Essex Cottage - Reader Reports & Opinion
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.
John Broom from U.K. visited in December 2013 and awarded
Gloucester Place is a little gem. Not only is it set in the most beautiful and spectacular landscape, but it is run by the friendliest people you will ever come across who do everything to make you feel at home and to enjoy your stay.
The room was lovely , the infinity pool extraordinary, it was a magical find.
Thankyou Bea and Win, and thankyou myTobago !
Sarah Graham from Canada visited in April 2013 and awarded
We wanted to have a holiday where we could relax, enjoy what the Island has to offer, including beautiful beaches and sun, and indulge in yummy food. Gloucester Place played host for this holiday and exceeded our expectations!
The rooms were airy, clean and most importantly, they provided us with beautiful views of the hillside and ocean. To make sure we enjoyed each day, the birds would sing to wake us up... that along with the smell of fresh coffee!
Win and Bea were wonderful hosts and did not tire of providing recommendations on what to do, help in recommending places to eat (although anyone would be happy in taking all meals with Bea as she is an amazing cook)and entertaining us with wonderful stories of their travels around the world and local gossip.
I highly recommend Gloucester Place and am looking forward to booking my next holiday.
Andy Mohler from U.S.A. visited in January 2013 and awarded
The photos available on this gem do not do it justice. Gloucester Pl is indeed a treasure. Beautiful surroundings, comfortable, clean and satisfying accommodations. The home flows with utility. The hosts, Bea and Winn, made us feel like family not just guests. Perfect location for a relaxing escape to paradise. Beautiful beaches just moments away. Good food at the local establishments or from Bea's wonderful kitchen leave you wanting for nothing.
Alan Purintun from U.S.A. visited in January 2013 and awarded
I spent three nights at Gloucester Place at the end of January 2013 and can recommend it highly. In stayed in the 'Concord' room, which has gorgeous views over the Caribbean through its two large screened windows and from the adjacent, large and mostly private terrace. The room and bath are spacious and more than adequately functional, though not luxurious. I didn't need the air conditioning during my stay, but its presence was reassuring and would likely make a return visit in April or May more enjoyable. I spent many hours contemplating the sea view over morning coffee, midday Caribs and sunset rum-tonics on the mostly-shaded terrace. The pool is lovely, though in late January did not receive sufficient direct sun to be truly warm; it felt great after a forest trek or the ascent from the beach, however.
Bea and Win are extremely gracious and welcoming hosts; I felt very much at home sharing their kitchen and viewful, covered verandah (a welcome shelter during rain showers that occasionally chased me from the uncovered terrace and poolside). Breakfast (included) was delicious; one evening I was also invited to share dinner of fresh mahi mahi and local vegetables ($20 US) with Bea, Win and two other guests.
The location of Gloucester Place is probably near ideal for a first visit to Tobago: sufficiently removed (around 40-50 minutes' drive) from the bustle and not terribly attractive development around the airport and SW end of the island, but not too far into the beautiful and much less built up NE. Exploring by car around the NE is easy as the roads are both good and, at least during my stay, nearly deserted. There are several worthwhile excursions, taking in breathtakingly beautiful forest and sea views and interesting, relatively untouristed small towns, within a 20-40 minute drive. This part of Tobago is some of the most lushly forested terrain I have seen anywhere in the Caribbean; Bea and Win know several guides who can be hired for more adventurous hikes and birding expeditions.
A number of good, inexpensive restaurants and not terribly well stocked food/beverage shops are within 10-15 minutes' drive. (I stopped near the airport on my way in for beer, rum, tonic water and other essentials.) Good, casual meals are served at the Boat House in Castara, Eula's on the beach at Englishman's Bay and Sunshine in Bloody Bay. It is possible to walk to one of the nicer beaches (at Parlatuvier; deserted both times I went), two nearby waterfalls, two or three restaurants and at least one minimal shop.
I was slightly disappointed with the beaches in this part of Tobago, which tend to be a bit steep and somewhat rocky. However, they are attractive enough for walking, lounging, and at least minimal swimming; moreover, I suspect their imperfection helps keep the throngs away, which is a great positive. When I return to Gloucester Place, I will do so anticipating more forests, birds and waterfalls than sugar-white sand and gin-clear water - a different but equally compelling Caribbean experience.