Bijou Des Caraibes - Review Page 1
If you are looking for a one or two-bedroom self-contained apartment managed by a host renowned for her hospitality, then you should certainly consider Bijou Des Caraibes.
During our research for the myTobago.info listings, we surfed through every Tobago accommodation-related website and became intrigued by the rave reviews of this small apartment house. We later sent a circular to every property owner, asking them to check our listings. The warmth of reply from Judith Gemmet, the owner of Bijou Des Caraibes, came as no surprise and convinced us that her property should be included in the first round of myTobago reviews.
Bijou Des Caraibes is located on Mount Irvine – arguably the most popular and prestigious villa location on Tobago. Just fifteen minutes from main airport, the Mount Irvine area represents an ideal base from which to explore the island. A variety of good beaches are within a few minutes drive and a large percentage of the best restaurants on the island within little more.
Although Bijou is quite easy to find, like most properties on Tobago you would be ill-advised to attempt to do so without specific directions. However, as usual with all the best properties, all arriving guests who are staying five nights or more will be met at the airport and accompanied back to the villa, so directions are really not necessary for most guests.
We were delighted to find that Bijou Des Caraibes is located in an area of Mt.Irvine that has avoided the worst excesses of the current Tobago building boom. There was ample evidence of local housing in the area, although Bijou’s neighbouring properties did all come into the “luxury” class. Given that at home we can’t even see our neighbours, it was particularly pleasing for us personally to find that the adjacent plots at Bijou had not (yet) been developed and that the property was therefore not overlooked or in any sense ‘crowded’.
The apartments are a five-minute drive from the nearest beaches and there are no restaurants or shops within realistic walking distance. Although taxi services are available, we strongly recommend that you budget for a self-drive vehicle for your stay, as we suggest with most accommodation on Tobago. The island has too much to offer to be restricted to just one location. Judy has two Suzuki jeeps that are available for rental by guests at very competitive rates.
Arriving at the property, one is immediately struck by the riot of colour surrounding the villa. From the road, it appears to be a very large single storey building. It actually a two-storey building, but is cleverly built to take best advantage of the gently sloping hillside. The well-maintained hedges surrounding the property hide security fencing, but the electronic gates give the game away and are a sad comment on modern life the world over.
Judith and Yvon Gemmet designed and built the property in 1996 and it now forms their private residence. It was only during the early design stage that Judy, a natural hostess, realised that the lower floor of this lovely property could be easily adapted to provide guest accommodation.
Bijou Des Caraibes offers a choice of four fully self-contained apartments – a two bedroom apartment, a one-bedroom apartment and two smaller studio apartments. Although we were able to view all four apartments during our three day, sadly we were unable to photograph them all as they were fully occupied. It would have been far too cheeky to expect guests to clear away their personal belongings. The only fundamental difference between the apartments, however, is that of size, so the following comments apply to all four.
The apartments are of moderate size and simply, but adequately furnished. All aspects of the building, both internally and externally, are well maintained and in excellent decorative order. Each unit has a living area, furnished with dining table and chairs, plus casual seating in the form of sofa and chairs. Each unit has a radio, cable TV and telephone.
The kitchenettes are small but adequate, and are equipped with the usual basic cooking facilities, microwave, fridge/freezer, electric kettle and a decent range of cutlery and crockery.
Leading off each apartment is a bathroom, with basin, toilet and shower, and the bedrooms. The two-bedroom apartment has a king-size double bed in the master bedroom and two standard-size single beds in the second bedroom. This latter room is on the small side, but perfectly suited to children, for whom it is undoubtedly primarily intended. The one-bedroom apartment also has a king-size double bed and the two studio apartments have queen-size double beds.
Security grills are provided on all windows and each apartment is integrated within the villa’s main security system. Each apartment has an independent remote control to arm and disarm the security system. All rooms are fully air-conditioned.
Cleaning services are provided six days a week and linen and towels changed daily. A laundry service is offered for a nominal charge and cooking and baby-sitting can be arranged at extra cost.
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