Blue Mango Cottages - Reader Reports & Opinion

The Blue Mango   26 Sep 2004

Julia C. from Bucks UK

We returned two weeks ago from a two-week visit to Castara, staying in three out of the four cottages at the Blue Mango. The fourth cottage, Sea Steps, we visited.

We'd tried to book the whole two weeks at Cliff Hanger, but as it was only available for our first week, we were offered the second week at Sweet Point at the same price, so we knew we would stay in two of the cottages. Due to Ivan (see report on Hurricane thread) we spent two nights in the Blue Mango Cottage.

The location of the Blue Mango, as a whole, could not be better. Situated on the coast between the north and south bays in Castara, means a 2 / 3 minute walk to either beach. The views of the sea, beaches, sunsets and rain forest covered hills were perfect.

The cottages are difficult for me to describe, as I have never stayed in anything similar. Colin, the owner/designer, told us that he made no drawings before building, but just spent time in each area and visualised how he wanted each cottage to be. Overall I found the cottages to be a bit of a shock at first, but only for five minutes or so! Each cottage is different, but they all have one thing in common, they all sit perfectly in and make the most of their various situations.

The Blue Mango Cottage is situated on the road, just before the Clay Kitchen. We only spent two nights here, one being the night of the storm, so I don't feel that I can give it a full review. It is the least eccentric of the cottages, being more solid and less exposed. It doesn't have a sea view, but there is a fantastic view from the kitchen/living area of the lush green hills over the village. At the back there is a lovely private balcony surrounded by trees, although we didn't sit out here I would imagine I could've spent many a happy hour watching birds, lizards etc if we stayed there longer. The cottage had a natural breeze, front to back and is the most easily accessible. Being "on the road" is not a problem. Very little traffic goes down this road as it is very steep and narrow and ends at the beach. However sitting outside, on the front path, catching the morning sun and having a chat to folk walking down to the beach is something else I would have enjoyed, had we stayed there longer.

The Cliff Hanger is very well described by Tony Taylor on the thread . On my eccentricity scale it was the second least eccentric, but it was definitely eccentric. We loved it. It was private, yet the view of the sea and the north beach from the balcony was superb. Once again, by opening the shutters and doors there was a natural breeze from front to back. Trees and vegetation are forming an arc over the balcony, which provided dappled shade for a large part of the day. The sunbeds were very comfortable and we spent many hours doing nothing more than watching the view and the birds. The mosquito netted huge, four poster bed was also extremely comfortable.

Sweet Point is built on a slope. Colin did some re-modelling before we moved in and was planning some more changes, so my description of it may no longer be accurate. The kitchen is the first room off the steps from the path. It contains a large fridge-freezer, an electric oven and hob, a double sink and draining board, ample work surfaces and open shelves. Thereís plenty of cook ware, crockery, cutlery and glasses. The side and front walls have slatted panels, providing a lush green view and a breeze.

Going up the steps the next room on the left is the lower bedroom. This has a wardrobe, a sitting area, an ensuite shower, sink and toilet and a standard sized double, four poster bed with a mosquito net. Leading off from this room is a balcony with a fantastic view of the sea and the north beach. The shower also has the same open view.

Up some more steps leads to the top decking and top bedroom. As this is the highest point of the little peninsular the views from here were extraordinary. The view of the sky (particularly at night), the north and south beach, the sea and the sunsets Ė paradise. An almond tree provided dappled shade during the day and during the evening was visited by clumsy fruitbats. As well as bats; many varieties of birds, lizards, geckos, chickens, two cats and a huge variety of insects paid us a visit. Leading back off the decking is the toilet to the left and then the bedroom with sink and shower. The toilet (a new addition) had a perfectly placed hole cut in the wall, giving a view of the sea and north beach, whilst one sat and contemplated!

The left-hand side of the bedroom is pretty open. There is a window seat type thing all the way along, a great place to sunbathe in the late afternoon. This wall is divided into three with two sets of different sized non-fitting shutters and a most peculiar picket fence type affair in the last third. Though very open it doesnít feel unsafe as it overlooks a steep drop, once again with an amazing view of the sea and north beach. As previously the bed is a large four poster double with mosquito net. To the right of the bed is a safe. Coming back from the bed is a shelf, a wardrobe and a deeper shelf into a window recess. There is then a half-height partition in front of the sink and a walk-in shower.

Back outside again Ė the decking does not cover the whole sittable area and the bench seats, table and comfy chairs can be placed in a number of spots. There is also an ancient canon located under the washing line!

Sea Steps (where we didnít stay) is situated down quite a few steps above a tiny beach between the north and the south bays. It felt like being in an old fashioned wooden ship, with one bedroom and bathroom the stern, the other bedroom and bathroom, the bows and the kitchen and living area being the lower mid-ship, all over looking the sea. It didnít actually rock though! I canít decide which is the most eccentric, Sea Steps or Sweet Point. Sea Steps is very beautiful, with basically a private beach and with a white flowered covering vine it is very romantic and magical.

The Clay kitchen was not open during our stay so no meals, other than breakfasts were available. There was an out-of-season feel to the place and some of it needed a little attention and a bit of a tidy up. Paradise is also not quiet. Dogs, birds, cicadas, frogs, cockerels, babies, beach football matches, drum Ďní bass from car stereo systems and some building work Ė hammering and drilling were all heard on and off throughout. These sounds however, did not disturb us unduly. Castara is a village, a working village and the Blue Mango Cottages are pretty central. After about 9.00pm though, apart from the odd bark all you can hear is the sea and a few wild-life peeps.

We are hoping to return to Castara and would certainly stay at the Blue Mango again, particularly Sweet Point, finances allowing. We are both finding our four-walled bricked house in the UK very claustrophobic.

If air-con, TV, room service etc. and no contact with nature is want you want, the Blue Mango is not for you. If youíre up for something different, donít mind the odd bit of bird poo, visiting bats, lizards and geckos and feeling a part of the environment is what you want then the Blue Mango is the place to be.

Sorry for the length of this post!

Blue Mango Cottages In Castara   07 Feb 2005

Chris Runciman from Surrey UK

Anyone wanting information on Blue Mango Cottages please feel free to get in touch! I have not seen it reviewed on this site so it continues to be a 'best kept secret' destination. We have had the best 2 holidays there that we as a couple have had in our 20+ years together. It will not suit everyone but those it does will want to go back!

Chris & Yvonne Runciman

Weybridge Surrey

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Blue Mango, Castara   

Cathy H

We have just returned from a 2 week holiday in Tobago. We stayed at various places one of which was the Sea Steps Cottage in the village of Castara. The cottage costs US$ 275 per night ( we were there in early feb) which is extremely expensive for Tobago - the price being on a par with the Coco Reef Hotel the most luxurious hotel in Tobago.

The owner Colin is extremely rude, surly and generally bad mannered. He does no work himself, leaving everything to one manager who is not often about. Guests are left to fend for themselves as Colin does not return calls left on his answer machine. For this money one really expects some service.

We arrived at Sea Steps at 10am and the previous guests were just moving out. This was fine, we left our bags and were told by Colin that the room would be cleaned by the time we returned. We returned at 3pm to enjoy the "very expensive" Sea Steps Cottage only to find it a complete mess. Nonone had been in to clean up, there were dirty pans and old food left in the kitchen from the previous guests and the bed and towels had not been changed. We tried to raise Colin or anyone - to no avail, so we left it and went out again. Finally at 5pm we returned and someone had just started cleaning the room. Still no sign of Colin and certainly no apology.

The next day when we complained to Colin about this lack of service he became extremely aggressive and threatening and said "if you feel like that you can go" so we did.

The one night we stayed there we didn't sleep a wink as the cottage is virtually "in" the sea and the noise of the sea crashing against the rocks below is just too loud and infact terrifying. Also the so-called "private beach" is no more than the sea crashing against the rocks below with no possibility of sitting or lying on a beach.

The whole cottage is extremely run down and in need to some repair, but the main problem is the extortionate price and extremely rude owner Colin. He acts as if his guests are there to please him and not the other way round.

I would strongly suggest you amend any listings of Sea Steps Cottage and all the cottages owned by Blue Mango Cottages that you might have to reflect our very bad experience. Incidentally the guests who were moving out before us also seemed to think that it was a complete rip off.

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The Blue Mango In Castara   

Christine D

Hi All!!

I'm just putting the finishing touches on a Tobago vacation in May. I haven't seen any posts regarding the Blue Mango and specifically the "Cliffhanger" cottage so I thought I would inquire. We are almost certain this is where we will stay. Looks like a nice rustic cottage on the edge of the rainforest with a beach just a short stroll away...and the town itself comes highly recommended. Does anyone have any experience with this place? I've read many reviews, almost all good, and they have been very nice and helpful via email so far. Any insights or comments would be appreciated.

Cheers, Christine

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Blue Mango Vs. Castara Retreats   

Natalie S.

Hi, I'm planning a romantic vacation for my boyfriend, and I want to go somewhere other than Crown Point area. I had decided on Castara Retreats, and then I saw the Blue Mango Cottages website. The Sweet Point cottage, either level is actually cheaper per night than the Osprey or Pelican at Castara Retreats. But they don't have any really good pictures of the cottage. Can someone give me a comparison? I like the idea of having a separate bedroom, as opposed to a studio and that is what would sell Blue Mango for me over Osprey, which is what I was going to go with.

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