Plantation Beach Villas
At a glance
Plantation Beach Villas are a collection of six delightful villas in traditional Caribbean style set on the rising ground above Stonehaven Bay on Tobago’s northern shore. They use the best of Caribbean architecture, with louvres, wraparound verandas and gingerbread trim to give a genuine tropical feel. There is all the privacy and personal service of a private villa, but as a villa resort there are also some central facilities, such as a pool, beach bar and small restaurant. Stonehaven Bay itself is secluded, has good sand and swimming and some watersports. It is also one of Tobago’s main turtle nesting beaches.
- Best for:
- Beach, Eco/Nature, Weddings
- Not for:
- All-inclusive, adult-only
- How to get there:
- Direct to Tobago from UK, Germany and USA, via Port of Spain from USA/Canada
Six 3-bedroom Tobago villas with individual housekeepers, concierge service, beachfront swimming pool, beach bar and cafÃ©, gift shop, free WiFi, wedding co-ordinator, good local birdlife
Intimate tropical ambiance in gracious, plantation style villas
Many families with young children, often repeat visitors who have made friends of the staff. Guests looking for a more personal and relaxed environment. Ideal for reunions and wedding parties that rent the entire property
Set against the rich green backdrop of Stonehaven Bay, the six Plantation Beach Villas are strikingly attractive and offer the best in tropical living. They have all the traditional features of old Caribbean plantation architecture – low pitched shingle roofs, huge verandas with criss-cross balustrades and louvred French doors that can be thrown open to encourage the breeze. They are dressed in white and pink and then prettified with a whole compendium of Caribbean and Trinidadian embellishments, including gingerbread trim, pointed cornices and sunburst fretwork in the eaves.
The villas were designed by Arne Hasselqvist, the Swedish architect and builder who was known for his celebrity creations on the glitzy Grenadine island of Mustique. Plantation Beach Villas are very low-key by comparison. The emphasis is on providing guests with comfortable, well run and well equipped villas, set amongst pleasant, tranquil grounds and serviced by welcoming and friendly staff.
The villas are all identical and are set on quite steeply rising ground. They each have three bedrooms in two storeys and, their best feature, a broad 40ft solid teak, wrap-around veranda, where you can chill out by day on the white painted Adirondack chairs, and take dinner in the evening. Wide French doors mean that you can open the sitting room up and create a feeling of open-air living. The villas are well enough spaced and wrapped sufficiently in tropical greenery to give a certain amount of privacy.
Plantation Beach Villas are built with their backs to the hill, but down on the flat ground on the seafront (across the road) you will find a common area with a swimming pool, beach bar and café, also a selection of games such as badminton, volley ball and beach tennis. With so many children, beach toys are also provided. From time to time Sean Clarke, the amiable manager, organizes a poolside dinner with entertainment, or perhaps a bonfire on the beach. Plantation Beach Villas has also made a name for itself as a popular venue for weddings and is an ideal setting for groups of friends or family to get together.
The grounds are very well tended, and have plenty of fruit trees, including pomerac, mango, lime, orange, five fingers and banana trees. Also there are cocoa trees – the beans within the pods are coated with a sweet tasting flesh which is a particular eye-opener for guests when given a tasting. And there is plenty of birdlife, including many species of hummingbird, blue tanagers and kiskadees, and cheeky bananaquits, which will fly in and out of the villas in search of uncovered sugar bowls and fruit. The beautiful blue crowned mot mot is also another regular visitor.
Plantation Beach Villas has a strong family following and a high level of repeat business, which is due both to the villas themselves and to the caring and friendly nature of the staff.
As it is a villa resort it helps if you have a certain level of self-sufficiency, but there are also the central facilities that offer a certain community with other guests if you would prefer not to be completely alone. What you will certainly have is a comfortable and well equipped private villa in an exotic tropical setting, within steps of a long stretch of good beach.
Beach & Swimming
Plantation Beach Villas are located just off an impressive sweep of dark golden sand at Stonehaven Bay. Sharing the beach are the guests of The Seahorse Inn, Grafton Beach Resort and Le Grand Courlan Resort, but the area by Plantation Beach Villas, which is accessed by a gate from the communal garden and pool area, is slightly quieter and is used by guests of nearby private villas. For even more privacy you can wander a little farther west beyond a group of black sea rocks.
The swimming in Stonehaven Bay is relatively good, but at certain times of the year there can be sea swells and with some strong currents further out in the bay. Check with staff.
Set within the lawns of the enclosed garden down below is the swimming pool, which is surrounded by palms and tropical greenery that screen it from the road and the beach. Measuring about 45ft by 15ft and 4ft 6 deep, it has a shallow end for children. There is an adjoining paved sun terrace and beach bar. A gate leads straight out onto the beach.
Sports & Recreation
Board games are provided in the villas and at the beach bar, and badminton and volley ball are set-up within the communal garden by the pool. Beach toys, including shovels, rakes, buckets and sand moulds, paddles and balls for beach tennis are also available. The nearest proper tennis court is a few minutes walk away at Le Grand Courlan Resort, which shares the roadside watersports shop with Grafton Beach Resort next to it. The Grafton Beach Resort has the islands only squash court.
For golfers the Tobago Plantations Golf & Beach Resort, about ten minutes away by car, has an 18 hole 72 par PGA championship course, and you can also try the 18 hole par 72 par course at Mt Irvine, about five minutes away. Tennis is also available at Mt Irvine Bay Hotel, as are watersports from the beach facilities nearby.
One of natures most awesome sights is right on the doorstep. The beach at Stonehaven Bay is one of three principal nesting beaches in Tobago for the giant leatherback turtle, which comes ashore to lay its eggs at night in the season between March and August. These huge creatures only frequent quiet beaches where there is little or no artificial light. They can measure more than 12 ft from end to end and have a flipper span of up to 10ft. A female turtle will lay between 80-120 eggs at a time, as many as five times a season. The hatchlings emerge between 60 and 85 days after being laid.
Massage, manicure and pedicure can be arranged in the villas. Contact Reception.
Villa attendants work between 9am and 2pm each day, during which time they will clean and do guest laundry (there is a charge for ironing, which is usually done after hours) and baby-sit at no extra charge. They will also cook breakfast and even prepare a light lunch. Arrangements can be made with the attendant directly for extra services beyond their normal hours, such as cooking dinner. The charge for cooking a meal is usually US$20, with babysitting US$5 per hour, payable directly to the attendant. If guests require dinner on a regular basis or would like the shopping to be taken care of, an arrangement should be worked out with the attendant directly.
Attendants are assigned to a specific villa and many repeat guests have forged close relationships with them over the years, rebooking certain villas to make sure that they get their attendant again, even bringing over gifts and clothes for them and their children. There is a ratio of 15 staff to a maximum 36 guests on property. A couple of members of staff have been with Plantation Beach Villas since it opened in 1992 and the majority since 1996.
There are six spacious, plantation style villas, painted a striking yet attractive shade of coral pink, with pretty white painted wooden fretwork. The main feature of the two storey villas is the broad 40ft solid teak, wrap-around veranda, which has a dining table and a number of white Adirondack chairs, so typical of turn of the century homes. In keeping with the plantation house theme, furnishings throughout the villa are locally handcrafted in a traditional style from local woods. The main living area is a cool, spacious open-plan dining and sitting room which has two sets of shuttered doors that open wide to the veranda. A well equipped, modern kitchen is tucked into one corner. There are three double en suite bedrooms, one downstairs which leads out to the main veranda, and two upstairs which lead out to a shared balcony.
The Barefoot Beach Bar & Caf is located beside the pool, within steps of the beach, and offers simple fare from 11am to 2pm. The menu includes the usual burgers, hot dogs and fries, plus a variety of salads, soup and grilled chicken or fish with pasta, and flying fish with chips. When the property is busy with guests there are sometimes poolside dinners, with entertainment, or a bonfire on the beach. The bar is open until 6pm daily.
Over the years Plantation Beach Villas has developed a reputation for its intimate weddings. It provides a dedicated wedding co-ordinator for villa guests, who can choose to get married in the garden or go barefoot on the beach. Special group rates are available when booking three villas or more. Guests taking over the entire property can have the hours at the Barefoot Beach Bar adjusted to suit them, or you can arrange a special dinner night in one of the villas, for example dinner for up to 30 people (seated and served) on one of the verandas.
The basic Wedding Package (approx US$1000) includes assistance with the Special 3 Day Licence, the ceremony, witnesses if required, brides bouquet, grooms boutonniere, a two-tier cake, bottle of Champagne, 36 photographs and a decorated arbour. Optional extras include floral arrangements and floral accessories such as wrist corsages or head dresses, a video of the wedding, steel band, DJ, reception and dinner.
Special group booking rates are available for weddings and special events.
Villas and the beach bar have a selection of board games, as well as badminton and volley ball around the pool area. Paddles and balls for beach tennis are available, along with a selection of sand toys, ie. shovels, rakes, buckets and sand moulds.
Complimentary initial food supplies (breakfast items, soft drinks, beers and fruit), and a welcome meal of the popular local dish pelau (a one-pot meal of rice, peas and chicken or beef served with salad) are organised in your villa for your arrival. Food is not included in the villa rates and so if you require your villa attendant to shop for you during your stay, you must arrange this with her directly.
A 10% service charge is included in the villa rental rates and divided between all staff, however a reward for exceptional service is always appreciated.
The villas are divided from the reception and pool and bar by an extremely quiet minor road.
Dress Code: Casual
Facilities: enclosed communal garden with swimming pool, beach bar & caf, ADSL internet access/WiFi in the villas and fax service via reception, board games, badminton, volley ball, beach tennis and beach toys. An in-house gift shop within receptions sells souvenirs, T-shirts, beach wraps/sarongs, hats and post cards.
Complimentary: Welcome Pelau dinner (tasty rice, peas and chicken or beef dish served with salad), a starter pack comprising soft drinks, beer, fruit and breakfast items, WiFi access, beach toys and kayaks (only to competent swimmers).
Other Services: Manicures, pedicures and massages can be arranged in the privacy of the villas. Reception offers a concierge service and will organise excursions and activities. Wedding co-ordinator. Babysitting. DVD (Region 4 or A DVDs only) player on request
Accommodation: Six 3-bedroom villas.
The Villas: All bedrooms are air-conditioned, have ceiling fans and are all en suite with showers only. All villas have direct dial telephones with internet access available, cable TV, CD player and hairdryers. The villas are completely self-contained with a modern, fully equipped kitchen, which includes a microwave and dishwasher, with dinnerware for eight people and a large gas barbecue. There is also a laundry room with automatic washer and dryer should guests prefer to do their own personal laundry. The master bedroom is located on the ground floor, off the central living and dining room, and features two four poster twin beds and has access to the main veranda. Upstairs both bedrooms have queen size four poster beds and open out to a shared balcony.
Weddings: Basic wedding plan from US$1000
Children: Under 12 yrs free of charge with roll-away bed. Cribs and highchairs also provided free of charge.
Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard and American Express
Plantation Beach Villas is set in the south-western corner of Stonehaven Bay, on a side road that runs along the shorefront. Other properties are stretched along the bay to its east, including some private holiday villas, Le Gran Courlan Resort, the Grafton Beach Hotel and at the eastern end, still within easy walking distance, the Seahorse Inn. This has a very popular restaurant, set on a delightful terrace, with entertainment on selected evenings. Up on the hillside behind, The Pavilion is a nice restaurant within the Villas at Stonehaven. It is a short drive but it is steep so you may prefer to go by car.
The nearest local shop for groceries is Maries Place, a mini-mart. There is a fast food outlet and ATM next door. Just past Mt Irvine Bay Hotel, about five minutes drive, is Gourmet Foods, also known as Morsheads. Otherwise the main supermarket for shopping is Penny Savers, which is about fifteen minutes by car on the way to the airport. Fresh fish can be bought directly from the fishermen who sell by roadside stalls just beyond the Beach Facilities at Mt Irvine. The best time to go is late afternoon. The Grafton Bird Sanctuary is just above Plantation Beach Villas.
Other restaurants in the area worth visiting include Melange on Shirvan Road and La Tartaruga in Buccoo.
Airport Meet & Greet
If you are travelling independently, taxis are usually available at the airport, but one can be arranged for you by the property at your expense. It is worth putting in the request at the time of booking. The ride from the airport is around fifteen minutes, depending on the traffic. Alternatively, if you would prefer to be taken care of from the minute you arrive at the airport until the time that you leave, with a range of services that can include a personalised Concierge Service and transfers, please click here for Yes! Tourism.
If you are booking through a travel organiser, it is likely that their representative will be at the airport to meet you. This service and your return airport transfers should be included in the cost of your holiday. Please check at the time of booking.
Although most things are relatively close at hand, a hired car is recommended for all private villa holidays, unless you prefer staff to call taxis for you as required. (Public transport is sporadic and not a particularly convenient option.) A car will be useful if you want to dine out at night or do lots of sightseeing and particularly when it comes to shopping for groceries. Book car hire via your travel organiser or direct with Thrifty Car Rentals and ask for your vehicle to be delivered to the property approximately 2-3 hours after your scheduled time of arrival on Tobago or the following morning. Vehicles can be returned at the airport or be collected from the property at a pre-arranged time on your departure day.