Alibaba's Sea Breeze - Review Page 3
The only major change since our two previous visits is that the low-pressure instantaneous water heater previously fitted in each bathroom has been upgraded and replaced by a more normal central heating system. What a difference. Showers were such a pleasure.
The bathroom is fitted with a double 110v shaver/electricity point. An electric hair dryer and a small security safe are also provided. All fittings were serviceable and in good condition.
Moving to the front of the apartment, the kitchen is of adequate size, well laid out and very well equipped. Everything was immaculately clean – something that many small hospitality properties on Tobago could learn from. Sea Breeze is arguably the only property that we have visited three times over a 10 years period and can genuinely claim that the apartments look as good and 'new' today as they did when they first opened. In fact, contrary to virtually every other hospitality property in Castara and possibly in Tobago, these apartments have improved with age rather than the opposite.
Kitchen fittings and equipment included a four-ring propane gas oven/stove, a medium-sized fridge with small (ice cube) freezer section, an electric coffee filter machine, electric toaster and a kettle (heated on stove). There is a small but adequate collection of cookery, crockery, glassware and cooking and kitchen utensils. Considerately, food storage containers and a pack of candles and boxes of matches were provided. Power outages are far from infrequent in Tobago.
Tucked into the corner, beside the kitchen, a table with two chairs can be used for dining – or easily moved onto the adjacent balcony for al fresco dining, if preferred. A third chair, located in the bedroom area, could easily be brought into service at the table if required.
To the front of each apartment is a spacious (3.6x1.75m) covered balcony furnished with two cushioned armchairs and a small table. Access to the balcony is via full-width glazed doors from the kitchen area. With the doors open and pinned back, the balcony almost becomes part of the kitchen/dining area. The overhang of the upper floor, plus the shade of a tall tree in front of the property, keeps the balconies remarkably sheltered, even when raining.
A washing line is discreetly mounted in front of the balustrade. When viewed from the beach, the frontage adorned with drying towels, swimwear and other garments may not conjure the image that Brian and Steph would ideally choose, but as always, they put the requirements of guests first.
The balconies of the four apartments are separated by decorative wood and tapestry-effect partitions, with an angled front. They provide an acceptable level of privacy between the apartments, whilst allowing neighbours standing at the balustrade to communicate. All four apartments were occupied during our stay and yet we were virtually unaware that we had neighbours. Mind you, the noise of the surf breaking immediately beneath the apartments masks most sounds, so honeymoon couples need have no fear of embarrassment.
The views of the mountains, beaches and bays from the balcony are simply stunning.
Owing to the last minute cancellation of a planned review, we enjoyed 11 days at Sea Breeze for this review, rather than our originally planned week. Despite that, the time passed all too quickly.
Jill loves the beach and she has been in seventh-heaven here. Her pleasure at being able to stroll down to the beach carrying nothing more than a towel and a bottle of cold coconut water cannot be described. She would move into the apartment permanently today, if given half a chance.
One of us needs to remain more objective. Truth is, however, that it is very hard to be objective in such a stunning location. I apologise for being less than original, but I can only repeat my conclusion written during our 2006 review:
"As regular readers know, I am not normally given to superlatives. However, the inescapable and honest truth is that in terms of location, service levels, cleanliness, quality of furnishing and equipment, Alibaba's Sea Breeze undeniably represents the best value-for-money beachside accommodation, not just in Castara, but anywhere in Tobago.
Castara is still a fairly unique experience. We genuinely look forward to our return and bid a fond farewell to two of the nicest people in Castara.
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