Step out into the open courtyard, taking centre stage in this home, and you feel like you're outside. With no ceiling or roof to obscure, it's an architectural showcase for the sun, not to mention the many other points of interest the day, or especially the night, sky has to offer. Welcome to "Soleil": here you're worlds away from the distracting sights and restless sounds of the big city!
Plop your weary self down in any one of the look-out lounges considerately attached to each of the bedrooms. Watch your thinking mind stop, as your senses come alive with the smell of salt in the air and the sun's sparkling presence on the water before you.
French for sun -- so aptly named -- Soleil has indeed been brilliantly designed to intensify appreciation of setting; it's an elemental adventure waiting to happen!
The open courtyard is surrounded by the structure of the house itself: the foyer, kitchen, dining and living areas seamlessly flowing into one another, making entertaining more fluid; the adjoining nooks that make up the living area making it easy for guests to withdraw from "court", soak up the many seascapes individually framed by the windows lining every wall.
The courtyard and all rooms on this main level are impeccably and thoughtfully furnished to encourage large get-togethers, whilst providing cosy corners conducive to solitary retreat.
The large and beautifully designed modern kitchen, complete with an old-time hanging-pots-from-the-ceiling feel, comes equipped with more than enough stainless steel gadgets and appliances to satisfy! If not the chef in you, then Soleil's housekeeper Camille, who's a gem, happy to whip up 'all kind of' local food.
The dining area is graced with a handsome mahogany table, which Camille takes great pride in setting, with up to 12 persons guaranteed loads of elbow room.
The foyer flows into a mini-cocktail lounge area, replete with bar-stools and all the necessary accoutrements for you, or your guests, to right away cosy up! Wooden adirondack chairs in the open courtyard are not far, there for the ladies to recline with their refreshments. Tasteful comfort and the simplicity of refinement, a perfect blending of form and function, with none of the excess and exageration too often thought a 'must' for elegance.
On the other side of the kitchen is another counter that's more the official breakfast bar, adjoined by even more counter space for computing on Soleil's lap-top, or making use of the WiFi to connect on your own.
In the main villa, there are 4 bedrooms: the master suite is on the lower main floor, set very discretely off the living quarters; with 3 other amazingly just-as-nice bedrooms on the upper level.
The bedrooms are air-conditioned, though most will of course be content with the ceiling-fan and cool sea breeze. A direct-dial telephone and safety deposit box are a couple of the other standard features worth mentioning. But when it comes to bedroom features, these have to be vintage Soleil: the huge multi-coloured tiled shower rooms -- 'stall' would be a misnomer -- found in each of the ensuites; the lookout lounging rooms attached to each chamber, allowing guests to privately greet nature in all her tropical glory every morning. Maybe later spend some "alone" time in the twin loungers, which are of course perfectly positioned to allow for panoramic viewing of the sea and its scenery.
Judging from the facilities and furnishings found throughout, it is obvious that the utmost thought and care has gone into making every guest of Soleil feel special, yet uncanningly also 'at home'.
On the ground level, there is a separate and self-contained apartment with living room, full kitchen & bathroom, and a sleeping alcove furnished with a queen-size bed. -- Soleil's 5th bedroom -- which can be rented for surplus guests. Or, on its own, at the last minute, if there is no one booked to stay upstairs. The living room opens onto the wooden pool deck with lily pond, barbeque area and the villa's two swimming pools.
There is a foot path leading down from the lower pool deck to the sea. The covered jetty down there has already become a popular wedding spot -- a really private and romantic place to exchange your vows. With just a few close friends and family as witnesses. With the sea for accompaniment.
This experience, your official Tobago adventure, begins when you are personally met at the airport by Curtis, who -- along with Soleil's professional managers and staff -- will be on call for the duration of your visit to ensure everything runs smoothly. Should you decide you need someone who knows the island to drive you around, Curtis is your man! Should you decide to hire a car, this could easily be organised, the car delivered at your convenience.
When you arrive at the villa, one of Soleil's managers Gillian will be there to greet you, pass over the keys, and give you a quick tour. Then all you have to do is unpack. Feel pampered! Your housekeeper will be there 3 days a week to clean and, together with the rest of "Team Soleil", she is there to ensure your stay is a carefree and relaxing one.
"Team Soleil" is also more than happy to assist in organising whichever nature or sight-seeing tours and activities you think you might be interested in -- at reasonable rates, with trusted local guides! Horse riding, deep-sea diving, an all-inclusive day of snorkelling & sailing aboard "Island Girl", and a day-trip to Trinidad with a local Birding Expert are all activities worth considering. Not to mention a few more seasonal ones like sport-fishing, surfing at Mt. Irvine, or taking part in an SOS (Save our Seaturtles) Nesting or Hatchling Watch.
For the golf enthusiasts in your party, Gillian can also advise as to the particular golf packages available at Tobago's two award-winning 18-hole Championship golf courses, the one at Mt. Irvine being only a 5 - 10 minute drive from the villa. On-hand, you will find an in-house folder with a list of recommendations for dining, as well as flyers detailing local activities -- for those who prefer to make it up as they go ... plan their own fun.
One thing for sure: whether home relaxing or out exploring, you can be as lazy AND adventurous as you want, when staying at Soleil!
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