As if that wasn’t enough, the villa also had a dedicated chef and butler, who care of everything from golf-cart drives around the property to late-night champagne and munchies for midnight dips — seriously sweet!!
But what was most fun was getting to see firsthand how they do weddings and events. On our first night, they threw us a beach party by the main restaurant. First, we had cocktails and passed apps as we watched the sunset.
Then we headed down to the beach, where lanterns led to a rectangular table, topped with gorgeous white florals and surrounded by tiki torches. The floral design was done by Environmental Arts, the top florist in Turks and Caicos — simple and stunning, with a mix of seashells, lanterns and gorgeous roses and hydrangea.
It all looked even more stunning after the sun went down, and the firelight came out — proof that you can never have too many lanterns or tiki torches!
Miami’s own Kitty Carmichael was set up in the sand, having been flown in for the occasion by Elan Artists, one of the country’s top sources for DJs and live entertainment. Turks and Caicos gets great flight support so it’s easy to import special extras from the U.S. and go as elaborate as you want for events.
The next day, we hit the beach. The resort sits on a peninsula, with a mile and a half of sugar-white sand backed by the prettiest water this side of Tahiti. This is when you’re reminded that you’re in the Caribbean, with everything from sailboats to snorkeling at the offshore reef at your fingertips. Amanyara is adjacent to island’s top scuba sites, so if you dive, its a must here. But even the snorkeling is top-notch, with a dense reef and lots of colorful fish and sea turtles.
For our last night, we started off with cocktails on a rocky point adjacent to the main pool. It’s ideal for welcome cocktails or smaller ceremonies, followed by a reception in the main restaurant.
Then we headed to the resort’s premier villa #33 for our goodbye gala. Amanyara’s architecture is already stunning, and all the entrance needed was candlelight to set it aglow. (Again, there is no such thing as too much candlelight!)
Dinner was on held on the deck facing the sea. Tabletop decor again came from Environmental Arts, this time all pink, white and mirrored vases. The design would have looked perfectly in place in a stateside ballroom, and felt even prettier in this locale.
We had the run of the villa, complete with live music by The Social. Clad in white tux jackets and natty bow ties, they played everything from jazz standards to full-on dance music that got us all on the dance floor. We only had 16 guests but they can accommodate up to 80 for a wedding, extending out to the adjacent infinity pool deck.
Another special touch is that the food here is a pretty as the table. This filet mignon with artfully placed vegetables was almost too pretty to eat … and tasty too!
Of course, nothing makes a trip better than traveling with people you adore. Thank you, David Beahm, Bob Conti, Debbie Geller, JoAnn Gregoli, Aimee Monihan, Rishi Patel, Brian Worley and Jennifer Zabinski for all of the laughter and gab sessions, and to Josh Friedman and Kerry Beach of Elan Artists for giving us a great soundtrack to enjoy it all. Thank you, Scott Clark Photo for capturing such gorgeous images. And thank you, Amanyara, for an altogether outstanding experience!
If this piqued your interest for a wedding or honeymoon, let’s talk!