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Blue Waters Inn - a myTobago guide to Tobago holiday accommodation
 

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Blue Waters Inn, Tobago

Blue Waters Inn

38-room Hotel / Inn

Set in 46 acres of lush tropical grounds and backing glorious Batteaux Bay, the Blue Waters Inn boasts one of the most stunning locations on Tobago. The best... reefs on the island are but minutes away and being situated on the edge of the rainforest, the opportunities for birdwatchers are just too good to miss.

The hotel has been operational for many years but suffered from lack of investment. We were keen to support this unique hotel but had little choice but to withdraw our earlier recommendation around 2008. Then, a new generation of the owning family took over and clearly saw the potential. The hotel has benefitted from a very major refurbishment in recent years.

We returned to the Blue Waters Inn in early 2018; the first visit for 10 years. What a transformation – not just in terms of the accommodation, but more importantly in terms of the staff attitudes and catering. This small hotel is truly a gem deserving of serious consideration.
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Blue Waters Inn

38-bedroom Hotel / Inn in Speyside, Tobago

Set in 46 acres of lush tropical grounds and backing glorious Batteaux Bay, the Blue Waters Inn boasts one of the most stunning locations on Tobago. The best reefs on the island are but minutes away and being situated on the edge of the rainforest, the opportunities for birdwatchers are just too good to miss.

The hotel has been operational for many years but suffered from lack of investment. We were keen to support this unique hotel but had little choice but to withdraw our earlier recommendation around 2008. Then, a new generation of the owning family took over and clearly saw the potential. The hotel has benefitted from a very major refurbishment in recent years.

We returned to the Blue Waters Inn in early 2018; the first visit for 10 years. What a transformation – not just in terms of the accommodation, but more importantly in terms of the staff attitudes and catering. This small hotel is truly a gem deserving of serious consideration.

click/tap the photo to view a gallery of 30 photos

Property Description

Provided by the property, or taken from their website

From the deep blue of the Atlantic, to the golden sandy beach of Batteaux Bay, to the brilliant green of our lush hills - this is Blue Waters Inn, Friendly By Nature. We offer Tobago's finest hiking and birdwatching. Be awakened by a symphony of birds celebrating the birth of a new day.

Curious Manta Rays, richly overgrown coral reefs, hordes of friendly fish and highly impressive drift dives - Blue Waters Dive'N, the 5 star PADI on-site dive operation, offers state of the art equipment and easy access to Tobago's most unique dive adventures, with our finest sites only minutes from your doorstep. BWI Dive'N offers a range of options from certification to advanced open water dives. Experience mouthwatering cuisine while dining waterfront at Aqua at Blue Waters Inn.

HOTEL TYPE: Beachfront Low-Rise Resort Hotel tucked away in it's own secluded bay amongst 46 acres of lush tropical grounds.

LOCATION: Approximately 20 miles (1 hour by Taxi) from Scarborough, Tobago's capital, and 27 miles (1 hour 15 minutes by Taxi) from Crown Point International Airport

ROOMS: A total of 38 rooms. These include 3 Bungalows with either 1 or 2 air conditioned bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, living room, and a large porch, 4 self catering studio apartments with a full kitchen and small dining area. Attached joining rooms to the apartments are also available. Standard rooms are also available. All rooms offer stunning views of the turquoise waters of Batteaux Bay. This property is Tobago's best kept secret!

myTobago Review

Hotel / Inn, Speyside, Tobago

The following review was produced during a 7-night stay at Blue Waters Inn in March 2018.

Introduction

I fell in love with Batteaux Bay in the late 1950s, when the property was home to a small summer camp. My memories of that beautiful beach and bay are deeply embedded and form one of the core building blocks to my love and empathy for Tobago. A love that resulted in this website.

Many years later, the property opened as a small hotel, the Blue Waters Inn. I didn't stay at the hotel until 2003. We enjoyed our stay and returned in 2007. The accommodation was basic, the catering poor and the service abysmal, but the location so stunning that all other considerations were swept aside.

As much as we would have liked to return, reader reports indicated that the catering problems and lack of investment were having an increasingly detrimental impact on the property. Our recommendations are only valid while endorsed by public consensus. So, it was with great regret that we dropped the hotel from our featured listings.

In recent years, the Trinidadian family that owns the Blue Waters Inn have made a major investment and undertaken a complete refurbishment of the hotel. Equally importantly, indications are that the hotel is benefitting from an entirely new service-led management philosophy.

It was clearly time to determine whether the refurbishment was merely superficial, or as deep as we believe they needed to be.

Location

Batteaux Bay and the Blue Waters Inn are located just north of Speyside village, on Tobago's eastern Atlantic Coast. It is about an hour's drive from the capital, Scarborough, and realistically, around an hour and a half from the airport.

Speyside has little to commend it. There are no shops likely to be of interest to visitors. The nearest ATM machine and petrol (gas) station are at Roxborough, nearly 30-minutes away. There are, however, a few local dining options in the village. The best-known of these is the well-known Jemma's Treehouse Restaurant. It takes around 15 minutes to walk to the village from the hotel.

The Blue Waters is set amidst 46 acres of dense trees and foliage, on the edges of an old cocoa plantation. Being on the edge of the Main Ridge Rainforest, it is not surprising that bird watchers represent a major part of the clientele. The fact that Newton George, the island's most knowledgeable and highly-regarded bird-watching guide, lives in the village is a considerable bonus.

The seas off Speyside are also home to some of the best scuba diving sites in the southern Caribbean. Most of these sites are just minutes away from the hotel, who own and run the best dive service in the area.

Architecture

The Blue Waters Inn comprises of several one and two-story semi-connected buildings set along the beach frontage. The mature foliage that surrounds the hotel makes it almost impossible to see more than a small portion of the buildings from any single viewpoint, giving the property the cosy feel of a much smaller establishment. Even from the sea, the sea grape trees along the beach frontage hide most of the buildings.

The buildings are pleasant and practical, despite lacking any great architectural merit. The truth is that you simply don't notice the building; the view out to sea is just so stunning that you seldom look elsewhere.

Wheelchair access around the hotel is good. There is also level access to the upper floor of one of the three standard room accommodation blocks and wheelchair access to the swimming pool, dining room and bar areas.

Clientele

Other than a few small guesthouses and self-catering apartments, the Blue Waters Inn is the only hotel of any consequence in the north of Tobago. Visitors wanting 'luxury' accommodation had no choice but to stay in the south-west of the island and be satisfied with day trips that could only provide them with briefest of introductions to the stunning bird life or scuba diving of the 'north end'.

The 'new' Blue Waters Inn has faced the challenge head on. There is no longer any question of roughing it in order to enjoy the region's beauty, bird life and diving. I have never stayed at a hotel that attracts such a varied clientele. At the tail-end of the high season and more than a month into our current review trip, I must also express our surprise – and delight – that the hotel was positively buzzing during our week there. There are few hotels on Tobago that can claim that any longer.

Being a people-watcher by nature, I found the mix of residents and day visitors fascinating. I'm sure that most readers will agree with me that birders and divers are not groups that you would expect to find in the same establishment. Stereotypical examples of both were to be found in abundance and totally enriched the social mix. Unlike most hotels, the clientele truly crossed all socioeconomic, nationality and age barriers. As a result, the hotel seemed far less status conscious or cliquey than its more up-market competitors.

Whilst there are no specific facilities for children, the hotel is child-friendly. I know that cots are available, because I returned to find one in our room, one morning. I initially thought it might by Jill's way of telling me something. However, after the rising panic had receded, I remembered that we were pensioners and common-sense prevailed. Housekeeping apologised and confirmed that it was a mistake.

Accommodation

The Blue Waters Inn offers a choice of 38 Beachfront and Superior Beachfront rooms, 4 Deluxe Beachfront Studios and 3 self-contained Bungalows.

Regardless of grade, all rooms benefit from satellite TV, air-conditioning, touch-control ceiling fan, balcony or patio, ensuite bathroom with shower, mini safe, iron and ironing board, tea and coffee making facilities and a hairdryer. The primary difference between the grades is the size of the room. Rooms on the ground floor benefit from almost direct access to the beach, at the marginal cost of a slight lack of privacy from guests passing in front of the room. The upper rooms benefit from higher ceilings, engendering a slightly more spacious feel, at the cost of having to climb a flight of stairs at the rear of the building. 

The different grades can be summarised as follows:

  • Beachfront Room: located on the upper (first) floor, these have a maximum occupancy of two guests in a single king-size bed.
  • Beachfront Superior Room: located on either the ground or upper floor, these rooms are available with either a king-size bed or two double beds. The maximum occupancy is two adults, but double bed rooms can be shared with up to two children not more than 5 years of age.
  • Beachfront Deluxe Studio: available on either the ground or upper floors, these are the largest regular rooms and feature an open-plan living area and a full kitchen.
  • Beachfront One Bedroom Bungalow: the bungalows are tucked away in a discrete beachside location. The One Bedroom Bungalow has a single ensuite bedroom with king-size bed and a maximum occupancy of two. It has an open living room with a full-size kitchen and dining area.
  • Beachfront Two Bedroom Bungalow: as above, but with two bedrooms. The master bedroom has a king-size bed; the second bedroom with two double beds. Both bedrooms have ensuite facilities.  
  • Grand Bungalow: available by special request, the Grand Bungalow is the largest and most luxurious of the three bungalows and set in a very private and secluded beachfront area just a few steps away from the sea. It has a large outdoor patio area, with barbeque pit, outdoor jacuzzi and a private balcony. The large modern kitchen is provided fully-stocked. The ensuite master bedroom has a king-size bed; the ensuite guest room has two double beds. The maximum occupancy for this bungalow is 5 persons.

We viewed several rooms on both the ground and upper floor and would have been happy to stay in any. All the rooms are sea-facing, with sea views, and none more than a few metres from the beach. Cooling sea breezes and large overhead fans keep the rooms cool during the day. The modern split-unit air-conditioners are very quiet, so you can still fall asleep and wake to the sound of the surf breaking on the beach.

Rooms are serviced daily and linen and towels changed as required. Beach towels are issued from the hotel's reception area and can be changed daily. 

There is no room service, but the bar is open from mid-morning until late evening. The hotel intends to fit refrigerators in all standard and superior rooms. Currently some rooms have a small fridge, others don't. The Deluxe Studios and bungalows are fitted with both freezers and refrigerators.

The hotel's website states that Wi-Fi is available in all rooms. Our experience and tests indicated that only the rooms closest to the central admin areas could receive a reliable Internet connection. However, a reasonable connection was available in the pool, bar and restaurant areas and even out along the walkways past many of the rooms.

Security at the hotel is excellent. Other than by sea, the only way into the resort is via a single narrow cliffside track from Speyside. This means passing a security post, which is manned 24/7. All rooms are fitted with a small electronic safe

Many rooms have lockable interconnecting doors to the adjacent unit. This is ideal for families with younger children. Several standard rooms are accessible by wheelchair, but these do have a step into the shower so are not totally wheelchair-friendly. The Grand Bungalow is the only unit with full mobility aids.

Restaurant & Bar

Knowing that the biggest single issue with the 'old' Blue Waters Inn was the quality of catering, I confess that we arrived at the hotel with a degree of trepidation.

The hotel has a single open-plan restaurant and bar, called Aqua, which serves all meals. Bar snacks are also available from noon until 10pm. Guests can dine on the open deck that projects over the beach, but many tend to favour the shaded restaurant inside. Both offer wonderful views over the bay. The restaurant and bar are open to non-resident guests and are a popular choice with travellers visiting the hotel for bird watching, snorkelling tours or diving.

Our first meal was dinner. The refurbished restaurant looked elegant in evening livery and the extensive menu was certainly promising. We wanted to be confident, but still had the fear that we would be disappointed. Were we? Absolutely not. In fact, that first meal was the best we'd had on Tobago since our arrival more than a month before, and that included a recent delightful meal at what is generally considered to be the best restaurant on the island.

Caribbean breakfasts are much the same at every hotel, so they didn't really help us to make a fair judgement.

Lunches are a casual affair. The luncheon menu is extensive and ranges from light soups, salads and sandwiches through to full meals, primarily of a local nature, or what might be better described as a local-international fusion. We thoroughly enjoyed every dish that we tried. In fact, we had so many favourites that choosing became a problem.

By the end of the week, we had to acknowledge that the changes were more than superficial. The new Blue Waters Inn is a very different beast to the old one. Not only was there an excellent choice, but every meal was beautifully presented, fresh and delicious. I'm not a great fan of buffets, but the Curry Night special was a delight.

It is still relatively early days and the hotel acknowledges that they have a way to go in recruiting and training staff. The basics are firmly in place, but staff shortages do mean that waiting times can be extensive when the restaurant is particularly busy.  However, in our opinion, the Aqua restaurant at the Blue Waters Inn can now compete with the best hotels and restaurants on the island.

Staff

Tobagonians can be the most warm-hearted, friendly and hospitable people in the Caribbean. In fact, it is the endemic people of the island that give Tobago its special magic and result in so many of us coming back year after year, after year

The initial countenance of many Tobagonians can appear fierce and unfriendly and the short, sharp manner of speaking they often adopt can cause offense to tourists. However, speak to them politely and as equals and you will instantly knock down the defensive wall they project and reveal the true warmth and wonderful sense of humour that most of them possess.

The endemic population in the north of Tobago have had less exposure to tourism and it has taken longer for them to accept the benefits – and the people that bring those benefits. We have noticed a huge change in attitudes on the island in recent years. Locals always had an issue differentiating between service and servitude. The penny seems to have finally dropped and local people are finally recognising that one can achieve great pride and satisfaction, not to mention financial benefits, by providing good service. 

Our previous visit to the Blue Waters Inn was 11 years ago. The difference in staff attitude was frankly astonishing. I could never have described the old hotel as "friendly". Now, I would describe it as one of the friendliest small hotels on the island. What is particularly noteworthy is that some of the staff have been there for up to 30 years, so we must have met them in the old days. Clearly, whilst some of the change must be attributed to the changes affecting all of the island, it must also reflect on current management and/or on good training.

Whatever the reasons, I can only say that saying goodbye to so many friends when leaving such a hotel is always a sad experience.

Beach & swimming pool

One of the strongest features of the Blue Waters Inn is the wonderful beachside location. Batteaux Bay is a gorgeous horseshoe-shaped bay, surrounded by steep cliffs and dense tropical foliage. It is the epitome of a true Caribbean beach. The 300-metre golden sand beach is relatively narrow, but with no neighbouring properties, it is effectively the private domain of the hotel. Being such a small hotel and with many guests away birding or diving every day, you are virtually guaranteed your own little slice of paradise.

Swimming conditions in Batteaux Bay are normally excellent. The beach does shelve a little, but swimming is safe and suitable for all skill levels. The beach frontage is shaded by mature seagrape trees, offering a choice of spots in the sun, or in the shade, for the many sun-loungers strategically placed along the beachfront.

In recent years, reddish-brown Sargassum seaweed has been a problem on all Atlantic coast beaches throughout the Caribbean. Batteaux Bay has not escaped the problem and every tide seems to bring in more. Fortunately, it is innocuous stuff and the hotel make every effort to sweep it up and clear it at low tide.

Of course, there are always those who prefer a swimming pool to the beach. So, a recent addition to the hotel has been the swimming pool 

In recent years, the hotel has installed a small but attractive infinity swimming pool close to the main buildings. There is a wide deck around the pool and a liberal stock of sun loungers.

Activities

During the peak high season months, the hotel provides live entertainment on one or two evenings each week. We were entertained by excellent steel pan players on two evenings.

The hotel has a tennis court. It is adequate for a knockabout but might disappoint serious players.

The seas off Speyside are home to some of the best advanced diving in Tobago. Rather than franchising the operation, as in previous years, the hotel now has its own dive shop. Blue Waters Inn Dive'N is a PADI 5-star IDC facility. They offer training and dive facilities from beginner to advanced diver.

Also operating from the grounds of the hotel are Frank's Glass Bottom Boat Tours and Top Ranking Tours. Both firms offer snorkelling trips to the Speyside reefs and tours of the bird sanctuary at Little Tobago.

Hikers and birders will enjoy the attractive trails from the hotel. Speyside is also the home of the myTobago.info recommended birding tour guide, Newton George.

Conclusion

The Blue Waters Inn provides comfortable accommodation in an atmosphere totally lacking in pretension. The hotel is not simply a birder's hotel or a diver's hotel, it will be equally suited and enjoyed by anyone seeking total relaxation.

The transformation in the hotel since our previous visits (2003, 2007) is nothing short of amazing. The improvements in the dining and service levels have to be experienced to be believed.

Without a doubt, Blue Waters Inn is one of those establishments that has captured a very special spot in our hearts.

Reader Reports

This property has a weighted Reader Satisfaction Rating of 84%   . Click below to read the 28 reader reports that this is rating is based on.

Alexander Bray from U.S.A. visited in March 2018 and awarded   

A very nice away from it all experience. Excellent snorkeling and diving excursions. The food is very good with a large selection to chose from. Accommodations are comfortable and right on the beach.

This location is best for those who have their own car, although excursions can be arranged. We found driving in Tobago to be easy if you are not in a rush. The roads are narrow and winding, but very pretty.

John Ankrett from U.K. visited in December 2015 and awarded   

The Blue Waters Inn is situated on an excellent beach in a most beautiful bay, and our room was only 20 feet from the beach.

The beach and bay are effectively private - there are no other properties, only one road in and this has a gate which is attended at all times.

The hotel is lovely, the staff are almost unfailingly nice and we hardly got bitten at all!

The food however is not good. very little choice, rather ordinary and very overpriced for what it is (even compared to European prices...). We expected this (from previous reviews) and had not taken the "all inclusive" option but underestimated how difficult it would to get food elsewhere. It is about 30 minutes walk to the nearest "village" which would be just about OK if it were not the far side of a rather high headland... which means a pretty tough hike in both directions(and it does sometimes rain).

If you have a hire car this will not be a problem, but booking taxis every night is a bit of a pain - there are none locally.

In the village are a couple of reasonable restaurants. Simple and with limited menus but nice food, a small shop and a couple of smaller hotels happy to serve hikers.

Having driven about quite a bit Blue Waters appears to be in the best location on the Island - it just need to get the food sorted out!

Location Map

To view a detailed interactive map showing the location of this property relative to restaurants, shops and sightseeing features, click this link  

Standard Rooms:$170 - $245
Deluxe Studio S/C:$270 - $335
1-Bedroom S/C Efficiency:$370 - $450
2-Bedroom Bungalow:$500 - $700
Minimum Nights:0 nights
Property Type:Hotel / Inn
Bedrooms:38
Air-Conditioned:Fully air-conditioned
Children:Children welcome
Hair Dryers:Available
Telephone:Emergency cell phone issued upon check-in.
Internet Access:Yes
Television:Television / FREE WiFi / Game Room
Safety Deposit:Yes
Wheelchair Access:Yes
Swimming Pool:Infiniti Pool
Jacuzzi:Heated Jacuzzi
Spa Facilities:No
Fitness Centre:No
Tennis:Activities / Basketball Court Lighted
Restaurant:0
Meal Plans:

Housekeeping:Daily housekeeping
Baby-Sitting:Contracted service
Personal Laundry:Yes
Personal Cooking:No
Location:Speyside
Region:North End
Location Type:Village
Airport:75 minutes
Beach:Beachside Property