Yellowbird Villa - Review Page 1
Review by Steve & Jill Wooler in March 2010
Yellowbird Villa is situated just a few yards from one of Tobago’s loveliest Caribbean beaches. It is one of three luxury self-catering holiday rental villas collectively known as Tobago Beach Villas. The same team also have a lovely three-bedroom rental villa, Mahogany Villa, on the attractive Villas On The Green secure development bordering the golf course at the foot of Mount Irvine.
Remarkably few Tobago holiday rental properties are within walking distance of a beautiful beach with good swimming. With Tobago’s high daytime temperatures, a five minute walk can be arduous and ten minutes is more than most visitors would consider acceptable. Only a tiny handful of properties are genuinely beachside. By our definition, this means within a 30 seconds walk of the beach. Tobago Beach Villas (owned by retired British racing driver, Peter Westbury) falls into this prestigious group.
Given the shared ownership, management and proximity of the three villas, we would normally conduct a single review of one sample property. However, the size and architectural style of these villas vary and each has a different ambience. They also represent the type of accommodation aspired to by most visitors seeking a Caribbean beach holiday. Given the limited choice of beachside accommodation, we therefore decided to review two of the villas.
So, how did we choose which two to review? Simple: we picked the two villas furthest apart, physically and alphabetically – Hawksbill House and Yellowbird Villa.The third, Sandpebbles Villa, is the smallest and of more conventional modern architectural style, but it is furnished and equipped to the same high standards as the other two. We endorse friendly and efficient manager, Liz Sloper’s, description of the three Tobago Beach Villa houses: Hawksbill House has a grand old colonial ambience compared to Yellowbird’s cottage feel and Sandpebbles’ smaller more modern villa feel.
It should be admitted that our reviews of Hawksbill and Yellowbird are very similar – in fact the introductory and location sections are virtually identical, for obvious reasons. Clearly our description of the building, rooms and furnishings varies, but these are the only points of material difference in the reviews, which also represent a fairly safe general guide to Sandpebbles Villa.
The three villas comprising Tobago Beach Villas are located on a shallow hillside rising from beautiful Grafton Beach in Stonehaven Bay. The adjacent aerial photograph (click to enlarge) is an accurate illustration of the stunning location and the relationship of the villas to each other and the surrounding area. Yellowbird Villa is the first of the villas. It is also nearest to the beach; not that anyone is likely to argue at having to walk 40 metre more from Hawksbill House.
A narrow road runs beside the beach. It is hard to believe that this sleepy lane was the main north coast road in years gone by. Nowadays it is nothing more than a quiet lane giving access to the beach and the few prestigious properties that border it.
Grafton Beach is sandwiched between the village of Black Rock, to the north, and the hamlet of Pleasant Prospect, to the south. The former will be of little interest to the average visitor, but the Tobago Beach Villas are within easy walking distance of the latter.
Anyone familiar with Tobago’s Caribbean coast road is sure to be familiar with Pleasant Prospect. The hamlet is home to the excellent Fish Pot Restaurant, Pizza Boys, Marie’s Place (mini-mart/store), an ATM cash machine and two or three local bars and cafes/takeaways. Although not visible from the house, these establishments are highly useful, even essential, and lie within five minutes’ walk of Yellowbird Villa.
The Shirvan Road, which runs along the lower part of the Caribbean north 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 within a 5-minute drive of Pleasant Prospect. The Seahorse Inn, one of the best restaurants on Tobago, is just a three or four minute walk along the beach from Yellowbird. The Fish Pot Restaurant, a five minute walk the other way, is also equally deserving of a place in the island’s restaurant premier league.
The Crown Point beaches of Store Bay and Pigeon Point are attractive and popular, but have become over-commercialised. They are often crowded; excessively so when a cruise liner is docked in Scarborough. The beaches along the Caribbean coast are much quieter and more natural. Other than a few beach traders, these beaches are largely free from commercialisation (by world standards). The best beach, in our opinion, is Grafton beach, immediately in front of Tobago Beach Villas. There are several other beautiful beaches within a three or four minute drive.
When one combines these factors, Tobago Beach Villas truly has one of the best locations on the island. It is situated within a 15-20 minute drive of every notable business or feature in the main Crown Point-Plymouth-Scarborough triangle and is ideally placed for visits to Tobago’s beautiful northern coastline and rainforest.
To get the best from a holiday on Tobago, it is normally vital 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. It would be a shame to stay at Tobago Beach Villas without transport, but having said that, it is one of the few places where it would be genuinely possible, if somewhat limiting.
Yellowbird Villa is located on a relatively shallow hillside. All three bedrooms are situated on the upper floor and the house itself sits a number of steps above ground level. The house and location are therefore not best suited to those with serious mobility issues oe wheelchair users.
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