Turtle Beach - Reader Reports & Opinion
George Caulfield from U.K. visited in March 2009 and awarded
My wife and I stayed at the Turtle Beach from March 12th to 26th. This was our second visit to Tobago. We had originally intended to stay there two years ago, but changed our booking to the Grafton as friends living in Tobago warned us of an outbreak of food poisoning at the Turtle Beach at that time. As I have a bit of a problem health-wise we thought it better to change our destination. This did not put us off going to the Turtle Beach altogether and we went back this year. We were delighted with the Hotel. The food was exceptional, 'buffet style' with plenty of it. Unfortunately, towards the end of our two weeks the Manager decided to change the system to what he called 'A La Carte'. Doing away with the buffet and I suppose trying to save money. This did not detract completely from our enjoyment but it must be noted that the Hotel advertises 'Buffet' meals! I suspect that the problem here is the ongoing lack of guests!We found the accomadation quite adequate, and the nightly entertainment enjoyable. Sadly this also was let down by the fact that the bar staff seemed to use their own discretion as to what time the bar should close! Without warning they would suddenly close at eleven P.M! Just when some of us were getting going!
Despite these few small complaints we found that 75% of the other guests were repeat 'offenders', some revisiting 7, 10 and even one couple 20 years! This must indicate quite an exceptional degree of satisfaction.
Tobago will however need to 'pull it's socks up' with regards to encouraging more tourists to it's shores in the future. Hotels etc will have to start offering 'Special' deals and discounts if they want people to continue visiting the Island.
We do intend to go back again, but it will all depend on cost.They cannot keep on increasing their prices in this climate of financial unrest.
Sincerely George Caulfield
Pamela Carter from U.K. visited in January 2009 and awarded
After reading several poor reports of the Turtle Beach I was delighted with my stay. The accomodation is basic but was cleaned daily and the bathroom facilities were very good. Final refurbishments were being completed. Visitors should remember that this is 3* and very good for that rating. If you are pleasant and friendly you will find the staff to be the same.
The pool is fantastic with a swim up bar.
I stayed fully inclusive. The meal service and choice of dishes was very good.
The accomodation is very close to the beach and some previous vistors have complained about the locals however for me they made my stay.
Yes the girls and boys on the beach will offer you tours, massages, hair braiding and goods for sale but if you're not interested say so politely - you won't be hassled.
Tobago relies on its tourists and for the island to have any hope of maintaining the island life my opinion is the locals should be supported. They are very proud of their island and the tours they do are the same price as those from the bigger companies but given with more passion and insight to the island.
The sea can be rougher than on some bays on the island so if you're not a strong swimmer stick to the pool.
I had a fantastic time - go with the right attitude and you will too
Peter And Val from U.K. visited in December 2008 and awarded
Turtle Beach Hotel by Rex
Having read varying reports about this hotel, we were dubious, but most included some praise for the hotel. Now that we have stayed here, our advice is to AVOID and we certainly cannot recommend it under any circumstances.
Having arrived after a 10-hour flight we were shown to a room, which had not been serviced. Reception could not comprehend this and kept us waiting for over an hour for an alternative room, checking that what we said was true. The new room did not have a mini-bar or safe, but both arrived the next day. The following day the mini-bar was stocked, but no bottle opener was provided.
The hotel itself is a 1970’s construction currently undergoing some restoration. The painting of the buildings and the replacement of sanitary fittings do not remove the ‘tired’ feeling to the rooms (fortunately you do not need to spend much time in room) and do not bring it into the 21st century. The necessities of towels and drinking water were difficult to come by. This hotel is left in a time warp in need of major renovation, especially to the restaurant and bar.
All staff in the restaurant are friendly and helpful, but not being from Tobago cannot give you any local information, or tell you about the food being served – just what is ‘Freddie Fish’? Reception are helpful at arranging taxis, but this will cost you 3 times the going rate, 130$ TT return to Scarborough, rather than the 20$ TT each way, if you hail a passing taxi. If you ask at Reception for local information, they direct you to their tour guides, who will then try to sell you a tour. Beware, these cost twice as much as you can purchase elsewhere.
The hotel discourages contact with the locals and employs security guards. These guards will tell guests how to behave, for example not to sit on that wall because the management don’t like it, but turn a blind eye to the beach sellers. They ignore them when they are on the hotel property and even pass them drinks from the bar. (This is the same bar that won’t serve water and suggests that you purchase from hotel shop.) These beach sellers are however the most knowledgeable and helpful people and if they cannot help, will find someone who can. At no time did we feel threatened by them, and if you said ‘no’, they stopped, unlike the official tour guides who were continually pushy.
With more effort this hotel could be acceptable, but the staff have no guidance from the apparently incompetent management. A ‘Rum Punch’ party is held to meet guests, but the management do not wish to talk to guests, who may dare to make suggestions, or even complain. When we did manage to speak to the manager who made notes and promised the missing bottle opener would be provided. The mini-bar was restocked infrequently, without any of the contents being consumed, to the extent that when the door was opened, bottles fell out. On the following days, we tried to speak to the manager again, but the well trained reception told us ‘he was not in the hotel’, or on more than one occasion ‘ he had just gone down the corridor’. The impression one gets from the few local staff employed is that guests are a nuisance and there to be taken advantage of.
We never did get the bottle opener!
Michael Phillips from U.K. visited in September 2008 and awarded
We read the mixed reviews of this hotel on the website after booking and therefore it was with some trepidation that we arrived at the Hotel particularly as we were taking my rather fussy parents to renew their vows.
We need not have worried unlike some reports we found the hotel clean and very friendly.
This is not a 5 star top quality hotel, but then again we did not pay for that, we considered we paid for a hotel with good basic amenities and services and that’s what we got.
The food was excellent, a superb mix of local dishes and English food meaning that you could try the Goat Curry or plump for something more traditional, in our ten days there we did not consider the wide choices of food at each meal time to be repetitive. The restaurant staff were attentive and friendly, although a little to keen to clear away the plates.
We tried the A La Carte menu on the special day and that was first rate the food was superb.
As a tea drinker you did have to keep asking for additional tea bags at breakfast as they cater more for coffee drinkers, but that’s the same in most places abroad.
The all inclusive package was a bonus as the price list at the bar was more expensive than I would have imagined.
The room was of a good size and clean with basic amenities of a large double bed desk/dressing table and sofa, the view from the balcony over the bay is a delight, the bathroom is basic with a shower bath. The room had a safe and air conditioning which had seen better days but were being replaced during our stay.
We went for the Fridge in our room and found it stocked with beer, water, coke and lemonade every day, no matter how much we drunk.
The room we were in was an incredibly long walk from the bar/reception, but that is probably the price you pay for every room with a sea view. Those who like falling out of their room on to the beach need to consider they may have a trek to the bar, unless they have a fridge in their room.
However the pool around the bar is the Hotel’s greatest asset, a large excellent pool. Swim, drink, eat in the restaurant, lounge on the beds or go in the sea all within the same area.
Entertainment was provided every night and the beech traders/locals were friendly and full of fun, they would instantly leave you alone if asked but ‘helped’ with the entertainment at night. They were passionate about protecting the Turtles and although out of season when we went would search the beeches during the day to ensure that any which hatched were given cool wet accommodation before being released into the sea at night.
Our sink blocked during our stay and this was repaired within hours of being reported but the telephone was never repaired despite asking a number of times. (it did mean that we didn’t pay for the call we had to make from reception)
The water sports section is well stocked with windsurfers and kayaks but the Aquafin is showing it’s age, they do have a Hobbie Cat which cost circa £35 to rent.
Everything the staff could do to make the wedding ceremony a memorable occasion was done including planting flowers around the bases of trees in the chosen location.
I would recommend this hotel to anyone who is not looking for a 5 star hotel, particularly those with children.
Mary Deane from U.K. visited in August 2008 and awarded
Our fifth visit! last one five years ago.
Although Turtle Beach could do with some refurbishment it still has a special vibe for the whole family from 3 year old grandson through teens and thirties to granddad. The rooms are clean, a good size and comfortably furnished.
Some aspects have improved - the water supply; the greater variety of fresh fruit, salad and veg to complement the wonderful fish; the turtle-watch on the beach; the variety of water sports on offer.
The staff were very responsive to requests and any issue were sorted out to our satisfation. Very good value for money and a great ambience for young and old alike.
We missed the cafe serving readily available snacks and one request, bring back the Ole Time Jammers!