Mot Mot Apartment
The three-bedroom Mot Mot Apartmentprovides gross accommodation of around 130m2 (1,400ft2), including the balcony.
One of the most noticeable features of Mot Motis the 1.6-metre wide balcony that runs around two sides of the building. Furnished with a small circular table and four chairs, you are guaranteed a shady spot at all times of the day. It was a lovely spot to chill out and watch the birds in the surrounding trees.
The entrance door leads from the balcony and into a large living area, furnished with a padded rattan-style 3-seater sofa with two matching armchairs and a coffee table. There is no television or music player, so guests who tire of birdsong will need to provide their own entertainment.
The living room is dominated by a huge breakfast bar with kitchen cabinets beneath the expansive worktop. There is lots of storage space. There were no bar stools at the time of our visit, but we are told that three stools have now been provided.
Cooking facilities include a large bottled-gas stove with griddle pan and oven, plus a microwave oven, electric kettle and toaster. A large fridge-freezer ensures that trips to the supermarket are kept to the minimum. A disparate collection of crockery, cutlery, glassware and kitchen utensils, well past their best, was provided. We understand that the kitchenware and pots have now been changed.
Although the living room is quite spacious, the 'chunky' nature of the kitchen furniture and, to a lesser degree, the stocky rattan furniture, means that there is precious little room for a dining table. The balcony is undoubtedly a lovely spot to dine. However, it is a long way from the kitchen and as the balcony is only 1.6 metres wide, trying to seat even four people around a circular table hardly makes for a spacious dining experience. The only alternatives are a smaller table with four chairs next to the plunge pool, the low coffee table in the living room or the breakfast bar.
Adjacent to the kitchen area, a spiral staircase provides internal access to the Mot Mot Apartmenton the upper floor. The connecting door is only unlocked when the apartments are rented as a single unit. The soundproofing between the apartments was reasonable, although scraping chairs and heavy footsteps were noticeable.
The living area is not air-conditioned and just a single floor-standing fan is provided. The room can easily become oppressively hot, so it is essential to open the doors and windows as early in the day as possible to prevent hot air building up inside the high-ceilinged room. Sadly, only one side of the main entrance door can be opened and some windows inadvertently self-close after being opened. We understand that a large ceiling fan has been ordered and will be installed in the living room shortly.
One useful facility that may appeal to visitors from the UK is that the kitchen and master bedroom have both the regular 110v Type B American 2 pin flat and UK 220v 3-pin power sockets.
There is no landline telephone at the property, but it does benefit from strong signals from both cellular/mobile providers. Complimentary Wi-Fi broadband is available throughout the property.
A central corridor provides access to the 'family' bathroom and the three simply furnished bedrooms.
The master bedroom is at the rear of the cottage and has direct access onto the lovely wrap-around balcony. It offers a spacious 23sq.m. of floor space, including the en-suite bathroom.
This bedroom is furnished with a queen-size bed with bedside tables/nightstands and individual reading lamps on each side of the bed. The only other furnishings are a large wardrobe with 1.2m of full-length hanging space plus drawers and a clothes tree. The room is spacious and looks quite sparse, so a small armchair would be a big advantage, both aesthetically and in practical terms.
The bathroom is of reasonable size, but let down by an absence of storage. Although there is adequate space for a vanity unit, the only storage is a small and narrow glass shelf. At least this has been sensibly placed next to the double shaver unit, so we had somewhere to stand our electric toothbrush. Our toiletries, on the other hand, ended up being laid out on the floor.
In our first review, we said that the bathroom's piece de resistance was the semi-circular corner shower unit. By the standards of the time, it was undoubtedly an avant-garde feature. Since then, many properties have been built and most existing guest houses and holiday apartments remodelled to keep pace with the times and visitor preferences. By these modern standards, the plumbing and sanitary ware at Hidden Cottage is showing its age. We do understand, however, that both bathrooms in Mot Mot are due to be refurbished in coming months.
Although our sleep was not unduly disturbed, it has to be said that the air-conditioner in the master bedroom was no match for the genuinely whisper-quiet units we find in most Tobago holiday accommodation properties. Given the spacious size of the room and high cathedral-style ceiling overstretched the existing unit and meant that accidentally leaving the bedroom door open for five minutes would be enough to cause the condenser to freeze.
Although Castara is a very safe village, common sense dictates that you do not keep ground-floor windows and doors open at night. Air-conditioning is therefore essential and has the added advantage of keeping out mosquitoes and other flying insects but they were not a problem during our stay, even though rainfall was well above average. The mosquito nets available during our first visit to Hidden Cottage are no longer available but we never even unpacked the electric bug deterrent. The noise of the air-con did at least mask the early morning sounds of village life – dogs barking, cockerels (roosters) crowing and the raucous call of Tobago's national pest, sorry bird – the cocrico. Fortunately, these latter pests were almost conspicuous by their absence.
Bedroom 2 is next to the master bedroom, at the rear of the property, and offers similar access onto the balcony. This room is slightly smaller (4.7 x 3.5m) than the master and furnished with two standard double beds plus a medium-sized wardrobe and clothes tree, but no nightstands. It also has an identical air-conditioner to the master bedroom.
The third bedroom is smaller than the others (3.25 x 3.8m). It is very simply furnished with a single queen-size bed, a nightstand with lamp, a small wardrobe and a cot. This room is fitted with an old-fashioned window air-conditioning unit that will at least mask all sound of early-morning roosters and cocricos.
Bedrooms 2 and 3 share a common bathroom. Although quite large (2.4 x 1.7m) and furnished with a decent shower unit, the bathroom demonstrates one of those typical Tobagonian idiosyncrasies that characterise the island: the bathroom door has been hinged on the wrong side and bangs against the washbasin if opened more than 18 inches. It is so unexpected that anyone in a hurry to use the bathroom runs the risk of being hit by the door as it rebounds off the washbasin.
All linen and towels were of reasonable quality and clean. The apartments are serviced every four days. Don't forget to bring your own beach towels. No laundry service is available, but fortunately there are strong drying lines, both on the balcony and on the basement level of the house.
Pool & Grounds
There is limited access to the grounds of the property, primarily because the house is built on a steep hillside and un-cleared bush covers the surrounding land. However, this is a lovely refuge for wildlife and if you start leaving fruit, sugar and other tasties out at the start of your visit, you will be surprised how quickly the birds catch on. Within a few days you will be able to sit back and watch a veritable parade of bird species.
The house is built on a steep hillside and the surrounding land is largely covered in un-cleared bush, so there is effectively no access to the gardens. However, this is a lovely refuge for wildlife and by leaving out fruit, sugar and other morsels at the start of your visit you will be surprised how quickly the birds catch on. Within a few days you will be able to sit back and watch a veritable parade of bird life.
To the front of the property sits a small gated area with four all-weather chairs and a small table and a single plastic sun bed, situated around a small (2.1 x 3.2m max) plunge pool with a depth of 1.2m. This is unlikely to tax Olympic swimmers, but is a useful place to cool off.