Little House On The Hill - Reader Reports & Opinion
Penny B from U.K. visited in August 2007 and awarded
We spent three wonderful weeks this August in the Little House on the Hill, Number One. We arrived after dark, having been picked up by Sherwin from the airport, and the first thing we realised as we settled on the verandah with our rum punches, was that we were in our own aviary, accompanied by a symphony of birds and tree frogs. The verandah is so near the surrounding trees it gives the feel of being in a tree house but with full facilities! The enjoyment of being able to watch numerous different kinds of bird and other wildlife from the comfort of this great little house never tired, nor did the sense of luxury from picking as many mangoes and avocadoes from the garden as you could wish for. Marguerite and Sherwin were always at hand if there was anything we needed and they made us feel as if we belonged in the little bay of Castara rather than being just another tourist. The Little House Number Two is cleverly situated so each house has an uninterrupted view and privacy but with the added pleasure of being able to exchange the time of day or share an evening with a neighbour if you wish.
Kate Collier from U.K. visited in July 2007 and awarded
Before I start this review, I want to make it clear that I did not get chance to raise the issues I had about this accommodation with the owners, due to the circumstances I found myself in, which I will explain. Therefore, it has to be noted that they have not had chance to answer my criticisms. Me and my boyfriend arrived in Castara after a stay in Crown Point, planning to stay for the remaining three days of my holiday in Tobago. Unfortunately, due to family illness, we had to return to Crown Point just hours after our arrival. This is why we did not raise any concerns at the time, as frankly we had other things to worry about!
The major issue we had with this accommodation was that we were not provided with the accommodation that we were reasonably expecting. I booked little House on the Hill through e-mail, enquiring about the property to the owners through the enquiry facility on this website, contained within the accommodation listing. I also researched the property through the owners own website. Consequently, I believed that by enquiring through this channel, and asking for Little House on the Hill, that I was booking the accommodation described in the both the review and description on this website, and the information on the owners website, namely a spacious, airy, two-bed roomed house. This was backed up by the price given through e-mail: 50USD a night, the same as quoted on both websites for the whole house per night.
When we arrived, we were shocked to discover the main house was occupied already, and that we were given a small apartment attached to the side of the house, not mentioned, described, or shown in any pictures, on either this website or the owners own website. The apartment was tiny in comparison to the large house it was attached to, in my estimation no larger then 5m x 5m, including a veranda, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen in this space. To be honest, it was very small for an apartment by any standards. We had to leave, but I think that even if we hadnít of had to, we would of anyway. There was no way that the owners could of thought that we wanted to book this extra space, as it is not mentioned anywhere!! Compared to the large house, it was simply inadequate. Due to its size, it was not very airy and in the short time we were there was quite uncomfortable and cramped. I cannot believe that they were charging us the same for this as for the large house it was attached to!!!! There was only one small bedroom- I did not state in any correspondence how many people I was travelling with, and we could have arrived with another couple as we legitimately believed that we would have two bedrooms.
Shortly after arriving in Castara we received news that meant we had to return to Crown Point quickly, which mean that when Marguerite arrived, we were too concerned with how we were to get back to complain. To be honest, I had just had two nasty shocks and just wanted to leave as soon as possible. Also, we had just arrived and new no-one, and needed to find a lift to crown point, and so to be frank didnít want to cause any trouble as the only people we knew were the owners. On Marguerites arrival we explained about having to leave and offered to pay her one nights rent of 50USD for our stay, as we had left no deposit as we booked only weeks before arriving. In the circumstances, I thought that this was more than reasonable. We had only booked to stay for 3 nights, and that was in the already occupied house! However, she insisted that we pay her for our full intended stay, that is three nights rent at 50USD a night, in total 150USD, as this was the deposit she claimed to always ask for. She said this was because she could have rented the house to someone else. At the time, I admit to agreeing without argument, as I just wanted to leave, and had more important things to worry about. However, in retrospect I think that this attitude was unfair for a number of reasons. Firstly the afore mentioned mis-selling of the property and consequently the price agreed. Secondly, the fact that I had paid no deposit for the simple reason that I did book very close to arrival, and so it is doubtful I did block any other possible bookings. Thirdly, that it actually states on the owners websites , as I later discovered, that only 100USD, that is two nights rent, is needed as a deposit, however long the property is booked for, which in my case was only three nights in total!!! In her defence, Marguerite did give us a lift back to Crown Point. However, she charged us 30TT more than the official taxi from Crown Point that dropped us off in the first place!
I do not like leaving such negative feedback, and have to add that from what we saw, and my previous experience, Castara itself is a beautiful place. However, I would not like anyone else to have an experience such as mine, and so feel a duty to pass on the details of this unfortunate occurrence. Please take heed, as I know that when I read such negative reviews that I tend to doubt them, as I think that the writer is probably just a big moaner!!! I have left reviews for the Tropikist Hotel and the Banaquit Apartments in Crown Point, in which we stayed before and after our rather short trip to Castara, and they are infinitely more positive! Please refer to them as proof as my non big moaner status!!!
Peter & Carol from U.K. visited in December 2006 and awarded
Marguerite and Sherwin, owners of very aptly-named little House on the Hill made us feel that nothing could be any bother to them if it helped make our stay more enjoyable.
Yes, the house is a touch on the difficult-to-reach side being a 15-minute waly up the steep road from Castara village followed by a steep path (which can be slippery when wet) up from the road to the house itself. At tobagonian speed, the walk isn't too strenuous and there are always the gorgeos views to admire along the way - so don't be deterred. Anyway, compared to beach-front prices, you could include car hire for your full stay in your budget!
Moving in couldn't have been made easier, as Sherwin practically ran up the path to deposit our luggage in the house.
Once installed you will find a relatively basic, but clean, bright and comfortably-appointed wooden bungalow in the traditional style. The living and kitchen areas are spacious, with a large balcony off the lounge, the two bedrooms slightly less so, but very adequate, nonetheless. Whilst there is no air-con, the traditional build offers an airy breeze, there are fans in every room and you'll be outdoors every minute you can, anyway.
As shopping locally is something of a hit and miss affair, you'd do well to stop at a supermarket on the way in from the airport and stock up - there's a large fridge-freezer, good cooker and microwave in the kitchen, so no worries there.
Now sit back and enjoy: the many beautiful birds that visit the garden, the colourful lizzards and occasional snake, the overall beauty of the large garden and the great views across and along the valley.
Costing far less than accommodation of similar standard and size in and around the village, The Litle House on the Hill and its friendly owners are to be strongly recommended.
Clive Jones from U.K. visited in April 2005 and awarded
Having spent two wonderful weeks in Castara where we stayed at The Little House on the Hill, I promised Margeurite that I would write about our stay.
The accommodation is a 2 bedroom house located on the outskirts of Castara along the road to Englishman's Bay, about a quarter mile from the beaches.
The house is of mainly wooden construction with slat windows making it airy, with a balcony overlooking the hillsides and the fruit & flower garden, frequented by numerous birds and lizards; or you can watch them from the hammock by the kitchen door. The balcony is a great place to 'lime' in the evening with a cool breeze and a cooler beer, listening to the sounds of the forest and looking up at the stars in the clear sky.
It is simply furnished, and the beds were comfortable - complete with mosquito nets and a fan in each room. The kitchen area is great for self-catering, having a fridge/freezer, gas cooker, microwave, sink and drainer, toaster, pots & pans, etc. If you want to eat out, Margeurite's Restaurant in Castara is highly recommended (see reviews under places to eat out).
Hot and cold water is available, with a shower in the bathroom. Clothes can be washed and dried quickly on the clothes line outside.
The electricity is 110V using US style adapters; there is a telephone that will receive incoming calls. Public telephones and local shops are available in Castara, and delicious fresh bread is baked there every Thursday and Saturday.
Castara has some very steep hills, so I would recommend hiring a car for at least some of your time there. Margeurite has a hire car available, and will also arrange transfers to/from the airport, all at very competitive rates.
In summary, we really enjoyed our stay at The Little House on the Hill in Castara. The accommodation is basic but comfortable, and affordable. Margeurite and Sherwin are wonderful hosts. Thanks for a great time.
Aurora Manuel from U.S.A. visited in January 2005 and awarded
We just came back from a wonderful week in Castara staying in the one-bedroom cottage of the Little House on the Hill and we can't wait to go back! The Little House enjoys a wonderful location: has a beautiful view of hills and is surrounded by a well-kept garden full of flowers, fruit trees, and exotic birds. We found the house spotless and very comfortable in all respects, and enjoyed in particular the open spaces and the patio: there is no need for windows and screens (and it's great to cook in the kitchen, which is separate from the bedroom and right off the patio) - we went there precisely to be in contact with nature, to go away from crowds, to find new smells and colors. This is also a perfect place for artists (we did paintings of the beautiful view from the patio).
Marguerite and Sherwin are perfect hosts. They made us feel immediately at home, bringing us fruit from the garden. Marguerite even helped us in the hard job of peeling a bread-fruit, which we - ignorant Americans - had never seen or touched before! Memorable is also the evening that we spent with Sherwin on a "harvest". Thank you to both Marguerite and Sherwin and to the Little House on the Hill. We will come back.