Gardens – Turks & Caicos Style

It’s no secret I love tropical climates, and not just for the warmer temperatures, but also for the lush green vegetation. There’s something particularly exotic about well designed gardens in such places, distinct from anything at home in my growing zone.

To celebrate the end of a significant chapter in our lives and the beginning of a new one, we planned a two week escape to the beautiful Caribbean destination of Turks & Caicos. We stayed at the urban chic Gansevoort on Grace Bay for the first week and then took a most memorable boat ride to COMO Parrot Cay for the second week. While the two properties were extraordinary, each provided very unique experiences.

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Of course I always pay particular attention to the landscaping, the gardens, the design of the setting. I’ve found this always plays a critical role in the overall lasting impression of a destination. It really sets the stage and creates a sense of holiday, mystery and excitement about being somewhere remarkably appointed. In this regard, neither resort disappointed.

The Gardens of Gansevoort

My third Caribbean travel experience and certainly the most impressive to date. I had stayed at the Gansevoort in New York, loved it, even met Tommy Hilfiger at the door checking in. Gansevoort T&C has a great location. Just far enough away from the fray of “touristy” hotels and beachfront, providing a sense of exclusiveness that defines a special place.

Gansevoort is a spectacularly designed property architecturally, reminding me of similar beachfront accommodations in Miami’s South Beach. The landscaping showcased it beautifully, with careful attention to the layout of paths for pedestrian traffic flow, adorned by lovely plantings and gardens surrounding the facilities. The layout provides many opportunities to find your own space either poolside or at the beach. It’s a smaller property and attracts a more adult audience, so a sense of tranquility and privacy prevails.

The modern architectural styling is enhanced with tastefully landscaped grounds featuring Royal Palms poolside and bright fuchsia and melon coloured Bougainvillea throughout the garden areas. The plan is informed by a central symmetrical design that threads the pool area to the beach’s Azure and Turquoise shoreline, connecting the whole property with a full sense of holiday.

It was a pleasure to visit and capture some of the aesthetic details with my camera – I hope you find them inspiring.

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COMO Parrot Cay

Parrot Cay had many of the characteristics we enjoyed at Qualia Resort on Hamilton Island off the coast of Australia. By that I mean the property itself leaves the island’s natural rugged character completely intact, while striking the balance of formal gardens and manicured grounds surrounding the colonial-styled architecture and public access paths to the various buildings, accommodations, the beach and pool area. At no point do these buildings or garden areas feel invasive or intrusive, but rather complementary. They simply blend into the surrounding natural habitat. This is the success of good landscape planning and aesthetic sensibility. Even though the wild is pervasive there is a subtlety of civility that has been graciously introduced.

The isolation of this retreat, was great for long beach walks, reading a book by the pool, a catamaran sail courtesy of COMO, or complimentary bikes to tour this huge resort. Even a banana and coconut plantation if you’re interested.

We thoroughly enjoyed this travel adventure, but in an effort to keep it real, I must warn my fellow Canadians that between the US dollar exchange (34%), the 12% sales tax and 10% service charge, not to mention tips, Turks and Caicos is outrageously expensive. However if that doesn’t deter you, it might be worth a once in a lifetime splurge – enjoy!

Also: Please be sure to take your bug spray and allergy medication, the sand flies are brutal (especially if you’re a bug magnet like I am).

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