Blue Haven Hotel - Reader Reports & Opinion

Back From The Blue Haven - 24 Hours Late!   

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.


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The Blue Haven... My Opinion!   

Charlie Abbott

Just returned from a week in Tobago, it is such a beautiful island and was the perfect place to spend our honeymoon.

We stayed at the Coco Reef for 4 nights and at the Blue Haven for 3 nights, it was great being able to do this as it meant we saw parts of the island we might not have got to if we had stayed in one place.

I loved the Blue Haven, the setting is amazing, we stayed in Room 20 and had a great view of the atlantic, bacolet bay and the pelicans!. The staff were really nice and helpful and like most people we met on tobago they had a great sense of humor. Our plane was delayed on the way back and they were more then happy for us to keep our room until later in the evening when the taxi was due to pick us up. This would not have happened in a lot of hotels.

The Room was lovely, it had been furnished to a really high stanard and is probably one of the nicest rooms i have ever stayed in.. the idea of having a window in the bathroom over looking the room/balcon/Sea is great ( there is a blind if you want to use it!) is something else being able to have a shower watching the sunrise over the atlantic!

The pool could maybe do with being done up but it did not bother us..think the views are more important then the paintwork! Bacolet bay is only a couple of minutes away and is a beautiful half moon bay.

I would definitely recommend the blue haven, it is quieter then the coco reef and there are not so many restaurants etc about but there are enough options and it was actually quite nice getting away from the busy beach of the coco reef.. and it is worth it for the views!!

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"best" Eco Resort Of The Year   08 Nov 2004

Steve Wooler from Suffolk, England

I'm delighted to tell readers that the Blue Haven Hotel has won the "Best" Eco Resort of the Year award in the 10th Annual Caribbean World Travel Awards. May I extend my congratulations to Owner/General Manager Karl Pilstl and to all his staff. Karl is no doubt in London today in order to collect his award from a reception at the Four Seasons Hotel in Park Lane this evening.

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Blue Haven Hotel Review 14th – 18th November 2004   27 Nov 2004

Graham Jones from Bournemouth

The Blue Haven has a superb location, above Bacolet Bay, on the Atlantic side of the island. Rooms in the original building and the East wing overlook the bay, while the West wing has views across the ocean towards the Hilton and the Lowlands area of the island.

Our room was very good, with a very comfortable king-size bed, a balcony and of course the signature bathroom arrangement, where a large glass partition allows you to shower while looking through the room and balcony doors at the bay. Buildings on the other side of the bay are far enough away and there is a movable blind for those of a modest disposition.

The swimming pool would be very safe for younger children, as it shelves gently. Half way along the pool, the water had reached waist-deep. This does restrict swimming ‘laps’ along the length of the pool.

The beach is accessed from a path and steps from near the pool area. The beach was rather a surprise to us, in that for some period of each day we were there, the sea came right in covering all of the sand. At no time was it more than about 20 yards wide. Looking at some of Steve’s pictures and comparing them with mine suggests that quite a bit of sand may have disappeared over the last few months. The bay slopes very gently, so it is quite possible to go a fair way out from the shore and still be within your depth. We found the water to be warmer than on the Caribbean side.

Behind the beach is a low, grassed area, where the beach bar and the sun loungers are located. The area is well shaded by palm trees, though no umbrellas. There were always plenty of loungers available, despite the hotel being full. If necessary, more were brought out from the store on the beach, without us needing to ask. Kayaks and body boards were also available to hotel guests. Certainly the bay is the ‘jewel’ in their crown.

The clientele during our stay were predominantly German-speaking, (about 75%), with the remainder English-speaking. I think that Lauda Air’s arrival on the island had brought some new trade.

We found the staff to be very friendly and service came with a smile! This was a considerable improvement from our previous location.

The restaurant belonging to the hotel is called ‘Shutters on the Bay”. We were on the hotel’s ‘Platinum All Inclusive’ package. We found breakfast to be very acceptable, with the usual collection of cooked items, along with fresh fruit, cold meats, cheeses and freshly made pastries.

Lunch was only available at the beach bar. The menu included chicken & chips, burgers or toasted sandwiches. There were also some salad options. The food was cooked to order, well presented and served in the shade on the deck adjacent to the bar.

Afternoon tea was rather a surprise. It consisted of serve-yourself hot water, instant coffee or teabag and nothing else! At other times, drinks service in the Terrace Bar was excellent.

Dinners were very nicely cooked and well presented, but the lack of choice was a major disappointment. Generally the main course had a choice of one meat dish and one fish dish only. On the first three of our four nights, the meat was chicken. When a hotel offers half board, full board and AI, it really needs to offer more choice. The house wine was palatable, but a bottle of sparkling wine would have been £25. I would also advise anyone using room service to check prices in advance.

In summary, we enjoyed the hotel and would recommend it, though probably not on the All-Inclusive basis. If you are travelling on that package, ensure that reception is aware on check-in and that you receive the printed sheet outlining what is included, as members of staff are sometimes confused!!

Blue Haven Or Coco Reef? Help Please!!!   

Joanna Gray

My fiance and I are planning to go to Tobago on honeymoon for 10 days at the beginning of May 05 (after 4 nights in New York). We've never been before, but the island looks gorgeous and we can't wait to see the local wildlife and beautiful coastline.

Can anyone tell us what the weather might be like at the begin. of May?

We're looking for a relaxing holiday, but we're Irish, so we also appreciate a bit of entertainment and my boyf is keen on diving, etc. So our dilemma is between the Coco Reef and the Blue Haven - the Coco Reef is more expensive, but seems to have better activities and is on the med side - the Blue Haven sounds more romantic, but the beach isn't as good? We hate kids and so the review about lots at the Coco Reef is offputting, but we're also worried the Blue Haven may be a bit dull at night.

Any advice would be much appreciated!

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