Essex Cottage - Reader Reports & Opinion
Sarah Pierce from U.S.A. visited in February 2014 and awarded
Gloucester Place is a terrific find for those of us that like to be a little off the beaten path when on vacation. Win and Bea are perfect island hosts and they want to share the best of Tobago and every gem that the north side of this beautifully unspoiled island has to offer. We were literally taken in as family and really made to feel so welcome. Everything about the house is relaxed and calm and the sound of the waves always present crashing onto the rocks below is truly mesmerizing. Coupled with the views of the forest in one direction and ocean in the other you can’t help but smile about how lucky you are to have been smart enough to book this place! We suggest you come hungry because there is a lot of good food to eat on this island and Bea’s fresh banana pancakes at breakfast should not be missed. We enjoyed watching the local birds right at the inn, relaxing at the pool, walking to the local waterfalls, going into the rainforest, touring a cocoa plantation, visiting nearly every beautiful cove beach on the island and most of all the thrill of driving around the entire island anticipating what view the next hairpin bend would bring.
Suzanne Ueda from Trinidad visited in January 2014 and awarded
We stayed at Gloucester Place for 4 nights over the New Year holiday. We wanted to stay on the northwest side of Tobago in order to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the rain forest as well as the coast and visit some of the lovely, undisturbed beaches we had read about.
The location was perfect for exploring the area. It is a quick 10-minute drive south to Castara and about 30 minutes to Charlottesville at the northern tip. The property is just off the main road so it was not too difficult to find, although we did make use of Google maps just to be sure. Despite being next to the road, once you go inside, it is very quiet and peaceful. The open layout makes the most of the fantastic view that greets you as you pass out onto the veranda. Although I did not try the infinity pool during the stay, it was certainly inviting!
From our corner room on the second floor, the Concord, we had a wonderful view of the water below. There are flowering plants all around the house which attract hummingbirds. It was a wonderful treat to walk out on our private balcony in the morning and wait for a hummingbird to flitter about the flowers. We not only enjoyed the lush greenery of the grounds in the day, but the bountiful stars in the night sky! I haven't seen that many stars so bright and clear for some time! It was a most welcome surprise.
The room itself is simply decorated, but it needs little else. The high, wood-beam cathedral ceiling is splendid. And it has an unusual onsite bathroom. It is separated from the main bedroom only by a partial wall, so you should be comfortable with your roommate!
Bea and Win are generous, easy-going hosts. They give you the run of the house to come and go as you please, and are very helpful with advice about activities to do to fill the day if you decide to do that instead of lounging by the pool. When my husband suddenly had his fishing plans cancelled, Win was very helpful, introducing him to a local fisherman who was willing to take him out on short notice and despite the difficult weather.
It was nice to see how they really supported the community. After admiring the bird feeders handing in the dining area, Bea informed me that they were locally handcrafted and that she knew the artist and would happily take me to his place, or else I could simply purchase the ones she had and she would replenish them afterward. So, I bought two right then and there! They are unique souvenirs that will be going to family in Japan and Canada. They'll love them I'm sure!
We enjoyed their hearty homemade breakfasts as well, which was a nice change from the buffet style of hotel restaurants.
It had been awhile since we stayed at a B&B and our stay at Gloucester Place certainly reminded us of the appeal of doing so. It is much more relaxing and personal, and I think the best way to enjoy the local lifestyle.
Richard Butler from U.K. visited in January 2014 and awarded
If you want a clean, comfortable guest house with the most welcoming and friendly owners, away from the tourist hotspots, then this is it. Originally picked as part of a bird watching trip, so we could be near the rainforest reserve in the north of the island it is a gem. Bea and Win just make you feel relaxed and at ease as soon as you arrive.
The guest house is in a cliff side location with spectacular views overlooking the Caribbean Sea about an hours drive from the airport.
With a few tips on the local spots from Bea and Win we were soon watching some stunning birds. Top River Falls in Parlatuvier is not to be missed. On the short easy walk to these picturesque falls we saw specialities such as Barred Antshrike, White-fringed Antwren, Green Kingfisher, Rufous-tailed Jacamar and Blue-crowned Motmot. Around Parlatuvier Bay itself we saw Magnificant Frigatebirds, Brown Booby and Brown Pelicans.
If we come back to Tobago, Gloucester Place will be top of our accommodation list.
Thanks Bea and Win for a most enjoyable stay
Carol Palmer from U.K. visited in January 2014 and awarded
This well-designed B & B run by Bea and Win exceeds expectations combining comfortable ambience, thoughtful hosts, well-appointed rooms and fabulous views. They have heaps of local knowledge and are happy to make suggestions and bookings as well as setting out to be as helpful and accommodating as possible. They have snorkelling gear for you to borrow, and bamboo sticks to help walking the trails. Wellies (I took short ones) or ‘water shoes’ are very useful by the way.
Set above a forested river gorge with sea views and landscaped gardens Gloucester Place offers tranquil days spent reading, looking out over the terrace, with an afternoon dip in the pool, watching the humming birds feeding on the flowers, or adventures on foot to the bottom of the sloping garden where there is a mini waterfall, I found a humming bird nest, and saw my first agouti, or .... to Glasgow Bar just a few mins walk up the road with wonderful views over Parlatuvier Bay and a walk down to it from there. As well as that there are at least two other rivers to be explored on foot – one for a short distance, and one for longer with more opportunities to spot birds.
If you’ve hired a car, 15 mins drive North takes you to the Main Ridge road that traverses the forest from coast to coast where there are plentiful birds to be seen, and to Bloody Bay with its herons, sandpipers and pelicans, and to Castara in the opposite direction (10 min drive), again with pelicans and snorkelling/swimming where you’ll find sting rays and Hawksbill Turtles, while flying over head at regular intervals, the Magnificent Frigate Birds. The coastline up here is very empty and unspoilt with the most touristy place being Castara.
Thank you Bea and Win for a very special introduction to Tobago.
Alison Potter from U.K. visited in January 2014 and awarded
My husband and I stayed here with our three grown up children (19 yrs - 26yrs) It was like staying in Paradise. Beautiful location, friendly hosts and wonderful food.The breakfasts were different each day. We requested an evening meal one night and it was delicious. Our bedroom had an amazing view looking down through the lush vegetation to the sea. All three rooms had an en suite bathroom and access to a balcony - very clean and comfortable. Bea and Win made us feel very welcome and were interesting and interested hosts. If we ever have the fortune of returning to Tobao we'll definitely stay here again!