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SeaScape - a myTobago guide to Tobago holiday accommodation
 

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SeaScape, Tobago

SeaScape

2 Self-Catering Apartments

Located in Castara, SeaScape is a modern take on the traditional open-style wooden houses so popular and appropriate in tropical climates. The house is perched... above the headland that separates Castara's Big Bay from the smaller but prettier Little Bay.

SeaScape is sub-divided into two well-furnished apartments; one with two bedrooms and the other with a single bedroom. Both apartments offer stunning sea views over both beaches and are just a minute's walk away from Little Bay beach.
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SeaScape

2 Self-Catering Apartments in Castara, Tobago

Located in Castara, SeaScape is a modern take on the traditional open-style wooden houses so popular and appropriate in tropical climates. The house is perched above the headland that separates Castara's Big Bay from the smaller but prettier Little Bay.

SeaScape is sub-divided into two well-furnished apartments; one with two bedrooms and the other with a single bedroom. Both apartments offer stunning sea views over both beaches and are just a minute's walk away from Little Bay beach.

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Property Description

Provided by the property, or taken from their website

SeaScape offers stunning unobstructed views of the Caribbean Sea. It is a new, hand crafted wooden holiday accommodation that sits directly above the beach at Heavenly Bay in the little fishing village of Castara, Tobago. SeaScape was designed in an effort to give full appreciation for this stunning beach front location. The effect is a light, airy, place where delicate and colorful birds often fly through the room, where the soothing sound of the calm surf below seems to be coming from all around you and where every room offers unobstructed views of fiery sunsets slipping into the Caribbean sea.

This quality vacation rental was built on the former site of the famous Cliff Hanger guest house. Cliff Hanger was once recognized by British Air Magazine readers as being one of the top 52 hideaways in the world. In keeping with this tradition, SeaScape is a place where the natural beauty of the sea, beach and tropical rainforest can be appreciated from comfortable, self-catering, all en-suite vacation apartments.

Seascape's design meets the needs of independent travelers who want to escape the all-inclusive resorts yet still desire a comfortable, high quality retreat. We offer well-equipped accommodations.  Friendly members of our staff live just a short walk away and will check in on you frequently.

If you are looking for a comfortable Tobago holiday set in a stunning “off the beaten track” location, we would be delighted to share out little paradise with you!

myTobago Review

Self-Catering Apartment, Castara, Tobago

The following review was produced during a 7-night stay at SeaScape in February 2014.

Introduction

SeaScape is a relatively new addition to the Castara holiday accommodation market. It will be of interest to those looking for a more sophisticated experience than provided by the many 'back to basics' properties in the village.

Completed in January 2009, this new and striking wooden house is built on the side of a cliff directly above Castara's Little Bay beach. SeaScape offers stunning views over Castara Bay and a walk of less than a minute to the more beautiful and quieter of Castara's two glorious sandy beaches. The property has a choice of two self-contained self-catering apartments; one with two bedrooms and one with a single bedroom. The American owners have furnished and equipped the apartments to the very highest standards, whilst still managing to keep the accommodation compatible with the 'open living' ethos that is so much a feature of the Castara experience.

Location

SeaScape is located at the southern end of Little Bay, the smaller and prettier of Castara's two lovely beaches. Little Bay is often referred to by the more glamorous, but incorrect, name of Heavenly Bay. Access to the bay is via Depot Road, a steep narrow pitted lane that drops from the main coast road as it wends its way through Castara.

Two rocky outcrops separate Little Bay from Big Bay's main beach. At low tide, and with calm waters, it is possible to wade waist-deep from one beach to the other, but few do. With the exception of the Boat House Restaurant, there are no shops or restaurants in Little Bay. You need to walk up the hill and back down to the village. A pleasant stroll that will not faze anyone in reasonable health, it is best avoided during the hottest hours of the day. Mind you, a cold beer always tastes amazing on your return.

Holidaymakers will not need transport around Castara, but I must repeat my usual recommendation: to get the best from your Tobago holiday, visitors should consider hiring a self-drive vehicle. Cars and SUVs can be rented by the day or week and there is a small rental service within a stone's throw of SeaScape.

Castara is a 50-minute journey from the airport. SeaScape is managed by a friendly and helpful couple, Rollins and Lavorne. When booking your stay, it is best to arrange for Rollins to meet your flight and transfer you back to the house. This will normally include a visit to a major supermarket. Shopping in Castara has vastly improved in the last few years. Some regular visitors claim they can now get everything they need in the village. However, most people still plan a weekly trip to one of the larger supermarkets at the more developed end of the island. Even then, the golden rule is "if in stock, buy it". Do not assume that something will be available tomorrow because it was on the shelf today. Stock control is an unknown concept on Tobago.

Castara is a place that visitors either love or hate. The lovers will decry my words and say that I am missing the point. No, I am not. I do not want to mislead those readers who have never visited this small fishing village. Do not expect to enjoy the warm aquamarine waters, golden sands and lush rainforest-clad hills then walk behind a backdrop to a Starsucks or McCrapBurger. Please do not think I am exaggerating. I was once accosted by an angry American family who accused me of hiding the truth about Castara. One comment sticks with me because it summarised their misconception and feelings: "the village is so primitive that we can't even get fresh bagels or coffee for breakfast". I exaggerate not!

Architecture

SeaScape utilises an open and practical design concept utilised by several apartments and cottages in the village. However, it has been built to much higher standards than most. The overall result is a more refined and comfortable version of the simple houses that dominate the village's holiday accommodation market and which sometimes seem to view hot water as a luxury confined to 5-star hotels.

SeaScape conforms to an open and practical design concept utilised by many of the holiday apartments and cottages in the village. However, SeaScape was built to a far higher standard than most. The overall result is a more refined and comfortable version of the very simple houses that dominate the village's holiday accommodation market. A village where some owners still consider hot water a luxury limited to 5-star hotels.

The house is difficult to see from anywhere but the beach or bay. In our previous review, we commented that being new, it was somewhat bright and shiny and possibly too visible. I am delighted to report that the wood has aged nicely and the house now melds more seamlessly into the surrounding landscape. Some much-needed clearance of the vegetation beneath the house had been carried out prior and the rock-face below looked a little stark. However, given the speed of growth in the tropics, I know that the cliff-face will green up within just a few months.

Viewed from the beach, SeaScape does initially appear to be two buildings on different levels. The design is very different from the rectangular blocks of most other houses in the village and this helps to give the property an air of distinction.

The house has no dedicated parking, but we had no problems parking in the sleepy road next to the apartments. From there, around 40 shallow steps take you to the shared balcony that wraps around the rear of the house and provides access to both apartments.

Needless to say, neither Castara nor SeaScape would be ideal for anyone with mobility problems.

Accommodation

SeaScape offers two self-catering accommodation options:

  • Sunset: a two bedroom apartment that comfortably sleeps four adults.
  • WaveSong: a one bedroom apartment suitable for two adults.

Both apartments are furnished and equipped to identical standards. Our main description relates to Sunset, where we stayed. WaveSong is almost identical as it is effectively a one-bedroom version of Sunset.

Sunset Apartment

Naturally, the two-bedroom Sunset Apartment occupies the larger, two storey, part of the SeaScapebuilding. Actually, it is not really true to say that Sunset is a two-storey unit; perhaps describing it as one-and-a-half might be better.

Open, high ceilings are a critical design feature in non-air-conditioned tropical buildings. Allowing the hot air to rise well above head height makes a noticeable difference to comfort. In Sunset's case, the ceiling is vaulted, with a second bedroom rising off a mezzanine floor at the front of the building. It is an unusual arrangement that works remarkably well.

Excluding balconies, Sunset offers around 56m2 (600ft2) of internal floor space. This is reasonable, even when occupied by the maximum of four adults. Once you get past the magnificent views, one of the first things most likely to strike you, on first arrival, is the quality and standard of furnishing.

Both levels of the house face the sea. The frontage is fitted with unglazed wooden shutters. The slats can be opened by varying degrees so that optimum levels of light, breeze and 'openness' can be achieved. The panorama of Castara Bay is just stunning, particularly when all 5½ metres of shutters are fully open. This arrangement works very well. It allows the shutters to be hooked back, fully open, early in the morning, when the sun is behind the property, and then semi-closed during the afternoon when the sun shines on the frontage. 

Both apartments offer fantastic views over Little Bay beach. The wider view takes in all of Castara Bay and the dozen or more fishing pirogues invariably moored there. Groups of pelicans often take up residence on these boats. I never tire watching them climb high into the air and diving into the turquoise waters before resurfacing with a fat fish in their beak. 

Facing due west, the apartments are a magical place from which to view the memorable Castara sunsets, some of which seem to set the evening sky afire alight in flaming reds and oranges. Jill has been quick to remind me not to forget the silvery moonscapes which, in their own way, can be equally impressive. Mind you, the ambience at SeaScape was so relaxed that I was invariably asleep long before any thought of moonscapes entered my mind. 

The ground floor of the apartment comprises a large open living area with bedroom leading off. The kitchen area is separated from the main dining and living area by a breakfast bar, with storage units beneath. On our arrival, the breakfast bar contained an attractive fruit bowl with a welcome message and flowers, some bananas and papaya (pawpaw). There was also a small stock of beer and bottled water in the fridge.

The living area is tastefully decorated and furnished. A cane sofa and matching armchairs are arranged around a glass-topped coffee table and provide a relaxed area to chat, play cards or possibly read one of the novels or magazines provided in the adjacent bookshelves. Should you tire of the sound of the breaking surf, entertainment can be supplied courtesy of a small alarm clock radio/MP3 (iPod) speakers unit. The provided 10x25 binoculars also come in handy for closer examination of the pelicans and other sights out in the bay. 

The formal wooden dining table with six chairs hints at rather more sophisticated dining than most visitors are likely to envisage in this unpretentious fishing village. Mind you, fairly complex meals would be quite possible in the reasonably-equipped kitchen. Best of all, your chef can enjoy the spectacular views across the bay while preparing meals.

The kitchen is equipped with a medium-sized fridge-freezer.  Other equipment includes a six-burner gas (bottled) stove with griddle, a kettle, a small filter coffee maker and an electric toaster. We found a reasonable stock of crockery, cutlery, glassware and cooking utensils. Very sensibly, a small fire extinguisher is handily located in the kitchen area – something we see surprisingly seldom in Tobago. Equally sensible are the electronic insect deterrents and battery-operated emergency light in each apartment. It would seem almost strange to come to Tobago and not experience temporary power or water failures.

Sunset Apartment (Part 2)

The bedroom is located to the rear of the apartment. Lattice-work bi-fold doors can be closed if privacy is required. As we were on our own, there was no reason to shut these. We kept both the bedroom doors and the front shutters open day and night. It was total magic being able to lie in bed and enjoy the sounds and sight of the sea.

The bedroom is furnished with a rather firm queen-size bed. Our empty suitcases tucked neatly beneath the bed. There are nightstand tables and lamps on each side. A small wardrobe offers 0.6m of half-length hanging space (with hangers) plus two storage drawers.

A mosquito net canopy is available. At the time of our visit, the bed had a coronet-style net hanging from a single fixing point somewhat past its best-by date. This has been replaced with a new net since our visit and, better still, a new square-hung net is apparently to be fitted within the next few weeks. In truth, we didn't really need the net. We simply plugged in our trusty GoodKnight electronic mosquito deterrent (cheap and available from local stores) a couple of hours before retiring, each evening, and left the floor-standing fan in the living area on the lowest setting, blowing the deterrent scent across the bed. No smell, no mosquitos, no problem!

The sheets were of a nice light tropical weight, with a light blanket for the cool nights often found in Tobago during the 'winter' months.  We didn't need the blanket, but found the extra pillows useful for reading in bed. You will be lulled to sleep by the sound of breaking surf; a sound that largely masks the early morning cacophony of roosters, barking dogs, cocricos (Rufous-vented Chachalaca) and loud radios that are so much a part of life in a Tobagonian village.

Leading off the bedroom is a small bathroom. It is well finished, with attractive bathroom tiles. The basin is set into an attractive and functional vanity unit. A large mirror extends the full width of the room. Thick fluffy hand and bath towels are provided, but sadly the size of the bathroom precludes towel rails, so towels hang from simple hooks at each end of the vanity unit. Beach towels are available on request.

The fully tiled shower was excellent. Hot water is provided by an 'on-demand' water heating system, so there are no concerns about running out of hot water. Water pressure was good and hot water available after only a short wait. Best of all, the shower temperature was consistent and did not fluctuate unduly.

Like the bed linen, the towels were of excellent quality and spotlessly clean. Lavorne cleans the apartments weekly and on guest changeover. Bed linen and towels are changed every three days. She also offers a limited laundry service on request. A small ironing board and iron are available in the apartment, as is a hairdryer.

Wooden   buildings such as Seascape are not compatible with air-conditioning. What would be the point of having lovely shutters and then having some method of sealing them closed so that air-con would work? The apartment has a ceiling fan above both beds and a floor-standing electric fan in the living area. By opening all the shutters in the cool of the morning and preventing the hot air from building up, then judiciously closing the shutters to block the afternoon sun before it become too hot, we found the temperature perfectly equitable throughout our stay. These reviews are written entirely in situ and there is no better way to determine how hot a holiday home becomes than spending a few days bashing a laptop during the heat of the day. Talking of which, I am delighted to confirm that a slow, but usable, complimentary wireless Internet connection is available in both apartments.

A short flight of stairs leads from the living area to the second bedroom on the upper floor. This is a virtual replica of the lower bedroom. However, instead of a wardrobe it has an open alcove offering 0.75m of half-height hanging space. Instead of storage drawers, there are two lined lattice baskets. The upstairs en suite bathroom is substantially larger than the downstairs bathroom. It is equally well appointed. Best of all, you get magnificent views of the bay while taking your shower – something not exactly conducive to water conservation given the temptation to enjoy the view rather than finishing the shower! With stunning views over the bay and shuttered doors and windows both front and rear, the upper bedroom is sure to be a favourite with guests. It will be superbly cool and the view cannot be beaten. 

A small balcony runs along the full width of the upper bedroom. It is furnished with two all-weather chairs and a small table. It has to be said that being only 0.8m wide, the balcony might be considered more decorative than functional. Given the low levels of light pollution experienced in Tobago and Little Bay, in particular, this little balcony is a wonderful place to stargaze.

Provided that the apartment doors are locked, security should not be an issue in either apartment. Each bedroom has a small security safe. The shutters on the front aspect can be left open – there is no chance of anyone climbing as the property overhangs the cliff face. Petty thievery by local lads is far from unknown – but is seldom an issue if breaking in require any effort. This more or less says everything you need to know about Castara and Tobago generally. 

Wave Song Apartment

The one-bedroom apartment, WaveSong, is a little smaller than Sunset, but has the added feature of a large balcony. In almost every other way the two apartments are extremely similar – even identical – and so rather than bore our reader, I will only describe the differences.

WaveSong offers a spacious 35sq.m. of covered accommodation floor area. This basically consists of a large living room and kitchen with the bedroom and bathroom leading off, exactly as in Sunset. The bedroom is a little more spacious than the ground floor bedroom in the larger apartment. The bed now boasts a new full-frame mosquito net, which overcomes the problems associated with suspended coronet-type nets as found in the other apartment.

A dining counter with high stools overlooks the bay and avoids any necessity for a large dining table. A sofa and two armchairs provide a relaxed seating area adjacent to the balcony. In every other way, the two apartments are identically equipped and furnished and everything to exactly the same high standard.

Bi-fold doors lead on to WaveSong's 5.9x1.8m balcony. The balcony deck gives some of the best views of Little Bay and the beach available. The balcony is equipped with a pair of rattan chairs and a small all-weather table. It is an ideal spot for al fresco dining.

Conclusion

Castara has undeniable charm. The Tobago I fell in love with more than 50 years ago is rapidly disappearing as modern life takes over. Fortunately, a few vestiges remain and Castara is one of those places where you really do feel removed from the rat race. Make no mistake, it will not suit everyone. Some people will absolutely loathe the laid-back 'back-to-basics' lifestyle of the village, but many others spend a fortune seeking this sort of environment.

So, what does 'back-to-basics' mean? Well, everyone seems to have their own definition. The one thing I am sure of is that the term does not have to mean living uncomfortably or having to 'rough it'. I suppose it's all relative. As far as I'm concerned, 'simple' is fine, but I do expect a comfortable bed, a decent shower and washing facilities with hot water. I also demand the ability to be able to cook a good meal, particularly if the offerings of local restaurants are limited.

In this respect, SeaScape undoubtedly offers everything we require.

Reader Reports

This property has a weighted Reader Satisfaction Rating of 99%   . Click below to read the 68 reader reports that this is rating is based on.

Nancy h from Canada visited in January 2018 and awarded   

Breathtaking!

We enjoyed 7 nights in Wavesong. Great views, great accommodations, great bay. Easy walking distance to restaurants. We had some concerns about No air conditioning, but with the ocean breeze and ceiling fans it was a NON issue.

The only door we closed at night was the main door, everything else was totally open all week. Falling a sleep to the sound of waves is bliss. The apartment is stocked well with your basic kitchen needs. Great Wi-Fi. We highly recommend Seascape Wavesong.

Kelvin Boyle from U.K. visited in January 2018 and awarded   

We had ten lovely days at Seascape, staying in Sunset, in Castara. The location couldn't be better right above Heavenly Bay and the only sound at night is the Caribbean sea rolling onto the beach.

The owner, David, was most helpful, before our visit and during. The managers, Lavorne and Rolling, looked after our every need.

A fantastic holiday and we cannot praise Seascape as holiday accommodation too highly.

Sue and Kelvin Boyle

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:$175 - $195
2-Bedroom Apt:$195 - $265
Minimum Nights:5 nights
Property Type:Self-Catering Apartments
Apartments:2
Maximum Guests:6
Air-Conditioned:Ceiling fans in all bedrooms.
Children:We welcome families with children, but close supervision is neccessary.
Hair Dryers:Available
Telephone:No
Internet Access:Free Wifi throughout both apartments.
Television:19' wide high definition sea views are provided in each apartment.
Safety Deposit:Safes in each bedroom suite.
Wheelchair Access:No
Swimming Pool:None
Catering Options:

Housekeeping:Twice per week
Baby-Sitting:We can recommend a local baby sitter.
Personal Laundry:Basic wash and dry service is available for a nominal cost.
Personal Cooking:By Arrangement
Location:Castara
Region:Upper Caribbean
Location Type:Village
Airport:50 minutes
Beach:1-2 minute Walk