The top fly-and-flop spot on the Turks and Caicos island of Providenciales, Amanyara is a beacon of luxurious isolation on the turquoise sea. A long-standing favourite with discerning travel insiders, the resort is a breath of fresh air in the sultry Caribbean heat. Tropical breezes waft through the timber-shingled open-air beach bar and dining pavilions. Guest villas have sliding glass walls on three sides, inviting in both balmy air and sunshine. Poised at the meeting point of the aquamarine Caribbean and the sapphire Atlantic, Amanyara’s true glories are its deserted mile-long beaches of talcum-soft sand and intensely blue-green water.
It should come as no surprise that the guestbook is a veritable Who’s Who of A-listers drawn to the peace and pamper factor. Aman safeguards privacy to the highest level, but locals say Roger Federer, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z have all enjoyed a kicked-back hideaway here. And, of course, there’s the now legendary tale of Prince surprising guests with an impromptu poolside New Year’s Eve concert in 2011.
I arrive at Amanyara in one of the resort’s fleet of white Land Rovers. The reception area is part of an open-air structure that flows onto a serene reflecting pool surrounded by a library, the main restaurant, and a distinctive circular bar with soaring ceilings. Beyond is the resort’s 164-foot infinity pool and sundeck overlooking the coast. Guests at Amanyara don’t check into anything as pedestrian as a room or suite — they’re ushered to standalone pavilions and sprawling villas. All pavilions have a combined bedroom and living room, and a large bathroom area with a free-standing tub, two vanities, and a rainfall shower.
Aman Resorts is known for delving deeper — deeper food experiences; deeper spa epiphanies; deeper wellness programming. Go for it, take them up on going deeper. Here are three ways to get the most of a splurge on Amanyara.
The Hard Way: Meet Erika Bloom
Amanyara is the ideal place to reimagine your taut history with Pilates. I’ve come to the resort to rediscover my core, albeit hidden under a layer of soft tacos. Meeting Erika Bloom, veteran Pilates instructor and former professional dancer, is akin to meeting the Pina Bausch of Pilates. Oh, and she happens to be ravishingly beautiful to boot — Miranda Kerr meets Olivia Williams.
Bloom has been innovating the art and science of Pilates for over 20 years. In 2002, she founded Erika Bloom Pilates to keep her devoted clientele at the top of their game. She also has extensive training and clinical experience in scoliosis correction, injury rehabilitation and prevention, fascia massage and Rolfing, spinal manipulation, and sports conditioning. Hailed as a ‘Pilates genius’ by Vogue, Bloom’s dogged devotion to the individual needs of every client is what set her above the tsunami of charlatans that emerged when the trend hit.
At Amanyara, you experience the highest order of Erika Bloom Pilates. This includes a unique customization method with one of Bloom’s top instructors, Kim Almquist. The relationship begins with a personal evaluation to assess posture, muscular imbalances, and movement patterns. Almquist remains on property through the end of the high season; she’s amazingly adept at hunting for the muscles that need strengthening and customizes intense, focused exercises. Each session is tailored to meet your individual needs, resulting in a more effective and efficient experience.
Amanyara added a dedicated Pilates studio filled with the practice’s apparatuses and tools: reformers, cadillacs, barrels, chairs, and magic circles. This resort gets what overworked executives want — they also offer aqua therapy treatments to liberate the spine while still protecting joints.
In sheer fitness envy, it’s a kick in the Lululemons to watch Bloom demonstrate on the reformer. No gym machine can simulate it; riding isolated muscles completely unique to Pilates. Having both Kim and Erika by my side while I work out is a rush; I feel like Rocky in the ring — Erika corrects my form while Kim adjusts the straps. The result? A thrilling adductor-centered workout, promoting robust muscle tone. Who needs thigh gap?
The Holistic Way: Meet Ann-Marie McKenzie
Fitness is so much more than looking good in a bikini. More than any other hotel group, after extensive time spread over eight Aman Resorts from Marrakech to Moyo Island, I have come to appreciate their truly holistic approach to wellness and healthy living. Spa Director Ann-Marie McKenzie led the resort’s expansion of Pilates in response to the frequent requests of guests.
To personalize the experience further, McKenzie pairs your Bloom session with a variety of services designed to heighten your mind/body experience. This is the only spa in the world where you can have one of the top Pilates instructors confer with one of the best Balinese massage therapists to devise the most optimal body work for you on the day of your service. Bloom explained, with calisthenic precision, the exact point of strain in my overworked rotator cuff. This communication resulted in one of the most effective massages of my professional life.
My therapist led me on a journey of body-conditioning lengthening, easing the tightness that comes from spending too much time sitting at a computer and allowing the equivalent of fluid and air to flow through my anatomy. Under McKenzie’s leadership, the service at Amanyara is borderline telepathic. I didn’t even know I was craving ginger, lemon, and honey tea before it appeared at my side at the end of treatment.
The Heavenly Way: Meet Susur Lee
Little did I know when I checked into Amanyara that I would run into one of my favourite all-time chefs by the pool, only to later do a yoga class with said revered Top Chef Masters star. When locals found out that Susur Lee would be in residence at Amanyara, you can bet nimble fingers dialed the reservation line faster than a sous chef chopping mise en place.
A worldwide leader and cult figure in fusion cuisine, Chef Lee was invited to present a modern Asian approach to Thanksgiving with a five-course set menu at the Beach Club. Not surprisingly, well-heeled locals and Aman-junkies went nuts. Lee is the kind of chef who feeds on travel inspiration, exploring cuisines from countries far and wide, challenging the bounds of traditional Chinese cooking along the way. He channels these adventures into a culinary style and inventiveness all his own.
Aman is renowned for bringing the best in global culinary talent to the Turks & Caicos Islands on a regular basis. When you’ve built dining venues this divine, you want to crown them with the best of the best. Susur’s famous slaw takes on a whole new giddy factor when accompanied by cool sea breezes and lit by the most stunning strategic lighting design. I told about a dozen fellow guests to hit Luckee on their next trip to Toronto; Susur Lee is worth a Porter flight to Billy Bishop.
If you’ve checked out the Turks & Caicos, let us know what you enjoyed most about the islands in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.