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Hidden Cottage - a myTobago guide to Tobago holiday accommodation
 

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Hidden Cottage, Tobago

Hidden Cottage

2 Self-Catering Apartments

Hidden Cottage is a wooden house nestled in lush hillside rainforest in Castara Village. Remarkably well named, Hidden Cottage is surrounded by lush... tropical vegetation and so peaceful that you could be miles from anywhere, yet the centre of Castara and the main beach are less than a 3-minute walk away.

The lower level of the house offers a spacious three-bedroom apartment with air-conditioned bedrooms and which sleeps up to 8 people. The upper level offers a single air-conditioned, self-contained studio apartment. Both units have their own private decks.
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Hidden Cottage

2 4-bedroom Self-Catering Apartments in Castara, Tobago

Hidden Cottage is a wooden house nestled in lush hillside rainforest in Castara Village. Remarkably well named, Hidden Cottage is surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and so peaceful that you could be miles from anywhere, yet the centre of Castara and the main beach are less than a 3-minute walk away.

The lower level of the house offers a spacious three-bedroom apartment with air-conditioned bedrooms and which sleeps up to 8 people. The upper level offers a single air-conditioned, self-contained studio apartment. Both units have their own private decks.

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Property Description

Provided by the property, or taken from their website

Castara is one of the most peaceful and beautiful villages in the Caribbean.  Our hillside family villa and air conditioned studio apartment are newly built and set in the magnificent surroundings of the rainforest, yet just 3 minutes walk from the beach, making it an ideal location for those seeking an 'off the beaten track' holiday.  The emphasis at Hidden Cottage is on comfort, quality, originality and privacy.

Mot-Mot House is very spacious and comfortable. It has three large bedrooms, two bathrooms with hot showers, large living room and hand-crafted wooden kitchen. It also has many home comforts including air conditioned bedrooms and satelite TV and a jacuzzi in the garden.  It enjoys two private 40 feet decks facing onto lush tropical vegetation and fantastic bird life.  Sleeps up to 8.  Can also be rented as a 2 bedroom or as a superior one bedroom

Hummingbird apartment. This is situated upstairs from Mot-mot and has its own private deck. Hummingbird is a large self-contained air conditioned apartment with a wooden  floor, white walls and high wooden ceiling.  It also has satellite TV and a good indoor living area. The apartment is an ideal hideaway for a couple, but provision can be made to accommodate a small child at no extra charge. Complimentary Wi-Fi access is now available for all guests.

myTobago Review

Self-Catering Apartment, Castara, Tobago

The following review was produced during a 7-night stay at Hidden Cottage in March 2015.

Introduction

Situated in the popular fishing village of Castara on Tobago's beautiful north-western Caribbean coast, Hidden Cottageis a two-storey wooden house nestled into the side of a steep hill and surrounded by avocado, mango, orange, lime and coco trees. So natural and private is the property that it is hard to believe that the centre of the village and main beach are just a two-minute walk away. It is truly well named.

Hidden Cottage comprises two apartments. These can be rented separately or as a single combined unit. Mot Mot Apartment occupies the lower level of the house and offers three air-conditioned bedrooms. Hummingbird Apartment is a self-contained studio apartment on the upper level. An internal spiral staircase with lockable door connects the two, allowing the house to become a spacious four-bedroom unit - the only property in Castara capable of accommodating ten people in a single self-contained unit.

Location

Castara is a quiet fishing village. It has two lovely beaches with excellent swimming and decent snorkelling opportunities. Apart from its sheer beauty, the bay is particularly noted for the family of friendly rays that regularly patrol the waterfront. Totally harmless to swimmers, the rays are a wonderful sight, particularly when viewed from higher ground around the bay.

Grocery shopping has improved dramatically in Castara in recent years. However, the choice is still very limited. Basic supplies can be obtained from various small shops close to Hidden Cottage. The meaning of 'basic' will vary depending upon where you are from and your levels of expectation. I mention this, having been chastised by an American family a few years back. They claimed that we did not make it clear that they would have to forgo fresh bagels for breakfast and complained that the local shops didn't stock ground coffee. I don't think they appreciated my response when I commented that they were lucky to find ANY coffee in the village.

Tobago's main supermarkets are a 50-minute drive from Castara. Visitors would be advised to stock up at one of them on their way to the village.

Away from the urban parts of Tobago, there are few worthwhile holiday accommodation properties within walking distance of a choice of restaurants, shops and beaches. Hidden Cottage is fortunate in this respect as it is within short walking distance of most of the village shops and restaurants.  However, rather than wasting valuable holiday time waiting for public transport, we would still recommend a self-drive car or SUV. These can be hired locally on a daily or weekly basis.

Although it only takes a minute or two, the walk to and from Hidden Cottage does mean negotiating a short but steep hill.  Additionally, access to the Mot Mot Apartment involves descent of 20 steps. Tthe property is therefore unlikely to be suitable for wheelchair users or anyone with mobility problems.

Mot Mot Apartment

Living Area

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.

The Bedrooms

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.

Hummingbird Apartment

The Hummingbird studio apartment offers comfortable holiday accommodation for one or two people. The apartment has a gross internal area of 29m2 excluding the lovely covered front deck that provides a further 13m2.

The apartment is fully self-contained and equipped with a new four-burner gas stove (no grill), toaster and electric kettle. Since our last visit, we are delighted to see that a lovely large fridge-freezer has been installed; a welcome and necessary feature to every apartment. A small stock of kitchen utensils, cutlery, crockery and glassware is provided and everything appeared satisfactorily clean and in reasonable working condition.

Two comfortable leatherette swivel chairs are provided for relaxed seating, but the television set present during our last visit has now disappeared. The bedroom area is furnished with a double bed and a small wardrobe offering 0.5m of full-length hanging space and two drawers. There are no bedside tables and neither is there a mosquito net.

The bathroom is small, but functional and has both hot and cold water. It also has an attractive semi-circular shower unit, identical to the one in the master bedroom in Mot Mot. A new shower unit had been installed in the shower shortly before our visit.

Hummingbird Apartment has an old 'through the wall' air-conditioning unit. The apartment is on the upper floor and the windows in the bedroom area high above the ground, so security is not an issue. So, guests like me, who prefer to avoid air-conditioning should be able to leave the windows open to take advantage of the night breezes and thus avoid having to use the air-conditioner and all associated noise.

Like the lower apartment, Hummingbird is wired for both local 110v and 220v power.

The front of the cottage, for this is what Hummingbird Apartment resembles, is dominated by a lovely 5x2.6m balcony. The balcony is furnished with a hammock and four all-weather plastic chairs plus a small circular table. The balcony is such a pleasant spot that it will inevitably be where most guests relax and dine.

Conclusion

Hidden Cottage is unique in that, as far as I am aware, it is the only self-catering property in the Castara region that is able to provide sleeping accommodation for up ten people and it is for this reason that we have reviewed the property and included it in our 'Recommended' listings. The cottage is located in a secluded private spot handy for all the village facilities and just a few minute walk from Castara's main beach.

The apartments are spacious but it was disappointing to find that they were not as well equipped as on our previous visit. The exterior of the house has been recently renovated and was looking excellent, but the interior of both apartments would benefit considerably from refurbishment and re-equipping. We are delighted to report that improvements in this direction were started even before publication of this review.

Reader Reports

This property has a weighted Reader Satisfaction Rating of 92%   . Click below to read the 44 reader reports that this is rating is based on.

Lori McDonald from Canada visited in April 2018 and awarded   

Hi Everyone,

I traveled in a group of 7 this year to Castara Tobago. This is the second year I have stayed at Hidden Cottage. Four adults and three children used the 3 bedroom unit. It is more than satisfactory in its ammenities to accomodate that many people. The space is clean and the beds, furniture, tables and chairs are all in great condition. The air conditioner in the small bedroom needs replaced but the two other rooms have upgraded and work great. The kitchen is well equipped and has ample plates, cookware and utensils. I missed the art on the walls but am of the understanding that it was taken down for painting purposes and did not get re-hung. Outside is fabulous. The new pool is so nice. After your walk up the hill it is a great way to cool down your core temperature and relax some more. The balcony, outside tables and bird feeder only enhance the ideal surroundings. The driver from the airport Raymond, the housekeepers and our property manager were all very professional and sweet. I recommend this property to familys, friends and anyone who does not have mobility issues as it is up a fairly steep incline and has plenty of steps down to the property. I'll return with anticipation another time. Cheers!

Stephanie from Trinidad visited in August 2016 and awarded   

My boyfriend and I stayed in the Hummingbird apartment. It was nice and comfortable but the shower was a bit too small and felt cramped. The apartment gets VERY hot during the day but once you let it cool down with the AC it's okay. During our stay there were some water issues throughout the island and we had to call the manager of the place for assistance and our problem was resolved quite quickly. Overall we had a comfortable stay. It's a small village and everyone seems to know each other and this creates a nice family vibe.

Location Map

To view a detailed interactive map showing the location of this property relative to restaurants, shops and sightseeing features, click this link  

Studio/1-Bed Apt:$55
2-Bedroom Apt:$117
3-Bedroom Apt:$154
Minimum Nights:1 night
Property Type:Self-Catering Apartments
Apartments:2
Bedrooms:4
Maximum Guests:10
Air-Conditioned:Bedrooms only
Children:Children welcome
Hair Dryers:Guest could bring there hair dryer we also have UK power
Telephone:No
Internet Access:Yes
Television:Satellite television and DVD players in both apartments.
Safety Deposit:Very soon
Wheelchair Access:No
Swimming Pool:Plunge pool
Jacuzzi:We have a small jacuzzi in the garden for all guests to enjoy
Catering Options:

Housekeeping:Twice per week
Baby-Sitting:No
Personal Laundry:No
Personal Cooking:By Arrangement
Location:Castara
Region:Upper Caribbean
Location Type:Village
Airport:50 minutes
Beach:6-10 minute Walk