Just back from:
I went to Como Parrot Cay in the Turks & Caicos (Caribbean). I have always wanted to visit Parrot Cay—I feel like my east coast friends are constantly talking about it, and I’ve seen so many images of it on Instagram—so it’s been on my bucket-list forever. And honestly…it truly lived up to the hype (don’t you just love when that happens!)!
How did you get there:
Flying anywhere from Los Angeles (where I live) is a royal pain in the ass (sigh…). We took a midnight flight to Miami and landed at about 8:30am the next day. We had a 2.5 hour layover and then caught a flight to Turks & Caicos (the flight was 1 hour, 20 mins—so pretty quick). The hotel actually has a counter and signage right in the airport (they are the only hotel to have this!) and there was a prearranged car & driver ready to take us to the marina (about a 20 minute drive). At the Marina you enter the Parrot Cay ‘Welcome Center’ where they officially check you in and give you snacks, water, champagne, etc. Once you are checked-in you are taken out to one of the Parrot Cay boats and whisked away on a 25-minute boat ride to the island of Parrot Cay. At the dock you are welcomed with fresh coconuts and then you hop on a golf cart to be taken around the island and up to the main house to get your room keys and be escorted to your room or villa. It was a looong travel day for us all. From the east coast of course (and even from most major cities in Europe) you can fly direct to Turks & Caicos and make the entire process so much easier.
Who did you go with:
I went with a bunch of girlfriends to celebrate my birthday. I travel so much for work and don’t get to be with friends on holiday as much as I’d like so it was incredibly special (and SO much fun!!).
Where you stayed:
I stayed at Como Parrot Cay—which is THE place to stay! Parrot Cay is a private island located just 25 minutes from the main town of Providenciales in Turks & Caicos, Caribbean.
Places you ate:
I must admit I wasn’t expecting the food to be so fantastic—I mean, in all the times I’ve had people mention Parrot Cay to me nobody has ever talked about the food—and I’m a major foodie—but OMG it’s phenomenal! There are 2 restaurants at the resort—up at the main house, and down by the pool (where we had lunch every day). Every saturday night they have something called a BBQ (but really it’s like a Thai night market). There are different stations set up outside and you can have the most insane meal—made from chefs from Thailand. We had fresh Boa, sushi, dumplings, different kinds of rice, etc. Of course pizza and french fries are also always on the menu and were delicious as well.
Local delicacy you feasted on:
Conch is the local favorite, so we made sure to have that…but my favorite dish was a lobster curry that we had on our first night. Now that I think about it we had lobster at every meal (fancy shmancy!). The fish tacos were also out of this world!
Cocktail/beverages you sipped: The moment I arrived I ordered a piña colada at the pool—and honestly it was the perfect choice! I stuck to fruity cocktails during the day, and at night we usually ordered a bottle of rosé (and sometimes a bottle at lunch too!). They also make a fruit-infused water every day (sometimes it was infused with pineapple & cumber, or orange, or lemon, etc) and give you big glasses at the pool and the beach with striped straws—they truly think of everything there!
Books you read:
I brought the book The Last Mrs. Parish to read, but if I’m being honest I didn’t even read the first sentence. I was having way too much fun chatting with my friends or swimming or napping (or mindlessly scrolling through instagram) to even attempt to read. And then I thought for sure I’d read on the plane but I ended up watching movies (Home Again, Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri, Girls Trip, and a bunch of really cool documentaries).
Music you listened to:
The sound of the waves…heaven!
My uniform there was:
In the day I was always in a swimsuit and kaftan. At night it was a dress and sandals. The air at night was so warm that you didn’t even need a wrap…it was like goldilocks weather (the perfect temperature!).
Brand of luggage you traveled with:
Tumi was kind enough to gift me a set of luggage when I started Le Postcard and I still use it faithfully. I brought the wheeled-duffle with me—it’s black with royal-blue accents (they let me choose the accent color) and is monogrammed with my initials. It’s a godsend in a sea of black bags because I can always find it quickly and I worry a bit less that some stranger will mistake their bag for mine (gasp!).
Items you packed in your suitcase:
I packed a million swimsuits and I’m so glad I did; I wore a Marysia red polka dot bikini on the first day I was there and it was a big hit—I just love the color combo and the scalloped edges! This Araks suit was great on the beach—the colors looked so amazing against the turquoise sea! I love the brand Solid & Striped and wore a ton of their suits (find them here and here and here). I also wore this pink terry cloth one-piece from Lisa Marie Fernandez and this high-waisted, powder-blue bikini. I have this Eres bikini in almost every color they make (white, black, red, purple, pink, green)…it’s just one of those basic suits that always looks good in any destination. I also packed the one-piece version of it on this trip. This floral Ganni one-piece was also a favorite (I wore it with a jean skirt) and this triangle-bikini. I also wore a ton of Pippa Holt kaftans and have never had so many compliments in my entire life (find them here, here, here and here)! They are so great to throw on when you’re headed to the beach or the pool or when I was just taking a stroll around the property—I’m obsessed with them—I want them in every color and pattern!! This Missoni kaftan was also fun to wear to lunch one day—love the fringe!
I also always make sure to pack a few pieces to wear ‘in between’ showering and dinner or to wear after I come in from the beach and want to change out of my wet swimsuit—I packed this red floral dress and this coral-colored dress for those occasions.
For night I packed dresses, dresses and more dresses! On the first night I wore a fantastic crochet dress from Diane Von Furstenberg with a pair of black rope sandals from Saint Laurent and a pair of Jennifer Fisher gold hoop earrings. I also brought this Roksanda dress (which looks fabulous with a golden tan!). This Natasha Zinko dress was quite extravagant but looked so dreamy with the island backdrop. I loved the embroidered details on this off-the-shoulder Merlette dress (I paired it with this Aurelie Bidermann necklace), and the appliqué detail on this white See By Chloe dress (the rope straps are pretty special too!). A pink, chevron-striped, one-shoulder dress from Gül Hürgel was also a crowd favorite!! This pair of pink satin slides from Rosetta Getty was perfect for the Caribbean, along with this Alaia clutch. I adored this striped rugby dress—it was an unexpected but made quite an entrance! This white tiered eyelet dress from Rachel Antonoff was also the perfect island dress to pack—I just threw it on, threw my hair in a bun with some lipstick and headed out into the balmy night air!
We also did yoga a few times and I packed a bunch of leggings and tanks that I got at Bandier (I love this site—they have the best selection for workout gear). Outdoor Voices is another brand that I’ve recently become obsessed with (I first noticed them because all the ‘it’ girls on instagram were wearing their stuff)—it’s all pretty fantastic.
Beauty-Essentials you packed:
I’d love to tell you that I’m a girl that just throws some sunscreen and a lipgloss in her bag and heads to the airport, but I’m not that cool—and I like to be ‘prepared’ for anything. I wash my face every morning and night with Bioderma—it’s the only thing I use on my face besides lotion—I don’t even put water on my face (water oddly makes me break out). I use the large bottle at home and keep a bunch of these travel-sized bottles on hand for when I’m away. They also make wipes which are great for travel because they don’t count as a liquid if you are only bringing a carry-on case. I just put some on a Shiseido cotton pad (these are my favorite!) and swipe it all over my face. In the daytime, for a beach vacation, I really don’t do anything except curl my eyelashes with a Shu Uemura eyelash curler and fill in my eyebrows with a slanted brush (this retractable one from Chanel is wonderful for travel) and Mac Charcoal Brown powder. I also apply Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense Sunscreen SPF50—I love this formula because it’s so light and not at all greasy…I’m always worried about breaking out from anything I put on my face but I’ve never had a problem with this. I also used Agent Nateur deodorant (I love this brand and their philosophy on clean beauty)—a few of my friends also brought this with them in the rose-scented version. But I mean, what else do you really need to do during the day? You know you’re going to be in the pool and the ocean, or taking a long walk or going to the spa…so no makeup really needed.
At night I kept my look super easy and island-y. I used the Nars Body Bronzing Glow on my arms, legs, and decolettage—so happy I brought this because it really made me shimmer and feel like a tropical goddess…plus it smells divine. I went for a dewey-look with everything I packed on this trip. Glossier’s Haloscope in Quartz was the highlighter I wore every night—I follow this makeup artist on Instagram named Katie Jane Hughes (@katiejanehughes) and she uses it a lot in her videos and has sort of got me hooked on it (she’s like my makeup pusher–haha!). I love Diorshow Overcurl mascara in black and used the Nars Orgasm blush in the liquid form. I use the RMS Luminizer Palette on my face and eyelids (everywhere really)—it’s great for travel. I don’t wear foundation but I do swipe a bronzer all over my face to give it a bit of color—my go-to for years has always been Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in the shade Light. For my lips I was actually testing out a new beauty line that I will introduce in sometime in 2018 (you’re gonna love it!), so I wore that most nights (with rave reviews!!!) but I also brought a bunch of Chanel Rouge Allure Matte Liquid lip colors (and put gloss on over them). I chose to wear my favorite red on my hands & toes which is called Russian Roulette by Essie. I get so many people who ask me what color I’m wearing—it’s a very bright red (but not orange). Nars also makes a similar shade called Soup Can. I got my nails done before I left but I always keep a bottle with me when I’m traveling—I think chipped nails look awful and tacky.
For my hair I packed Davines ‘Love’ shampoo and conditioner and used the Ouai hair oil before blow drying and again before I headed out the door—anything to try and get rid of the puffiness that happens to my hair in the humidity (I seriously look like a different person on vacation!). I sometimes bring my T3 compact hairdryer with me but on this trip I ended up using the hairdryer the hotel provided which was totally fine. And of course I never go anywhere without this little Mason Pearson hairbrush (the perfect size to throw in your toiletry bag)!
I also made sure to spray my arms and legs every morning and night with Sawyer bug spray—I didn’t get even 1 mosquito bite (and they usually loooove to eat me!).
At night, before bed, I used Laneige lip sleeping mask which left my lips super soft in the morning. I also put Vintner’s Daughter oil on my face, but a few nights alternated it with Holi Face Oil from Agent Nateur.
For sunscreen (super important!) I used Clarins in various SPF’s (this 30SPF was the one I used the most). I also brought a lot of La Roche-Posay sunscreens, which I think are fabulous! Collistar is an Italian brand which is hard to find in the US (I usually stock up when I’m in Italy in the summer)–but you can occasionally find it on Amazon. Supergoop is another brand that makes great sunscreen (they also coincidentally sold it at the gift shop).
I also always travel with band-aids, a small pair of scissors, neosporin, q-tips, Tylenol, Pepto-Bismal tablets, etc. I really like to be prepared for anything (it makes me feel better to just know I have it should I need it).
I pack all of my toiletries in Louis Vuitton cases, in various sizes (find them here), but I also use a ton of Ziplock plastic bags. It’s not glamorous, and kind of ruins the ‘chic, jetsetter fantasy’ I have in my head—but it’s a necessity. There is nothing worse than arriving somewhere and discovering your shampoo or body oil has exploded all over your things…trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way!
Secret only a local would know:
Lots of celebs have a house on the island—Christie Brinkley, Donna Karan, Bruce Willis and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones (who just happened to have lunch right next to us on our first day)….so you might run into them. Also, we were told by a staff member that we had to try the peanut butter at breakfast. We thought that was the oddest/strangest suggestion, but the next day we tried it and I don’t know what they do to it but it was the best peanut butter I’ve ever had—the kind you used to get as a kid and forgot how good it could be. I’m still kind of dreaming about it.
Favorite place to find local treasures:
My favorite souvenirs were the seashells I found every morning on my daily walk along the beach. They had gorgeous peach-colored striped patterns that are unbelievable! I have them in a dish on my desk in my office, and they make me happy every time I glance over at them.
In the day we:
We’d usually wake up at about 7:30am and lounge around in the rooms for a bit. A few mornings and afternoons we did yoga (the yoga pavilion is beautiful and serene—they offer complimentary classes 6 days a week!). Then we’d go up to the main house for breakfast—we always sat out on the terrace. There were people from all over the world (South Africa, London, Toronto, New York—it was a very chic international crowd) and it was nice to get to know everyone. Then we’d either go out to the pool or the beach and get settled. The service at Parrot Cay is top-notch and the staff was always anticipating what you might need without being annoying. We’d usually have lunch around 1:30pm or 2pm. You could eat at the pool or beach but we always chose to have a proper sit-down lunch at the restaurant. Then we’d head back out into the sunshine to nap…such a rough few days.
And at night we:
At night we’d go have a cocktail and watch the sunset—usually at the beach bar or on the couches facing the water. Then we’d have a long dinner—we’d often order a bunch of dishes for the table and share everything (ummmm, did I mention how great the food was?!). We usually were the last to be seated for dinner and arrived around 8:30pm every night. By midnight we were happily tucked in bed.
First time visitors must:
You must visit the Como Shambhala spa! It’s lush and tranquil with private pools built into the surrounding wetlands—it’s as if you’ve entered another world. I had the most fantastic massage from a lady from Thailand whose hands were so soft is was like being touched by clouds (strong clouds–haha!). They focus on holistic and asian-inspired treatments and everyone I was with agreed that it was not-to-be-missed. The Sun Soother is a great treatment using blood orange, aloe, apricot kernel oil and shea butter to comfort sun damaged skin. The facials were also a big hit with the girls I was with. We actually wanted to book more treatments but they were too busy (yup, it’s that wonderful!). They also have a little shop in the spa that sells delicate oils and lotions as well as all of the Dr. Hauschka product line (which they use during many of their treatments).
You should also make sure you take a bike ride around the property and visit the coconut groves and the banana groves…so dreamy! Bikes are available throughout the property (and you don’t have to sign-up for them…you just grab a bike and go). But make sure you are wearing mosquito spray! I wore it in the early morning and put some on before we went to dinner at night and didn’t get one bite (a miracle!). This is the one I used! I was told it also protects against Zika—but that’s not a concern on Parrot Cay.
I loved it here because:
The color of the water is like no place I have ever been before—it’s actually turquoise! And the grounds are lush and spectacular—orchids grow out of the trees (magic!). I also love that there was no pressure to do too much…but there was also plenty to do if you wanted to (bike riding, yoga, gym, spa, water activities—truly something for everyone). All of the non-motorized water sports are complimentary so everyone was doing stand-up-paddleboarding and canoeing. They will also take you out for a ride on the Hobie—and you might even see a dolphin. I especially liked that there was always someone to help you and the international staff were the kindest bunch! Also, besides the beach being spectacular (obviously), the pool is other worldly! It slopes down as you walk into it so you just sort of saunter on in. It’s an infinity pool and the views of the ocean are mind-blowing!
Additional notes you want to share:
While there were a few kids there, Parrot Cay is not really a place to bring the entire family (unless maybe you rent one of the private villas and spend most of your time there). I was with a group of girls but almost everyone else was “coupled-up”…I joked with my friends that it was like Noah’s Ark.