Paradise Found Villa - Review Page 1
Reviewed by Steve & Jill Wooler in February 2003
The first two weeks of our 2003 visit to Tobago were hectic, but wonderful. Research for this site dominated our trip and moving accommodation every three days, preparing these reviews, meant that we were largely living out of suitcases. We had carefully researched every establishment beforehand, so while keeping an open mind, we pretty much knew what to expect. Disappointed we were not!
As much as we enjoyed those first weeks, we were particularly looking forward to the latter half of our holiday as my parents, sister and a friend were joining us. My parents had expressed a desire to celebrate their 80th birthdays on Tobago. Neither they, nor my sister, had visited Tobago since 1959. It was to be a very special two weeks indeed.
This family gathering presented an opportunity to extend the myTobago reviews to luxury villas. As we had never tried this form of holiday accommodation before, it was to be a whole new experience. To provide more material for myTobago, we decided to split the holiday across two totally different villas, staying a week in each.
So, how do you choose a holiday villa from more than a 100 on Tobago? For reasons very similar to those that led to our review of another property, Bijou Des Caraibes, our first choice was easy.
Shortly after launching myTobago.info, we received a wonderful letter of thanks from Pat Thompson, the owner of Paradise Found Villa. We shall always remember the warm sentiment expressed in her letter. Having decided to look for villa accommodation, her letter and a highly positive post in our Tobago reader discussion forum made the decision for us. Local contacts endorsed our positive feelings. We had found our first villa!
Paradise Found Villa is a luxury 5-bedroom villa located virtually on the beachside at Mount Irvine. The villa offers every luxury and will comfortably accommodate parties of 10-12 people.
Paradise Found Villa is ideally situated in the prestigious Mount Irvine area. Every point of the main Plymouth-Scarborough-Crown Point triangle is within a 20-minute drive. This, in turn, means that the over-riding majority of Tobago’s most popular beaches, sightseeing spots and restaurants are easily accessible.
The villa is discreetly located in a quiet street of similarly up-market villas on the hillside directly overlooking Mount Irvine Beach. A secure garden gate at the rear (front?) of the villa provides access to the Mount Irvine beach facilities, directly across the main north coast road. In this context, “main” is a strictly relative term and traffic was neither a nuisance nor a problem.
The location is best summed up by the sentiments of owner Bob Thompson when he first viewed the plot back in the early 90s. He commented that he had “at last found his paradise”. From this comment, the name Paradise Found Villa was born. How right Bob was!
This spacious villa dominates the half-acre plus plot on which it stands. It is essentially a colonial style building in stucco and natural stone facings. The building is sited on a steep slope, but the guest accommodation is all on one level, in an “L” configuration, with covered balconies merging to a circular covered patio and swimming pool (you can tell that my father was a surveyor).
Should one view the property through the large security gates guarding the villa’s main entrance at the top of the hill, one would simply see an attractive single-storey villa set in attractive mature grounds. With a width of around 75 feet (25m), the villa looks spacious, but not exceptional. The view gives no hint of the 100-foot depth of the building.
Visitors travelling through Mount Irvine, towards Plymouth, are bound to have noticed and admired the impressive 45-foot diameter cylindrical stone-face turret of Paradise Found Villa which is undoubtedly the villas strongest architectural feature. The turret provides access to and from the lower garden, and hence the beach, via an impressive circular ground-floor reception room, past a mezzanine-level entrance to a self-contained owner’s apartment, and then up to the main covered patio and guest area. You could almost be in a windmill, oast house or lighthouse.
As you step through the wide double front doors of Paradise Found Villa, you are struck by the view out to sea, looking across a vast living room and through a large open archway to the covered patio and swimming pool. You simply don’t know where to look at first. Few properties can offer such an immediate and striking first impression.
The reception room seems far larger than suggested by the nominal measurement of 30 foot square. This is largely due to the open vaulted ceilings, which rise to some 20 feet, and are featured in every room in the villa. The reception room provides a combination of lounge and dining area. Sofas and chairs are positioned throughout the room, with the majority set in a formal grouping next to a large wooden drinks cabinet, which also houses the satellite television, stereo system and a collection of games.
To one side of the room is a formal dining area, positioned next to a serving hatch from the adjacent kitchen. Although the dining table nominally seats eight, a further two chairs could be added increasing the seating capacity to a reasonably comfortable ten.
As mentioned, the villa is an “L” shaped building. A common covered balcony runs down the inside of each wing of the “L” with the swimming pool and patio nestling between the two legs. Terrazzo flooring aids the sense of coolness and space throughout the villa.
Every aspect of the villa, internally and externally, is in immaculate maintenance and decorative order. If we were to nitpick and look for criticism, we could argue that some younger visitors might consider the décor and furnishings a little old-fashioned. However, taste is so subjective that it would be impossible to satisfy every taste, so this is largely an academic criticism.
Despite being on a hillside, the guest accommodation is all on one level and would be suitable for wheelchair access. Whilst there were no specific facilities for wheelchairs or the disabled, we feel that this villa might suite most needs.
It must have severely depleted the rainforests of Tobago, building all the kitchen cabinets fitted in the 18x16 foot kitchen. All four walls are fitted with attractive, and undoubtedly expensive, wooden cupboard and drawer units, from ground floor to some eight feet in height. You have enough cupboard, shelf and drawer space to accommodate an army!
All this storage space means that if Pat and Bob had equipped the kitchen with just the basic essentials for a party of ten, the kitchen would have seemed empty. Even with the large ‘American’ dishwasher filled, there never seemed to be a shortage of anything.
Although our catering was simply restricted to egg and bacon butties, there is no doubt that a party of ten could comfortably, and easily, self-cater in this villa. The problem will be going home, because very few cooks will have such a well-equipped or spacious kitchen in their own home. The only thing missing was a genuine Aga cooker, but the American grill and oven provided looked adequate for all purpose.
Utility Rooms & Security
Immediately adjacent to the kitchen is a small utility room with washing machine and dryer. Behind this is a small high-security room used to store villa maintenance supplies. Naturally guests are recommended to store their valuables in this useful room.
So many visitors from Europe and North America live in high security compounds and now feel vulnerable and exposed without high security features. Consequently, more and more gated developments are springing up on Tobago. I am glad to see that Paradise Found Villa has found a reasonable compromise between the two. The open nature of the villa does mean that each room must be locked individually when going out and all external windows are fitted with non-intrusive security grills. Both external gates are kept locked at all times.
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