Turtle Beach - Reader Reports & Opinion

Rex Turtle Beach   

Angela

Post Recreated: Originally posted - 20 January

I've not heard much about the Rex Turtle Beach Resort. We're trying to decide whether our family would be better suited there than the Coco Reef. (2 adults, children ages 6/9) We're leaning towards the Coco Reef as it is where my husband proposed 15 years ago (ahhh!) but seems extremely costly (quoted approx. $450 US/night - no meals) Any suggestions?!

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Rex Turtle Beach   

Lou

Post Recreated: Originally posted - 02 February

Was really disappointed to read your recent review of Rex Turtle Beach. I know it is fairly basic, but I wasn't too worried as I am going with a group of friends to celebrate my 50th year. However, I am sorry that it sounds frankly neglected. I had read somewhere recently that it was due for refurbishment this year - does anyone know any details, or is it a myth? As four of us are employed in the education sector, we are not visiting until August during the school holiday. Apart from rain, what will the island be like at that time of year? Fantastic website that is working as a very good displacement activity instead of marking books!

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Rex Turtle Beach - My View   

Michelle Edwards

Post Recreated: Originally posted - 06 February

We stayed at the Rex Turtle Beach Hotel Christmas and New Year 2002/3 and had the most fabulous time. Myself and my husband have been to many worldwide destinations and many within the Carribean and I can honestly say I have never received such a warm an pleasant welcome as we did when arrived at the Rex. We were met with rum punches and smiles we did not even notice we had been checked in.

The accomodation is quite basic, you get a fairly large aircon room, with a bed, bathroom and balcony or terrace. No frills. It is all that you need, when you arise the next morning you walk onto your balcony and see the beautiful Carribean sea stretched out in front of you. (Request top floor for best sea views). The food if you go all inclusive can be a little basic and occasionally repetative, however, it is comparible to similar properties in the Carribean. May I just add that the NewYears Gala Buffet was a sight to behold and a veritable feast.

Then entertainment is nightly and is usually performed by local people whom seem to do the rounds at most of the hotels. They are normally cultural shows and/or local bands and we enjoyed them in the main. The hotel has 2 Tennis courts, however, from what I can gather they are of a useable standard and far from centre court at wimbledon.

As for bars, the Rex had 2, it is not a luxury hotel, but it does have enough facilities and they are adequat for it's size. The pool is very very tiny, beleive me when you have that beach you do not need the pool. However, I heard a rumour that this was going to be enlarged and there were also been rumours of renovation when we were there but things are still the same, and you know, that's ok.

The beach is beautiful, long and very safe for swimming and although it is a public beach you do not get bothered from traders as you would on other Islands. The beach does have it's regular vendors (About 3) whom are freindly and polite. You do get the very occassional visit from a passing vendor, but these are few and far between. Even these guys very often forget to sell you anything they are so busy chating and pasing the time of day.

One of the highlights is watching the local fisherman pulling in their nets by hand, it is real and it is their livley hood, so if you do help please do not expect a fish as a reward. This is one of the things that makles the Rex stand out, real people, not some man made beach with jet skis and boat trips. However, all are available at various places around the island and bookable from the hotel. My advise, hire a car/jeep and do it yourself.

I must also take this opportunity to mention Ruben, he carves beautiful pieces of art from driftwood, he is a truley wonderous man and I suggest you chat with him a while. He is a little obsessed with size in some of his designs, however, he will carve to order and you can sit and watch him as he works.

If you want a five star all singing and dancing hotel with fabulous facilities and entertainment to the wee hours, I suggest you stay at one of the more commecial and larger all inclusives.

The Rex is a 3 star hotel which maybe needs a lick of paint in a 5 star location. It is a place where you can meet and chat with local people and in this very same place you can walk a little further down the beach and feel like you are on a deserted island. It is a great base to experience all that is Tobago.

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First Time - Advice Please!   

Debs

Post Recreated: Originally posted - 11 February

Hi, Can anyone please help me out a bit! I am going to Tobago for the first time on Feb 22nd, for 1 week - all inclusive - to the Rex Turtle Beach, which from the brochure looks wonderful. Since booking, I have heard since heard some negative things about the hotel, saying that the food isn't great, its shabby, the swimming pool is not suitable for swimming and if you go onto the beach you will be badly pestered by beggars - Has anyone been and can you tell me if this is true?

Secondly - I looked on the foreign office website, and was concerned to find that they say crime against tourists remains a problem, and that you should avoid isolated beaches and always travel by taxi at night. I must admit I was looking forward to isolated beaches and going out at night, especially to Sunday School - again can anyone please tell me how safe is safe? Do you really have to be 'that careful'?

Lastly - I was going to hire a jeep or car for a couple of days, but have heard some bad things - like road standards, accidents, damaged/unreliable vehicles, then on top of that you should only go anwhere with a registered guide. Again can anyone give me the truth?

Sorry for the lengthy note, but as they say - if you don't ask! Thanks in advance.

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Rex Turtle Beach Hotel - Jan/feb 2003   

Ian

Post Recreated: Originally posted - 13 February

There has been a lot of talk on this website and others on the Internet about the lack of information, or people wanting information, about this hotel. This is a rambling summary about my recent experience at the hotel.

My wife and I wanted a 'value for money', all inclusive, 14 days holiday on an island where we had not been before. We were not looking for 5* luxury, just a good, clean, quiet, basic hotel with good food and drinks. We also wanted a good, clean, lengthy beach so that we could take some walks along the shoreline. I like to swim, snorkel, sail and windsurf besides basking in the sun under a palm tree.

My wife is 60 years of age and I am 56 years of age and we live in the north of England, we have visited the Caribbean before and have stayed at a Rex hotel before. We stayed at the hotel from 18th January until 2nd February 2003. We had a really good holiday and the hotel met most of our needs. We were aware that the hotel was old and needed refurbishment, before we booked. Our room was basic but clean, the bed was comfortable, we had hot water in the bathroom, the food which we ate and the drinks which we drank were all very good. The weather was great but with several '10 minute' showers. Tobago is a beautiful island with friendly people. Despite the shortcomings of the hotel, I would not hesitate in going back there, before or after refurbishment.

Package

We paid 999 each for 14 days A/I with Tropical Places (who we have used twice before) with Monarch flights from Gatwick South. This was a very good price for this package at this hotel at this time of year. Other guests had paid considerably more with Kuoni and Hayes and Jarvis, however some had used British Airways flights.

Flight Outward

Our flight was supposed to be with Monarch on an Airbus 330-200 plane. In actual fact, the flight was with JMC using JMC staff on a similar aircraft. The plane was layed out in a 3,3,3 configuration with 2,3,2 on the back six rows. The flight out was via Grenada which was reached in 9 1/2 hours. We then had what should have been a short stop to unload and load passengers. We remained on the plane and the turn around was completed in about 1/2 hour. Unfortunately, two passengers, who had checked in their luggage, had not boarded the plane so we could not take off for security reasons. This meant that their luggage had to be found and unloaded, this was done and then, sure enough, the people turned up so everything had to be re-loaded. This made the stopover 1 1/2 hours. The flight to Tobago took 25 minutes. Crown Point airport is very small and it didn't take long to get through the formalities. Unfortunately, again, some luggage was left on a pallet on the plane and new luggage was loaded, some people were left without their luggage so we had another load/unload saga. It took about an hour to sort out. The transfer to the hotel was by a large new minibus and it took 20 minutes.

Inward Flight

We were picked up in the hotel lobby at 3.15pm for a 6.30pm flight. Check in was easy and quick. The flight home was 8 1/2 hours but we landed at Gatwick North Terminal and had to bus it south. Because the aircraft was parked up so far away, it took an hour for our luggage to get to the carousel.

Hotel Check In

There were about a dozen of us to check in. Upon arrival we were met by hotel staff, including a large elderly lady, in national dress, who has apparently worked at the hotel since it opened. We were served the usual rum or fruit punches. Check in was quick and easy and we were presented with our blue wristbands to show that we were staying on an all inclusive basis. Repeat guests were issued with a gold band which afforded them certain privileges like a late check out and an invitation to drinks with the manager.

Hotel Layout

The hotel is very compact compared with many other hotels. It is built on flat land on a level site between Grafton Road and the beach, which is situated never more than about 70 yards from the road. Most of the hotel amenities are located on the north (Plymouth end) of the site, with the accommodation located on the south side. As you enter the hotel and turn right, there is the lobby and reception desk area. There are adequate comfortable seats and tables. Next is the main bar (Crusoe Bar) which is a little old fashioned but clean and tidy with a 'Colonial' feel to it. The bar leads through to the main restaurant (the Kiskadee Restaurant). The lobby, bar and restaurant are all open sided on the beach side and there are views of the gardens, beach and sea.

Passing through, or alongside the main restaurant, leads to the outdoor, but covered, restaurant (known as the Coffee Shop during the day) which joins up with the beach bar (Surf Bar) area. Adjoining this is the entertainment area and the pool area. There are buildings situated north of the pool area where the Watersports Centre, Dive Centre, Towels Desk and some ablutions are located. None of these buildings are on the beach or have access to the beach without climbing over a high wall.

The accommodation (125 rooms) is located at the other side of the hotel entrance on the south side. All rooms are in two or three storey buildings and all overlook the gardens and the sea. All have a large balcony or patio. There are two tennis courts which are situated just over the other side of Grafton Road, a short distance away.

Bedroom

Our room was quite large with a huge, comfortable double bed. The room was partly divided with 'hollow' bricks creating a dressing area with a dressing table, wardrobe, luggage storage area and a hairdryer. The room was basic but very clean and everything (electrical) worked. All of the furniture was 'tired' but functional. The bathroom had a bath, shower, WC and sink and the water was always red hot. The whole bathroom was old and needed replacing but, again, everything worked. There was a telephone but no fridge, no minibar and no TV set. I think that these items were available for rental if required. Most of the sockets in the room took British 13 amp plugs. The bedroom had sliding doors, which were easy to use and had good locks, leading on to a large balcony which had a table and chairs. The room was air conditioned with its own unit which was noisy but efficient and effective. The beach was about 30 yards from the room with beautiful gardens and trees in between. The room was cleaned regularly and kept immaculate by the staff. Even a blown light bulb was replaced immediately.

Reception

The reception desk was adequate and the staff were always readily available to help with anything and were always pleasant and approachable. Free safe deposit boxes were available and located in a room adjacent to the reception desk.

Bars

The main bar, the Crusoe Bar, was only open during the evenings and was very pleasant and quiet, probably due to the fact that most guests were middle aged or older. There were not many younger people or children. The beach bar, the Surf Bar, was situated within a a couple of yards of the beach wall. It was circular in shape and quite small with little room for the staff to operate within. There were large bar stools and other tables and chairs besides bench type seating around the beach walls. The bar area is linked to the outside restaurant, the Coffee Shop, and also the entertainment area. It was possible to obtain almost any drink imaginable from either bar.

Drinks at the beach bar were served in glasses for consumption in that area but in plastic cups for consumption on the beach or around the pool. In my opinion, the bars were generally understaffed and at times it was difficult to get served. I do not know why, but every drink ordered had to be written down on a 'running sheet' behind each bar and often, a girl would be employed to do this job only, even though the bar staff were often under pressure.

Without being sexist, the women were the slowest, by far, behind the bars. I once timed one of the ladies, called Olga, who took 3 1/2 minutes to make and blend one Pina Colada. At this time, many people were waiting to be served and Olga was by herself. The male staff, Vernon, Cameron, Dennis and Jason were all quick and managed to prepare several drinks at the same time. One of the problems in the Caribbean is 'cocktails'. We all like them but they take ages to make and blend. It's very frustrating to have to wait for half a dozen cocktails to be made when you only want a bottle of Carib beer passing to you. From memory, I think that the main bar was open from about 6pm until 11.30pm and the beach bar from 10am until midnight.

Restaurants

Breakfast was taken in the main restaurant from 7.30am. Lunch was taken in the outside restaurant and a part of the main restaurant from 12.30pm. Afternoon tea, sandwiches and cakes were served in the Coffee Shop (outside Restaurant) between 4pm and 5pm. Dinner was served in both restaurants between 7pm and 9.30pm.

The fixtures, fittings and decorations in the main restaurant were badly in need of refurbishment, although it was clean. Tables in both restaurants were laid out in 2's, 4's and 6's. In the main restaurant, there was a large 'smoking' section.

Food

Breakfast was buffet style and consisted of a selection of juices, a fresh fruit bar, a cold buffet bar, and a cereal bar. Hot food was nearly always the same consisting of bacon, sausages, omelettes and fried eggs, all of which were served to you. Scrambled eggs, fried bread and potatoes were available buffet style. A selection of breads were available and there was a conveyor type toaster. Coffee and tea (which was awful) was served by staff at your table.

Lunch and dinner were available either buffet style or A La Carte from a menu (at no extra cost). On the buffet there was always lots of wonderful fish, a small choice of meats (chicken was on the menu in some format at every meal). A selection of vegetables and salads were always available but with little variation. On Saturday evenings and on one lunch time, the meats and fish were barbecued in the outside restaurant area. There was always a small selection of fruits or other sweets to finish off with. Afternoon tea was served at 4pm and consisted of a small sandwich and two pastries, most people didn't bother with this.

All of the food which we had was nicely cooked and there was always something available which we liked. Some people might think that there was a lack of choice. The restaurants appeared to me to be generally understaffed. At dinner, it was sometimes impossible to get a glass of wine or other drink as the staff were so busy but always did their best. Some people resolved the problem by ordering a glass of wine from a bar and taking it in with them for dinner.

Shop

There is a small shop within the hotel where you could buy anything from clothing to a bottle of water.

Swimming Pool Area

The swimming pool was the smallest pool that I have ever seen in any hotel in the world (despite 'wide lens' photographs). It was deep and 'comma' shaped but was useless for swimming. I never saw anyone in it during the whole fortnight other than dive staff doing demonstrations. The inside of the pool was painted blue and although it was very clean, it was shabby. The buildings north of the pool were also very shabby and very old. There were several umbrellas, sunbeds and tables in the pool area but they were little used. The whole of the pool area is very small.

Entertainment Area

This was situated between the pool area and the beach bar area. It was extremely small and was just a paved area. It was separated from the beach bar area by a beautiful old 'spreading' tree which gave lots of shade but obscured the entertainment area from the bar and many of the tables and chairs. The entertainment area consisted of a really tatty raised wooden floor (which was a 'stage') and a paved dance floor next to it. The stage and dance floor were covered with a DIY type gazebo with metal poles, measuring no more than about 40' x 20', in its entirety. At night, the lighting for the 'stage' was almost non existent. During our first few days, the gazebo was not even erected and everything was just dumped on the stage. The artists had to perform amongst the guests seated around the bar.

Entertainment

Every night there was entertainment consisting of live music. This was usually in the form of a steelband or a small group singing to taped music. Personally, I thought that the bands and singers were all great and did their best but the 'ambiance' was poor due to the poor lighting and poor facilities. On one night each week, besides a group, there was a limbo dancer who also played around with fire and he was very popular with the guests.

I felt really sorry for all of the entertainers. They were all so good and tried their best to give a good performance and create a good atmosphere but the conditions were awful. In addition, during my holiday, the audiences were really hard work and unresponsive. They hardly applauded and, except for the limbo dancer, were reluctant to get involved despite constant encouragement form the artists. I recall that on one occasion, a girl singer in a group asked if there was anyone there from Great Britain and she got no reply. She asked twice more and still got no reply. She then asked about Germany but with a similar result. Part of the problem was because the area was so close to the outside restaurant and people were either eating or coming or going.

Other Entertainment and Facilities

There were two tennis courts near to the hotel and a beach Volleyball pitch within the gardens. I never saw any of these facilities used, probably due to the age groups of the guests. There was also a Shuffleboard pitch but this was out of use. There were no facilities whatsoever for children of any age other than a very small paddling pool next to the main pool. It appeared to me that there were no 'animateurs' or staff in charge of entertainment. There was a registered wildlife 'expert' called Peter Cox who covered several hotels and gave talks on the flora and fauna of the island besides the birds and the fish. He also took people on trips to the rain forest, at a charge.

Watersports

From my experience, unless you go to a dedicated watersports venue or on a specialised holiday, the facilities tend to be very poor. This hotel is the same. There were two Tobagon chaps in charge of the watersports and both were very pleasant and helpful. The equipment available consisted of two Sunfish type sailing boats which, apart from the sails, were in very poor condition, a number of old plastic Kayaks and the use of facemasks and fins. There were no Hobie Waves, which most hotels seem to have these days, and no windsurfing equipment was ever displayed (there was some very old gear in a metal cage, behind the hotel but it was in really poor condition and never brought out). Funnily enough, on my last day, someone produced a good quality Mistral board with a small but decent sail and rig. These items must have been secreted inside one of the buildings and were never offered to me. A Dive Centre with equipment and a boat was located next to the Watersports Centre. Diving demos were given in the pool and trips out to sea were available at extra cost.

Gardens

The gardens were mainly situated between the hotel buildings and the beach and they were beautiful. They were well maintained and there was an abundance of tropical trees, shrubs and flowers. I have never seen such and abundance and variety of colourful birds and parrots. In addition, there were iguanas, geckos and frogs aplenty. At night the paths were lit by discrete lighting. Because of the compact layout of the hotel, it was possible to walk around the whole of the grounds in less than 10 minutes.

Beach

All beaches in Tobago are public beaches and are regularly visited by the local people. The hotel is situated on Turtle Beach in Great Courland Bay. The bay is probably over a mile long with a headland at the northern (Plymouth) end and a rocky outcrop and headland at the southern end (Black Rock). There are the remains of forts at both these locations, Fort James and Fort Bennett respectively. Both headlands can be reached along the beach but the Plymouth one necessitates crossing a small river which was never more than about an inch deep and was dry at low tide.

The beach is made up of volcanic sand and it varies from a fine sand to muddy sand to grit. The colours also vary between beige, grey and black. From a distance the beach looks a sandy colour and idyllic.

The north east trade winds tend to blow across the Atlantic and hit the Atlantic coast of the island which makes large waves on that coast. The Caribbean coast, although on the leeward side, because of the way the land lies (NE to SW), there are still lots of waves on the Caribbean coast. The beach at Turtle beach is quite steep at the shoreline and the waves hit the beach and then bounce back, hitting the next set of waves. I saw several people knocked over in the sea by the large oncoming waves or the waves bouncing back from the shore. Therefore, you need to be careful in the sea and watch out for waves in both directions. The problem is solved if you just swim out a few yards, past where the waves break. There are no lifeguards on the beach.

The beach and sea were very clean and the water was always very warm. Due to the volcanic sand, the sea off the hotel beach is useless for snorkelling. I tried many times but saw nothing. There are no rocks, no coral and no reef near to the hotel. The water was never very clear.

About 500 yards south of the hotel, three new houses have been built next to the shore. In front of these houses is an outcrop of volcanic rock with a flat top lying about 8 yards from the shore and just at normal water level height. Waves break over the rocks depending on the state of the tide. The rocks stretch for about 150 yards and run parallel to the shore creating a shallow lagoon where there are some small fish. Some of the locals go there for a bath. Strong swimmers are able to enter the sea on the south side of the rocks and then swim north on the seaward side of the rocks. It is then possible to snorkel all the way along the rocks for about 150 yards and then return to the beach. The rocks are volcanic so there is no coral and no reef but there are lots of fish of all shapes, sizes and colours. The rocks are a few yards wide but it would be dangerous to try and swim across them to the shore due to the large breaking waves. The swimming is not difficult once you get on to the far side of the rocks. The water is also more clear then near to the hotel.

The beach is fringed with trees outside of the hotel and there is plenty of shade. There are a number of umbrellas on the beach and plenty of sunbeds. As usual the best spots are reserved with beach towels (provided or exchanged by the hotel from 9am) at about 7am (using the previous days towels). Many guests sunbathed under the trees in the gardens so that they would not be bothered by beggars or hawkers on the beach.

Fishermen

Next to the north part of the hotel is a building used by local fishermen. The fishermen fish by using a half mile long net and rowing it out to sea in a small boat in a large arc and then returning to the shore. About fifty of them then take about an hour or two to pull in their catch. All sorts of fish are caught such as tuna, dorado, barracuda, flying fish, small groupers, bottom fish and thousands of small 'top feeding' fish such as anchovie, sardines, etc. All of the larger fish, except flying fish are taken and also some of the small 'top feeding' fish, however most of the small fish are just thrown back dead into the sea or left on the beach. These fish are quickly eaten up by the birds including pelicans and frigates. The fishermen fish several times a week and the catch is divided up in their building. One day, I saw two turtles about 2' long caught in the net. They, too, were taken for the pot.

Beggars

During our stay, we experienced a few beggars on the beach. Some just asked for cash, some had a 'hard luck' story and some tried to sell you a small coconut which they had just picked up from the ground. If you were politely firm with them, they moved on.

Hawkers

As in many places, there were a few hawkers on the beach, selling anything from a massage to Aloe Vera rubs to cheap jewellery to coconuts to wood carvings to calabash.

There were also a number of vendors selling trips. These were Stumpy the Tuna Man who did boat trips, Woody of Woody's Tours and Keith of "A" Team Tours. All of these people visit the beach on most days, particularly after new arrivals have arrived. They are all well known and appear to be honest and reliable. Most of their trips are similar to those available through the hotel or tour company reps.

Trips

The main trips available were as follows :

Island Tour (60 US$) A minibus tour with lunch. Buccoo Reef, Coral Gdns, Vinyl Pool (50 US$) boat trip, lunch drinks and snorkelling. Kalina Catamaran (75 US$) A trip along the Caribbean coast, lunch and drinks. Cocomotion (60 US$) 3hr trip on a powerful speedboat, snorkelling and drinks. Rain Forest (45 US$) Minibus trip to the rain forest in the north. Little Tobago (65 US$) Minibus trip to Speyside, boat trip to bird sanctuary on island, lunch and drinks. Deep Sea Fishing (75 US$) Half day trip. Trinidad (from 165 US$) Air trip to Trinidad and sightseeing. Buccoo Reef, Coral Gdns, Nylon Pool (40 US$) Boat trip from the hotel beach with Stumpy the Tuna Man (4 hrs).

I never heard anyone complain about any of the trips except for people who visited the Rain Forest and did not see any wild life and people who visited the Nylon Pool and never saw any fish.

Car Hire

I rented a Nissan Stanza, automatic saloon car with A/C from Thrifty Cars who attend the hotel foyer at 8.30am each day. I got the car for two days and the cost was 140 US$ including full insurances with no excesses. The car was old (90K kms) but was reliable. It ran on unleaded petrol which is only available at Petrol Stations in Crown Point and Scarborough (not Plymouth).

Car Hire Trips

On the first day we left at 9am and went along the Caribbean coast to Bloody Bay, east into the Rain Forest, over to Roxburgh, up to Speyside, north west to Charlotteville and then back to Speyside for lunch at Jemma's restaurant at 1pm. We stopped to take pictures and look at sites along the way. We didn't stop in the rain forest due to torrential rain but we stayed at Charlotteville for about half an hour. We left Speyside about 2pm and travelled south along the Atlantic coast to just north of Scarborough near to the Dwight Yorke Stadium at Bacolet. We turned west and crossed over to Arnos Vale where we arrived at about 3.30pm. We bought a drink in the pool bar at the Arnos Bay Hotel and I snorkelled off the beach (extremely small beach but good snorkelling). It was then just a short distance back to Turtle Beach.

On the second day, due to my wife being ill with a throat infection, we drove over to Scarborough for antibiotics from the chemist and some shopping and sightseeing. There was not alot to see but it appeared to be a happy bustling little place. We then drove south and visited the new Hilton Hotel on the Tobago Plantations complex. We went on past the airport to Store Bay to do some shopping. We returned to the hotel for lunch. Later we went to Buccoo Bay and then Grafton to see the birds being fed at Copra House at 4pm but nothing happened and it was a wasted journey. I then went snorkelling at the beach complex at the north end of Mount Irvine Beach (very good).

Jemma's Kitchen Restaurant, Speyside

We called there for lunch. We did not want a big meal and we did not know what to expect. There was no menu, no price list and no alcoholic drinks served. We asked the waitress what was available. She said "Lobster, shrimps, fish or chicken. Salad or vegetables. Orange juice, coke or shandy". We had one meal which we shared. It consisted of a bowl of shrimps, a bowl of rice, a bowl of pasta, a bowl of beans in a sauce, a bowl of salad and a bowl of vegetables. We also had two shandies. Everything was delicious, there was plenty for two, the service was excellent and the price was 19 US$. We had super views over Goat Island and Little Tobago. The toilets were basic but clean.

Miscellaneous

There are always taxi drivers outside of the hotel who will take you anywhere and wait for you, if necessary. Agree the price before you go.

Most of the beggars and hawkers on the beach are locals from Plymouth or Black Rock. They are well known and have been going to the same beach for years.

The hotel employ security staff who are always around but have no power on the beach, which is public.

Beware of the Aloe Vera men. They approach new arrivals and just start rubbing the stuff on people and then demand 40 TT$ (about 4). Guests need to be firm with them. Sunscreen with a high factor is a better option than Aloe Vera, which I understand has no filtering qualities in it and is only any use for soothing after burning.

I took US $ but it is probably more convenient to use TT$, particularly if you are not on an A/I deal. You get change in TT$ anyway.

Finally

We had a superb holiday at the Rex Turtle Beach Hotel. About 20% of the UK guests have visited the hotel previously. Some people had been going for over 12 years. One man, with a disabled wife in a wheel chair had been three times a year for the past few years. The hotel is 'user friendly' for wheel chair users. With a ground floor room, near to the hotel entrance, you can eat, drink, sleep, sunbathe and watch the entertainment all within about 60 yards with no steps to encounter.

About 75% of the guests were British, there was one American and the rest were from Germany.

Before I booked, I had researched the hotel and had read about possible refurbishments in 'early 2003'. I rang M.R.I. in London, who own the hotel to check things out and they had no knowledge of any imminent refurbishments taking place.

In my opinion, the rooms need refurbishment and decorating and the bathrooms need completely replacing and tiling. The lobby and main bar require little attention. The main restaurant needs completely refurbishing and new fixtures and fittings.

The main areas which need bulldozing are the pool, the pool area, the pool area buildings such as the the Watersports and Dive Centres, the outside restaurant, the entertainments area, the pool bar and pool bar area. All of this needs a complete re-think and a new lay out, perhaps taking up a part of the gardens near to the present pool bar area. There is a need for a 'proper' swimming pool of a decent size with a surrounding recreational area. There is also a need for a proper entertainments area for visiting entertainers to perform with adequate viewing and seating areas for guests. A new outside restaurant and pool bar area also needs to be included along with facilities for Watersports, Diving and Towels. At the moment, the beach/sea wall next to the beach bar and pool area, which is made of wood and topped with concrete, is rotting away and requires re-placing.

Another area for concern is a lack of decent toilet facilities. The only gents toilet, which is near to the hotel entrance, is in a deplorable state. It is old, tatty and smelly. There is one stall, two cubicles and a sink.

I understand that there are conference facilities above the main part of the hotel which may have better facilities but I cannot comment as I never visited there.

Facilities need to be provided for children and young people. It may also be beneficial to have someone organising daytime activities, even on a part time basis.

Final Tip

You leave the hotel about 3 hours before your flight home. The airport is about 20 minutes away. The check in is quick and easy as the airport is very small. After checking in, confirming your departure time, and getting rid of your luggage, pay your departure tax at the the booth but don't go into the Departure Lounge. This lounge is only small with inadequate seating for 300 passengers. Instead, if you are on a daytime flight, walk down to Store Bay, it's only a short walk away. There is a nice beach, shops, a market, bars, etc. Afterwards, walk back to the airport. There is a nice, clean bar/restaurant which is air conditioned, directly opposite the airport. There you can get a drink for about 1 US$ and they have CNN television. You can also see everything which is happening at the airport. You need to go to the Departure Lounge about an hour before 'take off time'. In the Departure Lounge there are duty free shops for liquor, tobacco, souvenirs and herbs and spices. You can get rid of any T/T$ which you have left here.

I hope that this rambling account of my holiday at the Rex Turtle Beach Hotel will help you to decide on your holiday venue. Thanks for taking the time to read it.

Regards - Ian

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Tobago Satellite Map

Enjoy interactive satellite maps of Tobago. If you have Google Earth download the map here. If not, click the map below to view in a browser window.

GBP = $8.47 

   USD = $6.00

EUR =  $7.17 

   CAD = $5.05

  Mid-market rates per XE.com

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Page Updated: 03 Nov 16