seabreeze - Review Page 1
Reviewed by Steve & Jill Wooler in March 2008
SeaBreeze is a spacious six-bedroom holiday rental villa in Bacolet, a quiet residential district just outside Tobago’s capital, Scarborough. The securely-fenced villa is set in over an acre of mature cliff-top gardens overlooking Rockly Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
The rocky sea shore below the villa can be accessed directly from the grounds. Guests of a more adventurous nature will undoubtedly clamber across the rocks to an adjacent and charming small sandy beach. Alternatively, Bacolet Beach is less than a five-minute walk.
Although there are a plethora of holiday rental villas on Tobago, there are few that could accommodate family groups or parties of up to ten people with the same degree of privacy and comfort. SeaBreeze undoubtedly represents an excellent choice for such groups. The villa would be particularly suited to wedding parties and/or other family or group occasions.
Bacolet is an upmarket residential suburb of Scarborough. Although within easy walking distance of Upper Scarborough (the commercial district, as opposed to Lower Scarborough which includes the Port, market and retail areas) the town and the suburb are like chalk and cheese. Scarborough itself has few redeeming features. Bacolet, however, exudes an air of quiet calm and sophistication. No wonder that so many Tobagonian professional and business people live here.
Visitors tend to assume that the Caribbean coast of Tobago is more desirable than the Atlantic coast. This poses a question: why do the majority of residents live on the Atlantic side? The answer is that it is slightly cooler. It faces the prevailing North East Trade Winds. If Caribbean coast properties are to offer sea views, they must face away from these winds, often losing the cooling breezes in the process.
It is true, however, that the Caribbean coast offers the greatest choice of beautiful sandy beaches and better swimming. However, neither coast has a great number of rental villas within walking distance of a decent beach. As I regularly say in these reviews, having your own transport is essential if you are to get the best out of Tobago. Given the short distance between the Atlantic and Caribbean coasts, it seems senseless to compromise your choice of accommodation simply because of the difference between a five minute drive and one of 10-15 minutes.
Bacolet is just a couple of minutes from the main Claude Noel Highway. All of Tobago is within easy reach. It is only 15-20 minutes to the airport, Pigeon Point or Store Bay; a similar journey to any of the beaches on the southern Caribbean coast; 30 minutes to Castara; and about an hour to Charlotteville at the northern tip of the island.
Surprisingly, Scarborough is devoid of decent supermarkets, although a medium-sized K Mart provides basic items. Fortunately K Mart is accessible without having to pass through the centre of Scarborough. It is also only 15-20 minutes from the villa to Morshead Gourmet Foods or either branch of Penny Savers.
Dining out is a similar situation. Shutters on the Bay (at the Blue Haven Hotel) and La Belle Creole (at the Donkey Cart) are virtually adjacent to SeaBreeze, but in truth both are expensive and neither is likely to satisfy gastronomic tastes. Ciao Pizza opened in central Scarborough in January 2008 and offers genuine Italian pizzas at reasonable prices. One of our favourite restaurants is the Salsa Kitchen, a shade over five minutes away from the villa, just north of the main highway. Apart from these restaurants, dining out does mean a 20-minute drive to Crown Point or the Shirvan Road, where many of the island’s most popular restaurants are based. The same applies to most other rental properties on the island, as none are within walking distance of more than one or two restaurants.
SeaBreeze is set in more than an acre of mature tropical grounds, discreetly hidden behind a tall perimeter wall/fence. Electronic gates guard the entrance. Security is good, without being intrusive.
The villa itself lies at the end of an attractive curved driveway lined with mature palms. The gardens are a riot of colourful tropical shrubs and mature fruit trees, including lime, mango, banana, grapefruit and avocado. Guests can take their pick of the fruit when in season.
From the gate and driveway, the villa appears to be a single level bungalow of conventional tropical design. The cream stucco finish is brightened by pink and blue lattice work, window frames and decorative balustrades. However, the gentle fall of the land disguises the fact that the house is actually built on two levels.
Although no rooms are specifically fitted out for the disabled, the property could be suited to wheelchair users and those with mobility problems.
SeaBreeze is a relatively old villa. It was renovated in 2004 by the current owners and is furnished and equipped as a private holiday home rather than as a rental property. In comparison to many of the spic-and-span new houses that have sprung up around the island, the difference is noticeable. However, it also means that SeaBreeze has character and personality and engenders a feeling of ‘homeliness’, as opposed to the more impersonal hotel-like experience of many new rental villas.
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