Cuffie River Nature Retreat - Review Page 3
The Cuffie River offers three categories of accommodation. Except where mentioned, all categories share the same general features and facilities.
A Family Suite and a Executive Suite are located at the northern end of the main building; the former on the ground floor and the other above it, on the upper floor. Both suites feature windows on three aspects; in fact, including the balcony doors, these rooms boast some 9m/27ft of open window space, offering fantastic panoramic views of the valley and surrounding rainforest-clad hills.
All the rooms at Cuffie River are spacious, but the two suites are exceptionally so, measuring 8x5½m (47m²). We enjoyed the Executive Suite, on the upper floor. The high vaulted wooden ceiling rises to more than 8 metres and makes the rooms appear exceptionally spacious: the largest bedroom suite that we have come across in Tobago.
The Executive Suite boasts a massive 2.8m (9´) ultra-king-size bed. I think that Regina should offer guests a map so that they can negotiate their way around it. A wooden panel above the bed provides excellent lighting for reading in bed. The room features very attractive banquette seating plus a couple of small armchairs and two remarkably comfortable beanbags. Hugely vibrant soft furnishings complete the picture. Few rooms on the island can have greater 'wow' factor than this. Given the nature of the retreat, the large flat-screen satellite television seemed something of a contradiction in terms. Needless to say, the rooms are not equipped with telephones. Internet access is available, but only in certain areas of the hotel.
Hair dryers are provided on request and the hotel offers an efficient laundry service. The rooms would benefit from a small refrigerator, but a kettle and tea and coffee making supplies are provided, together with a flask of iced water.
Wardrobe space in the suites consists of a large wooden four-door cupboard offering a substantial 2.3m of hanging and shelf space. The nature and length of our review trips means that we carry a lot of luggage. Despite that, and having totally emptied our cases, we managed to fill less than half the available wardrobe space.
Measuring 2.2x2 metres, the bathroom is spacious and attractively finished in pink with a vanity unit housing the wash basin and, for once, enough space to lay out the entire contents of our wash bags. A range of toiletries are provided, together with a box of tissue and 110v two-pin flat electric shaver socket. The tiled corner shower with wrap-around shower curtain was a total joy, with good pressure and lots of hot water.
Air-conditioning would hardly be sympathetic to the ethos of the Cuffie River Nature Retreat and the rooms are so breezy that it would be totally superfluous. Birders don't come here to be locked in air-conditioned cells; they want to throw their balcony doors open and see and hear the birds even when lying in bed. With bird-feeders just 10-12m from the hotel frontage, it is remarkable how much bird-life you can view from the balcony.
Our room had a large ceiling fan and this proved perfectly adequate, even when the curtains were drawn. In fact, I had to avail myself of the provided extra blanket. Night-time temperatures can drop significantly in Tobago. The retreat has a night-time security guard supported by guard dogs, so we had absolutely no concerns about leaving our windows and balcony doors open. It was such a wonderful experience to fall asleep to myriad rainforest sounds, of which the bullfrogs were perhaps the most noticeable.
The retreat is located next to a river and so it is inevitable that mosquitoes will be present. We visited during the dry season and mossies were almost conspicuous in their absence. The hotel provides an electric mosquito deterrent in each room. Despite sleeping with all windows and balcony doors open every night, we suffered no bites or other insect-related problems.
All the rooms, regardless of category, feature a small balcony or terrace of around 3.5 x 1 metres, furnished with a pair of chairs.
The terracotta floor tiles are cool to the touch and any starkness, particularly in such large rooms, relieved by rattan floor mats. The rendered walls were finished in magnolia; a nice foil to the bold grey and gold curtains and furnishings of our room. The overall impression is of space, lightness and comfort. Everything was in excellent order and we couldn't have been happier with the room.
The Family Suite on the ground floor is almost identical to the Executive Suite, except that it is furnished with three double beds, rather than the single ultra-king. This room still appears enormously spacious despite the bed configuration.
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