Turtle Beach - Reader Reports & Opinion
Rex Turtle Beach August 2003
Just back from two weeks all inclusive at the Turtle Beach. For those who are considering this option, here is our view as first time Tobago visitors.
The hotel is rather tired - the rooms could do with refurbishment, and the public areas are a little drab, but overall we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Here are the good bits:
The location - the beach is stunning, safe and very close
The hotel staff - on the whole very helpful and eager to please
The food - a great variety catering for kids and awkward adults (we didn't feel the need to venture out much. The breakfasts were particularly good).
The watersports - Mike is great - very patient
Some of the beach vendors - we had a great trip out with Stumpy (Tuna Man) - a real Caribbean experience and much more memorable than the Virgin organised trips - we also had braids from Mary and bought T shirts from Kerrin
The fact that you can just get a drink when and where you want - the kids thought this was great
The other guests were very friendly
Laundry was prompt and not expensive
And the not so great bits:
Room cleaning was haphazard and the maids' attitudes variable
The kids club was non-existent
The pool cleaner was very strong and the kids definitely needed goggles
The Virgin rep was ill and the service very patchy
They don't phone you if you have asked to be on the turtle watch
The air conditioning is very noisy - we had to have it turned off at night
The check in and chill out service from Virgin leaves you with a day hanging around - fine when the weather is good but a pain when it is not
Limited space to dry things - some of our clothes went mouldy
Just got back from a week all inclusive at the Rex. The food was excellent and great value. Most guests appear to be all inclusive. If you are travelling with children its well worth it. Otherwise you would probably be wise to try out the local restaurants as well.
There was always a good choice at the buffet. I found the staff friendly. The waitresses do appear a little brusque but thats just their nature in that part of the world. They will do anything for you.
The pool was tiny but again that pales into insignificance when you have such a lovely beach.
I cant believe i'm back now.
I have changed my screensaver to a picture of my children snorkeling in the coral gardens - fabulous.
Our Previous Stays (2001/2002)
OK, in December we are returning to this hotel for the 3rd time so they must be doing something right. One couple we met were there for their 12 visit and reckoned it to be the best place in the Caribbean.
We first went in Feb/Mar 2001 for our honeymoon and enjoyed it thoroughly.
I grew up in South Africa and I felt at home on the island as soon as I left the airport terminal. The hotel from the outside was dissappointing but inside is fine.
True the buildings are a little weary and the pool is daft but the service was great. Remember it is not Europe and relax. Things don't happen on time, so what, it's holiday. The food this trip was great especially CV's fruit bar at breakfast.
Unfortuantely I got ill, nothing to do with the hotel or island. Was flown to Miami. Bummer.
2002 we return for our honeymoon and this time make it throught the whole 2 weeks. The food this time was less good for the first week. Soups floury and rest greasy. Then it suddenly improved enourmously to what we recalled from 2001. Nice clear soups with bits in. Food much better. Would improve even more if they would stick to more local cuisine rather than "French night" etc.
Cocktails tend to be far too strong. Ask for less rum in them. Can actually taste the other ingredients.
Staff very friendly and competant.
A/C is very noisy. We didn't use ours as we wanted to sleep with the door open to hear the waves. Neighbouring units could sometimes be a pain.
This year we are returning in Dec rather than Feb/Mar and have a 9mnth old baby with us so it promises to be interesting.
Rex Turtle Beach - July 2003
Comments on RexTurle Beach Hotel:
Before visiting Tobago and Rex Turtle Beach, I was fortunate to find this web site and Ian's comments on the hotel, which I found very useful. Ian has said almost everything there is to say, but I'd like to add some additional comments and highlight some improvements we found, particularly with the bar and restaurant service.
We - me, husband, daughter (15) and son (11) - visited Rex Turtle from 14th - 28th July 2003. We all had a very enjoyable holiday and would definitely return. We stayed on an all-inclusive basis and my children, particularly my son, enjoyed being able to order drinks and cocktails at the bar when they wished. (It was definitely value-for-money.) We found all the staff very helpful and friendly.
Service at the two bars was generally efficient and we never felt we had to wait too long to be served.
Service in the restaurant was, also, usually efficient. We were served promptly and able to order drinks with our meal. Sometimes refills were ordered during the meals. The service at weekends didn't seem to be so good but acceptable. Only on one occassion at breakfast did I have to ask for coffee and one lunchtime I went to the bar myself to get drinks. These two were the exception.
Food was good. We were going to order from the a la Carte menu when we didn't like the buffet choice, but never did. Even 2 choosy children found something to their liking every evening but preferred the lunchtime menu (burgers & sandwiches).
My main gripe was with the ceiling fans in the Reception/Cruise bar area and restaurant. These seemed to be for decoration only as they moved little air. The reception area could have been a cool, relaxing area to sit, out of the hot afternoon sun, but it was like sitting in a sauna. The adjacent bar area was deserted in the evening. It seemed that most people preferred the beach bar and to sit outside to eat in the evening as it was much cooler in this area. It was sometimes difficult to get a table!
The swimming pool - or puddle, as my daughter called it - was used mainly by children.
There was no organised kids club (despite what the brochure said) and there were no activities specifically for them. They had to be accompanied by an adult if they wished to use the kayaks and sailing boats (probably sensible).
I, my daughter and husband dived with 'Tobago Dive Experience' based at the hotel. It is run by Tobagons and all were professional, friendly and laid-back. The dive boat went out in the mornings (approx 10-ish) for 1 or 2 dives, returning to the hotel between dives if anyone was only diving once. Most dives were reef dives lasting between 40 minutes to 1 hour with max depth 25m. Visibility was about 15m. All dives were no-decompression dives but a 3minute stop at 5m was always done. There was 1 wreck dive- max depth 30m.
In the afternoon, the dive boat was used for snorkelling trips which went to the Coral Garden + Nylon Pool + Sandbank + the mangrove around Bucco and No Mans Land. Cost was $TT150 per person. It was excellent, the whole family enjoyed the trip and I would recommend it.
Virgin have a 'check-in, chill out' service whereby on the morning of departure at approx 09:30, airport security and check-in are completed and your suitcases are collected. You then have the day to do whatever you wish and are collected from the hotel at 19:00 for the 20:45 flight. At the airport, you have to go thru passport control and have hand luggage checked and x-rayed. It is possible to keep your room on the last day at a cost of $TT300. We paid for one of our rooms and found it worthwhile.
Hope this is useful
Rex Turtle Beach - Room Only.
Got back from our first visit to Tobago last week. We stayed at the Rex Turtle beach and thanks to this site I felt I already knew the Hotel – in fact it was slightly better than I anticipated.
Soon after we arrived we realised that our decision to go room only was exactly right for us – we wanted to see and experience the island, not sit in an all inclusive hotel for 2 weeks. In fact the extra cost to go all inclusive for 3 of us (one 11 year old) would have been £1000, we actually spent about £750 on all food and drink, so we still had money left over towards the 10 day hire of a jeep.
On arrival we immediately hired a fridge, then a 10 minute walk to the Black Rock supermarket the next day provided us with all we needed for breakfast and lunches, we then tried a different restaurant most nights – and I have to say we didn’t have one bad meal.
The Hotel was tired and in need of refurbishment, but the large rooms were kept very clean on a daily basis, the bed was the biggest bed I’ve ever seen (my 6foot 5 husband could have slept sideways!), the air conditioning was noisy but very efficient, we were so tired in the evenings that nothing would have stopped us sleeping. The service was excellent – room issues were sorted immediately. The pool was dreadful, VERY small and unattractive, but it has to be said that it was fine for children and my 11 year old spent hours in there, it was always full of other children and we felt quite happy leaving her there to play while we sat on the beach.
The location cannot be faulted, none of the other hotels we saw appeared to have such immediate access to such a large beach. It is a working beach and as such you will find lots of fishermen and traders around, but we didn’t experience any problems at all, we did get approached quite a lot but nobody was too persistant once you’d said no. The regular traders would only approach you once and were extremely friendly. My husband had a wonderful massage by Mary, and my daughter and I both had our nails done by Rachel.
We had breakfast in the hotel on the first morning – a huge buffet which was very nice but very expensive when on a room only basis (about £30 for 3), we also realised that we would no doubt over eat if faced with that every morning. We found the restaurant very hot as the ceiling fans were very ineffective and it was quite enclosed. Our breakfast of cereal, fresh fruit and fruit juice sat on our patio just feet from the beach, listening to the surf crashing on the sand was superb, and for us, a much better alternative.
We would definitely return to this hotel on a room only basis, it proved a perfect base for us to explore the island and a perfect location when we just wanted to chill. The hire car was essential to our plans and on a return visit we would hire one for the entire visit. This time we had the jeep for 10 days, but even on our last 2 days without car we took a taxi back to one of our favourite restaraunts for dinner (still cheaper including the taxi fare, than eating in the hotel!).
Thanks again Steve for such a great site that allowed me to prepare the perfect holiday, my husband was hugely impressed with my knowledge of the island and my ability to pick such good restaraunts! In fact I have so much to say that this will be the first of several reviews in different sections...........