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Tosca - a myTobago guide to Tobago holiday accommodation
 

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Tobago Vacation Accommodation

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Tosca, Tobago

Tosca

3-bedroom Holiday Rental Villa

Tosca is a quaint three-bedroom villa located in the grounds of the Sanctuary Villa Resort at Pleasant Prospect. Beautiful Grafton beach is within... walking distance and this homely comfortable property makes an ideal holiday home for those wishing to tour the island.

Full development of the Sanctuary Villa Resort was never completed. Tosca is largely unaffected and avoids views of many of the uncompleted buildings that blight some properties on the development.
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Tosca

3-bedroom Holiday Rental Villa

Tosca is a quaint three-bedroom villa located in the grounds of the Sanctuary Villa Resort at Pleasant Prospect. Beautiful Grafton beach is within walking distance and this homely comfortable property makes an ideal holiday home for those wishing to tour the island.

Full development of the Sanctuary Villa Resort was never completed. Tosca is largely unaffected and avoids views of many of the uncompleted buildings that blight some properties on the development.

click/tap the photo to view a gallery of 23 photos

Property Description

Provided by the property, or taken from their website

Welcome to our lovely home Tosca in Tobago, set high on a ridge overlooking Buccoo Reef and the Caribbean sea.

Located next to the Grafton bird sanctuary their traditionally designed semi-detached villa affords luxury accommodation within the secure Sanctuary Villa estate, close to Mt Irvine Bay and up the hill from the village of Pleasant Prospect, which boasts not only a fine restaurant - the Fish Pot, but also a bar, a shop, and an all important (but rare) cash point.

The nearest beaches are only five minutes walk away! Tosca's spacious living accommodation can comfortably sleep 8 (10 at a pinch) which makes it ideal for two families, or a group of friends sharing.

For many years we rented villas in the Mediterranean for our family holidays, so when we came to buy Tosca in 2003 we furnished & equipped it to the standard we always hoped to find when we arrived at a villa ourselves. We've also added a few 'extras', so hopefully we've catered for your every need.

We list the main features included in the rental below.

  • 3 air-conditioned bedrooms, each with double bed (the terrace room has 2 & the master suite a 7ft wide super king). In addition there is a single sofa bed which can be moved in to any room of your choice.
  • All bedrooms have en suite bathrooms, hairdryers and sea views
  • Large living area with dining table to seat 6 comfortably
  • Fully equipped kitchen with dishwasher and microwave
  • Downstairs cloakroom
  • Washing machine & separate dryer
  • Cable TV and Radio
  • Direct dial telephone + message service
  • Twice weekly house/pool cleaning services
  • Large terrace (with hammock!) & splash pool
  • Portable loungers (4) & inflatables available for children
  • Family sized gas barbeque
  • On-site help & advice from Cathy & Frances at the Sanctuary Villa office (always consult with them before committing to trips or tours)

myTobago Review

Our reviews are devoid of marketing hype. We aim to provide concise, unbiased factual information that will help you find Tobago holiday accommodation that perfectly matches your hopes, requirements and expectations.

The following review was produced during a 7-night stay at Tosca in February 2012.

Introduction

Tosca is a three-bedroom semi-detached villa on the Sanctuary Villa Resort. It is located on Tobago's northern Caribbean coast, just a short 15-20 minute drive from the airport.

Sanctuary was one of Tobago's grandest development projects. Occupying a 21-acre valley on the hills of the Grafton Estate, overlooking Buccoo Reef and the Caribbean Sea, the original plans were for a 56-bedroom hotel, 40+ detached and semi-detached villas and a dozen or so hillside condominiums. Only 18 semi-detached and 8 detached villas were ever completed. The shell of the hotel was completed, but worked ceased in 2003 when funding ran out.

Clearly, uncompleted buildings are never going to be easy of eye. Every effort has been made to make the best of an unfortunate situation. As can be seen from the aerial photo adjacent, the shell of the hotel and condominiums have been painted to better resemble completed buildings. The construction scars and detritus have long since been covered by natural vegetation and careful landscaping. Tosca is the most westernmost unit (left, on the aerial view). Visitors staying at this charming house are almost totally unaware of the eyesore further up the hill. In fact Tosca is an ideal choice of holiday accommodation…

Location

The Sanctuary Villa Resort is located on the Grafton Estate, near Stonehaven Bay on Tobago's Caribbean coast. The development is just a short 15-20 minute drive from the airport.

The Crown Point beaches are attractive and popular, but have become over-commercialised and can often be crowded. The beaches along the Caribbean coast are much quieter and much more natural. Other than a few beach traders, these beaches are largely free from any sort of commercialisation.

The Shirvan Road, running along the lower Caribbean coast road, from its intersection with the Crown Point-Scarborough highway, is rapidly becoming Tobago's restaurant gold strip. More than half dozen of Tobago's most popular restaurants are housed along this mile or two of road – all within a 5-10 minute drive of Tosca.

When one combines these factors, the Sanctuary Villa Resort is as good a location as any. It is within 15-20 minutes drive of everywhere in the main Crown Point-Plymouth-Scarborough triangle and ideally located to tour Tobago's northern coastline and rain forest.

The Sanctuary development is located in a quiet valley well away from the main road. Although only a 10-minute walk from the nearest restaurant, take-away, mini-mart and a shade longer to the nearest beach, the uphill return is much longer. Walking will only appeal to the very most athletic of visitors. Fortunately, Tosca comes with full use of the owner's Daihatsu Terios 4x4.

Architecture

Drawings of the completed Sanctuary Villa Resort are quite attractive, with the rather grand Great Plantation House Hotel dominating thehigh ground at the head of the valley and a beautiful water feature cascading down the central valley. Running down either side of the valley are nine identical privately-owned two-storey Heaven Villas, each split into two semi-detached 3-bedroom villas.

The resort's original marketing literature described the architectural style of these villas as "Island Vernacular". I think this is as meaningless as my own first thoughts – "Caribbean Pastiche". Whatever their style, they are both attractive and distinctive, with their high light-blue roofs, pale yellow brickwork and green and yellow balustrades.

This review is about Tosca (villa number 2), not the Sanctuary Villa Resort. Readers interested in other property on the development should be aware that the desirability of units varies enormously. Our endorsement of Tosca does not apply to all other properties. The Heaven Villas on the western side of the development (9-18) overlook the foundations of the uncompleted hillside condominiums. Even if ever completed, the view is likely to be reminiscent of the worst type of Mediterranean development.

The villas on the eastern side of the development have few of these problems. Those at the highest point (5 to 18) have the best views of Buccoo Reef and the Nylon Pool. They look over the top of the hillside condominiums, but sadly their view is also dominated by the unfinished hotel building.

The first four villas (1 to 4), which include Tosca, escape all these disadvantages and are by far the most desirable villas on the development. Only the very end foundations walls of the hillside condos can be seen, together with brief glimpses of the upper floor and roof of the hotel. However, they still have views of Buccoo Reef and are currently the only Heaven Villas not blighted by the unfinished project.

Accommodation

Tosca is a three-bedroom partly air-conditioned luxury villa. The property is well equipped and in reasonable maintenance and decorative order. It is very clearly a private holiday home, available for rental when not in use by the British owner, rather than a commercial rental property. As such, the house has much more of a 'lived in' feel and one gets a real and nice sense of the owners' personality. It is furnished attractively and appropriately and the colourful Caribbean print curtains, bedspreads and seat covers compliment the external woodwork and balustrades. All in all, Tosca lacks for nothing and represents a very comfortable home-from-home.

Master Bedroom

Conventionally located on the upper floor of the house, the master bedroom is spacious, offering 30sq.m. of floor space; an impression further enhanced by a high vaulted ceiling. With the window shutters and balcony doors open, the room is also breezy and bright. The small (1.2x0.8m) balcony offers lovely views of Buccoo Reef and the Nylon Pool.

With windows on three sides, the bedroom catches every breeze. Although air-conditioned, the large ceiling fan is all that we needed to sleep comfortably, without having to resort to mechanical aids. Mind you, the remotely-controlled, split-unit air-con was quiet enough in operation and a great way of masking the raucous early morning call of Tobago's ridiculous national bird, the Cocrico (Rufus-vented Chacalaca).

The master room is furnished with a 7-foot super-king double bed with bedside tables and reading lamps, plus telephone. Electric mosquito deterrent burners and a small stock of the requisite burner pads are provided in each room (additional pads available cheaply in all supermarkets) and mosquito nets are available. However, we had no problem with mosquitoes or other insects in the bedrooms, so did not make use of either the burners or the nets.

Additional bedroom furnishings include a full length mirror, two chairs and a small security safe. There is 1.6 metres of full-length hanging space, with a large but disparate collection of hangers, and more than 4 metres of under-eaves shelved storage space.

The bathroom is relatively small at 2.9x1.9 metres but well finished and more than adequate for purpose. There is ample storage space for toiletries on the washbasin vanity unit, and more beneath. The walk-in shower is fully tiled and in good condition. The washbasin water pressure was little more than a trickle, but the shower suffered no such limitations, although temperature control was sensitive and easily upset when any other tap (faucets) was turned on. The water heater tank seemed relatively small and could easily run out of hot water at peak times of the day, but at least it warmed up quickly.

Other bathroom facilities included a wall-mounted hairdryer and a shaver socket.

Bedroom 2

The second bedroom is also located on the upper floor of the house. It is marginally smaller than the master, measuring 4.9x3.6 metres and offering 23.2sq.m. of floor space including the bathroom. It is equally well furnished and equipped.

This bedroom is furnished with a 4´6˝ double bed, two bedside tables and lamps and a small coffee table. There is also a pull-out couch that could accommodate a child, or a small adult at a pinch. A wardrobe built into the eves provides a little under a metre of hanging space. Another similar-sized eves-wardrobe provides additional shelf storage.

The only source of natural light is through the glazed doors leading onto the small 1sq.m. balcony. Nevertheless, the room is bright and cheerful. It is fully air-conditioned, but by leaving both the balcony doors and bathroom window open you would almost certainly get enough through-breeze to sleep without air-conditioning.

The bathroom is well-equipped with a shaver point, wall-mounted hair dryer, fully-tiled walk-in shower and lots of space for toiletries.

Bedroom 3

The third bedroom is located on the ground floor. Measuring 4.8x3.9m and offering 24.5sq.m. of floor space, this bedroom appears spacious despite being furnished with two double beds, three bedside tables, a pair of reading lamps, an attractive large 6-drawer cane dressing table, two chairs, a full-length mirror and over a metre of wardrobe space.

ide glazed doors lead from the bedroom onto the main balcony. Like the second bedroom, this room abuts the dividing wall in the centre of the duplex building, so has no windows on the side aspect. Nevertheless, the room is adequately light and bright. Being located on the ground floor, security considerations make it unwise to sleep with the patio doors open. Fortunately the air-con unit proved as quiet and efficient as those in the other bedrooms. The only slight criticism was the fact that louvered shutters adjacent to the patio did not close fully and allowed light from a security light to enter the room. Light-sensitive sleepers should pack an eyeshade.

The bathroom is the largest of the three, at 5.8sq.m, and is equipped to the same high standard, with shaver socket, wall-mounted hairdryer, walk-in fully-tiled shower and lots of storage space. The shower is another fully-tiled spacious walk-in unit. Sadly, it proved a disappointment in use due to difficulty balancing the water temperature.

Living Room

As one would expect, the semi-open plan 29sq.m. living-dining-kitchen area is the largest room in the villa. With windows on three walls, the room is light and breezy, yet remains shaded throughout the day. It feels very much like a home rather than the typical more antiseptic rental property.

The dining area features a large glass dining table with six cane chairs. The dining area is separated from the kitchen by a small breakfast bar/serving hatch with two tall chairs.

The living room area has two settees and an easy chair arranged around a large central coffee table. Beneath the table, we found a large selection of books about Tobago plus a guest information file containing exhaustive notes and information about the villa and island. It is a pleasure to see owners taking time and trouble to provide their guests with information that will help them to optimise their holiday on Tobago. Additional furnishings include a cable-television with DVD player and a small collection of films.

The kitchen is small, but equipped with everything you are likely to need. Equipment includes a huge 4-ring electric oven, a dishwasher and fridge-freezer, plus microwave, electric kettle, blender, toaster, juice squeezer, cafetiere and even a set of kitchen scales. I gave up even trying to list the pots and pans, general utensils, crockery, cutlery and other kitchen and dining items. I have seldom seen a wider-equipped villa. After over nine years of use, everything was starting to show its age, but at least everything was clean and working.

We are always surprised by how few villa owners provide condiments, spices and other kitchen essentials. The cost of doing so is negligible, but providing such items saves guests from having to waste valuable holiday time buying family-size packs of sugar, salt, pepper and other items, most of which invariably end up in the bin on departure. Not so at Tosca. The owners encourage guests to leave any surplus fresh food stocks if new guests are expected within a day or two, and Carol, the housekeeper, checks to make sure that only fresh items are retained. The kitchen is stocked like a normal 'home' kitchen. The owners invite guests to use anything in the cupboards and simply ask that anything used is replaced. I sincerely hope that their trust is not abused and that they continue this helpful system.

The living room is not air-conditioned, but the large overhead ceiling fan and through breezes keep the room adequately cool throughout the day. A telephone is provided and guests can make local calls. Complimentary wireless Internet access is also available throughout the property.

A small utility area and cloakroom with toilet and washbasin is housed in a short corridor between the living area and the ground-floor bedroom. Utilities included a large American washing machine and dryer. An ironing board and electric iron is stored in one of the master bedroom cupboards. Assorted snorkelling masks, fins and a small body board are available for guest use, together with a picnic cooler and ice packs.

Terrace & Pool

Tosca has two attractive 3.75x2.5m terrace areas separated by 3x2.8m plunge pool with a depth of 0.9 metres. The plunge pool is small but adequate for a cooling dip.

The terrace outside the main living room is furnished with two deckchairs and a circular table with four comfortable fabric-covered all-weather chairs.

Whilst the dining table is great for formal dining, we found the patio a far more compelling area for all dining. The second terrace, outside the ground floor bedroom, has another pair of comfortable cushioned deckchairs and a gas barbeque. There are four portable sun loungers that can be positioned as required.

Staff

Housekeeping services are provided three days per week. The housekeeper, Carol, was helpful and charming. She makes the beds, washes up and empties the dishwasher, changes the linen and towels mid-week. The linen and towels were clean and presentable and beach towels are available on request.

Pool maintenance only takes five minutes and is conducted most days. Sanctuary Villa Resort is responsible for the grounds and with the exception of the unfinished hotel and condominiums, the gardens appear to be reasonably well-maintained.

Beach

It is a 10-minute downhill walk from Tosca to the 900m (0.6 mile) Grafton Beach in Stonehaven Bay. Realistically, one should add a further 5-10 minutes as the best swimming is at the far end of the beach. The walk home will be uphill. It is a long hard slog, even at the coolest times of the day. Fortunately Tosca is the very first villa on the Sanctuary development. I would think that only the very hardiest of souls would consider the beach to be within walking distance.

The seas were running higher than normal during our stay. The conditions were great for body boarders, but it was a struggle to get into the calmer waters behind the surf. Conditions at the furthest end of the beach were generally calmer than at the western end where you first join it from Tosca. There is also reasonable snorkelling at that calmer end.

Stonehaven Bay beach normally offers good swimming and shelves relatively gradually. Although there are a few rocky parts, the majority is clear sand with no hidden "nasties". There are no lifeguards, warning flags or other safety facilities, so visitors should obviously take great care and never, ever, exceed their capabilities and experience.

A number of traders ply the beach and some have semi-permanent 'stands' there. None of them were in the slightest way intrusive – in fact they can become friendly beach companions if you take the trouble to pass the time of day and exchange a friendly word. Buying is not a precondition.

Conclusion

Our week at Tosca passed all too quickly. That is due, in no small part, to the fact that you feel at home in this villa, the moment you cross the threshold.

Tosca is a private home. It is decorated and furnished as such and you are always aware of the fact. It is cool, light, bright and breezy and despite being stuck inside most of every day, writing this review, I never got hot and bothered or had to retreat to an air-conditioned bedroom.

I wouldn't want to stay at some villas on the Sanctuary Villa Resort, but I have to say that Tosca is a little gem. It is a perfect home-from-home and represents a wonderful base for a holiday in Tobago. We certainly have no qualms about recommending the villa to others.

Reader Reports

31 readers voted for this property. However, these votes are very old and so have been discounted.

Deonyse Pyle-Williams from Trinidad visited in December 2012 and awarded   

I was extremely satisfied with our stay at the Tosca. Waking up to the sound of birds in the morning was a great start to our day. The place was so lovely that there was no need to leave the villa.

Sarah Johnson from U.S.A. visited in July 2012 and awarded   

We had reserved Tosca for our family vacation, it was the perfect location and accommodation for us. We traveled with our 3 year old daughter who absolutely loved the pool and couldn't get enough of the pool. From breakfast to bed time she was in the pool, playing, and running around outside the house and inside. Tosca is great for families,we were able to relax comfortably. We loved having the car available for use, we used it not as much as we thought we would because we simply didn't want to leave the house except to go to the beach.

The grounds of Tosca are clean and well maintained with Mango trees and other tropical fruit bearing trees surrounding the house. The birds are amazing, frogs are entertaining and well, the lizards are just awesome! We enjoyed the large view of the reef and blue ocean. The house was equipped with everything you could want to cook meals, enjoy the beach, sand toys, a grill, patio furniture, towels, and too much to mention. It was a perfect get a way and we are looking forward to returning and extending our stay to 2 weeks rather than one week. One week was too short. We weren't ready to leave.

The immediate area, a 3 to 5 minute walk downhill provides a small well equipped grocery, ice, cash machine, and bar and restaurant, even coffee and pizza.

We felt safe and well cared for at the house. The housekeeping service and pool service make the house still feel like you are at a resort being taken care of.

One of the highlights of our trip was getting to see Sea Turtles! A perfect location to do this. The house is well situated at Grafton Beach and very close to Turtle Beach.

Location Map

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

Full Villa:$168 - $225
Minimum Nights:0 nights
Property Type:Holiday Rental Villa
Bedrooms:3
Maximum Guests:8
Bathrooms:3 (ensuite)
Air-Conditioning:Bedrooms only
Children:Children welcome
Hair Dryers:Available
Telephone:Yes
Internet Access:Yes
Television:Yes
Safety Deposit:Yes
Wheelchair Access:Yes
Swimming Pool:Plunge pool
Catering Options:

Housekeeping:Twice per week
Baby-Sitting:No
Personal Laundry:No
Personal Cooking:No
Location:Grafton
Region:Lower Caribbean
Location Type:Open Countryside
Airport:15 minutes
Beach:6-10 minute Walk