As the natural world becomes increasingly endangered, journeys into the unplugged wild have become more appealing. The 12-room Meridian Club is one of those old-fashioned places that eschews TV, phones, radio, and even air conditioning in favor of a wonderful sort of barefoot luxury. When you have the kind of natural paradise that is the island of Pine Cay, going offline for a few days is no hardship; it's a deeply soulful pleasure. The Meridian Club resort was established on this privately owned island in 1973. The island's limited homesites—fewer than 40—were built within the club's conservationist guidelines of beach setbacks, height restrictions, and rainwater catchment systems. The island has a tiny airstrip but no cars: To get around, you simply unplug one of the electric golf carts and off you go. Head to the Aquarium, on the island's eastern tip, to snorkel and hobnob with iguanas, or dip into Reef Balls beach, where some 200 specially designed reef balls were dropped in 2012 to stem erosion and grow a fish-magnet reef. Or take a swim in the gin-clear seas along the lovely crescent of beach at the resort's front door, something guests can do with ease: Each cottage leads directly to the beach. Rooms are smartly outfitted with big, comfortable beds, separate sitting areas and dressing rooms, and a large bathroom, screened-in porch, and patio with an outdoor shower. The Sand Dollar Cottage is a private stand-alone "tiki hut" in a shady grove of casuarina pines.
One of the biggest attractions of a stay at the Meridian Club is the food. We guarantee you will eat better on Pine Cay than just about anywhere else in the islands. The all-inclusive, home-cooked meals are tasty, nutritious, and plentiful, prepared by a staff of longtime employees (the Meridian Club employs the highest percentage of locals in the islands). The breakfast buffet alone is a wonder of fresh fruit and fruit juices, Pine Cay burritos, and West Indies omelets, filled, if you like, with spicy sausage, grilled peppers, avocado, and tomato salsa. Sunset cocktails are served in the bar above the restaurant.The genial, hands-on managers are happy to arrange snorkeling, diving, or fishing excursions (good coral gardens lie just minutes offshore). Pine Cay is reached via 30-minute boat ride from Provo or by charter plane.