Beach Enclave in TCI
I was overdue for a trip to the Turks and Caicos. My last trip there was more than a dozen years ago—back when even my travel-writing friends had never heard of the archipelago of 40 coral islands 30 miles southeast of The Bahamas. There were no direct flights from the US then, and the hotel I stayed in might well have been the largest structure on the island.
What a difference a decade makes. TCI, as the islands are known, is officially on the scene as the Caribbean’s latest “it” destination, with developments cropping up at every turn: a Ritz Carlton hotel, opened this summer; dozens of direct flights from all over the US; a sleek international airport in the planning; ever-multiplying private villas hosting pandemic-weary travelers, eager for all of the luxury but none of the crowds.
During a quick weekend girls’ getaway, I got a taste of the new-and-improved TCI—and was relieved to discover that with all that had changed, one thing remained untouched: the unpretentious local vibes on island. Here’s the blow-by-blow.
Thursday 2 PM: An Exceptional Enclave
That name was calling my name: “Beach Enclave” connotes the absolute antithesis of Big-Brand Hotel, beckoning with a homey, comfy, welcoming enclave—more private nook than mega-property. Indeed Beach Enclave proved all that and then some: a stellar blend of barefoot luxury and modish simplicity, as comely as it is cozy.
The brand has three locations on Providenciales (or Provo, as the most developed island in TCI is known), all boasting 2-to-7-bedroom full-service villas; they’re also building a boutique hotel called The Club at Beach Enclave and developing properties in The Bahamas and Puerto Rico. Our home for the weekend was a flawless four-bedroom “beach house” in Long Bay, a stunning stretch of shallow beach popular with kitesurfers, whose vibrant sails make for quite the sight as they crisscross a cerulean sky.
We checked in and spent a good hour ogling our villa’s details—from the plushest of robes to the chicest of cutlery, was there nothing they didn’t think of? Whites, pale woods and floor-to-ceiling windows set off the blue sea outside our door to perfection; the open, airy design feels neatly nestled into the natural environment—apt for the lowest density residential developer in Provo. Our capacious outdoor deck screamed “sunset cocktail,” while my divine shower felt as if it were hanging right over the beach.
Villa at Beach Enclave Long Bay
Thursday 3 PM: Hanging with our Host
Never mind a butler—Rose was our host at Beach Enclave. Sure, she went the extra mile to make our stay more perfect than we could have imagined, treating us to healthy breakfasts, making us homemade soup and fresh conch salad for lunch, coordinating any and all logistical matters. But more than that, she made us feel at home, joking with us and treating us to stories about life as a Haitian-Dominican woman who’s lived in TCI for years.
Thursday 7 PM: Dinner at Da Conch Shack
If, as the buzz has it, TCI is the next Anguilla, then it had better cherish institutions like Da Conch Shack: an unassuming beach bar and restaurant serving up delectable conch dishes and jerk chicken, alongside an impressive rum menu and all the reggae tunes from neighboring Jamaica. As humble-yet-monied Anguilla knows, tourists may come for the luxury but they fall in love with the local—which is what really keeps them coming back. Moral of the story: Give me some fresh conch salad, an Appleton rum and some Tarrus Riley and you’ll see one blissed-out woman.
fresh conch salad
Friday 10 am: Beach, Beach & More Beach
There was one thing on my agenda for the day and it was, thankfully, right outside my door: that beach. I swam, sunned, stared at the sea, meditated, read a book, played tunes via our villa’s Sonos system. Then I did it all over again—and again.
My perfect beach house at Beach Enclave
Friday 2 pm: Kayaking
Does intention count? I’d planned to put the kayaks and stand up paddleboards parked on our beach to good use—I really did. Especially since a complimentary eco-tour with Big Blue Collective came with my stay. But that activity above—it was all consuming and too delicious. So I stayed on land and luxuriated in it.
Friday 4 pm: Stress Relief
My first massage since the pandemic was everything I dreamed it would be. A therapist came to our villa and set up shop on the deck as the sun was setting. After that, all I remember is the sound of the sea, the stress leaving my aching body and an overwhelming feeling of sheer bliss.
Friday 7 pm: Sushi Feast
Right down the beach from us was the Shore Club Hotel, home to several gourmet eateries. We went with SUI-REN, a beautifully appointed open-air, pan-Asian restaurant specializing in Peruvian and Japanese cuisine. We feasted on sushi—the chef’s special conch roll was a treat—and washed it down with Negronis fit for a New York palate.
Friday 10 pm: Little Haiti
TCI is home to a thriving Haitian community, bringing to the island their many skill sets—and, gratefully, their music. At Club 809 we sipped rum and enjoyed the mixing and vocal talents of DJ Success, taking us from Haiti to Jamaica and Trinidad.
Saturday 9 am: Assume the Position
You already know what and where that position was: a hangover made beach time in our heavenly enclave even more critical, all morning long.
Saturday 3 pm: Hit the Town
Well, there’s not much town to hit, but there is definitely more of it than there was a decade ago. We cruised through Grace Bay, the most popular beach area on island—Beach Enclave has a gorgeous property there. The boutiques at The Shops at Grace Bay proved a wonderful surprise—I actually found two designer dressed on sale, the perfect TCI souvenir.
Chef Jago Moore
Saturday 6 pm: Dinner with TCI’s Finest
We came home to discover a man in the kitchen. Not just any man—a local chef. Not just any chef, TCI’s Top Chef: Chef Jago Moore, winner of the 2018 TCI Chop Off-Cook Off Challenge. He treated us to a delectable dinner featuring local TCI lobster, perfectly grilled and seasoned, followed by a banana and rum desert that made my palate do cartwheels. Then he regaled us with stories of his former life as, believe it or not, a police officer in Grand Turk.
Sunday 10 am: A Perfect Sendoff
We woke up feeling despondent, knowing that we were about to be ejected from our Edenic enclave. Then the perfect antidote arrived: Chef Jago, serving up a Sunday brunch for the books: Jamaican-style ackee, scrambled eggs, fresh-baked bread and banana pancakes with rum-infused whipped cream. Yes, I said rum-infused whipped cream—the perfect thing to take the edge off our departure.
Beach Enclave in TCI