Kapinjala - Review Page 5
Shopping, Catering & Dining
There is a small supermarket (small being the operative word) and a number of local stores in Plymouth, just a five minute drive away from Kapinjala. However, this will satisfy only the most basic requirements.
The nearest “decent” supermarket is Morshead Gourmet Foods at Mount Pleasant. This is a 15 minute drive back towards the airport (turn left just before Me-Shells Restaurant, one mile from the Buccoo junction crossroad, after the golf course). This supermarket offers a wide range of imported foods and is our favourite, but it has to be said that it is more expensive than the larger PennySavers supermarkets further on in Canaan or Carnbee.
Carnbee (turn left at the Buccoo junction) is a useful village because it is home to a PennySavers supermarket. Although smaller than the Canaan branch, the Carnbee branch is much quieter and is our preferred choice. Immediately in front of the PennySavers supermarket is the very friendly and helpful Dove Drugs pharmacy (the nearest to Kapinjala).
The fisherman’s co-operative at Mount Irvine will be of great interest to guests. Every afternoon from around 4:00-4:30pm you will see the fishermen selling their catch from the tables mounted beside the sea wall immediately adjacent to the road. You won’t get fresher fish anywhere. Simply tell the fishermen what you want and they will fillet the fish, or chop it into steaks. Shoot back to the villa, slap it on the barbeque and you are guaranteed a meal to cherish.
The Arnos Vale Hotel is open to non-residents, but has a poor reputation for catering and, if their beach bar prices are anything to go by, at prices far in excess of quality and service provided. The associated Arnos Vale Waterwheel is set in a wonderful romantic location and is capable of excellent catering, but again, recent reports have been very unfavourable and the restaurant seems to be closed more often than it is open.
A small local restaurant, Peter’s Restaurant, has opened in Plymouth within the past year. Reports are mixed, but generally good. However, the restaurant can be difficult to find. It is located on the cliff top overlooking Plymouth Back Bay, near the recreation ground and situated behind the owner’s house. It is not clearly signposted, so finding it at night can be a challenge and the entry somewhat off-putting. However, we understand that it is worth trying.
Although we didn’t try it, we understand that Lorraine’s, on the main crossroads in the centre of Plymouth, is a good choice for breakfast and take-aways and does ‘scrummy’ coconut bread. Similarly, Fads Homestyle on the road out of Plymouth is a good source of good cheap local takeout food. A little further down the road is the newly-opened Hollywood Chinese Restaurant which is proving very popular. Popular bars are TJ’s, located by the petrol (gas) station in the centre of Plymouth and PahJoe’s Bar on the Arnos Vale Road around Plymouth. Finally, those wanting a bit of local atmosphere could try the Friday evening BBQ at the grocery/bar on the junction next to the filling station in Plymouth. At TT$20 (£1.75/US$3.25) per head, you can’t go wrong. Other than that, there are just a couple of local roti shops – the best one being close to Stumpy’s Grocery and Post Office.
Apart from these limited options, it is only a 15-20 minute drive to the half dozen or so excellent restaurants between the villages of Black Rock and Mount Pleasant.
Tours & Excursions
Kapinjala’s location makes it an ideal base from which to tour the beautiful beaches of the northern Caribbean coast, the rain forest and indeed, the entire island. This can either be accomplished in your own self-drive rental vehicle, or through one of the many tour guides, most of whom will be willing to pick you up from the property.
There are a number of very pleasant nature trails in the area. One particularly nice early morning walk, with wonderful coastal views, is the old Mot Mot Trail at the foot of the hill, beside the Arnos Vale Hotel. It takes about an hour to walk to the Footprints Eco Resort at Culloden, but you could always arrange to be collected from there for the short drive back. You could even break the journey on the way with a slight detour down the cliffs to Hidden Bay, although be warned that the seas can run high and make swimming a little tricky.
The villa is serviced six days a week by Natalie, a lovely girl who was both cheery and helpful and who had cooked our tasty welcome meal. The villa’s manager, Marlon, proved equally hospitable.
I am sure that guests could make private arrangements with Natalie for additional services like cooking and babysitting. An excellent washing machine, dryer, iron and board are provided (and a long clothes line on the breezy upper balcony), so laundry was not an issue with us.
The helpful visitor notes left by the owners also provide details of a lady who does home-delivery catering. Although we didn’t use her while at Kapinjala, we have made use of her services elsewhere and know that she is well worth recommending.
The English owners have very clearly invested considerable thought and planning into both the design and furnishing of Kapinjala. They have not made the mistake of cutting corners and doing things on the cheap, like so many rental property owners. There is nothing superficial about this villa – the elegance and quality go all the way through. In fact the levels of workmanship and attention to detail are as fine as we’ve seen on Tobago and the villa undoubtedly one of the most elegant and comfortable that we have stayed in, or visited.
To be honest, we’ve found it hard to criticise anything. In fact, the only things that we have criticised would probably have passed without comment in lesser properties. It is only the sheer excellence of this villa – and the desperate need to find some criticism to make this review look less like an advertising article – that have brought comment here.
It is hard to summarise our feelings for Kapinjala. I am writing this conclusion less than an hour before leaving the villa. Both Jill and I are feeling quite sad. We have loved many properties on Tobago, but at this moment in time, I have to say that none have exceeded Kapinjala.
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