Beach House - Reader Reports & Opinion
Ray Hargrave from U.K. visited in January 2007 and awarded
We stayed for 7 nights in Coconut Heights, the 1st floor apartment at the Beach House in Castara and we loved it. The setting and view from the apartment make it very special.
The open balcony is a magical place to sit and watch the pelicans and baker birds diving for fish. The whole apartment has a homely feel to it with comfy easy chairs and a good sized dining table. During the day, bananaquits and tanagiers flock to the bird feeder (just put in sugar, bread or fruit) whilst at night, fruit bats flitter by. Fireflies drift past the shutters with their pulsing glow. The bed is very comfortable and the shower and toilet spotlessly clean.
We like to cook for ourselves some of the time and having stayed at 2 other properties over the previous 7 nights, we were pleasantly surprised at the level of kitchen equipment here (though we did pine a little for proper wine glasses and ceramic plates). The owners (Graham & Carol) who were staying in one of the two ground floor apartments were really helpful but never intrusive.
Neither of us could be classed as sun worshippers so during the day, we could walk straight out of the garden and onto Heavenly Bay beach for a swim or snorkel, then back into the garden to shower off the salt and sand before going upstairs to sprawl out with a cold Carib and watch the sunnies sizzle from the comfort of our shaded balcony.
Across the road from the apartment is the Boat House bar and restaurant. I was slightly worried that this might prove noisy at night, but Castara is really such a quiet, laid back spot that this proved an unnecessary concern.
The noise of the surf on the beach more or less cancels out anything from the bar, even on Wednesday's party night (steel pan) you could only faintly here the soothing rhythm. And nobody seems to stay out later than 10.00 pm on other nights (give or take Graham & Carol returning from Sunday School in Buccoo after a rum or two)! Actually, to be fair, you do need a night to adjust to the noise of the sea. We found it soothing, but in the very open accommodation, very light sleepers might need earplugs.
Porridge is Graham and Carol's local agent and general Mr Fixit in Castara. I defy anyone to find a more outrageously charming and helpful man. He even conjured up one of his own chickens and some mangos for us. It was the size of a small turkey, made several meals and he charged us £5. Carline comes in to clean mid week so there is very little housework required. We also bought fresh fish, bread and vegetables locally. You do need to do a supermarket shop if you want luxuries like olive oil, wine and coffee etc. We hired a car for a week, but wouldn't do that again. Why leave Castara?
One last point. Our return flight was delayed by 24 hours and we had to stay at the Tobago Hilton. We found it very bland and sterile in contrast to our wonderful warm and friendly experience of Castara. If you want sophistication, swimming pools and bogus theme bars, the Hilton may be for you, but to live independently, close to the local community and stay in a real home from home, then go for the Beach House in Castara. We've never visited Tobago before (in fact, never left Europe) and this has been our most relaxing holiday ever.
Pam Rotheisen from U.K. visited in November 2006 and awarded
When we arrived in Heavenly Bay, Castara, on a day trip in 2005 we were captivated and were determined to return this year!! We had explored the whole island by car in 2005, because we were staying at a friends Plantations apartment near the golf course at Crown Point.Plantations is quite a new, stunning complex , near the Hilton and although we enjoyed our stay there, we were looking forward to finding a more natural resort . . .somewhere without aircon, somewhere simple, yet in it's way both cosy and luxurious,, and with everything we would need to cater for ourselves if we so chose, somewhere seconds from the beach and beautiful Caribbean ocean, somewhere with magnificent views and sunsets, somewhere where the sea breeze would cool us, somewhere where we could get involved with the local community, somewhere we could 'live' for weeks on end, relax and enjoy and feel 'at home '.
We found everything and more at Beach House . . .it was fabulous!We loved our stay both in one of the smaller apartments downstairs and at the end of our stay, in the larger Coconut Heights upstairs!!We found Beach House by chance having arrived by boat[ a brilliant way to travel!] from Charlotteville! We immediately met a friendly Australian lady who had been staying there and was leaving that morning . . . she introduced us to Carole and the rest is history!!!What a find !.. . . we are now completely addicted to both Castara and Beach House!!
Before I close I must add that we had intended spending 4 weeks of our 7 week adventure in the Caribbean, on Tobago . .. but, after experiencing the wonderful friendliness of Castara and the very special warmth of the locals, plus our enchanting location and beautiful Beach House, we decided not to move on to explore other islands, because we had already found paradise in Heavenly Bay.
Joanne Grose from Australia visited in October 2006 and awarded
What a truly superb slice of paradise Beachhouse is!! Situated right on the beach at Heavenly Bay, Castara, Beachhouse is the most beautiful place to stay in Tobago. The property is beautifully decorated, very comfy and homely - so much so we felt we were in our own home. Nestled in beautiful gardens the views and sunsts from this open air property are amazing, and the constant sound of the waves is so relaxing. The property is excellently maintained and spotlessly clean, and the attentive managers, Porridge and Jeanelle, ensure all your needs are catered for. We will definitely return to Beachhouse, Castara, as it was a truly memorable stay. Thank you Graham and Carole (owners) for providing a unique and romantic holiday home.
Christine from U.K. visited in June 2006 and awarded
We stayed at Palm Corner in June and couldn't believe how lucky we were to find such a relaxing, friendly and beautiful place. The accomodation is simple and perfect for those wishing for a holiday where you can do exactly as you please. We were lucky to meet Carole and Graham who own the Beach House and they made us feel more than welcome as did Porridge.
When we read the reviews before we came to Beach House we couldn't believe that there would be so much on one island but it really is all here. The village of Castara is very friendly and a great base from which to visit the whole island. Hire a car from Porridge and you can travel to great beaches and across the rainforest (would recommend King David for this!) which gives a refreshing break from the heat. Much of the time we spent on our verandah watching the stingrays come right in to the shoreline and feeding the tropical birds (and the chickens!). Snorkelling is great right off the beach.
Although we visited in the low season (still hot and sunny!) and only a couple of the restaurants were open we always ate well and I have to recommend Vera's roti at the Almond Tree! Also, Dexter at the Tree House on the far end of Heavenly Bay was great and even opened the restaurant early on Saturday morning so we could watch England in the World Cup! The food here is great too. I've never tasted such good fish as I did on Castara.
Overall, if you visit Tobago and the Beach House you will meet plenty of people who will give you good advice on where to go and what to do.
I would love to go back and that is the best recommendation I can give.
Danny And Stacia from U.S.A. visited in May 2006 and awarded
My wife and I recently spent a week at the Beach House. On our last full day, we married at Englishman’s Bay.
Our simple advice– if you are looking for a “sophisticated”, air-conditioned sort of place that provides a safety buffer between yourself and the place/people you’ve chosen to visit; and complete with a staff to serve you – the Beach House is probably not for you.
Read the web page carefully. Contact the management with questions, and read their answers. Carefully.
If you wish a truly out-of-the-way place; staying in a facility that blends itself into the local environment; are not intimidated by close interaction with locals (on terms of friendly equality); and are seeking to find new meaning in the term “relaxation”, then by all means consider the Beach House.
We stayed in Palm Corner. We loved it. It had all that we required. We spent most of our time either on the porch enjoying the wonderful birds (this includes chickens), the beautiful view, and the sound of the waves; or swimming and snorkeling in the lovely sea. All of this was eight seconds walk from our porch!
We usually wandered to the village for lunch. The food was generally excellent, especially if you happen to like “chicken or fish”. We prefer fish, and it was fresh! The Tree House, run by Lauro, was a favorite, but try Hazel at L&H, and Vera’s also!
Evenings, we tended to cook in the kitchen, enjoying the breeze and ever-present sound of waves. Dinner on the porch was just grand.
Yes, there are mosquitos,and yes they bite. Use the net provided. And the odd lizard creeping around the room (lovely green colors). Hey, bring some coils, have a Carib, and smile!
What truly makes Castara and the Beach House a haven, are the people. Porridge is a whirlwind of smiles and efficiency. We relied on him greatly. He met our awkwardness and needs with friendliness,and always delivered.
Carol and Graham we will not forget. We enjoyed lovely hours on our wedding eve, of rum drinks and conversation on the porch. They always provided a smile and care for our comfort.
The fellows at the Boat House (never actually opened while we were there, haha), provided us with a private “mini-reception”, drinks and dancing on our wedding day that we’ll never forget. To Benton, Overload, and the Crew –God Bless, and may your carrot wine never run dry.
King David was a great help. See him for tours, or even a fine dinner delivered to your door! Porridge can put you in touch. To Sammy and Bones, DJ, Lauro, and everyone else – we thank you.
On the average great vacation, you are a tourist. At the Beach House in Castara, you become a part of the community. And it's lovely.
Love from the USA-
Danny and Stacia