Beach House - Review Page 2
The top floor of the Beach House is occupied by a single one-bedroom apartment, Coconut Heights. The lower floor is divided into two, almost identical, self-contained studio apartments - Breadfruit Grove and Palm Corner. Each apartment sleeps a maximum of two people, so the entire house could be used to accommodate a party of up to six adults.
Due to the low balconies in Coconut Heights, families with young children are not encouraged. The pathways around the gardens are made of boulders, levelled and in-filled with sand. The uneven footing would be a hindrance to wheelchair users or those with mobility issues.
All three apartments are serviced before arrival. The spotlessly clean quality bed linen and towels are changed every three days. There are no self-use laundry facilities, but washing can be arranged through the friendly housekeeper, Carlene. Guest should remember to bring beach towels. Each apartment has its own outside shower and foot tap for guests to rinse sandy feet when returning from the beach.
The apartments are not equipped with televisions or other forms of electronic entertainment. Neither is there a telephone or Internet access. Fortunately, a local car rental company located just across the road provides complimentary Wi-Fi access.
One-Bedroom Apartments - Coconut Heights
The Beach House was built as a private holiday home by English owners Graham and Carole Beckett. The lower apartments were added to facilitate family gatherings. The private nature of the property is particularly self-evident in the intimate décor of Coconut Heights, with its vibrant Caribbean paintings, wall hangings, seashells and coral fragments.
Coconut Height apartment offers 565ft2 of rustic, but comfortable, living accommodation. The bedroom and kitchen areas occupy the rear half of the building, with views over both the garden and the bay. The living area extends across the entire 26-foot frontage of the building and is open to the elements, protected only by the roof overhang. The side returns have closable wooden shutters for weather protection, privacy and security. There is no separate balcony: the frontage is effectively a covered balcony.
The 13x10ft bedroom is separated from the living area by a narrow wall and glazed double doors. Cooling sea breezes fan the bed when the doors are left open. There would be little point in closing the door. You would only be protecting your privacy from passing dolphins and fisherman and I doubt that either carry binoculars.
The bedroom is dominated by a 5-foot queen-sized bed with four-poster surround and full mosquito net. Curtains across the bedposts at the foot of the bed help to reduce light levels after sunrise or before sunset. The bed is quite high, giving storage space beneath while offering occupants wonderful views out to sea. There is nothing more relaxing than lying there with a cup of coffee and a good book, enjoying those magnificent views out over Castara Bay.
Directly off the bedroom is a small bathroom, equipped with toilet and washbasin. A half-tiled shower is located in an adjacent cubicle. All bathroom (and kitchen) fittings at the Beach House were clean, presentable and in good working order. Unlike many properties in Castara, all basins and showers are plumbed for both hot and cold water. Showers were a particular pleasure. With lots of hot water and good pressure, the large traditional-style ‘raindrop’ showerhead gives total immersion, but is gentle on sunburned shoulders.
Next to the shower is a walk-in wardrobe with 30-inches of full-length hanging space and several times that in open shelf storage. It was great to have somewhere to store our smaller cases and bags, rather than falling over them around the bed. An ironing board, electric iron and hairdryer are provided, together with a safe large enough for a camera plus wallets, travel documents and jewellery, etc.
The bedroom is furnished with several mirrors (behave yourself), wall-mounted ‘reading’ lights and a flexible LED light mounted on the headboard. There is also a small library of novels, plus playing cards, dominoes and a small compendium of board games.
With a well-stocked Kindle, I could have happily spent the entire week in that bedroom. Bar brief forays to the kitchen and bathroom of course.
The 11x7ft kitchen is light, breezy, and well equipped. In fact, when a single family or group have rented the entire house it would be capable of handling the catering for the full party. Glazed double doors can be closed to seal the kitchen from the living area, but like the bedroom, there seems little point. With doors open, the kitchen remains cool and bright while allowing you to enjoy the stunning sea views across the living area.
The kitchen is equipped with a standard set of fittings. A bottled gas oven with grill and four gas rings are supplemented by an effective Black & Decker Toast-R-Oven, cafetière (French press) coffee maker and large fridge with freezer compartment. There is a generous stock of attractive crockery, cutlery, glassware and kitchen utensils. Everything was clean and in excellent condition. We did not feel that things needed to be washed before use.
Just inside the main L-shaped living area and next to the kitchen, is a wooden farmhouse dining table with bench seating. The table can accommodate six people.
As mentioned, the main living area extends across the entire frontage of the property. The views over the beach and bay are quite stunning. The living area is furnished with several comfortable armchairs and tables. It is beautifully decorated with attractive shells and pots, family photographs and jars and more conch, seashells and wind chimes than I could be bothered to count. A hammock is available and can be slung across one corner of the living area.
Since our first visit in 2006, small decks, each furnished with all-weather seating and a gas barbeque, have been built beside each apartment. The Coconut Heights deck is on the upper floor, adjacent to the main entrance and kitchen. The deck is partially covered and guests can sunbathe on the uncovered section, should they so wish. Backing onto a cliff rock face, the covered portion of the deck is attractively furnished with coloured fairy lights and painted wooden fish carvings. It is a lovely place for al fresco dining.
Given the open design, none of the Beach House apartments is air-conditioned. There is no need. Even at the height of the day, we were always comfortable. We never needed the electric floor fan provided in the living room.
The house is surrounded by lush vegetation and located near a small stream. Therefore, it is inevitable that mosquitoes will be present at night, during the rainy season (April to November) in particular. We had no trouble. In fairness, our frequent visits seem to have given us a degree of immunity. We did not use the mosquito net. Our preferred method is to position our trusty electric bug matt burner on the floor and to use a floor fan on low speed setting to fan the deterrent scent over the bed. This has always worked well for us.
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