Guest Report

4 bedroom cottage at Grange Beach. ([url=
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Arthur Snell

Guest Report

Post by Arthur Snell »

Grange Cottage may be the only house for rent in Tobago that has direct access to a private beach. For that alone it is recommended and worth every cent. The fact that it is very simple, almost spartan, won't suit everyone, but it is certainly comfortable. For those that know Trinidad, it is like a Down de Islands house rather than a swanky Tobago villa.

Being an isolated spot also means that security is a serious issue and something that the owner obviously takes as a serious responsibility from the start. The owner, who was entirely straightforward and helpful throughout, recommended that we go for a guard with dog during the daytime and dispense at night as the house is very well protected once everything is shut up for the night.

We followed this advice but it didn't quite work for us. The cottage is isolated and set within its own large plot. Being next to the sea means that you wouldn't necessarily hear an intruder. However, serious amounts have been invested in security, notably a sophisticated alarm system and very strong steel bars on doors and windows. But in other respects, the security is slightly inconsistent. For example: the sea frontage of the property has an excellent fence that would be impregnable to all but the most determined (and of course no security system is 100% secure). The presence of several manchineel trees (poison trees) on the perimeter also helps. There are also some motion activated lights on one side of the property as well as the aforementioned alarm. So far, so secure.

However, other aspects are less impressive: the perimeter fence on the roadside is pretty poor - not very high and has sagging barbed wire rather than razor wire. It would be very easy to scale this and and the nature of the property means that you would not be noticed doing so if you picked your spot carefully. There are no motion-activated lights in the most exposed parts of the garden or on most approaches to the house. These are an effective deterrent, so it's rather surprising not to have them.

Finally the alarm system: it's full-spec with IR beams and door alarms as well, but probably needs servicing. During our visit it kept bleeping from the control unit in the middle of the night (some inexplicable error message) and the main alarm triggered at one point (presumably because the foliage needs trimming to prevent a false alarm from the IR beams.

All of which means you end up falling back on your poor old guard. With the best of intentions a chap being paid less than £3 an hour is probably not going to lay his life on the line for you. The dog might, except that the one that showed up in our case was partially lame and didn't look like a serious security dog. And finally the arrangements between the owner's representative and the security company all seemed a bit complicated and inflexible; we were given the firm feeling that this was someone who was in Tobago on holiday and we were just a bit of a nuisance.

So, to summarise: an amazing house, unique locaiton, very helpful owner. Downsides: security could be better and the connectivity with the owner's caretaker/representative/relative/friend (it was never exactly clear what the situation was) wasn't very user-friendly.
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