Given his Turks and Caicos track record for successful innovation, when developer Mark Durliat starts talking about a new idea, residents tend to sit up and take notice.
Then again, it isn’t every year that Durliat proposes an entirely novel sector in the Turks and Caicos luxury tourism market. That makes this winter’s sales launch of his latest concept — a north shore boutique hotel on International Drive called Rock House — Provo’s next big conversation piece.
Providenciales’ development to this point has largely followed the luxury resort trail blazed by Durliat and a select few on Grace Bay, creating a distinct Turks and Caicos brand and tremendous cachet among high-end travelers based primarily on North America’s East Coast.
But Rock House, which will be developed by Grace Bay Resorts, promises to break the Provo mould: A cliffside cluster of cottages perched above a mere strip of beach, its design and operation reconsidering traditional Caribbean beachside aesthetics in favor of a European sense of style and sophistication. Think Capri, Malta, or the south of France, he says.
“These are all iconic destinations, but it’s a huge amount of effort to get there,” Durliat said. “People are looking for something special, but they’re also looking for convenience. Turks and Caicos is checking all those boxes.”
His Eurocentric examples represent Rock House’s “design sense and the focus on the refined experience,” but the key to making it authentically TCI requires “using the topography of the land, the sheer beauty of natural surroundings.”
Durliat thinks he found the perfect spot on International Drive, and believes Rock House will become the developing residential community’s iconic new anchor.
The result, he said, will be a destination unto itself: Forty-two cottages and four single family homes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, sharing amenities and a staff devoted to catering unique, world-class experiences for a distinct class of travelers. The nucleus of the resort will be a stunning cliffside pool, restaurant and bar area that will feel as if you have entered into another world.
“At one point on the site the cliff is almost 30 feet tall,” he said. “There’s a sheer face right down to the ocean, and it’s just unbelievable. The view is breathtaking, and the breezes! It’s just spectacular. So we can create really cool private experiences, focused on more than the beach.”
Rock House will follow the ownership/rental development model, with Grace Bay Resorts managing the units. Cottages are priced at less than $1 million, with sales scheduled to begin in December and construction to commence in as little as 18 months.
PHOTOGRAPH: STEVE PASSMORE/PROVOPICTURES.COM