The original cottage offers two bedrooms and 600sq.ft. of accommodation, including the front deck. The accommodation is basic, but adequate. It is best suited to a couple or small family.
The interior of the cottage is split down the middle. The main half provides an open-plan kitchen and living area, and the other half the two bedrooms plus a small bathroom with wash basin, shower and toilet. Although room sizes are not vast, the open high ceiling helps to create an overall impression of spaciousness. The painted corrugated tin roof visible on our first visit has now been lined with hardboard. The unglazed windows are all fitted with simple wooden louvers.
The cottage is simply, but adequately, furnished. The white walls may seem a little stark, but a few pictures, shells and other decorations break the austerity. The general maintenance and decorative condition was reasonable.
The main living area is furnished with a dining table with four chairs, and two sofas protected by throws. In addition to a few books left by departing guests and local tourism brochures, there is also a portable radio/CD/tape unit. Don't forget to bring some CDs if you want to take advantage of this. A telephone is availabile for local calls, but not Internet.
The kitchen offers the usual features: a propane gas cooker (oven plus four rings, but no grill), an electric toaster, microwave and a decent-sized fridge/freezer. All of these were clean and in reasonable maintenance order. There was a relatively limited collection of crockery, glassware, cutlery and cooking utensils but you've only got to ask Marguarite for anything extra that you need. The cottages are plumbed for both hot and cold water. The hot water tends to run out within a couple of minutes, but does reheat within 10 minutes or so.
The kitchen is separated from the main living area by small breakfast bar with fitted cupboards beneath. This offered useful extra storage space. Two tall chairs are provided at the bar.
As might be expected, there is no washing machine or dryer. There is an external cold-water sink at the rear of the property which is particularly useful for washing garments after return from the beach. There is a drying line down one side of the property. Marguarite can organise laundry services when required.
The 10-foot-square 'master' bedroom lies to the front of the property and has windows on two aspects. A 7ft high partition separates the bedrooms from each other and the living area, leaving a 3ft gap above for air circulation. The cottage is not air-conditioned, but we found that by leaving the window shutters and internal doors open, we were comfortable both during the day and at night.
The master room is fitted with a comfortable 5-foot queen-size bed. The linen, which is changed every three days, was clean and of reasonable tropical-weight quality. Mosquito nets are provided in both bedrooms. However, we had virtually no issue with mosquitoes during our stay. The only room fittings beside the bed were a single small bedside lamp and a small wardrobe offering 24-inches of half-length hanging and storage space. Formal clothing is simply superfluous in Castara, so this amount of hanging space should be adequate for most visitors.
The second bedroom is fractionally smaller than the first and furnished with a standard double bed. Like the main bedroom, the mosquito net hangs from a wooden frame so that the net drops vertically around the bed. This gives considerably more room and a less claustrophobic feel than the traditional coronet-style nets with a single central fixing point above the bed. The second bedroom has no furnishings other than a small bedside lamp, two shelves for storage and 18-inches of open hanging space.
To the rear of the two bedrooms, leading off from the kitchen, is the shared bathroom. The fully-tiled shower is not exactly a power-shower, but it was adequate. Marguarite provides good-quality bath and hand towels. Like the linen, these are changed every three days. Pleasingly, but unusually for this grade of accommodation, beach towels are available on request.
Wide double doors lead from the living area onto the substantial front deck. Offering stunning views down the valley, the deck is furnished with a pair of plastic sun loungers and an all-weather table with four comfortable chairs.
Little House On The Hill provides simple but perfectly adequate levels of accommodation. Its single biggest asset, however, is the truly tranquil setting of the property. With all the doors and window shutters open, you gain maximise enjoyment from the stunning gardens and surrounding countryside. Regular visitors included two beautiful Motmots who visited our balcony every morning. Had we stayed another week or two, I'm sure we would have had them taking cubes of cheese from our hand. Other visitors included a friendly little red squirrel and numerous hummingbirds – not to mention several hens and attendant chicks from neighbouring properties.