It took the better part of a decade to bring it to fruition, but one of South Caicos’ most ambitious dreams closed in on reality this fall when the Sailrock Resort began taking reservations and preparing to host its first guests on “The Big South” this winter.

This  “barefoot luxury” resort officially broke ground more than two years ago, but planning and development for the modern South Caicos project has been the dream of Chicago developer Colin Kihnke far longer. With that work now complete, resort staff are booking the villas and ridgetop suites surrounding its stunning centerpiece: The Great House, Sailrock’s  21st-century take on classic Caribbean design, incorporating an infinity pool, a restaurant, a bar, event space and spa services.

With just 17 rooms spread across a 48-acre resort on a remote island that’s more than three miles across, Sailrock defines the term “low-density,” a central feature in its interpretation of the Caribbean experience. It’s a destination for visitors who prize  tranquility, informality and natural beauty, and whether they choose to stay on the beach or above it, the architecture is open and spacious, seamlessly integrating indoors and outdoors.

“These are definitely not your traditional hotel or resort rooms,” said Linda Maratea, the resort’s director of sales and marketing. Accommodations range across five different categories, from one-room studios to four-bedroom beachfront villas encompassing almost 6,000 square feet.

Activities include snorkeling, kayaking, SUP excursions and sailing. Staff can also arrange charter boats, fly-fishing expeditions, and scuba diving trips. South Caicos is, after all, the epicenter of TCI sportfishing.

And though much of South Caicos’ charm stems from lying off the beaten track, agents have created worry-free transfer packages aimed at getting vacationers back and forth to Providenciales International with minimal time and effort.

Those first guests will also share the distinction of ushering the island into the modern era. South Caicos, sparsely populated since the demise of the salt trade, reminds visitors and residents alike of the early days of Grace Bay development. And guests can purchase a share of that future: Sailrock suites start at less than $300,000, with beachfront villas from $1.2 million.

Image courtesy of Sailrock Resort