Mahi Mahi Suite - Review Page 1

Reviewed by Steve & Jill Wooler in March 2011

Black Rock Dreams from Grafton BeachThe Mahi Mahi Suite is a luxurious condominium in the striking and prestigious Black Rock Dreams complex, located in a prime position on beautiful Grafton Beach in Tobago’s Stonehaven Bay.

Surprisingly few Tobago self-catering holiday rental apartments, cottages or villas are within walking distance of a decent natural beach that offers good safe swimming. With Tobago's daytime temperatures averaging 30ºC/86ºF, anything more than a five minute walk will be considered unacceptable by most visitors. Only a tiny handful of properties are within a 30-second walk of a beach and therefore genuinely ‘beachside’. Mahi Mahi Suite is one of this small select band as it affords direct access onto the sands of Grafton Beach.

This review is entirely specific to the Mahi Mahi Suite. It only applies in the most general sense to other units in the Black Rock Dreams complex.

Location

A narrow road runs beside Grafton Beach. It is hard to believe that this was the main Caribbean coast road in years gone by. Now it is nothing more than a quiet access road to the beach and the impressive properties that border it.

Rear aspect of Lord's VillaGrafton Beach is sandwiched between the village of Black Rock and the hamlet of Pleasant Prospect. Anyone familiar with the area is sure to be familiar with the latter, because it is home to the excellent Fish Pot Restaurant, Marie’s Place mini-mart, a Pizza Boys outlet and the only ATM cash machine on this stretch of the Caribbean coast.

The Shirvan Road/ Buccoo Road, which runs along the lower part of the Caribbean coast road, has become something of a restaurant strip. More than half dozen of the island’s most popular restaurants are housed along, or adjacent to, this mile-or-two of coast road. All are within a 5-minute drive of Mahi Mahi Suite. The Seahorse Inn, generally perceived as one of Tobago’s best restaurant, is just a 30-second walk away. The more casual and deserving Fish Pot Restaurant is just a two minute, half-mile, drive away at Pleasant Prospect.

The Crown Point beaches of Store Bay and Pigeon Point are attractive and popular. However, they have become over-commercialised. They are often crowded: excessively so when a cruise liner has docked in Scarborough. The beaches along the Caribbean coast are much quieter and are largely free from commercialisation. The best beach, in our opinion, is Grafton beach, immediately in front of Mahi Mahi Suite. However, there are several other beautiful beaches within a three or four minute drive.

Spectacular views over Grafton BeachThe Grafton Caledonia Bird Sanctuary is just a 10-minute walk away from Mahi Mahi. Watching the 8am feeding of the birds can be a wonderful start to the day. It is also situated within a 15-20 minute drive of every notable feature in the popular Crown Point-Plymouth-Scarborough triangle. Guests are ideally placed for visits to Tobago’s beautiful northern coastline and rainforest. When one combines all these factors, Mahi Mahi Suite undoubtedly boasts one of the best locations on the island.

To get the most from a holiday on Tobago, it is essential to have your own transport. The island is small, but few properties are within walking distance of more than one or two shops, restaurants, beaches or other facilities. Relying on private taxis is inconvenient and, ultimately, may prove more expensive that hiring a car. So, as we say in almost every review, we strongly recommend that you budget for a self-drive car or jeep. 

Architecture

I suspect that the Trinidadian architects who designed Black Rock Dreams have an affinity with the wonderful old colonial public buildings found in so many Caribbean capitals. Perhaps they wanted to present a modern take on the style?  If so, they certainly achieved their goal, because Black Rock Dreams is a hugely impressive and attractive building. It dominates the northern end of Grafton Beach and yet looks totally at home there.

View of the pool and gardensI vividly recall our concern when, in 2002, we saw that land adjacent to the fisherman’s landing area on Grafton Beach was being cleared for development. This was nothing compared to our disgust when, a few years later, we returned to find the skeleton of a substantial three-storey building that clearly seemed to contravene local “no building higher than a coconut tree” planning guidelines.

Black Rock Dreams was completed in 2006. I remember seeing it in the final stages of construction and admitting that it was far from the monstrosity I had envisaged. The intervening years have been even kinder. The inevitable scarring of the land evident during construction has disappeared. The lines of the building have been softened by skilful landscaping of the gardens and retention and management of the natural foliage along the border with the beach. Moreover, Black Rock Dreams looks what it surely is: the most up-market and luxurious condominium/ apartment building on the island.

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