After we were engaged this winter in chilly New York, we knew immediately we were not going to have the traditional wedding experience. As we started thinking about our honeymoon, we realized we wanted to make it just as special and memorable as our wedding day. We thought it would be great to minimize the "stuff" factor, especially considering the limited space NYC living has to offer.
So we said let's celebrate our love with a honeymoon that will create memories of a lifetime. When we are an old married couple it is the memories and experiences we said we’ll cherish from our younger days, not the fancy tea set. So we set out planning not only our wedding, but also our honeymoon. Being that we had been together for almost 9 years prior to officially being “engaged”, we had a pretty good idea a tropical destination was the thing for us and where this story begins.
From the beginning, Shari had her heart on having a tropical beach setting for the wedding. And after much consideration, only one place stood out, Turks and Caicos because the pictures of the water were surreal and more importantly we didn’t want to travel far for the honeymoon. We were truly fortunate to have thirty-six members of our family and friends share in our beautiful wedding day on the spectacular Grace Bay Beach in Turks and Caicos before we started our incredible honeymoon. For us, the honeymoon was about complete relaxation and just going with the flow. As most of our friends and family know, we are yoga, spa and food enthusiasts, so the location had to offer all of these amenities. And so the search began for a location that offered us the ability to do just that. Oddly enough, as I was doing a search on ask.com I came across a website for Como Hotels and Resorts’ Parrot Cay property in Turks and Caicos. The home page offered a statement which seemed perfect for what we were looking for… “Think of it in simple terms: a place to rediscover those forgotten rhythms of long days, easy nights, and the salve of peace.” So we explored further and decided to sign up for a package that would allow us to stay at the property from August 5th thru August 10th 2007, which conveniently allowed us to take a direct flight back to NYC. This package was part of their patented COMO Shambhala experience whereby breakfast and dinner was included along with 3 spa treatments for each of us.
After the wedding at Ocean Club on Grace Bay, we traveled 25 minutes by boat over to Parrot Cay, which turned out to be a private island with only the Parrot Cay Resort and Spa…an ultra luxurious and very private vacation hideaway!! Upon arrival the staff welcomed us with open hearts and big smiles. They whisked us off on a golf cart to the main building where we were offered champagne and cool hand towels as we confirmed our accommodations.
Once settled, we spent our time enjoying the fantastic facilities at Parrot Cay. We enjoyed a daily yoga practice in a pavilion with huge sliding doors overlooking the island’s wetlands and ate some of the most exquisite Caribbean cuisine that utilized healthy organic ingredients. As a matter of fact, every meal was great, but one stood out above them all and made for one of our best experiences. But it all started with a bad experience actually.
Unfortunately we had an incident on the third day of our stay where our breakfast room service was not right. Immediately a manager contacted us and corrected the situation. However, when we called to make reservations later in the day for dinner, we inquired if lobster was on the menu. They informed us it wasn’t but due to our earlier inconvenience, the chef made a special exception. When we arrived for dinner, not only did they already know we were to get lobster, the evening manager came over and personally apologized for what happened at breakfast and offered us a bottle of wine to go with our dinner for no charge. And being that lobster can only be served on the island between August 1st and December 31st each year, we ended up with the freshest lobster we’ve ever had anywhere.
Another one of our great experiences was at the Spa. Our goal was to have one treatment each day at the COMO Shambhala's Spa to take advantage of the relaxing Asian-inspired holistic therapies. And our first treatment, a COMO Shambhala Bath on the day we arrived just blew us away. This treatment was 2 hours of utter bliss. Here is how they describe the treatment on their site…
This cleansing treatment works to gently exfoliate and soften your skin. After dry brushing the body, specially prepared COMO Shambhala salt scrub infused with essential oils, macadamia oil and oat bran is applied to the body. After a rinse in an invigorating bath, this treatment concludes with a relaxing COMO Shambhala massage.
This treatment set the stage for us to just have the best time and start off our married life in the perfect state of mind. And the other treatments were just as good; from reflexology to shiatsu they were all experiences we will never forget.
But all of this luxury and pampering comes at a price. Our package which included two meals a day and three spa treatments per person was priced just above $6,000/USD. Add on to that another $350 each for airfare and you can see it wasn’t on the inexpensive side. But if you remember, we wanted to have a unbelievable experience versus having a lot of gifts. So we used the Travelersjoy.com website to allow our family and friends to help us realize our dreams instead of having a traditional registry where we received “stuff”.
And looking back on it, we wouldn’t change anything. We’d recommend Parrot Cay and Travelersjoy to anyone. But in the end, it comes down to personal preference and what makes you happy. If you are open to a quite setting and a seriously relaxed atmosphere, then this place is for you; if you are looking for a ton of activities and things to do, then this isn’t the place. And if you look forward to receiving a lot of gifts, then a honeymoon registry may not be the way to go.
We know one thing though; writing this makes us want to get on the plane today and go back to do it all over again!!