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.
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.
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.
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.
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.