One of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets, Pine Cay is a secluded private island home to an elegant 12-room hotel, a small collection of private homes and two miles of pristine white-sand beach. A recent re-brand and renovation saw it enter into the prestigious Relais & Chateaux collection – the only property in Turks & Caicos to be part of the group.
Pine Cay’s history began in the late Fifties, when Austrian explorer Count Ferdinand Czernin stumbled across the island on his travels. Enamoured by its untapped wilderness and complete seclusion, Czernin began a mission to share this remote treasure with like-minded friends. Sadly he passed away in 1966 before his dream was realised, however his legacy lives on through a handful of intrepid families who invested in the island throughout the 1970s, sensitively building charming family homes and a central Clubhouse – the first of its kind to exist in Turks & Caicos. Today, these families are still key guardians of the island, with their children and grandchildren amongst a small collective of homeowners who oversee the running of the purposefully low-key island. Now there are 38 homes (eight of which are available to rent) dotted across the 800 acres of land, and what began life as the Clubhouse for homeowners and their guests has naturally evolved into a boutique hotel for Pine Cay’s growing community.
A recent renovation saw the hotel elegantly re-design its ten existing Beachfront Rooms, and add a new spa, fully-equipped gym and two freestanding Beachfront Suites, all designed to champion Pine Cay’s original rustic charm and barefoot ethos. Pared-back interiors celebrate the cool Caribbean location, with calming sandy tones and natural pine and driftwood accents complemented by bold pops of turquoise and deep ocean blues. Beautifully bright bathrooms feature double vanities, a walk-in rain-shower and outdoor waterfall shower, whilst private outdoor decks are home to double day beds, outdoor dining areas and direct access to the beach.
A 20-minute boat ride from mainland Turks & Caicos, Pine Cay is home to one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches and the world’s third largest barrier reef, along with salt flats, shimmering freshwater lagoons and undulating sand dunes. Days at Pine Cay are spent snorkelling over the kaleidoscopic coral reef and reef balls, diving with a trusted local dive partner, kayaking on entirely transparent kayaks or kitesurfing. The cerulean waters are ripe for fishing adventures, including deep-sea fishing, reef fishing and bone-fishing, and a near-constant breeze from the trade winds promises prime sailing condition. Back on dry land, there’s birdwatching, biking, tennis, shelling at Sand Dollar Point, swimming in the freshwater pool, under-the-stars screenings at the Sand Dollar Cinema or day trips to nearby islands. Unforgettable wildlife encounters range from the gargantuan (whale watching) to the tiny: dazzling glow-worm cruises take place each lunar month.
Pine Cay’s colourful and vibrant cuisine captures the joy and spontaneity of island life. Guests can expect sumptuous breakfasts of fresh tropical fruit handpicked from the kitchen garden and irresistible pastries, breads and buns from Pine Cay’s head Pâtissier. An array of light bites, zingy salads and just-caught seafood await at lunch, and at dinner guests are treated to daily-changing tasting menus that showcase the very best local produce and champion a melting pot of international flavours.
Pine Cay guests are invited to unwind at the Sand Dollar Spa, where two tranquil treatment rooms await. Guests can pick from a wide range of massages and body scrubs, alongside reflexology, lymphatic massage, Ayurvedic rituals, cream baths and bespoke treatments at the hands of Pine Cay’s expert Balinese masseuse. Other health highlights include a fully-equipped gym, tennis court and beachfront yoga classes.
Sustainability and biodiversity preservation are at the core of Pine Cay: cars are not permitted on the island, but rather transportation exists in the form of electric golf carts and bicycles; single-use plastics are nowhere to be seen; and boats are equipped with fuel-efficient four-stroke engines. All buildings have rain-water catchment and storage systems with grey water used for irrigation, whilst compact Dark Sky lighting is installed throughout the hotel. Pine Cay is a key partner in the Caicos Pine Recovery Project, working to protect the country’s native tree, the Caicos pine (Pinus caribaea) and its habitat for the future, currently under threat from the invasive pine tortoise scale.