Sun Worship

Need to get away? Soothe your soul—and soles—in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.

photography courtesy of Regent Palms Turks and Caicos

JUST BEACHY: Sure, you’ve probably heard of the Turks and Caicos Islands, but you’re not really sure where they are. Well, here’s a geography lesson: they’re just below the Bahamian chain, about 600 miles southeast of Miami. While not the most visited Caribbean destination—and, if we’re getting technical, you should probably know Turks and Caicos is actually in the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea—soon it will be at the top of everyone’s beach getaway list. The Regent Palms Turks and Caicos is banking on it. With 72 suites that can be configured with one, two, or three bedrooms, the accommodations suit honeymooning couples or large families, and each room, replete with marble floors, high ceilings, custom-made mahogany furnishings, and state-of-the-art kitchen and bathroom amenities, is as spick-and-span clean as it was the day it was built. Better still: even when the property is 100 percent occupied, it doesn’t feel crowded. There is always a chaise at the infinity pool, which is the test of a truly luxurious resort. And the beach is quiet and pristine—perfect for brisk morning walks and sunset strolls. DINE TIME: While you could certainly enjoy a multicourse—and full-calorie—meal at Parallel23 filled with such dishes as roasted baby beet and goat cheese salad with basil and cherry tomatoes, Caicos lobster risotto infused with white truffle oil, and spiced duck breast with wild mushroom ragout and sweet potato and goat cheese ravioli, executive chef Torsten Rumprecht and team turn out some smashing spa cuisine, which can be customized to your tastes. Ask for a light lunch delivered to the spa, such as melt-in-your-mouth poached halibut and light-as-air asparagus-spinach flan with sun-dried tomato (see recipe), or plan a casual beachside barbecue along the boardwalk with freshly grilled lobster tails scented with vanilla, roasted potato and cauliflower salad with carrot-yogurt dressing, and sugar-free confections for dessert. It’ll make you rethink your next cheeseburger.  ROYAL RELAXATION: The magnificent Regent Spa is a resort unto itself. Freestanding treatment rooms line a serene, shallow pool that is elegantly lit by lanterns at night. Guests await their therapists on comfy, terry cloth-clad chaises overlooking this water feature—the most memorable “waiting room” of any spa I’ve seen. Among the signature treatments are the Mother of Pearl Body Exfoliation, in which the skin is revitalized using a special blend of hand-crushed queen conch shells, and the Regent Palms Signature Red Carpet Facial featuring Sonya Dakar botanical and aromatherapy products. My sweet therapist took a hard look at my face and told me the truth: clogged pores and dehydration. So, with her magical mix of potions, she went to work, all the while gently massaging my head. This 90-minute treatment also included a custom green tea peel to correct my, ahem, blemishes. My only task was to keep the sunscreen slathered on—which is absolutely nonnegotiable if you’re spending more time in the sun. Expect some tightness and dryness in the days following your peel, and avoid any moisturizers with acid in them, because it will irritate your delicate skin. But once your renewed and rosy visage appears, you’ll forget all about any discomfort—especially when the compliments keep coming.

FAST FACTS
How To Get There

American Airlines (www.aa.com) recently launched a weekly nonstop flight from DFW to Providenciales; otherwise, you can connect through Miami International Airport. The Regent Palms can arrange airport transfer.

Where To Stay
The Regent Palms Turks and Caicos
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
649-946-8666
www.regenthotels.com

photography courtesy of Regent Palms Turks and Caicos

Asparagus-Spinach Flan With Sun-Dried Tomato
 2 lb. asparagus, trimmed
 4 c. fresh spinach, cooked and drained
 1 c. sun-dried tomato
 7 large eggs
 1 1/3 c. whole milk
 2 tbsp. freshly grated
 Parmigiano-Reggiano
 1 1/4 tsp. salt
 1/2 tsp. black pepper
 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.

Butter an 8-by-2-inch round cake pan or individual soufflé cups and line the bottom with a round of wax paper, then butter paper. Steam asparagus, covered, for six to eight minutes, or until tender. Purée asparagus, sun-dried tomato, and spinach in a food processor until smooth, one to two minutes. You will have about three cups of purée.

Whisk together eggs, milk, cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a bowl, then whisk in asparagus mixture. Pour mixture into the pan and bake in a hot water bath until flan is set, about 50 minutes to one hour, and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer pan to a rack to cool slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Run a thin knife around the edge of the flan to loosen, then place a serving plate over pan and invert flan onto plate.
Remove pan and discard paper. Cut flan into wedges and serve immediately.

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