Where to Stay: Tobago’s Finest Hotels, B&Bs, Villas, Eco-retreats & More
This is a small place. A mere 300 km2. You could fit just over five Tobagos into London. In other words, nothing can reasonably be referred to as “too far”. But you’re on holiday and anything more than a deck chair away seems out of reach. So, when deciding where to plant yourself, do this: know what you like AND know what you are like.
Tobago may be small, but it finds room for every sort of hospitality. Luxury or budget? Ocean or forest? Beach or infinity pool? Villa or host home? Room service or self-catering? Ah, decisions, decisions. Tobago’s wide and ever-increasing array of accommodation can meet any holiday plans or budget, particularly in the tourist centre of Crown Point and along the island’s Leeward Coast.
From the busy southwest corner of the island to the rainforests of the interior and northeast, you can find comfortable, quality lodging. You can choose a luxury or budget hotel, a beach resort, an elegant villa, a self-catering apartment, a homely guesthouse, or a simple cottage in a quiet fishing village. Most choices offer airport transfers and visitor activities including tours led by experienced nature guides.
Around Crown Point & the Southwest
The Crown Point area, next to the airport, pulls more visitors than anywhere else, and if you want social life, nightlife, and plenty of entertainment options, this is the place to go for. There are both luxury and budget hotels within easy walking distance of the airport, close to Store Bay and Pigeon Point beaches, and an array of restaurants and bars.
Hotels and resorts are thick on the ground here in the southwest, including Crown Point Hotel, the Arnos Vale Hotel, Tropikist, and the newly unveiled Magdalena Grand Beach Resort at Tobago Plantations.
There are self-catering apartments at Belleviste and Store Bay Holiday Resort, and stunning villas like those at Tobago Plantations (including the stunning Villa Sans Souci and Sugar Mill Suites), Stonehaven, Seahorse Inn and Plantation Beach Villas a little way up the coast. Indeed, a villa is something one could easily get used to, and for a group it can be very affordable. At the luxury end you can live like royalty, and the simpler, cottage-style properties are very comfortable too. Spectacular views, architecture and service are often part of the deal. These villas also are perfect for wedding ceremonies and to host full wedding parties.
The further you go from the airport, the quieter Tobago becomes, and the more space there is for specialist pursuits: eco-vacations, hiking, diving, fishing, biking, birding (there’s even an adults-only hotel in Black Rock).
Birders, hikers, nature-lovers, head east or inland (or inland in an easterly fashion). Forest, forest everywhere. Even near the coast. If you’re thinking of spending a lot of time trekking the Main Ridge or looking for humming birds, think Parlatuvier, Bloody Bay, Castara. If you’re dedicating your holiday to the birds on Little Tobago try somewhere around Charlotteville, Blue Waters or Batteaux Bay. Cottages and apartments for rent. Fewer guest houses.
Across the island, there are lodgings geared to specific interests, whether you’re on a diving trip (Blue Waters Inn, near Tobago’s diving mecca at Speyside, has a dive shop and nature trails), a golfing holiday (luxurious villas like Sans Souci and Jammev at Tobago Plantations will help you rest up before teeing off), or an escape into nature (try the Arnos Vale Hotel, or the award-winning Footprints Eco Resort and Cuffie River Nature Retreat near Runnemede and Tobago’s Main Ridge Forest Reserve). Wedding parties would do well with the island’s upscale villas.
Price & Availability
The pressure on room stock has increased recently with growth in domestic tourism, particularly as locals cut back on expensive international getaways because of the global economic downturn. Plans are under way for two new large hotels, including the island’s first five-star facility, the Culloden Reef Hotel. In fact, the island’s airlift is contingent upon the expansion of its room stock (and the upgrading of its airport). Nevertheless, occupancy rates fell during the global recession, and prices with them, so there are steals to be had before the economy gets back to normal. Still, make sure you book ahead for traditionally popular peak periods like Easter, Carnival, Christmas and New Year’s, the Jazz Festival and holiday weekends.
Featured Accommodation (in alphabetical order)
Belleviste Apartments (Crown Point)
Many first-time visitors adore Belleviste Apartments because it’s close to the airport, beaches and restaurants. Belleviste consists of 20 self contained apartments: one two-bedroom apartment which sleeps four; three superior -one bedroom apartments; seven one-bedroom apartments which sleep two; and nine studio apartments for two with inter-connecting doors, which can be turned into two-bedroom apartments for four. These fully furnished apartments include air conditioning and televisions with a Cable TV; ensuite bathrooms with shower and hot/cold water; kitchennettes for self-catering; and private porches for each. Spacious and comfortable, the apartments are cleaned daily and fresh towels provided. You can have breakfast at Sandy Point Hotel, which is next door and accessible through a gate which is opened from 6am to 6pm. A lovely place to have your meals is the spacious gazebo, or at one of the many picnic tables or benches on the lawn. (If you can, book an apartment upstairs for a gorgeous view of the sea. Belleviste is within walking distance of the airport, Store Bay and Pigeon Point beaches.
Blue Waters Inn (Speyside)
The primary jumping-off point for trips to Little Tobago, the Inn is popular with birders making pilgrimage to Tobago’s diminutive neighbour, as well as those who enjoy the quieter attractions of the island’s northern coast. www.bluewatersinn.com
Cuffie River Nature Retreat (Runnemede)
“Quiet” and “lots of activity” are not often paired descriptors. However, just off the western end of Tobago’s Main Ridge that’s what this retreat offers. When owner Regina Dumas reclaimed a small parcel of land from a derelict cocoa estate to set up this small forest retreat, she imagined a simple, quiet guest house for those seeking to get away from it all. What she did not realise, until the phone started ringing, was that she had also created a world-class bird-watching retreat. All the rooms here face the forest, with good reason: there is a great deal to see. Hummingbirds rare and common, birders experienced and novice, find this an ideal place to set up to photograph, record or simply indulge their passion for the tiny colourful whirlwind that is a hummingbird. The guesthouse is spacious, clean and unfussy. www.cuffie-river.com
Coco Reef Resort & Spa (Crown Point)
Even if you’re not staying there, do yourself a favour and visit this Crown Point hotel. A walk through the lobby takes you out onto the terrace, where broad steps lead you straight into the sea. The hotel’s sheltered lagoon is an almost too-good-to-be-true representation of Caribbean beach resort grandeur. www.cocoreef.com
Half Moon Blue Hotel (Bacolet)
If you’re looking for somewhere away from the crowd, Half Moon Blue Hotel is in Bacolet, not far from Scarborough, overlooking a private and secluded bay. This boutique hotel is set amidst lush bamboo and bougainvillea on a hillside. A romantic wooden bridge connects the hotel to the charming Cafe Havana, with its antique décor and delicious dishes. You will find it hard to believe that this elegant boutique hotel was – a century and a half ago – a donkey cart house! Eight suites and a spectacular penthouse loft overlook Bacolet Bay. Spacious verandas are furnished with chaise lounges and white oversized bucket chairs. The ambience created by wooden jalousied doors and high ceilings in each of the individually styled rooms makes you just want to sink into the sumptuous Egyptian cotton sheets on the king-sized four-poster bed, pull the floor-length white netting, and fall into blissful sleep. Suzuki Jeeps and cars can be rented on site; and babysitting and laundry service are available.
Magdalena Grand Beach Resort (Tobago Plantations, Lowlands)
US: 866-353-6222, UK: 0845-004-8276, T&T: 660-8800, www.magdalenaresort.com
The Magdalena Grand Beach Resort offers 178 deluxe ocean front king and double-double rooms plus 22 one and two bedroom suites with private hot tubs, all with breathtaking panoramic views of the ocean from large terraces or balconies. All of the resort’s beautifully appointed rooms feature spacious marble bathrooms with both shower and tub, luxury toiletries, pure cotton deluxe linens, central air conditioning, refrigerator, high definition flat screen IP TVs with satellite programming, wireless internet access, safes, and IP telephones. Room service is available from 6am to 10:30pm.
Plantation Beach Villas (Black Rock)
Nestled amid lush tropical trees, on a gentle sloping hillside overlooking the palm-fringed sandy beach at Stonehaven Bay, Plantation Beach Villas offers elegant comfort surrounded by natural tranquility. The complex includes six luxurious , fully furnished three-bedroom villas each outfitted with all modern amenities – air conditioning, kitchen, three and a half bathrooms, washer/dryer, telephone, cable TV, and an – providing stunning panoramas of the Caribbean Sea from their spacious teak verandahs. The villas are particularly ideal for group holidays, whether it be for a wedding, reunion, or family vacation. Our ‘family’ of friendly staff and the ambience of tranquility and warmth we provide assures you of a genuine taste of paradise during your holiday.
Seahorse Inn (Black Rock)
The Seahorse Inn has four well appointed airconditioned guest bedrooms, each with stunning sea views. In addition to that, the Seahorse Inn offers villas and suites to rent close by. Seahorse is perhaps best known for its internationally acclaimed restaurant, which offers a range of fusion cuisine at a breathtaking seaside location.
Sugar Mill Suites (Tobago Plantations, Lowlands)
Whether you prefer luxurious modern or elegant old-world, the Sugar Mill Suites has the accommodation to suit your style! Bungalows, condos and villas set amidst the sprawling Tobago Plantations golf course. Bungalows all come with their own plunge pool or Jacuzzi, and are fully equipped with a dishwasher, washer/dryer, microwave and stereo system. The bedrooms are air-conditioned with ensuite bathrooms. Each room, including the living room, has a television with cable access. Daily housekeeping services included, depending on your package. The three- or four-bedroom luxury villas offer the discerning traveller the best that money can buy: safety, serenity, acres of emerald greenery, a championship golf course, a landscaped garden and a private swimming pool. Beautifully furnished air-conditioned bedrooms all have ensuite bathrooms, state-of-the-art kitchen appliances, cable TV in every bedroom and the living room, DVD player, CD player and stereo. If you so desire, a housekeeper can provide daily cleaning and babysitting services, and prepare local dishes (added cost). You can wander around the vast property, which includes the Magdalena Grand Hotel, and all sorts of birds and wildlife, including caimans (baby crocodiles) in small lakes and ponds. They often come out on the banks for some afternoon sun. They are quite shy and will probably scoot back into the water when they spot you.
Tropikist Beach Hotel & Resort (Crown Point)
Tropikist is a 54-room, 3-star hotel nestled on five acres of of landscaped grounds designed to bring comfort and nature together. It is a favourite with couples and singles alike. It offers captivating views and is ideally located on the picturesque southwestern coastline of Tobago, with easy access to many of the island’s premier attractions and popular activities. It is walking distance from all major activities in Crown Point (the airport, banks, ATM machines, restaurants and bars, mini marts and two of the island’s most popular beaches – Store Bay and Pigeon Point. Ocean views from the upper floors and spacious rooms have made this hotel a popular weekend getaway with Trinidadians, who appreciate the jovial hospitality of the staff. Everyone is helpful and interested in making your stay fantastic. Not only do they know you by name, at the complimentary breakfast, the chef will remember how you like your eggs done. The resort’s manager is often there to greet you at breakfast if you need assistance or advice. Families will adore Tropikist, especially if you have small children, who will just want to spend the entire day in the pool. In the evening you may be able to tear them away for a walk to the nearby beach, or the small park at Fort Milford, just down the road. At night, you can try your luck at a casino or take in some entertainment. Be sure to request a superior room if you would like complete privacy to work on your tan. Tropikist also has a secluded outdoor sunning deck.
Villa Sans Souci (Tobago Plantations, Lowlands)
This luxurious four-room villa is situated on an 18-hole PGA championship golf course, in the newly renovated Tobago Plantations resort. The architecture and furnishings of the villa are in the colonial style, yet the villa is also fully equipped with all the modern conveniences and facilities: jacuzzi and large swimming pool; private baths, balconies and walk-in closets for each bedroom;. ceiling fans and air conditioning units; laundry facilities; and cable-ready television. The villa is a 15-minute drive away from the airport, and just 300m away from the beach.
Villas at Stonehaven (Black Rock)
A small cluster of discreet elegance set on a hillside with spectacular ocean views of Stonehaven Bay on the west coast of Tobago, the award-winning Villas at Stonehaven is one of the finest luxury resorts in the Caribbean. The resort is an exquisite collection of 14 elegantly appointed three-bedroom villas set in 10 acres of beautifully landscaped tropical gardens. They are named after the island’s most well-known birds – like the scarlet ibis, jacamar, manakin, cocrico, parakeet, raven, tanager, hummingbird, kiskadee, picoplat and motmot. The tribute is apt, since many of these birds alight in the trees nearby. Many are passing through on their way to the Caledonia Wildlife Sanctuary, which adjoins the property. Each villa offers throwback luxury (four-poster beds, the breeze-catching open architecture of the Caribbean) and modern convenience (air-conditioning, wi-fi, infinity pool). Villas are furnished in French colonial style with large verandahs and Berbice chairs, plus spacious indoor and outdoor living/dining areas; private heated infinity pool (perfect for star-gazing on a clear night); daily housekeeping and spectacular ocean views. By day indulge in an in-room spa service or explore the delights of Tobago. Enjoy a light lunch or a la carte dinner at the Pavilion Restaurant and Clubhouse, where internationally trained chefs create delicious Caribbean and continental cuisine.
- Arnos Vale Hotel (Arnos Value): www.arnosvalehotel.com
- Blue Haven Hotel (Scarborough): www.bluehavenhotel.com
- Canoe Bay Beach Resort (Lowlands): www.canoett.com
- Cholson Chalets (Charlotteville): www.cholsonchalets.com
- Crown Point Beach Hotel (Crown Point): www.crownpointbeachhotel.com
- Footprints Eco Resort (Golden Lane): www.footprintseco-resort.com
- Grafton Beach Resort (Black Rock): graftonbeachresorttobago.com
- Jammev Beach Resorts (Lowlands): www.jammevbeachresorts.com
- Jimmy’s Holiday Resort (Crown Point): www.jimmysholidayresort.com
- Johnston Apartments (Crown Point): www.johnstonapartments.com
- Kariwak Village (Crown Point): www.kariwak.com
- Le Grand Courlan Resort & Spa (Black Rock): www.legrandtobago.com
- Man O’War Bay Cottages (Charlotteville): www.man-o-warbaycottages.com
- Manta Lodge (Speyside): www.mantalodge.com
- Mount Irvine Bay Hotel & Golf Club (Mt. Irvine): www.mtirvine.com
- Ocean Point Resort (Lowlands): www.oceanpoint.com
- Palms Villa Luxury Resort (Signal Hill): www.thepalmstobago.com
- Petite Careme Villa & Apartment (Mt. Irvine): www.petitcareme.com
- Rainbow Resort (Crown Point): www.rainbowresorttobago.com
- Rex Turtle Beach Resort (Black Rock): www.rexresorts.com/_caribbean/_tobago/_turtle_beach/
- Store Bay Holiday Resort (Crown Point): 639-8810, www.storebayholidays.com
- Sanctuary Villa Resort (Grafton): www.sanctuaryvillas.com
- SeaShells Vacation Villas: www.seashellsvillas.com
- Speyside Inn (Speyside): www.speysideinn.com
- Surfside Hotel (Crown Point): www.surfsidetobago.com
- Top Ranking Hill View Guesthouse: www.toprankingtobago.com
- Toucan Inn: www.toucan-inn.com
- Villa Being: www.being-tobago.com
- Villa Petrus: www.villapetrus.com
- Viola’s Place: www.violasplace.com