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Back from The Blue Haven - 24 hours late!

Posted: Thu May 13, 2004 3:44 pm
by Matt Tindall
Well we're back after what was my 3rd and best holiday in Tobago - thanks in no small part to Karl, Beulah, Baerbel et al at the Blue Haven. If anyone has any doubts about going there - remove them. Despite all the good reviews on this forum, as I mentioned in my last post, a bad review appeared on just before we left. Well I can only assume he stayed at a different Blue Haven or it was just a mailicious post.

Karl really has returned the place to its former splendour. In fact you wouldn't be too surprised if Robert Mitchum and co did walk round the corner (talking of actors Jim Broadbent popped in for lunch when we were there!). And Karl as a host honestly could not have been more gracious and friendly - and that's a rarity today in any hotel. He really does care and makes sure every guest gets a 'how are you, everything OK, anything I can do to help etc.'. In fact there was a wedding on whilst we were there and even though you would expect Karl to devote all his time to that, he still had time to check on his other house guests.

The place is also real Tobago which you'll understand more if you stay there. Sure the pool isn't the most spectacular and maybe they could use a few more sun loungers, but the beach is a stone's throw away and what a beach. The rooms are great - we had Room 11 which had fantastic views of the sea and distant Scarborough. We ate in the restaurant most nights and the food was good - not perhaps rivalling eateries in New York and London as one book said - but you won't be disappointed. There are plenty of other places to try anyway - not least La Tatarruga in Buccoo. Gabriel the manager is the most enthusiastic restaurateur I think I've ever met and his wine list and knowledge is amazing. Ask to look round his cellar!

We hired a car from Thrifty (highly reccommended and the car - a Daihatsu Terios was great. Get an automatic though - if you plan to drive around you'll appreciate not having to change gear on some of the bends- trust me). Spent 4 days re-visiting old haunts. the traffic was noticebly heavier on the main Claude Noel highway, but once off the main highway and out onto the coastal roads the driving and scenery are amazing. All the usual places were just as spectacular as I remembered, Englishman's Bay now has a little cafe and stalls but you don't get hassled at all. Pigeon Point although still pretty has indeed lost its old original charm and seemed a bit commercial. And guards in uniform really isn't Tobago.

Anyway - last bit now. We were set leave on the Monday - were sat at the airport with half an hour to take off when the Virgin rep announced the plane had suffered a bird strike in Grenada and had to land again and the flight had been postponed 24 hours. Pandemonium ensued as people were up in arms. However to Virgin's credit I thought they dealt with it superbly. Everyone was transferred to hotels to stay overnight at Virgin's expense and fed and watered. Despite thinking we'd be transferred to some little local hostelry to save them money, imagine our delight when we were transferred back to the Blue Haven - we even got our old room back which Karl had organised. How's that for service? In fact about 30 extra guest were thrust upon him and he had us all fed within half an hour of arriving.

So to sum up - go to the Blue Haven if you want to mix a real Tobago experience with a bit of old world charm. While the Hilton is lovely (we drove to have a look) to be honest you could be anywhere in America - it sort of misses the point. Oh and Karl is Austrian not German! There is a big difference! He told me so.


Blue Haven

Posted: Fri May 14, 2004 4:13 pm
by Rob Dracup
Good to hear you enjoyed Blue Haven in the way we did ( we were there late March04). I think your review was spot on. That review on TripAdvisor is , as you say, grossly unfair.