Tosca Villa - Review Page 3
As one would expect, the semi-open plan 29sq.m. living-dining-kitchen area is the largest room in the villa. With windows on three walls, the room is light and breezy, yet remains shaded throughout the day. It feels very much like a home rather than the typical more antiseptic rental property.
The dining area features a large glass dining table with six cane chairs. The dining area is separated from the kitchen by a small breakfast bar/serving hatch with two tall chairs.
The living room area has two settees and an easy chair arranged around a large central coffee table. Beneath the table, we found a large selection of books about Tobago plus a guest information file containing exhaustive notes and information about the villa and island. It is a pleasure to see owners taking time and trouble to provide their guests with information that will help them to optimise their holiday on Tobago. Additional furnishings include a cable-television with DVD player and a small collection of films.
The kitchen is small, but equipped with everything you are likely to need. Equipment includes a huge 4-ring electric oven, a dishwasher and fridge-freezer, plus microwave, electric kettle, blender, toaster, juice squeezer, cafetiere and even a set of kitchen scales. I gave up even trying to list the pots and pans, general utensils, crockery, cutlery and other kitchen and dining items. I have seldom seen a wider-equipped villa. After over nine years of use, everything was starting to show its age, but at least everything was clean and working.
We are always surprised by how few villa owners provide condiments, spices and other kitchen essentials. The cost of doing so is negligible, but providing such items saves guests from having to waste valuable holiday time buying family-size packs of sugar, salt, pepper and other items, most of which invariably end up in the bin on departure. Not so at Tosca. The owners encourage guests to leave any surplus fresh food stocks if new guests are expected within a day or two, and Carol, the housekeeper, checks to make sure that only fresh items are retained. The kitchen is stocked like a normal ‘home’ kitchen. The owners invite guests to use anything in the cupboards and simply ask that anything used is replaced. I sincerely hope that their trust is not abused and that they continue this helpful system.
The living room is not air-conditioned, but the large overhead ceiling fan and through breezes keep the room adequately cool throughout the day. A telephone is provided and guests can make local calls. Complimentary wireless Internet access is also available throughout the property.
A small utility area and cloakroom with toilet and washbasin is housed in a short corridor between the living area and the ground-floor bedroom. Utilities included a large American washing machine and dryer. An ironing board and electric iron is stored in one of the master bedroom cupboards. Assorted snorkelling masks, fins and a small body board are available for guest use, together with a picnic cooler and ice packs.
Terrace & Pool
Tosca has two attractive 3.75x2.5m terrace areas separated by 3x2.8m plunge pool with a depth of 0.9 metres. The plunge pool is small but adequate for a cooling dip.
Whilst the dining table is great for formal dining, we found the patio a far more compelling area for all dining. The second terrace, outside the ground floor bedroom, has another pair of comfortable cushioned deckchairs and a gas barbeque. There are four portable sun loungers that can be positioned as required.
Housekeeping services are provided three days per week. The housekeeper, Carol, was helpful and charming. She makes the beds, washes up and empties the dishwasher, changes the linen and towels mid-week. The linen and towels were clean and presentable and beach towels are available on request.
Pool maintenance only takes five minutes and is conducted most days. Sanctuary Villa Resort is responsible for the grounds and with the exception of the unfinished hotel and condominiums, the gardens appear to be reasonably well-maintained.
It is a 10-minute downhill walk from Tosca to the 900m (0.6 mile) Grafton Beach in Stonehaven Bay. Realistically, one should add a further 5-10 minutes as the best swimming is at the far end of the beach. The walk home will be uphill. It is a long hard slog, even at the coolest times of the day. Fortunately Tosca is the very first villa on the Sanctuary development. I would think that only the very hardiest of souls would consider the beach to be within walking distance.
The seas were running higher than normal during our stay. The conditions were great for body boarders, but it was a struggle to get into the calmer waters behind the surf. Conditions at the furthest end of the beach were generally calmer than at the western end where you first join it from Tosca. There is also reasonable snorkelling at that calmer end.
Stonehaven Bay beach normally offers good swimming and shelves relatively gradually. Although there are a few rocky parts, the majority is clear sand with no hidden “nasties”. There are no lifeguards, warning flags or other safety facilities, so visitors should obviously take great care and never, ever, exceed their capabilities and experience.
A number of traders ply the beach and some have semi-permanent ‘stands’ there. None of them were in the slightest way intrusive – in fact they can become friendly beach companions if you take the trouble to pass the time of day and exchange a friendly word. Buying is not a precondition.
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