Arnos Vale

29 room 3* hotel located on the Arnos Vale plantation
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Simon Cooke

Arnos Vale

Post by Simon Cooke » Sat Mar 22, 2003 11:32 am

Post Recreated: Originally posted - 09 January 2003

Steve,

Recently discovered your site as I am researching a possible 2 week trip to Tobago in July. I am looking forward to reading your update of the site after your impending trip this month/Feb.

My parents opened the Arnos Vale Hotel in 1954 as the original management team employed by the owner Mr. Dibben, a wealthy builder from the Southampton area, who had bought the estate & built the hotel buildings. I was born in Tobago in 1958 and my parents bought the hotel around 1959/60. They eventually sold the hotel in 1976 and we all left Tobago for the UK.

I went back to Tobago a couple of times on holiday, but have not been there since 1982. I now want to show my wife & 2 sons where I grew up. Unfortunately, as we live in Hong Kong,it only makes sense to visit Tobago as part of our summer trip to the UK. July is not the most ideal month, but at least it will be cheaper and quiet ! I want to rent a villa either in the Arnos Vale area or further up either coast. Possible ones I've identified so far include Top O'Tobago, Montgomery House & The Sugar Mill, Sunset Valley Estate, Parrot Estate.

I would be very interested to hear your views after your trip, especially as you mention you will be staying in the Arnos Vale area at Villa Being (too expensive for us !). Given that I lived at Arnos Vale for 18 years in the heyday of its existence & Tobago's, I am probably setting myself up for a big disappointment !

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Steve Wooler
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Post by Steve Wooler » Sat Mar 22, 2003 11:33 am

Post Recreated: Originally posted - 09 January 2003

Hi Simon

How fascinating.

I stayed at the Arnos Vale was in 1980. It was, of course, one of Tobago’s top hotels in your parent’s days - not that there was much to choose from (no reflection on your parents intended).

You’ll notice a lot of changes since your last visit in 1982 – the roads have got a hole (pun intended!) lot better for a start. In many other ways, though, the essential ethos of the island has remained relatively unchanged.

It can always be dangerous to “go back”. Having been brought up in BG at the same time that you were being brought up in Tobago, I know what an idyllic life it was in so many ways. I will not go back to Guyana – it’s been spoilt and I will not risk spoiling my wonderful childhood memories. However, I can honestly say that Tobago has escaped that danger. It may not be quite as ‘homely’ as it was back in the 60’s to 80’s, but it’s still an exceptional place. Your wife and sons are guaranteed to enjoy it and you will go home with a lot of pride and a big smile on your face.

Can’t comment on any of the villas you mentioned, as I haven’t visited any of them. However, Top O’ Tobago has been mentioned favourably to me a number of times.

Keep posted!
Steve Wooler
myTobago.info - the definitive Visitor Guide to Tobago

Simon Cooke

Post by Simon Cooke » Sat Mar 22, 2003 11:34 am

Post Recreated: Originally posted - 10 January 2003

Steve, I'll be interested to see what you make of the area around Arnos Vale (to the ease & north), where the villas, inc. Villa Being, seem to be located. They now call the track that leads from Arnos Vale to Culloden the Mot-Mot Trail and I suspect a lot of the villas are accessed that way, rather than off the Plymouth - Les Coteaux road. I forgot to post one other question yesterday => the alternative to 2 weeks in the Arnos Vale area is to spend 1 week there & 1 week up in the Speyside / Chalotteville area. I have always been fascinated by Goat Island and have looked at the Capri Isle website with interest. I have not yet tried to contact them - you mention elsewhere the lack of response to e-mails. They do seem to be overpriced, because I suspect the house & furnishings are pretty basic. Any information &/or reviews from people who have stayed would be very welcome.

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Post by Steve Wooler » Sat Mar 22, 2003 11:35 am

Post Recreated: Originally posted - 10 January 2003

Hi Simon

Arnos Vale and the area surrounding the hotel is every bit as beautiful as it ever was. Being is actually within the old Arnos Vale plantation grounds, so they partly share a common access. However, you are right - the old Mot-Mot Trail now leads to other villas. The Trail has been upgraded in recent years. You will notice huge improvements in the road infrastructure if you haven’t visited since ‘82.

When I stayed at the Arnos Vale in 1980, I remember taking a taxi to Charlotteville – a gruelling three hour journey that would have turned milk to cheese.

I have never received any reply to any of the emails I have sent to Capri Isle and just had one returned as “undeliverable” within the past week. I’ve had two visitor complaints of unanswered email, so don’t know how serious they are about letting the villa. Nobody seems to know much about it, to be frank, and I’ve certainly never had any visitor feedback. Trouble is, once you’re there you’re stuck. The seas can get pretty choppy around the island and you’re certainly not going to be able to nip out to a restaurant for the evening (not that there’s a huge choice of restaurants around Speyside).
Steve Wooler
myTobago.info - the definitive Visitor Guide to Tobago

Tim W

Post by Tim W » Sat Mar 22, 2003 11:48 am

Post Recreated: Originally posted - 09 January 2003

Simon, very interesting to read your family tie in to the Arnos Vale. We are staying there for the last 2 weeks of february and hopefully will do a review when we return

Simon Cooke

Post by Simon Cooke » Sat Mar 22, 2003 11:49 am

Post Recreated: Originally posted - 10 January 2003

Tim, I will wait for your review with great interest. I don't intend to go back and stay at Arnos Vale (that would be a mistake for me), but I do plan to rent a villa in the Arnos Vale area. Looking at the photos on the Arnos Vale website, the natural setting is pretty unchanged, but I would suspect the rooms are very tired now. Unfortunately, they have replaced the original pool & surrounding space with a very ugly affair. Likewise the decorations in the dining room & bar area of the Main House. One thing that really amuses me, is the reference in many reviews to the "The Plantation House" - the hotel was instead purpose built in the early 1950s and the only building already there was the old beachhouse, which was a 18thC sugar warehouse - Arnos Vale Estate was of course a sugar estate and you will probably visit the old waterwheel, where the cane was processed. The beachhouse was used for storage before the sugar / molasses was rowed out to ships anchored off the bay. I'll look out for your review.

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Post by Steve Wooler » Sat Mar 22, 2003 11:51 am

Post Recreated: Originally posted - 10 January 2003

Hi Tim

Yes, the natural settings at Arnos Vale are totally unchanged and every bit as beautiful as ever. ‘Tired’ is a good description – particularly with reference to the cottages on the hillside. The new blocks are supposed to be OK, but architecturally and aesthetically they certainly don’t do justice to one of the most beautiful settings on the island. OK, the plantation house doesn’t even look like a plantation house, but I guess the average visitor couldn’t care a monkey’s.
Steve Wooler
myTobago.info - the definitive Visitor Guide to Tobago

Carlo Cravanzola

Post by Carlo Cravanzola » Sun Apr 06, 2003 11:38 pm

Dear Mr. Cooke,

It’s with great pleasure and surprise that I have read your posting in the myTobago.info.
I have heard of your family and I have always been interested to meet some of you.
I’m in the process of taking over the management and the ownership of the hotel and I will be delighted to the opportunity to meet someone create such a beauty and impressed legend.
I will be delighted to have to opportunity to meet you and I will look over to have your precious suggestion on the Hotel.
Part of our project will be to restore and bring back Arnos Vale to the original condition and your advice will be more then welcome.

Thanks in advance and looking over to hear from you soon, in the mean time please let me know if I could be of any help before your visit in July.

Best regards,
Yours sincerely

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Steve Wooler
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Post by Steve Wooler » Tue Apr 08, 2003 10:08 am

Hi Simon

Hopefully you will re-visit the myTobago.info forum again and see the above message. Someone else wrote to me some weeks ago. They wanted me to put them in touch with you as you had grown up together but lost contact when they moved to Canada and you moved back to England. I don't have any contact information for you, but am keeping this other person's, at their request, so if you do see this message, please contact me (steve@myTobago.info).

I hope you are still planning your trip to Tobago. You won't be dissapointed.
Steve Wooler
myTobago.info - the definitive Visitor Guide to Tobago

FRoghaar

For Simon Cooke

Post by FRoghaar » Tue Jul 22, 2003 12:05 am

Simon,

Can't believe we see your name. Do you remember the time you spent with us in Boca Raton? We think of you often, and wonder about your parents - all our communications seems to have stopped years ago.

We are still in Boca Raton - FRoghaar@aol.com. We too are planning a trip to Tobago this Fall. Let us know how it was.

Florence and George Roghaar

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