Floating cabanas, sunset sails, and Ritz-Carlton flair collide on Grace Bay Beach.

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After a 15-minute ride from the airport, passing by scrub, indigenous Turk's head cactus, and glimpses of white, sandy beaches along the way, I arrive at the The Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos — a new addition on Grace Bay Beach, and the only Ritz-Carlton property in Turks and Caicos. The hotel, which opened in June of this year, wows with its desert-meets-beach design inspired from the island's flora and fauna and Lucayan heritage. Approaching the open-air lobby, I'm handed a glass of champagne while I check in. Past the courtyard, a stone path lined with palm trees leads out to the family and adults-only pools, and the Atlantic Ocean sparkles beyond, tempting everyone with its crystal-clear waters and stunning beach.

Aerial view of ocean and The Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos
Credit: The Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos

The property features 147 guest rooms, including 23 suites, 69 private residences, and five three-story penthouse suites. Upon arriving at my room, I discover a sweeping ocean and resort view. Below, beachgoers frolic in the gentle waves while others lounge poolside, sipping cocktails and soaking in the sun. Parked in the sand is the Lady Grace, a custom-built luxury catamaran serving Ritz-Carlton guests. It's a beautiful view and a stunning room, complete with a marbled bathroom and a private balcony and seating area. The ultimate statement of luxury though are the penthouses, which I was lucky enough to tour. Sprawling across three floors, the 6,500-square-foot pads are the largest accommodations on property, each with three bedrooms, extra-large kitchens, floor-to-ceiling ocean views, and private rooftop plunge pools with endless views. Guests can also choose rooms with The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge access, which offers five food and beverage presentations throughout the day and dedicated service at the beach, only available for those with Club Lounge access.

large restaurant with ocean views and open windows
Credit: The Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos

Three onsite restaurants mean guests never go hungry, especially while dining at BLT Steak, the property's modern interpretation of an American steakhouse. The tuna tartare with avocado and soy-lime dressing and the crab cakes with meyer lemon, fennel, and radish salad are both excellent ways to start your meal, and steak cuts such as filet mignon, New York strips, and ribeyes are cooked to perfection alongside robust yet tasty sides like jalapeno mashed potatoes and truffle mac and cheese. Dessert options are equally as rich and sinful, but worth every calorie. I recommend the pistachio ice cream, the peanut butter chocolate mousse, or the crepe soufflé —a soft, pillowy crepe stuffed with sweet soufflé and topped with a passionfruit sauce. 

On the beach, you'll find Coralli, which focuses on fresh, local ingredients and dishes inspired by the Mediterranean Coast. Coralli serves up breakfast and lunch and caters to those hanging poolside as well. The avocado toast with poached eggs, heirloom tomatoes, and local Peppajoy hot sauce is a great way to start the day (especially paired with a ginger juice shot), and the Mediterranean fish wraps with fresh grilled fish, red cabbage, grapefruit, and avocado dressing are a light and refreshing lunch by the pool. Pair it with the cucumber-mint cocktail, and you're transported straight into vacation mode. For those looking for world-class sushi, the Lobby Lounge is just the spot for a spicy tuna roll and a nightcap.

large pool with daybeds
Credit: The Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos

The property's location on pristine Grace Bay Beach means activities abound. Whether you want to lounge by the adults-only pool in a private cabana (trust me, you do) or head out for a sailing lesson on the Hobie catamarans, there's something available at every activity level. Grab a snorkel and foot fins at the beach and snorkel the clear water right in front of you, or take to the sea in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard for added exercise. Floating cabanas are coming this month, as are fitness classes in the on-site gym. For a relaxing sunset cruise or snorkeling excursions along barrier reefs, the Lady Grace is available to take guests off property for more exploration. Wanting to try your luck on land? The property's luxury casino has all of the latest slot machines and table games. I recommend spending some time in the 5,125-square-foot spa, complete with lounges, steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools, a salon, and treatment rooms. The hot-stone massage is the ultimate escape from reality, complete with 80 minutes of massage using volcanic hot stones that transport you straight into a zen state of mind. 

King room with ocean view
Credit: The Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos

One of the best perks of this property? It's location on Grace Bay Beach and the surrounding scene. Grace Bay is the place for restaurants, bars, shopping, and island life, and The Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos is within walking distance to much of it, while still offering seclusion and privacy. "We want people to feel welcome and explore, while still providing the choice of seclusion and privacy," says John Hazard, general manager of the property. "You can have all of the facilities here with a rich hotel environment and surrounding island life, and if you want privacy, we can provide seclusion."

Turks and Caicos reopened its borders to travelers in July 2020. Visitors to the destination must obtain pre-travel authorization via the TCI Assured portal, which requires travelers to submit a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 days prior to travel to Turks and Caicos, insurance which covers COVID-19 medical costs, and a completed online health screening questionnaire.