Sheppy's Den - Review Page 1
Reviewed by Steve & Jill Wooler in March 2010
Frequent visitors to Tobago are sure to be familiar with the name ‘Sheppy’. Colin Shepherd, known to one and all as Sheppy, owns and operates one of the largest and most highly regarded car and motorcycle rental agencies on the island. We simply could not imagine arriving at Crown Point International Airport and not being met by Sheppy, with his huge grin and welcoming bear-hug. Mind you, we may have to wait a minute or two. Few things are certain in life, but Sheppy being late is one of them.
Although built as a commercial rental property, Sheppy’s Den represents very much more than a business project to Sheppy. He may have justified the build on commercial grounds, but the bottom line is that he built it because he could; because he wanted to. The name, Sheppy’s Den, almost sums up his motivation.
There are over 200 rental villas on Tobago and the majority offer high levels of accommodation. After all, except for the small minority who enjoy “roughing it”, most holidaymakers expect standards of accommodation at least as high as they enjoy at home, and ideally higher. The problem is that holiday rental villas can be somewhat ‘antiseptic’ with little or no real sense of identity. Villas with true character are much harder to find.
Every aspect of Sheppy’s Den screams Tobago. There is nothing subtle about this house. From the location to the violent colour scheme and décor, you are guaranteed a fairly uniquely Caribbean experience. Sheppy’s business success can be attributed to the fact that he provided the highest levels of service in an island not best known for the attribute. Knowing the man, we are confident that the same genuine hospitality and service will be extended to every guest of Sheppy’s Den.
Sheppy’s Den is located in Bacolet Park. This is a new development, adjacent to the Dwight York Stadium, at the eastern end of the Claude Noel Highway that bypasses Scarborough. The development overlooks Minster Bay – although intervening scrubland inhibits sea views. Beautiful Bacolet Bay beach is just a three-minute drive away. Upper Scarborough is a minute or two further on and, traffic permitting, you can be in downtown Scarborough within ten minutes of leaving the house.
Bacolet Park is much favoured by the more affluent Tobagonian middle and business classes. At the time of our first visit, in 2008, around two dozen properties had been completed and a further four or five were under construction. Two years later, not a lot has changed. Development is very low key. You certainly don’t get any sense of being on a building site and construction noise was non-existent. In fact it wasn’t just construction noise – there was a total absence of all noise. Even though the main Atlantic coast road passes 75m behind the house, it was one of the quietest locations we have stayed in. No early-morning roosters, Chachalacas or boomboxes. Nada!
The thing that we particularly liked about Bacolet Park was the fact that it is clearly a ‘local’ neighbourhood. Although we do list one other holiday rental property on the development, it is evident that the majority of the houses are owned by local professionals and business people. We were particularly taken with the friendliness of the neighbours and genuinely felt that they would ‘watch out’ for visitors.
It has to be said that there are no shops, bars, restaurants or other facilities within walking distance of Bacolet Park. When staying here it is essential to have your own transport. In fairness, given Sheppy's primary business activities this is hardly likely to be a problem. In fact Sheppy offers particularly good deals when renting both the house and a car or jeep.
From this location, the island is your oyster. The journey from the airport takes little more than 20 minutes. You can drive to any of popular Crown Point/Lower Caribbean beaches in much the same time. In fact, every point of the most populated Crown Point-Plymouth-Scarborough triangle is within a 20-minute drive.
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