All three Castara Villas apartments offer similar levels of accommodation. It is primarily the spaciousness of the accommodation and sleeping capacity that differ. Toad Hall is no longer available for rental as the owners now spend most of the winter high-season months in residence; a big bonus for guests staying at the property.
The apartments are serviced weekly, with an additional linen and towel change mid-week. There are no self-use laundry facilities, but this can normally be arranged privately with the housekeeper.
The owner's telephone landline is available to guests for local calls. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the property. A fast 56Mbps connection is available around the main house, including Tadpoles, but is more patching in the Toad Heights/Leapfrog building. So, don't expect to be downloading films from Netflix.
The following detailed description of Toad Heights is a good indicator to the other two units.
Toad Heights (Three-Bedroom Apartment)
We septuagenarians may well be somewhat out of breath after climbing the hillside to Toad Heights, but boy, does the view make the effort worthwhile. Never has a cold bottle of local Stag beer tasted as good as after that walk, sitting on that wonderful balcony, bottle in hand, looking out over those wonderful views.
The layout of Toad Heights is simple and the décor bohemian. The two main bedrooms and bathroom occupy one side of the 11m(37ft) long building. The kitchen stretches across the far end and the remaining space is devoted to a dining bar and seating area.
Rather than the more typical open format with wooden shutters, Toad Heights adopts a more modern style, with glazed windows throughout. Opening and closing ten pairs of windows morning and night may be a 2-minute pain, but it does at least prevent the problem of bats flying around the house in the evenings.
Visitors like sea views, so it is not surprising that most properties face the sea. Facing west may be great for beautiful sunsets but is not so great when you are forced to close window shutters, or draw blinds, and retreat to back bedrooms for relief from the burning afternoon sun. I am delighted to report that this was never an issue in Toad Heights.
What impressed and surprised me the most was how quickly the house cooled down after returning from trips to the beach, etc. Some properties can take an hour or two to cool down if shut-up during the heat of the day. With around 50% of the wall space being occupied by windows and doors, Toad Heights always enjoys a nice through-breeze. Consequently, we stayed comfortable throughout the day. Despite a few blisteringly hot afternoons, we never had to retreat from the sea-facing portion of the house. Much the same applied at night.
The two main bedrooms are identical apart from the 'master' bedroom at the front having windows on two aspects and a sea view. For security reasons, it would not be advisable to leave windows open at night, so occupants must rely on the single wall-mounted fan in each bedroom. Despite that, we slept comfortably every night.
Both main bedrooms are furnished with a double bed with wrap-around mosquito net, nightstand/shelf with lamp, a small key-operated security safe, a 3-drawer dresser, an open wardrobe for garments and a wall-mounted mirror.
The third bedroom is situated in a loft space, which partially projects over the living area. It is accessed by rather challenging steep wooden steps and furnished with a pair of single beds with a large wrap-around mosquito net, plus a floor fan and open wardrobe. I imagine that kids would love this loft bedroom.
The single bathroom sits adjacent to the bedrooms and is equipped with a storage cabinet with inset cold-water basin; a toilet and a large walk-in tiled shower with two shower heads. One shower is cold-water only; the other provides warm water from an instantaneous water heater. Bath and hand towels are provided and changed twice a week, but guests must remember to bring their own beach towels.
The kitchen area is dominated by a long countertop, with open storage shelf beneath. With five pairs of windows in the kitchen area, cooking heat is not the problem endured in many properties. The kitchen is equipped with a cold-water double drainer stainless steel sink; a 4-burner bottled gas oven; microwave, electric toaster, full-size refrigerator with smaller freezer cabinet and a French press (cafetière) coffee maker. The supplied pots and pans, cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery were in reasonable condition (bearing in mind the demanding salt-air environment) and adequate for a small family party.
A wide breakfast bar with six tall wooden stools provides an indoor dining area and neatly separates the kitchen from the living area, which comprises of two 3-seater sofas arranged around a low coffee table. An old CRT television with DVD player and small collection of DVDs is provided. TV reception is virtually non-existent.
French doors lead from the living area onto the 1.2m-wide wrap-around balcony, which is shaded by the roof overhang. Throughout the day, large portions of the balcony are always in shade. It is furnished with four padded plastic chairs, a padded bench and a small circular all-weather table.
An open patio area is available just a few steps from the balcony. There is a pair of deck chairs and it is an ideal spot for sunbathing. A large all-weather table is provided for al fresco dining, and a large charcoal grill unit located just a few feet away.