Cuffie River Nature Retreat - Review Page 2
Given the demanding topography of Tobago's interior, I have to take my hat off to Regina for the vision, dedication and perseverance that it would have required to create the Cuffie River Nature Retreat.
The hotel is made up of three spacious two-storey buildings built on a ridge above the River Cuffie, a small tributary of Tobago's largest river, the Courland. As with all good tropical architectural designs, the buildings are orientated to take maximum advantage of the prevailing winds.
The main building is home to the ten guest rooms, the dining room and a lounge area. A second lower structure houses the open-air swimming pool, above a general utility area. The third building, known as the Annexe, has two self-catering guest rooms beneath a covered pavilion that is used as a games and relaxation area and also for weddings, corporate meetings and other functions. All three buildings are constructed of red clay blocks and wood, with reddish brown banister rails and mint-green rendered dividing pillars.
A wheelchair ramp leads from the driveway into the hotel, and also from ground level up to the elevated swimming pool. All the shower enclosures offer easy access and the three guest rooms on the ground floor of the property have now been fitted with grab bars, making the resort quite 'disability friendly'.
Given that a love of nature is not limited to age, gender or any other factor, it is hardly surprising that the Cuffie River Nature Retreat appeals to a very wide cross-section of visitors to Tobago. As might be expected in such a small and intimate hotel, guests soon mingle and share experiences; in fact, evening dining is normally served at a communal table, although private tables are available should anyone prefer.
The Cuffie River will be of particular interest to bird watchers. The bird life around the hotel is stunning. The hummingbirds, in particular, often fly into the hotel and are tame enough to seem unperturbed by human presence. Stand close to the feeders and within minutes you will experience the dramatic buzz of hummingbird flying inches from your ears as they chase each other during territorial disputes. Evening entertainment is regularly provided by nocturnal species such as the Common Potoo and White-tailed Nightjar.
Children are welcome at the hotel, but need to be closely supervised at all times. It is important to remember the hotel's popularity as a nature and bird watching retreat. A sign at the entrance to the hotel makes no bones about the ethos of the establishment: "We thank you for your visit and ask you please to be very quiet while on these premises". Quite right!
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