By Lisa Loverro
Barefoot elegance, quiet sophistication and unpretentious luxury are just a few words that could describe The Somerset Resort on Grace Bay beach in Turks and Caicos. It’s one of the most upscale beachfront properties along a strip of beach that has come to be known as one of the best beaches in the world.
This boutique resort, 53 units in total, sits quietly along 4.6 acres of a picture perfect setting while offering its guests all the amenities of any large scale, brand named hotel. Even when filled to capacity, the sense of privacy and space is still maintained and most units are individually owned, as is the case with many of the resorts on the island. There’s no trendy scene at The Somerset; just a nice mix of families, couples and a few singles all mingling together in an environment designed to soothe and calm. It’s an ideal setting for a honeymoon or even a multi-generational family reunion. The grounds are meticulously manicured, including a croquet lawn and fragrant gardens. The architecture here is a blend of Mediterranean and Caribbean with a hint of Asian thrown in. Roman busts with seashell accents and even Thai-inspired umbrellas poolside all set the stage for what was to be one of the most peaceful and enjoyable getaways I have had in the Caribbean. And the setting couldn’t be more inviting; two magnificent pools (including the island’s longest lap pool), a powdery white-sand beach and turquoise waters were all postcard worthy.
The real gem here is their Managing Director, Urmas Karner. He’s the icing on the cake of this magical resort. Upon arrival, Urmas was kind enough to meet me in the lobby to help with my luggage (all the while nursing a broken rib). His friendly demeanor and professional attitude extend to the entire staff throughout The Somerset. They’ll get to know you by name here, a nice added touch to make you feel right at home.
The oversize suites are all beautifully appointed with top of the line appliances, washer/dryers, marble floors and outdoor balconies. Their 5-bedroom penthouse suites include magnificent cathedral ceilings, and outdoor hot tub and over 5,000 square feet of pure indulgence, along with breathtaking views of the ocean.
While I was expecting to eat Conch at every meal while on the island (Turks and Caicos is home of the only commercial conch farm in the world) I was taken by surprise by the variety of options at both the on-site and local restaurants. The resort’s fine dining option, Pavilion, offers a full range of cuisines from around the globe with a selection of fine wines. Steak, lamb and an array of seafood dishes were all cooked to perfection. Their poolside “LunaSea” poolside bar and grill was the perfect spot for breakfast and lunch. Off site, The Bay Bistro, one of the finest dining establishments on the island can be found directly adjacent to The Somerset. Located on the grounds of the Sibonne Beach Hotel (one of the original hotels along Grace Bay Beach), The Bay Bistro has earned bragging rights as the restaurant closest to the beach along this strip, and it definitely offers the best sunsets! Tiki torches and lanterns light up the outdoor dinning area while its charismatic owner, Chef Clive Whent (a British transplant) meets, greets and oversees this gem of a place. The food is outstanding and the sunset views are just as spectacular.
Turks and Caicos is an easy 3-hour flight from New York City making this location perfect for a long getaway weekend.
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