Blue Haven Hotel - Reader Reports & Opinion
Back From The Blue Haven - 24 Hours Late!
Well we're back after what was my 3rd and best holiday in Tobago - thanks in no small part to Karl, Beulah, Baerbel et al at the Blue Haven. If anyone has any doubts about going there - remove them. Despite all the good reviews on this forum, as I mentioned in my last post, a bad review appeared on tripadvisor.com just before we left. Well I can only assume he stayed at a different Blue Haven or it was just a mailicious post.
Karl really has returned the place to its former splendour. In fact you wouldn't be too surprised if Robert Mitchum and co did walk round the corner (talking of actors Jim Broadbent popped in for lunch when we were there!). And Karl as a host honestly could not have been more gracious and friendly - and that's a rarity today in any hotel. He really does care and makes sure every guest gets a 'how are you, everything OK, anything I can do to help etc.'. In fact there was a wedding on whilst we were there and even though you would expect Karl to devote all his time to that, he still had time to check on his other house guests.
The place is also real Tobago which you'll understand more if you stay there. Sure the pool isn't the most spectacular and maybe they could use a few more sun loungers, but the beach is a stone's throw away and what a beach. The rooms are great - we had Room 11 which had fantastic views of the sea and distant Scarborough. We ate in the restaurant most nights and the food was good - not perhaps rivalling eateries in New York and London as one book said - but you won't be disappointed. There are plenty of other places to try anyway - not least La Tatarruga in Buccoo. Gabriel the manager is the most enthusiastic restaurateur I think I've ever met and his wine list and knowledge is amazing. Ask to look round his cellar!
We hired a car from Thrifty (highly reccommended and the car - a Daihatsu Terios was great. Get an automatic though - if you plan to drive around you'll appreciate not having to change gear on some of the bends- trust me). Spent 4 days re-visiting old haunts. the traffic was noticebly heavier on the main Claude Noel highway, but once off the main highway and out onto the coastal roads the driving and scenery are amazing. All the usual places were just as spectacular as I remembered, Englishman's Bay now has a little cafe and stalls but you don't get hassled at all. Pigeon Point although still pretty has indeed lost its old original charm and seemed a bit commercial. And guards in uniform really isn't Tobago.
Anyway - last bit now. We were set leave on the Monday - were sat at the airport with half an hour to take off when the Virgin rep announced the plane had suffered a bird strike in Grenada and had to land again and the flight had been postponed 24 hours. Pandemonium ensued as people were up in arms. However to Virgin's credit I thought they dealt with it superbly. Everyone was transferred to hotels to stay overnight at Virgin's expense and fed and watered. Despite thinking we'd be transferred to some little local hostelry to save them money, imagine our delight when we were transferred back to the Blue Haven - we even got our old room back which Karl had organised. How's that for service? In fact about 30 extra guest were thrust upon him and he had us all fed within half an hour of arriving.
So to sum up - go to the Blue Haven if you want to mix a real Tobago experience with a bit of old world charm. While the Hilton is lovely (we drove to have a look) to be honest you could be anywhere in America - it sort of misses the point. Oh and Karl is Austrian not German! There is a big difference! He told me so.
Back To Tobago After 8 Years
Just thought I'd post this prior to our stay at the Blue Haven in early May. My previous 2 trips to Tobago were 8 and 10 years ago, both at the Tropikist when I was a bit poorer! Both stays were fantastic (especially as I won the first one!) although the Tropikist seems to have fallen out of favour over the years. Pigeon Point too which is sad. My reason for this post is that I've just read a review on Tripadvisor.com which really lays into Blue Haven. I'm hoping the authors were ultra-picky and that the favourable views expressed in this forum mirror the actual experience. Anyway, I'm flying Virgin so no stop over delays, I won't be renting my car from the bloke who hung around outside the Tropikist (it broke down after less than a mile!) and am currently praying the rain holds off. I'll post more on how things have or haven't changed since I first visited Tobago 10 years ago on our return.
Matt and Emma
Blue Haven Review March 04
We have just returned from a week and half stay at the Blue Haven Hotel and have had a wonderful time. I will start by covering all the positives. The room was excellent with everything working, and a large and comfortable bathroom with a glass wall (with blind if wanted) being a really nice feature. You can shower and , without fear being overlooked, gaze out to sea. We had a balcony with lovely views of the Caribbean sunsets. We did have a problem with the safe, which was resolved within 5 minutes of a call to reception. The beach was very good, not large, has some moderate sized breakers (like all other beaches we visited) and it is public but still very nice and feels safe. The food in the restaurant was excellent with a good choice, sensible but very adequate proportions, and the premier all inclusive does include lobster at no extra cost! Breakfast was also very good. Service was relaxed but not a problem. One could very easily consider other plans (e.g. breakfast only) and eat at other restaurants around the island on some nights. Many other guests did this, eating in some nights and out others. There are 4 or 5 good places within 20 min taxi ride (about US$20/25 return fare). We hired a car for 2 days to explore the island, the rain forest, and other beaches. There was plenty to see and do, and we could easily have done more. Of course not everyone is looking for the same thing and it is only fair to highlight areas that others might consider an issue though they were not for us. This is the Caribbean and the island has a developing tourist industry. Service was relaxed and very easy going, and yes, sometimes slow, so if you are looking for 5 star obsequious attention don't come here. If a gym is important to you, you will be disappointed, though you will be able to get an excellent massage. The beach bar is stretched when busy, which we found on 2 occasions, but since a day on the beach is not usually a hurried activity it wasn't a big problem. On the two Sundays we were there, there was 2 hours of local football on the beach, but nothing on Saturdays and it is public beach, like all in Tobago. A minor irritation but again not a significant problem. We looked around Crown Point which is more developed and busier and probably easier access to activities, bars, clubs etc. However if you want a relaxed, special and unique holiday in Tobago I would not hesitate to recommend the Blue Haven to you.
Where To Go
Firstly, congratulations on such a fantastic site, I don't thinks I've ever visited a site with such comprehensive information on any one subject.
I do appreciate that you must have thousands of hit mails, asking the same questions. However, I thought I would chance my arm.
I am about to visit Tobago for the first time, but I am not sure where to go. We are young couple with an 11 year old daughter, looking for something a little different. A beach house, villa, bungalow etc. The crucial point is, we would like to walk almost strait out onto a beach, on the Caribbean side. Would this be possible? We are not to concerned about the quality, just clean and authentic.
Would you be able to point us the right direction.
Blue Haven - A Gem In The Island Of Tobago
We were at the Blue Haven this Xmas and had the most amazing stay.
I had been in contact with the reservations desk before we left to arrange some flowers as it was my partners birthday on the day we arrived.
What a surprise when we arrived as we were sung a wonderful birthday song and presented with a lovely cake! On top of this they had upgraded us to the Rita Hayworth suite.
The owner Karl introduced himself and showed us to our room, you always see him and his wife around the hotel talking to guests and making sure everybody is OK. A truly good host.
We travelled around the whole of Tobago during our stay and visited most of the other big hotels and can honestly say that the Blue Haven was one of the best.
The beach is wonderful, although it is on the Atlantic side the water is crystal clear and there is nothing underfoot on the gently sloping sand beach as far out as you can go. The waves coming in from the Atlantic just add to the fun especially playing with the hotel provided boogie boards! There is also good snorkelling by the rocks with plenty of fish and sting rays etc.
The rooms were very nice and airy, with good air conditioning. The rooms were always made up very quickly and kept very clean and tidy.
The hotel's restuarant "Shutters" was very nice and the staff very friendly, especially Tricia who was always smiling whatever happened. Be prepared for a wait as everything is prepared fresh, but that wait it worth it as the food was always wonderful.
Only down side to the hotel is perhaps it's location, being above Scarborough on the Atlantic side means you really need a car and it is about 20 mins drive to where most of the restaurants are. But hey that's no big deal when the scenery is so nice!
If you want an understated yet magical, comfortable stay in Tobago go for the Blue Haven!