Turtle Beach - Reader Reports & Opinion
Rex Turtle Beach Hotel - Jan/feb 2003
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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$) Boat trip from the hotel beach with Stumpy the Tuna Man (4 hrs).
I never heard anyone complain about any of the trips except for people who visited the Rain Forest and did not see any wild life and people who visited the Nylon Pool and never saw any fish.
I rented a Nissan Stanza, automatic saloon car with A/C from Thrifty Cars who attend the hotel foyer at 8.30am each day. I got the car for two days and the cost was 140 US$ 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$. We had super views over Goat Island and Little Tobago. The toilets were basic but clean.
There are always taxi drivers outside of the hotel who will take you anywhere and wait for you, if necessary. Agree the price before you go.
Most of the beggars and hawkers on the beach are locals from Plymouth or Black Rock. They are well known and have been going to the same beach for years.
The hotel employ security staff who are always around but have no power on the beach, which is public.
Beware of the Aloe Vera men. They approach new arrivals and just start rubbing the stuff on people and then demand 40 TT$ (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.
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.
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
Just Home From Rex Turtle Beach
Post Recreated: Originally posted - 03 March
Having returned just yesterday I am still not quite sure which way is up, but will do my best to give my opinion of what I can say was a wonderful island.
The outbound flight was a bit of a 'mix-up'. We flew with Monarch and found the whole thing to be chaotic at best. The check in at Gatwick was somewhat strange with all Monarch flights being checked in together, so there were people with ski's, people with surfboards etc., all due for different flights all at the same place at the same time. After waiting for around 20 minutes someone realises they had booked the wrong person onto the wrong flight and we were told to join another part of the queue losing around 10 places (or another 20 minute wait) Thankfully a Cristal ski rep. saw what was going on and did her best to sort it out, but I have to admit my patience was failing at this point. The flight was via. Grenada, to allow people off and to collect some people returning. The people returning were allocated the same seat numbers of peeople staying on the plane for Tobago, which caused some 'playground' scenes, and 'handbags at dawn' tactics. The flight attendants had quite a job on their hands to sort everyone out and ended up telling people to just sit anywhere until the people staying in Tobago had left the plane and then the seating would be correct. I'm sure there must be a better way of organising this, as some people seemed very upset they couldn't sit at their allocted seats.
When we did arrive, it took over an hour to clear immigration, despite the fact there were only 6 people in front of us, and the last of my patience was truly being tested. As soon as we had cleared the airport any thoughts of stress were quickly removed by the locals waiting outside to offer taxi's to your hotel. They were all so very friendly and treated us like old friends immediately.
We stayed at the Rex Turtle Beach, and I have to agree with most of the other reports posted here regarding the hotel. It is badly in need of refurbishment, but clean and comfortable. Most of the staff were extremely pleasant, with the notable exception of one of the reception staff. There was a problem with the hotel water and a note was posted on the main notice board saying that until the situation had been resolved complimentary bottled water was available from the reception area. When we asked for some the chap told us we had to buy it from the shop. We told him about the note and he shrugged his shoulders and walked away. One of the other guests took the note down and gave it to him, and he promptly screwed it up and put in in the bin. It wasn't the cost of the water, but the whole principal that bothered me. The food was ok, but lacked variation, and I had some concerns as both raw and cooked meats were handled with the same utensils, but it was generally tasty enough and there was plenty of it.
The beach was wonderful and the traders very friendly and not at all pushy. I ended up buying most of my keep sakes from them, and especially one guy called 'Engine Bobb' that carved bird feeders, ashtrays and pen holders. They are stuning. I had a massage from Mary on the beach too, which after a hard days sun bathing (!) is very welcome and wonderful! I also had my nails painted on the beach by a lady called Rachel and would recommend this to any woman staying there!
Although only there for one week we took a total of three trips. We went to the rain forest with a guy called Peter Williams, who is very knowledgable about the local birds and plants. I wouldn't have missed this for the world, and will always remeber being so close to the humming birds. Awesome. We took a half day trip to Buccoo Reef, the Nylon Pool, Pigeon Point and No-Mans Land with 'Stumpy the Tuna Man', who was one of the jolliest people I have ever met. Again I wouldn't have missed this for anything or anybody, and will definately go again when I return. I am not the strongest swimmer in the world and he lent my a rubber ring for snorkelling so that I didn't miss out. I would have liked to spend longer at Pigeon Point as it appeared the tropial ideal, and on my return will spend a day there. Our final trip was with 'Frankies' and we took a days coastal tour past Castara, Enlighmans Bay etc. The sea was very rough on the way there but it was very worthwhile. The snokelling was better than at Buccoo Reef, which is saying something, and again they provide life jackets if you are not a great swimmer. The trip was finished off with a bbq at Paradise Bay, which was desterted apart from our trip (all 10 of us!) All in all it was another fantastic day.
We went to Sunday Scool which was great fun and my favourite evening of the holiday. The bands were great and we danced and partied with the locals as if we had been on the island for years. I am not joking when I say they are some of the friendliest and nicest people I have ever met. Everyone was just great.
A week was just not long enough and I will definately return again and again, although I'm not sure I would go back to the Rex. Whilt it has to have one of the best locations of the island as far as the beach is concerned, and it does offer excellent value for money, I would prefer to be a little closer to a main village/town and stay somehwere aimed at a slightly younger target, as most of the guests at the hotel seemed around retirement age.
Togabo has to be one of the best places I have ever visited for hospitality, beaches and general island beauty. It is just a pity to be home again so soon. Thanks for all the advice before I went and taking time to read this - its a bit long I know but I am so taken with the island, I can't shut up about it!
Rex, Blue Water Inn And Manta Lodge
Post Recreated: Originally posted - 12 March
Lots of concerns about Rex Turtle Beach coming up over past few weeks. Do you know if any of this filters back to the Rex group or tour operators using the hotel? It can't be doing them any good. However, we booked before we discovered this site and will make the best of it. It will be great - it's only somewhere to sleep and eat, the island itself is the real attraction. Went to the Dive Show in London recently and met up with Duane from Blue Water Inn and Sean from Manta Lodge. Thinking of taking a few days out of our inclusive package to stay at one or the other to do some diving. It would be lovely to have any comments about either accommodation or the diving outfits sited nearby.
Holiday Report 2 - Hotels 26 Mar 2003
Steve Wooler from Suffolk, England
Post Recreated: Originally posted - 28 January
This is an extract from my main report "Holiday Report 2 - Hotels" posted in the main "General Questions & Comment" accommodation forum:
REX TURTLE BEACH RESORT
The Rex Turtle Beach was a big disappointment. Despite one of the very best beach locations on the island, the 2Ĺ-star Rex Turtle appears neglected and uncared for. British readers will know what I mean when I mention Southend-on-Sea or Clacton. There seemed to be more beach traders than guests, but I have since been told that they host a traderís market on Wednesdays, which may have accounted for this. We will pay a second visit on another day before forming definitive views and writing our main mini-review. [Ed: A later visit confirmed that this situation was caused by the Wednesday traders market.]
We were unable to examine rooms at the Rex Turtle as the hotel has ignored numerous attempts to make contact. We invited the Rex Turtleís General Manager to provide us with a conducted tour of the hotel to ensure that we were fully aware of their features and facilities. Our emails have remained unanswered. We shall not allow our views to be biased by this snub, but it might give some indication of the hotelís attitude toward customer or public relations.
Rex Turtle Beach
Can anyone please advise me on the type/cost of food that is available at the Turtle beach, particularly breakfast and lunch? We intend to hire a car for at least a week of our two week stay, but from reading various posts it appears that there is not much within walking distance of the hotel for the 'non car' week!
Also are there any laundry facilities in the hotel? Many thanks in anticipation.
ps. like the new forum style, I'm a complete planning freak when it comes to holidays so this suits me down to the ground!!