Mary's Hill Lodge - Reader Reports & Opinion
John Strain from U.K. visited in March 2007 and awarded
We spent a week at Mary’s Hill Lodge with our 2 children, Ben aged 9 and Rebecca aged 6. The house was perfect for a family and a real adventure for the children. The open ‘tree-house’ style of the property meant that we were all continually aware of being somewhere new and quite special.
The children loved the hammock, and seeing the birds from the balcony/lounge. We routinely had Blue-grey Tanagers feeding on the ripening bananas below, plus the occasional hummingbird and many more besides. One bird was nesting in a tree only about a foot from the edge of the balcony by the main bedroom, and a Mot Mot would sit on a branch and watch me washing up in the outdoor sink. The noisy Chacalacas or ‘Coricos’ - the national bird of T&T - never seemed to be far away, and sometimes didn’t know the difference between day and night when calling to each other! When combined with the local cockerels crowing pre-dawn, it meant the day started early for children who are used to double-glazed silence! Occasionally evangelical singing drifted up from the church below, and live music from a house further down the hill on some evenings, meant we were never isolated from the real Tobago.
The children loved the geckos wandering around the roof space, and we had a bat share our bedroom one night (we’d forgotten to leave outside lights on which keeps them away) - it hung above us crunching on a very crunchy insect! The children loved sleeping under mossie nets - they felt like they were camping!
Practically the house is well equipped and the washing machine and tumble drier were useful. There were lots of games, plus some beach things like a bucket and spade. The bedrooms had fans, although because of the open nature of the house it was never too hot.
We found the location great for exploring the southern end of the island in particular, and combined our week here with a week in Castara at Castara Retreats which was fabulous and made a great combination with Mary’s Hill. The house was close to Mount Irvine beach where we found what we considered to be the best snorkelling directly from the beach. Arnos Vale hotel and beach are also similarly close with good snorkelling from the beach as well. In the opposite direction, Scarborough is only 10 minutes away, and the Saturday morning market was great to look round and stock up early in the morning.
I would really recommend Mary’s Hill - somewhere quite different and a real adventure for children in particular - and good value for a 3 bedroom house that was well equipped and obviously built with real love and attention to detail to create a very special home. We all loved it and the children will never forget their stay there.
Jack, Anna & Otto from U.K. visited in March 2007 and awarded
Well... What can we say? Marys Hill Lodge is incredible.
Amazing views across the valley from its hillside perch. A spectrum of birds passing through to say hello, distant music from the church below and the chorus of lizards and crickets as darkness falls. A wonderful retreat from the heat of the beaches and the perfect place to wind down with a drink and a book, to gently strum the house guitar or to cook up a feast for the family!
We found everything we needed (and more!) for a perfect family holiday. Loads of space for tiny feet to run around and a cool balcony out back to shelter from the heat with a bucket of water and the buckets and spades. Cupboards full of games, colouring pens and papers and plenty plastic cups and little plates for smaller hands. The beach blankets and bags were a nice bonus, too!
The island truly is Paradise. We must have visited 10 different beaches and swam in half a dozen different waterfalls in our two week stay. Parlatuvier bay was fantastic with a jetty to jump off in to the turquoise sea and the east river waterfall just 10 minutes walk away to swim in the pools at the bottom (and top!) of the waterfall. A cool spot for a picnic lunch. Read Mark Puddy's book for the lowdown on waterfall walks or, better still, give him a call and go walking with him!
Mt Irvine and Pirates Bay were great for snorkelling. We even saw a (friendly) shark! The food at the surfers' bar at Mt Irvine is good value and it's a great beach for little ones to run wild (plenty of shade).
The market in Scarborough is great, especially Harriet's food stall at number 5. We cooked recipes from her book and found it very useful as a guide to shopping in the market. The freshest red snapper we ever tasted was bought from a woman out the back who'd driven down from Speyside at the crack of dawn.
All in all, we'd recommend Marys Hill Lodge to all ages. It was great to be away from the tourist areas of Store Bay and Pigeon Point and to get a true taste of the Tobagonian life. Hope to be back soon!
Angie Phua from U.K. visited in March 2007 and awarded
'Oh I love coming home to this place!' was the one thing I would say everytime we returned to Mary's Hill Lodge. Having driven round most of Tobago I think we can safely say that Mary's Hill Lodge is by far one of the best houses on the island.
The house is reminiscent of the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse - quite fitting as the original film was actually filmed in Tobago years ago! It sits on top of a hill and there are practically no walls to the main living area- this means that even though we were well-connected to the main roads, we were still well tucked away, looking out mainly to the tree-tops growing on the grounds. There was even a little bird's nest just outside of the Master bedroom!
There is a little church that sits at the bottom on the hill and also another house where a band practices live music- so it was lovely waking up to strains of gospel singing in the mornings, and live reggae in the evenings while we played games in the house. Speaking of which, the house is well equipped with everything you need- from games (Scrabble was a favourite!) to paper, kitchen utensils, basic cooking items so it truly was a home away from home.
Mary's Hill lodge is the perfect place for 'Liming' ( that's Tobagonian for 'hanging out'!) - the lines between what's inside and outside are so blurred that you could easily laze in the house and still enjoy the sunshine and the nature surrounding you. There's even a hammock which was absolutely amazing!
The house is located really close to Mt Irvine beach and roundabout that area are lots of other great beaches like Stonehaven -and some bars and roti shops where you get get some grub or play some pool in.
In terms of supplies, there are also lots of good little shops really close to the house so getting some fresh food or essentials (beer!) is never hard to do.
Finally, Laura and Louis have prepared a guide and guestbook within the house that come with all the information you need, and with lots of friends that you can contact if you need any help at all. We'd highly recommend going on river hikes with Mark Puddy, who is Louis' uncle- he knows Tobago inside out and you will learn so much from him- AND he feeds you well!
We had such a lovely time in Tobago, and I have to say some of our best memories will be of all the times we've spent in that house- and also the friends we made because we were staying there as well! We would highly recommend it!
Steve Johsnon from U.K. visited in February 2007 and awarded
Mary's Hill Lodge is the perfect retreat after a tough day relaxing on one of Tobago's perfect paradise beaches.
The lodge is in a perfect location, the best beach for snorkelling in Tobago (Mount Irvine) just 5 minutes in one direction and Scarborough with it's famous colourful saturday market 5 minutes in the other direction.
I can't wait to go back again and relax in the peaceful surroundings!
I would recommend people of ages to visit Tobago and stay in Mary's Hill Lodge.
Andrew Thomas from U.K. visited in February 2007 and awarded
We loved the house, built on a slope with an open veranda. We had hummingbirds and parrots on the door step and at night fireflies in the garden. A magical few days.
It was always a lovely house to return to after a long day out. We felt really at home and very comfortable.
Laura and Louis have built a house that is memorable, in a location that's perfect for getting about from, and close enough to Mt Irvine bay so that a drive for a swim and a beer seems very close.
We have stayed in lots of houses and hotels around the world and feel that this ranks as one of the best. Totally unprententious but with character that made for a memorable two weeks stay.
We loved it..
Andrew and Belinda