Speyside Inn - Reader Reports & Opinion
Claire Pulman from Trinidad visited in December 2008 and awarded
An unassuming gem of a place. Room clean and comfortable, well equipped bathroom. Internet cafe a nice touch.
Loved breakfast overlooking the sea each morning. Excellent evening meals. The fantastic staff made me feel very welcome Good value for money.
Gillian Merry from Trinidad visited in December 2008 and awarded
Coming from Trinidad (i.e. not a first-world country itself), our expectations were probably lower than the average visitor to start with. However, even we were disappointed at the appalling service, bordering on rudeness from the staff at Speyside Inn. Although we had not appreciated the extent to which this hotel is a diver's place, frequented mainly by young European diver types (and as such not very suitable for us as family with children), we still were prepared to make the best of it. We were not too successful though.
Not knowing what 'the deal' was in the restaurant on the first night, we tried to enquire but got our heads bitten off by the waitress. We just wanted the system explained to us. It appeared to be a buffet but we wanted to know whether a la carte was also available, and if not, what were the dishes on the buffet. The waiting staff were almost abusively rude. They would not give the information and treated us like complete nuisances. We never did find out if the a la carte was ever available. Nobody would answer our questions. We were constantly ignored and in fact got to the point where we were afraid to ask for anything and at one point even went back up to our room to bring down our own drinks.
We had heard the fish was good in Speyside but our hotel never seemed to have any. There was one plate of fish on the first night but by the time we got to the buffet it had gone. When we asked if there was more, we were treated to a good ticking-off from the waitress for having the temerity to ask. Obviously we ate elsewhere on the other nights and the other restaurants in the village were very much better.
Breakfast was a similar fiasco. Tables were never set when we arrived and then it would take the waitress approx. half an hour to bring the cutlery, place mats etc. (usually one item at a time) and an equally agonising wait for the food. We never once managed to all eat at the same time due to the slow, uncaring and inefficient service. Be prepared to eat in relays and don't dare ask for salt and pepper or an extra knife or anything.
On our second night the dive shop located on the premises hosted some kind of party, attended by the divers/young Europeans. It was EXCESSIVELY loud, even by T&T standards and went on until 2 in the morning. None of us could sleep. Obviously sanctioned by the hotel itself, it was a disgusting way to treat the non-partying guests. It only stopped at 2.00 because it started to rain.
Speyside has so much potential. The rooms are nice (no TV -another service we would nomally take for granted in a hotel of this 'calibre'), but clean and comfortable with a lovely pool. However, it is poorly run, over-priced and aimed only at one sector of the market. We paid the same rate in Orlando this summer for an enormous apartment with jacuzzis, plasma screen TVs, enormous bathrooms/full-equipped kitchen, king-sized beds etc.(Speyside is stuck in the 70's with its single beds, one pillow each, no extra blankets etc mentality).
We can recommend the other restaurants in the area, and the area itself for an idyllic, get-away-from-the-crowds holiday. Blue Waters is a particularly gorgeous beach, as is King's Bay round the corner.
Dave Collins from U.K. visited in May 2008 and awarded
The room we had booked included a kitchenette, however this turned out to be unsuitable for human habitation as the cupboards, including those with platees etc were full of animal droppings and clearly had not been cleaned.
When we asked for a different room we we offered a room without the kitchenette which we accepted and had a very good stay. This room was clean and practical, although a television would have been nice.
Maria Quercetti from Italy visited in April 2008 and awarded
My friend Simone and me spent three nights at Speyside and we find it a beautiful place to stay. You can see the true Tobago! The hotel is nice and clean, our room was large, with a clean bathroom, without air conditioned but with a fan, the good breakfast is included with the room. Unfortunately can happen that they haven't the current but it's a problem of all Speyside! However the best things were the sea, the beach in front of the hotel, a good diving down the hotel and especially the panorama you can see from Speyside Inn and from all Speyside. Would love to return!
Speyside Inn Review (and A Bit About Speyside Restaurants!)
Allan + Maria
As promised, here is our review of the Speyside Inn in Speyside following our 5 nights there end March/beginning April. We paid US$85 per night for a double room including breakfast and tax (the full rate for this time of year is US$100 but they are suffering from the current situation and are only half full). We considered this to be good value for money. The hotel has around 8 rooms, most of which are in the main building and 2 in the attached "tower" which is a 2 storey structure. If we recall their website correctly, it also has a couple of self-catering units behind. All rooms have balconies and sea view and we stayed in the lower room of the tower (the upper tower room is slightly dearer and has a larger double bed I think - they advertise it as being suitable for honeymooners!). Accommodation was comfortable and spacious, though not luxurious. The bathroom fittings looked rather aged, but worked perfectly - it was great to have a proper hot shower with pressure after lack of both at Inn on the Bay the previous 5 nights!). The floors are tiled so nice and cool and there were a couple of chairs to sit out on the balcony. The room wasn't air conditioned but had a ceiling fan and standing fan by the bed. Cynthia, the manager when we were there, was very helpful with providing local information, though unfortunately her last day was our last day! The chef was also very friendly and went on a trip to Little Tobago with another couple of their guests!
Our main problem with the room was the fact that it was rather open to the elements! Along the top of each wall was a stencil type pattern cut through which looked nice but which at night let the mosquitoes have full access to our brown/red bodies! Every morning we compared bite locations - they always managed to find a bit we had failed to "mosiguard" against! However, we have a feeling this stencil design only applied to the tower rooms rather than those in the main building.
Food was excellent. There was a breakfast menu to choose from which included eggs in any style you wanted, bacon and sausage, omlettes with cheese/tomato, french toast or pancakes, and also cereal. We also automatically got given fresh fruit and fruit juice, a basket of homemade bread toasted, and homemade cake. It kept us going through lunch some days! They also do dinner there which is open to the public, and this is served on the open air terrace at the front. The chef is excellent and we ate one dinner there which was very enjoyable. It was good to have a 3 course menu to choose from with 2 or 3 options for each course and an idea of what style dish to expect, unlike the local restaurants in Speyside where you are just asked if you want "fish, chicken, shrimp?" and are looked at blankly if you ask how it will be cooked! The only problem we found was that they didn't serve dinner 2 of the 5 nights we were there - not sure of the reasons. Definitely worth a meal there though even if you aren't staying. The day's menu is posted on a board at the end of the hotel's drive in the afternoon and they like to know you are planning to eat there a few hours in advance if possible.
Other local eating options which we tried out are the renowned Jemma's Treehouse (less than 100yds down the road), Redmans (another treehouse just before Jemma's with v similar food but empty when we went for lunch) and Birdwatchers Bar & Restaurant (just the other side of Jemma's - same food again!). We also ate in the Seacrest Bar & Restaurant further back along the main road in Speyside, towards the football pitch end, the pub part of which seemed to be a popular haunt of locals, and again, the food was fine. All the above serve "fish, chicken, shrimp" with the traditional macroni pie, potato bake, calalloo, peas, rice and the meals are generally not that cheap, even compared to the hotels. Lastly, we tried the restaurant in Blue Waters Inn (as we fancied another proper menu to eat from!) and had a nice enough meal there, though perhaps a bit bland. Nice black forest gateaux dessert though! We also had a lunch in the bar there and really enjoyed flying fish and fries (the local restaurants looked at us blankly when we asked for fries, saying they just had "potato"!).
Afraid we've gone on a bit but hope the above is useful - we do recommend Speyside Inn, especially for its meals, and it's in a good spot for trips into the rainforest and out to the reef/islands, especially if your budget can't stretch to the Blue Waters Inn, and unlike the Blue Waters Inn, you can easily walk to the local eateries.
Maria & Allan (back in Sussex with rapidly fading tans!)