Resort Report

A Place To Do Nothing

sibStory and Photo by Kathy Borsuk

While some vacationers prefer a selection of activities to keep them busy, others are simply looking for tranquility and perhaps a touch of romance . . . a chance to unwind in an exotic setting where the sun can melt their cares away. Sibonne is such a place.

An intimate, “boutique” property of only 26 rooms and mere steps from the soothing waters of Providenciales’ Grace Bay, Sibonne revels in being, as Manager Jo Buck states, “A place to do nothing.” From the fantastically fertile courtyard garden, to the swirling oceanfront pool and well-appointed rooms, everything at Sibonne conspires to promote relaxation.

Beth VeenKamp, Sibonne’s friendly guest services manager, explains the property’s unique charm, “We’re one of the few ‘proper hotels’ on the island and we cater to couples–whether honeymooners or folks celebrating a milestone anniversary–who desire a peaceful, romantic atmosphere. We’re not a condominium development and we don’t have kitchens in our rooms–that way our guests don’t feel compelled to cook! Instead, they treat themselves to dining out, the way a vacation should be.”

Sibonne gardensSibonne, formerly known as Le Deck, is one of Providenciales’ original beachfront hotels, built in 1989 when its surrounding 12 mile stretch of beach was nearly devoid of development. As a result, the hotel’s garden courtyard–around which the rooms are built–bursts and blooms with mature, colorful foliage (maintained by Winchlin Dorisea for the last six years!)

Rooms, on the other hand, sport a fresh, modern appearance, the result of the hotel’s exhaustive renovation two years ago. When asked what this encompassed, Jo explains, “EVERYTHING! We completely gutted all the rooms. We replaced the air conditioning, put in brand-new furniture and fixtures, replaced the tile, painted inside and out . . . we even put on a new roof.”

The end result is a good-as-new property–resplendent with ivory walls accented by crisp, light-blue trim and splashes of color throughout. Interiors exceed expectations, as explained by Petra Bussche, whose local company, Tropical Latitude, supplied the decor. “I wanted guests to feel that they were in a home, not a hotel room. So, Jo and I chose furniture, fabric and decorative pieces in a colorful sun and moon motif. It pulls together ideas and items from my travels through Indonesia, Mexico, Africa and Europe, along with pieces from my parent’s Belgium furniture factory.” The richly patterned, eclectic blend can only by described as “Provo-style.”

Rooms are on two levels, with adjoining balconies or terraces overlooking the courtyard and views to the sparkling ocean beyond. Beth comments, “The downstairs rooms are more shaded and seem to be preferred by older couples. We also have two suites with king beds and separate sitting rooms and an oceanfront villa apartment. Of course, all rooms have the standard amenities, including air-conditioning, ceiling fans, cable TV, direct dial phones and safes.”

Sibonne’s beachfront restaurant, Bay Bistro, is also owned and managed by Jo and her husband, Tom. The breezy outdoor terrace is usually occupied with guests in a dreamy state of mind, the result of delectable tropical drinks from the bar and the hypnotic turquoise seascape or entrancing sunset unfolding before them. There is also an all-weather dining room where meals are served throughout the day. For dinner, Chef Simon Poulin has created a tantalizing menu featuring tapas, individual portions that go well beyond their Spanish origins. Ranging from bruschetta to shrimp satay, conch fritters to pork dumplings, many guests chose two or three to make an entree. More traditional fare is also an option and Chef Poulin’s chocolate desserts are known to be sinful!

Tucked in a private garden terrace, a pair of hammocks-made-for-two gently sway, beckoning lovers young and old to cuddle. Steps from the circular pool, the powder-soft sand gently slopes towards warm, shallow seas in a protected curve of the beach that seldom attracts waves larger than a lap. With the Rotary Club Park and The Sands upscale condominiums as its unobtrusive neighbors, Sibonne occupies a peaceful oasis on the beach.

Another advantage of staying in a smaller property, Beth explains, is that guests can better get to know local people and places, because they are more likely to venture out. If you should desire a car rental, snorkeling or diving trip, island excursion or restaurant reservation, she adds, “We have all the information available at the front desk and are happy to assist you.” She also believes that proprietors of smaller properties can spend more time getting to know their guests and making them feel at home, a fact evidenced by their high percentage of returning guests . . . all folks who appreciate the value of “doing nothing.”

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