Turtle Beach - Reader Reports & Opinion
Pat Drinkwater from U.K. visited in March 2007 and awarded
My husband and I have recently returned from our second stay at the Turtle Beach and it was just as good as the first. We had a first floor room this time which I would recommed as the view of the beach/sea is fantastic especially in the late afternoon. The new pool is great and is definatley a great selling point for the hotel (our first visit was with the old pool). The rooms are still in need of some modernisation and redecoration although our room was fine. Our friends ground floor room was on the other hand pretty appauling with the bathroom in a terrible state of decline and the inside of the bath looked like it had been painted with emulsion! The manager is doing his best to get the rooms redecorated by the end of the year but some of the rooms definately need a bit more than a fresh coat of paint.
The rest of the hotel has not really changed at all (apart from the new pool) and has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. We have not experienced any rudeness or unfriendly behaviour by any of the staff on either of our visits. Most of the local sellers and tour operators on the beach are still the same too. You can get a good massage from either Mary of Jackie and your nails painted by Rachel, or buy leather goods and t-shirts from some of the stalls. The main one to avoid is the Aloe Vera man who will try to rub some on your skin from a plant stalk and then charge you for it. Most of the others are harmless and will go away with a polite "No Thank You".
The food was excellent with a good choice each day and the head chef was very friendly. I celebrated my birthday while I was there and he made me a surprise birthday cake complete with candles! There is a weekly rum puch party where you have the chance to meet the staff and Leslie the manager as well as the other guests. We bumped into a couple we had met 4 years earlier at this event - how unlikely is that?
The manager also arranged a "returners" party for all those guests that had been there before and it was a very enjoyable evening attended buy at least 40 guests so that gives you an idea of how popular it is to go back to.
We will definately return to the Turtle Beach again some time in the future and would recommend it to anyone who wants a relaxing, peaceful getaway in an idyllic setting without breaking the bank. If it's 5* accommodation and lively nightlife you want the Turtle Beach is not for you.
Geoff Scammell from U.K. visited in January 2007 and awarded
We stayed at the Turtle Beach last month and had a really nice time. The hotel is fairly basic and is not 'luxury' by European standards. But it is clean, has all the ameneties you will need and the location is fantastic.
The two of us were allocated a family room which was very large - the bedroom easily accommodating two double beds - with a separate dressing area and a large bathroom. The decor, particularly the bathroom, could do with an update but everything functioned perfectly, including the very efficient (and quite) air con and the fridge.
The rooms are all set out in an arc along the beach so the hotel is effectively just one room wide. This means everyone gets a spectacular sea view and a nice balcony from which to enjoy it. Nothing better than to sit their as the sun goes down with a rum punch in hand watching the pelicans dive for their supper.
We stayed on B and B terms rather than all inclusive. I would recommend this as the restaurant is fairly small and the variety of dishes is somewhat limited. B&B gives the flexibility to sample the excellent local restaurants (don't miss the Seahorse Inn) and you can always purchase a meal at the hotel if you are too fatigued to travel after a strenuous day of lying on the beach.
All the staff at the hotel were friendly and helpful and dealt with the any requests we had with the minimum of fuss. We will definitely be returning.
Oh, and if you are looking to have a great time book your trips with Keith and the A Team (no need to look for him, he will find you!). You are guaranteed to come back with a smile on your face.
Richard Wade from U.K. visited in January 2007 and awarded
We loved it even if the service is a bit slow sometimes. We hope to come back and often recommend the hotel to friends
Rosemary Morton from U.K. visited in December 2006 and awarded
We ( family of 4 with 2 teenagers) stayed in the hotel (room only) for a week over Christmas. If you want 5 star luxury this is not the hotel for you. However if you want a relaxing holiday by a beautiful beach and great pool then this is definitely the place. Rooms are basic but clean. Staff are friendly. We tried the resturant for a few dinners and the food was excellent. Each evening there was entertainment by the pool - steel bands and local groups - all good fun. Local resturants are also superb although most are at least 5 minutes away in a car/taxi.
Christmas day, Father Christmas arrived at the childrens party on a boat! Impressive site to see him come a-shore without getting wet. There were lovely presents for the kids where the staff had considered both age and gender of the guests. In the evening there was a champagne party followed by Christmas Dinner.
Tuna man took us out to the reef for some superb snorkelling and Frankies tour to the rain forest was excellent.
I would recommend hiring a car and explore the island yourself. Tobago is wonderful. The people are friendly. Driving is easy but just be prepared for the pot holes and the locals stopping to talk to their mate.
Paul Holman from U.K. visited in November 2006 and awarded
Stayed at Rex Turtle Beach from 23-Nov-2006 to 7-Dec-2006 in a "Superior" room in the "new" block. From what I could tell, the new block was added quite some time ago, and is now not at all new. In fact I think some of the regular rooms in the older parts many have been re-furbished and be better than the “superior” rooms. Certainly, the rooms in the old block vary in size a lot, and some were significantly larger than our room. Many previous reviews have described the décor as tired, and I must say that occurred to me as the best description of the rooms and general state of most of the hotel. Everything was sound, roofs didn’t leak, stairs were not broken, etc, but it all looked rather in need of sprucing up.
Having said all that, our room was fine. It was dry, and kept beautifully clean by the daily maid service, which was excellent. Towels were changed as required. Beds were fine – we requested a double, but got 2 singles, possibly due to booking quite late. We also requested a non-ground floor room, for security, which we got. The water heat and pressure was a bit variable, making filling the bath a bit slow and tipid at times. Pressure for the shower was just barely adequate.
Check-in was quite slow, but we came in on the weekly Virgin jumbo, which meant reception was inundated with a very large number of new guests all at once. It was no hardship to relax at the bar or around the pool whilst we waited. It must be remembered by visitors to any caribean island, especially those visiting from big cities, that life is much slower and laid back there. Be patient, accept and enjoy it.
We went room-only for two main reasons: firstly, we drink very little, and the all inclusive rate is presumably based on the assumption that guests will drink quite a lot; secondly, we never like to be tied to the hotel restaurant, and go out to local places to eat most meals. It is also usual for hotel food to be not great and similar from day to day. Having said this, Turtle Beaches restaurant is excellent. We used it a few times for breakfast, lunch or dinner and found the food to be very good, as was room service. One problem, on the first night we could not get an answer from room service on the phone – we were tired after the flight and wanted a snack in our room before sleep.
Whilst on the subject of food, we visited a large variety of local eateries on the island, and found most of them to be excellent, taking into account cost. Ate at all the following and found them to be superb: Ru-B-Lou’s, Bonkers, Waterwheel, Steak & Lobster Grill at Sandy Point, Seahorse Inn, and Café Coco.
However, unlike other beach hotel we have visited, there was no alternative eateries nearby, on the beach or inland. Most places had to be got to by taxi. There is a taxi rank “attached” to the hotel. However, whilst convenient and not expensive by London standards, they did charge a lot more than you would pay by hailing a passing taxi (not private car) on the road.
We were pleasantly surprised to find entertainment laid on almost every evening at the pool side bar. Mostly it consisted of local singers with a midi keyboard, and the standard was generally good and great fun.
We had no problems with any of the staff. The standard of staff ranged from adequate to excellent. Some were friendly and chatty, and others kept to themselves, which is fine. The only problem I observed was the barman at the pool bar losing his cool somewhat one particular busy evening. This was due to the stress of being understaffed at a busy bar, and a misheard comment from a guest.
Whilst on the subject of the bar, the drink sizes are rather small, and if you like quite a few drinks at the bar then you should strongly consider all inclusive. The drinks we had, mostly non-alcoholic, were great.
The water-sports amenities are provide from a shack just beyond the pool. This seems to be a semi-out-sourced operation. They also provide the beach towels. They seem to have a good range of stuff, including kyaks, wind-surfing boards, dinghies, etc. I tried wind-surfing for the first time ever with them, and the instructor, Orion, was very helpful and patient, and a good teacher.
We used the complimentary safe deposit boxes at reception, carrying only enough cash for immediate needs and one card, usually a VISA, and leaving everything else in the box. The boxes are the classic bank safe deposit boxes; long and narrow, requiring both keys to open, one held by the hotel and one held by you.
Security staff were conspicuous about the grounds day and night, and appeared to be diligent from what little I noticed. The grounds were also beautiful, and well kept by the grounds staff.
Considering that the hotel was relatively cheap, and it’s 2.5 star rating, I’d say that Turtle Beach is very good. Under the circumstances, I couldn’t expect much more – perhaps more reliable water pressure and heat.