As I relax on the floor at the end of an Ashtanga yoga class at Parrot Cay resort, the room sinks into a silence marked only by our breathing. In the distance, I can hear wind chimes and the chirp and buzz of insects. I know I am supposed to be meditating on my breath, but my mind keeps flashing back to my lunch: a warm root salad with baby spinach and a roasted-vegetable club sandwich with a layer of roasted red pepper. Mmmmm. I mean, om.
For the past two years, Parrot Cay's quiet seclusion has attracted such celebrities as Bruce Willis and Robert De Niro. Set on its own private island, the resort is accessible by a van ride and a half-hour motorboat trip from the Turks and Caicos airport, on Providenciales, in the British West Indies. Now that Parrot Cay's Shambhala retreat and spa is complete and a new 27-year-old executive chef has shaken up the menu, it's even more alluring.
Chef Amanda Gale has the energy and daring of her native Australia, where she apprenticed with the renowned Neil Perry of Rockpool in Sydney. Her food features a blend of Asian and Mediterranean flavors that reflects her Aussie background. Dinner might be roasted swordfish with Jerusalem-artichoke sauce, asparagus and gnocchi, or slow-roasted chicken with shiitake-mushroom sauce. Or you can order off her spa menuperhaps a Mediterranean-style chickpea patty on homemade pita bread with tofu aioli, or udon noodles made from brown rice with a lime-soy vinaigrette. For dessert you can decide how indulgent you want to be and choose between a devilish chocolate sablé or a saintly lemongrass sorbet.