Essex Cottage - Reader Reports & Opinion
Leslie from U.S.A. visited in March 2009 and awarded
I have to admit, I was worried about booking a place sight unseen. But that's what we did and we were all so happy with Essex Cottage and it's surroundings. The cottage is simple and gorgeous. Parletuvier Bay was quiet, beautiful and untouristed. Win and Bea were wonderful hosts, checking in just enough to make sure we were happy and had had everything we needed, and always there with information. We even borrowed a little boom box from them so we could have little iPod dance parties (bring your own tape adapter) which made the week so much more fun.
My lovely companions - there were 4 of us - made dinner most nights which makes sense here because there are not that many restaurants nearby, though there are a few about 15 minutes away by car. There's a very small selection of groceries in P Bay so it makes sense to stock up near the airport - but Win and Bea told us this when we booked. We were able to buy fish from the local fisherman a few days during the week and also got some fried chicken at a P Bay shop.
We cruised around the island a few days, including a day spent closer to the airport at a surf spot in front of a large hotel. It was nice to check out the rest of the island and get some good roti, but we were always so happy to know that we were staying at the best place on the island, at least for our little crew.
Mick & Di Garnett from U.K. visited in February 2009 and awarded
What a joy to have met Win and Bea and stay in their wonderful home Gloucester Place. You would be hard pushed not to immediately fall in love with this place and its owners!
We had oringinally booked four days and had moved onto another accomodation, but were so disappointed we drove back to Win & Bea's and they put us up for the remainder of our stay, which finished our trip on a high.
You will need a car here to get around, but can walk down to Parlatuvier and watch the rays gliding along the shore and fish with the local kids from the jetty, as we did... (magical). For the most part we just chilled out around and in the pool, or went for walks into the rain forest to see the waterfalls and in the evenings Bea would sometimes do dinner and we would laze around chatting for hours...
If it hadn't been for Win & Bea, our holiday would have been a complete disappointment. Go visit them!
Rick Sommerford from Australia visited in January 2009 and awarded
It is hard to quantify our experiences at Gloucester place.
Single adjectives fail misserably to generate the feelings that Bobby and I have come away with from this magical experience. Win and Bea were not only the most helpful and gracious hosts, but have become friends that I am sure will last for the rest of our lives.
For me, Bed and Breakfast palces are always a cut above the rest when it comes to accommodation, whether for business or pleasure there is always an element of the personal relationship that comes with B&B that cannot be generated by anyone other than the owner of any establishment. This is particularly so of Gloucester Place. The name itself is carried over as a family heirloom from their home in the US and is indicative of the care and personality that Win and Bea put into their business. In fact I even feel a little uncomfortable using the word "business" it is more like a way of living that invites people into their home to share their love of Tobago.
The rooms are comfortable rather than luxurious, the house and the cottage are homely and beautifully set out to maximise the enjoyment of the environment of Parlatuvier. For me, luxury would simply be out of place in this still quiet and pristine part of the world. The "5 Star" rating is used to impress potential occupants of the luxury Hotel market, but having slept under the stars in the outback of Australia on a clear night with zero light polution I have a better rating system, "Trillion Star" and to me, Win and Bea have created the conditions that aproach that kind of natural, inclusive, all encompassing place to find your own piece of shangri-la.
The disappearing edge swimming pool, overlooking the bay where the blowhole spouts it's magic, the comfortable beds, the collections of worldwide memorabilia that document their travels and experiences, the local people that Win and Bea are in close support of, like Newton who shares his experiences of the rain forest and it's wonderful birdlife, the local fishermen, even the best places to get a good Roti or a Double, the local restaurants, the best snorkeling sites, the water falls and any other kind of information you may need to make your holiday special. Even Ronaldo the Rooster, Win has impressed on him the need for the guests to rest, and so he doesn't crow until after 6.30, 'How does he do that?'
We were also lucky enough to find, through "My Tobago" Captain Marcus of Sand Dollar Sailing to give us another perspective of the Island for three days. Once again, not luxurious, but very down to earth, warm, friendly and generous, one of the highlights for me, an "Old Salt from wayback". What more can I say? Sybille is a beautiful 35' French Yacht that Marcus Sailed to Tobago more than a decade ago and never left and I'm not at all surprised.
We will return to Gloucester Place, both as quests and as friends, may I even say, extended unrelated family, and I think it goes without saying that Win and Bea and Gloucester Place are the epitome of what Tobago is all about, friendly without being fussy, naturally honest with no affectations and above all willing and able to make your stay in Tobago a memorable one indeed. I have stayed in B&B's around the world and this is certainly my Number 1 by quite a long way.
Katy Jones from U.K. visited in January 2009 and awarded
We stayed at Essex Cottage for 8 days in january this year It was blissful, so restful and a great pace of life. The hosts were very helpful and thoughtful, and the accommodation was great. Nothing fancy, but more than adequate with views to die for and a veranda we spent hours on.
Days consisted of waking up to the tropical birdsong, having breakfast and reading on the balcony and maybe popping to the beach for a swim. We did hire a car, which I would say is essential in this part of the island, especially when you are self catering. At first we found it hard to find fresh food, but soon learned to pick it up as we went past the small stalls on our little drives around the island.
We came home totally refreshed and raring to go again.
I would recommend this place to a couple (the downstairs room didn't look great for additional guests) who are looking for a retreat, but with help on hand to answer questions. We could have done the Tobago holiday a lot cheaper if we had stayed in a hotel down in the south of the island, but I don't think we would have had such a relaxing time and wouldn't have got near the real Tobago.
Thanks to Bea and Wyn who were helpful and welcoming at all times,
Katy and Christian Jones
Julian Witor from U.K. visited in January 2009 and awarded
We chose Tobago because of it's reputation for unspoilt nature and to escape the long British winter. We flew from Gatwick to Tobago with BA via Antigua. We were met at the airport by Denise who was very friendly and helpful. She took us to numerous cashpoints (had problem with debit card) and the supermarket before we made the hour long drive to Parlatuvier. We arrived at Essex Cottage around 9pm and were warmly welcomed by Bea and Win the owners. Denise had phoned ahead and Bea had very kindly rustled up a spaggy bol for us. Essex Cottage is beautiful and had everything we needed. The view of the rainforest from the veranda is full of beautiful flowers and birds. The dawn chorus is spectacular and the birds visiting the feeders on the veranda were overwhelming. We spent most evenings with the citronella candle burning, drinking carib beer and eating pistachios whilst playing board games with the children and listening to the sounds of the crickets. We self-catered most of the time and had the occasional breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup and fresh tropical fruit with Bea and Win. Parlatuvier is a quiet tourist destination and is ideal for those who love flora, fauna, peace and quiet. The snorkelling at Parlatuvier bay was good and the backdrop of the rainforest to the beach is breathtaking. We walked daily from the cottage down the steps to the beach and usually went back to the cottage for lunch and a siesta. The children loved playing in Bea and Win's pool which was a real bonus.
What you need to know: CASH IS KING, virtually no one up on the north west takes credit cards and the nearest cashpoint is an hour away - take cash with you ideally and try I.C.E. or Nationwide Visa debit card for the best rates. We spent about 100 GBP per day for a family of 4 on food, drink and going out. Check your MOBILE PHONE is going to work in Tobago (American system) before you go. I am with O2 and couldn't use it, which was a pain when checking-in with the house-sitter back home. Get a good MOSQUITOE REPELLENT as the mosquitoes will bite you to bits in the evenings if you're not protected. Check the WEATHER for when you're going - Tobago isn't lush and green for no reason. We had unseasonal rain but it remained warm. THE BEST BITS: Bea and Win's kindness, helpfulness, warmth and hospitality; the birds and plants; The Riverside Restaurant and Gloria the chef; Essex Cottage itself; Roti from Mason Hall; the warm caribbean sea; caramelised plantain. We will definitely return to Parlatuvier - for longer, next time.