Naturalist Beach Resort - Reader Reports & Opinion
Jenn Ifer from U.S.A. visited in December 2008 and awarded
The facilities at the Naturalist are well-appointed and comfortable and the location is quite nice.
Otherwise, we had a very unpleasant experience at the Naturalist.
Prior to arrival I had contacted Ancle via email (on this site) and been quoted a rate of $55 a night. When we arrived in Castara, the office girls (who were neither friendly nor unfriendly) informed us the rate was $60 -- regardless of what we'd been told. We took a room -- (the Salmon) still a little unsure of what the price would ultimately be.
As we prepared to go into town -- (and after the girls had left for the day) Ancle returned. We chatted briefly and more or less pleasantly, but several minutes later as we were walking down the driveway, Ancle stopped us (accosted us really.) And began deriding us as one would expect an unkind boss to do to do to an employee -- in other words, in a way that was completely unacceptable between an owner and a guest... He wanted to clarify what the girls had written about the cost earlier in the day -- and, again his tone was that of an unpleasant supervisor talking down to someone -- Once he was comfortable with our answers... My bf asked him why he had quoted $55 in the email if that wasn't in fact the price -- Ancle snapped back "Did you confirm that price with me?"
At that point we realized that we weren't going to get anywhere rationally and $5 is only $5. We left and enjoyed our evening in Castara -- HOWEVER, knowing that Ancle was back at the premises made us rethink our initial plan to cook dinner in the room and we ate in town instead. I don't think that anyone should be made to feel uncomfortable in a place they are paying to stay. Perhaps he was having a bad day -- but taking it out on your customers is a sure way to ensure bad worth of mouth among former guests. While we wouldn't hesitate to recommend other places we stayed in T and T... Ancle's gets a huge thumbs down! Oh -- and I should add that we aren't 4 star travelers accustomed to fine service -- but we've both felt much, much more at home in divey hostels the world over than at this "resort."
Diane Adams from U.S.A. visited in August 2008 and awarded
Our trip to Tobago started off a little late as two of the three Caribbean Air 'bridge' aircraft from Trinidad to Tobago were down for repair. Still Ancle waited at the airport for an additional 3 hours. We hopped into our Blue Daihatsu, which was in great condition, and made the trek to Castara. Note for Americans - if you DO chose the manual remember that the stick will be on your left hand, since Tobagans drive on the left side of the road. I also recommend making the drive in the day time if possible. We later got to see all of the amazing views and vistas but missed them on the initial drive in the dark.
We stayed in the Blue Marlin Suite which was pretty much as described in the full review. I must warn though, at least in August, if you don't like creepy crawlies then you might want to opt for one of the other apartments. Since the suite is over the kitchen and not air conditioned (it never got too warm that we couldn't sleep), we had some unwelcome visitors. That being said, the location on the beach and incredible view made it all worth it. We considered changing rooms but the deck was just too nice to give up.
We brought our 8 month old who had a great time crawling around the room and deck while we lounged on the deck or took turns snorkeling. We did have to keep an eye on her to make sure she didn't get too close to the railings or find the stairs. As it turns out, she was mobile but not too mobile so it worked out. I wouldn't have been as comfortable with a toddler.
The snorkeling was quite good on the right side of the bay. We also tried Black Rock and Englishman's Bay and ended up preferring what was a couple of steps and an easy swim to beautiful corals and fish in Castara Bay.
We checked out most of the island via our car rental. Castara was by far our favorite spot - there's food, nice people, not too crowded, boats to rent, and a gorgeous beach. If you're looking for a large resort try Turtle Beach area. If you're looking for something a little more authentic but with all the necessities nearby, Castara is just right.
Ken Greene from U.K. visited in August 2008 and awarded
Very clean and tidy apartments. Very friendly and helpfull people.
We stayed in both the King Fish and Blue Marlin Suites, with the Blue Marlin having the fantastic view, especially the sunsets.
The water pressure was very low on some ocassions, but that did not spoil a very enjoyable holiday.
Anne Less from U.S.A. visited in May 2008 and awarded
We booked the Blue Marlin Suite for 4 days in May, which was a great time to visit Tobago (no rain!). This location is about as close as you can get to the main beach in Castara, so the view from the wrap-around porch is unbeatable. The suite is really like a small apartment- full kitchen, living/bedroom and bathroom. It was very clean and being so close to the water ensure that we never had to use the mosquito netting. The staff was so accomodating that although we were supposed to checkout on the morning of our last day, they let us stay until our ride to the airport came at 4 pm.
Delcie Dobrovolny from U.S.A. visited in May 2008 and awarded
My husband and I just returned from a week-long stay in Tobago. We spent 7 nights at the Naturalist and loved every minute of it. The staff was extremely helpful and friendly. When we had a bit of trouble with our rental car (not from Naturalist) and needed to rearrange SCUBA diving, Marion (manager) went out of her way to help us find phone numbers and make calls. The staff is only around until early afternoon, so if you need anything, take care of it early.
We stayed in Bonito. I have to say for $55 (US) per night, it was a great deal. The room was spotless and cleaned every day. The air conditioning worked well. The fridge was well stocked with drinks (and restocked every day). The rooms are tucked down a hallway. They feel very private and secure, but there are definitely no views Ė you wouldnít want to spend your vacation in them. The kitchenette had a two-burner portable stove and all the pots and utensils we needed.
The hotel internet service was down while we were there and the payphone didnít work. Marion offered to let us use the office phone. As a note, we found it difficult to call to the US. Most of the coin payphones on the island are broken and the only place we found to buy phone cards was at the airport. We tried to buy a cell phone, but were told only locals can purchase them. If you need to call home, I would recommend bringing a cell phone that you know will work in Tobago.
Castara is quiet and fun. On our first night there, several local kids came to tell us about a turtle on the beach. It turned out to be a leatherback that had come ashore to lay eggs. The beach is often busy with fishermen. We found great snorkeling just past the small beach.
I would definitely recommend the Naturalist to anyone heading to Tobago. Itís not the Ritz, but if thatís what youíre looking for, try another island.