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“Well Appointed, Close to Excellent Snorkelling” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Carpe Diem Villa

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Carpe Diem Villa
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Northside Road | Castara Tobago, Castara, Tobago   |  
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Hotel amenities
Announcement
Studios $75US May-Nov
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Saskatchewan
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
“Well Appointed, Close to Excellent Snorkelling”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012

The owners of Carpe Diem have put a lot of consideration into their property. It has all the basics, a good quality cookware, and a very useful book with information about the town of Castara. The room was perfectly clean when we arrived, which was well appreciated. The studio has a nice balcony, which is great for bird watching and enjoying the view. The room itself is very nice and comfortable. I didn't care for the setup of the washroom, the shower is open to the rest of the washroom, so the whole floor is constantly wet.
We had a bit of trouble during our stay. The housekeeper was sick, so we didn't receive any service during our stay. We also didn't have a cell phone (I had understood that one would be available). Because the studio has wireless internet, we were able to contact the owners, who promptly responded to our concern. However, I wasn't thrilled that the cellphone was borrowed from the housekeeper's son... I had hoped there would be a communal cellphone that the guests shared.
All issues aside, I would definitely stay here again if I was visiting Castara. The rates are reasonable and despite some small hiccups, the studio is a very nice place to stay.

Room Tip: The top studio has a private balcony and a slightly better view.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this review, January 29, 2013
Sorry about the phone! Alas the one we could have lent you had not been returned so Doris lent you her son's phone. Yes the bathroom is a fully tiled well drained 'wetroom' but any water soon evaporates and we do supply a 'squeegee' mop to wipe the floor.
The wi-fi is a great asset and we are glad you were able to make full use of it! Some guests actually bring their work with them and stay in touch with their offices!
Maybe they do not tell the boss where they are...............................?
Thankyou for the review and really pleased you enjoyed your stay and experience of Castara.
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117 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
bristol
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

We came here in 2010 as a family group, see our previous review on 14/10/10, and we couldn't resist coming back.
There is so much to see in the world that we generally only visit somewhere once or twice but Castara is going to be the exception to the rule!
As we could only go to Tobago for 1 week this time we originally thought we would just stay in the Crown Point area for a change, but after dithering for sometime and looking at reviews for many different places, the decision was made.... Carpe Diem at Castara it had to be! So happy we made that decision! We had the green room upstairs as Chris and Yvonne weren't in residence, so had the benefit of the lovely big private balcony to enjoy the views. Everything was in good order again and there were no problems at all. It was good to have internet access this time (wifi better than we have at home!) it means you can stay in touch with those at home (if you wish) without running up enormous phone bills.
We mostly relaxed on the balcony, fed the birds, and wandered down to the village to buy a few supplies and enjoy the beach and have a dip in the beautiful clear warm waters. Just what the doctor ordered!
If you want to dive, I couldn't recommend Richie at Wild Turtle Diving highly enough! An incredibly helpful, flexible and friendly guy, more than happy to sort dives to suit anyone.
So next year? I'm sure we'll be back again!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this review, December 3, 2012
When guests return we know we must be doing something right!
We are fortunate in that we get so many really interesting people staying with us but sadly we never get to meet most of them.
We fell in love with Castara 10 years ago and after we built the house we knew we would have to share the experience...............As we said, it is easy to get to but so very hard to leave...
Sarah & Tim, I am sorry we keep missing each other.
One of these days I hope you are there when we are so we can share a G&T on the balcony and swop stories? Great having you both again, I hear you have made quite a few friends in the village now?.
Chris & Yvonne
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UK
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

The studio at Carpe Diem was the perfect retreat after a week’s hiking in Trinidad. We spent a lot of time on the balcony enjoying the myriad of birds that visited throughout the day. In the evening we enjoyed seeing the fruit bats and spent quite a lot more time finding the best position for the hanging banana! One suggestion would be to add a humming bird feeder outside the studios. It would be great to have a hammock. If there had been one, we would probably have slept outside too! We really enjoyed all the wildlife including some great lizards. The studio has everything you need. The bed is really comfortable, fantastic view and it is the best mosquito net I have ever slept under! We had one small problem with the water pump but that was sorted out very quickly by Denzil and Chris and Yvonne (the owners) kept us fully informed. Unfortunately the sea was a little rough due to Hurricane Sandy so we didn’t take the boat trip we had wanted to but snorkelling was still a possibility and rays were seen. Chris and Yvonne were extremely helpful throughout the whole process – before arrival, during our stay and post our homecoming. Castara is a very relaxed, laid back village with really helpful locals. There was absolutely no touting for business from anyone which was a very pleasant surprise. We managed to get around the island by a combination of the bus and lifts from locals. All in all a great place to stay and highly recommended.

Room Tip: We thought Studio 1 had a slightly better position than the one nearest to the steps.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this review, November 9, 2012
Thankyou for the lovely review! Not sure what happened to your hammock though? It should have been in the hanging wardrobe.....Sorry. Maybe the guys next door had 2?
I will have to add another birdfeeder I guess. They are always being moved around the house. Hopefully there were enough hummingbirds around the false banana and ginger in the flower bed below you and Panday was able to cut you some fresh banana to compensate!? The next bunches were not quite ready for us to eat before we left the week before you arrived.
Thankyou once again and comeback soon.
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Collingham, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2012

Like us, you have no doubt read a lot of glowing reports for Carpe Diem and thought too good to be true. In fact, we found they underplayed it. We went back to Tobago after 5 years and wanted to see more of, what for us, was the real Tobago. Castara delivered that for us. We had planned to hire a car or Taxis for the occasional days we might want to stretch our legs. The reality was we were so pleased with both the accommodation and the village we only went off piste for 1 day (and then only to go the the truly wonderful Englishman's Bay) Other than that Castara, Carpe Diem, Chris & Yvonne made our 25th Wedding Anniversary treat perfect.
The rooms were everything we expected from reading the descriptions and were more than adequate. Everyone was extremely friendly and were more than willing to chat with us and lend their help and advice. Chris and Yvonne were just so helpful and were by far the best hosts we have had the privilege of booking through.
We have been back less than a week and are already planning a return visit next year. That should say it all!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this review, November 9, 2012
Part of the pleasure of having the house is the wonderful guests you get to meet when we are able to be there and the comments made, although making us 'homesick' , reassure us that we are getting it right ,most of the time anyway!. We wish we could be there all the time! We are always grateful for the feedback we receive as it helps us redress any problems we may have missed while we were there. We are really looking forward to having the Lloyds back in the spring for more good times together..........and some more fishing Mike?
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

We were very pleased with and praise the Carpe Diem studio that we rented at the end of June and early July. Interacting with the owners, Christopher and Yvonne, from afar went off without a hitch. They were quick, friendly and efficient in responding to all queries. The price was very reasonable and the room very clean. The studio's location is wonderful, overlooking Castara Bay, surrounded by fruit trees and tropical plants. The tropical birds really do fly right up onto the wood veranda. The view is breathtaking, especially at sunset. When we opened up both doors, it was as if there was no wall and you can gaze across the bay from the bed. The setting was amazing. On some nights we could hear the choir singing in the church down the hill. Even the rain storms were beautiful. The nature setting is absolutely enchanting. The studio itself was nicely furnished. The bed was comfortable and protective with its mosquito netting. While it was quite hot in the room, even at night, the two fans provided helped to cool things down. The small kitchen had all the implements necessary to make "boat drinks," cook, and make anything we tried to prepare. The shower and tiled bathroom were of good size and worked well. As experienced by some of the other reviewers, however, we also did not really get much housekeeping attention. But the local caretakers were friendly and helpful. Denzli drove us to a fishermans' festival in another town, and Pandi gave us freshly fallen mangos for breakfast. One night we were able to watch Denzli play in a local soccer game, which was quite a cultural experience. The special aspect of Capre Diem is that it puts you in the middle of a village of quirky, interesting and fun locals in a colorful setting. We did many of the same things mentioned by other reviewers, but the experiences felt unique. Castara is a real fishing village. The fisherman’s co-op building dominates the beach, with boats and nets all over the place. There are two parts to the beach, each a bit different. There is plenty of sand, but as you go deeper in the water, it turns to rock and reef. I saw plenty of brain and other types of coral, along with lots of fish. On our last day, following an early morning storm, large waves drove schools of small fish into the bay. We spent an hour or two watching a large group of pelicans diving and scooping them up. The studio's location was ideal. Being up on a hill provided lots of privacy, but being right in Castara also allowed plenty of interaction with the village. The first night we went to the only place that was open, Marguerite’s, and had garlic ginger shrimp and rice. Very fresh and delicious. We started off another day at Cheno’s, the village’s only breakfast place; it served a very nice cold salted fish mixed with some onions and hot peppers and eaten with “coconut bake,” a bread made from coconut milk. I had it with sorrel juice. Since the food is sold from small shops, we would buy fresh fruit and vegetables from “Bingli the Fruit King”, whose stand was near the studio. Most of our business was done with his wife Hazel. One day she sold us a whole loaf of pumpkin bread that was still hot from the oven. Delicious! From the co-op, we bought a bonito tuna that had just been caught a few hours before. Hazel gave us some suggestions on how to cook it. We bought some garlic and ginger from her, but she said I needed some “greens”. So she gave me some thyme and other herbs straight from her own garden. One day we decided to check out another beach, and planned to hike about a mile and a quarter to Englishman’s Bay, another slice of paradise, just up the coast. But we were fortunate to be picked up by a local and dropped off by a neighbor named “Porridge,” since that’s all he wanted to eat as a kid. He’s a well-known local figure and was actually mentioned in the guidebook. We were in Castara at the time of the European Soccer Championships. The village didn’t have cable, but the games were shown in one bar on ESPN over the Internet. We experienced the universal nature of the sport by watching Spain beat Portugal, at a stadium in Warsaw, amidst a screaming group of locals and tourists in Tobago, brought together by a love of soccer and, of course, lots of Carib beer. The beauty of Carpe Diem is that it not only is a great little cottage, but it allows you to enjoy a wonderful, special place. You won’t regret staying here.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Salisbury
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2012

If you enjoy beautiful scenery, sunshine, uncluttered beaches, snorkling on coral reefs, superb fresh food, and watching the sun set with a cold beer while chatting to frindly locals, then this is the place for you. This is the second time I've stayed at Carpe Diem. The first was on the recommendation of friends who described it as a tropical paradise - and they weren't wrong!

The accomodation is excellent, situated on the side of the hillside rising up from the bay in amidst tropical trees and a profusion of birdlife - the local Motmots that come down onto the balcony to eat fruit were our favourites.The sunsets were utterly incredible!

The whole experience was one of relaxing into the easy rythm of Castara life - a visit to Bengi for some fruit and veg, a chat and a plate of fish at the cofee shop, a trip to Sherma's to order some bread, the occasional swim to cool off and the odd trip to Marvins Bar for a bottle of Carrib and if you're lucky a chap playing calypso. For those wishing to do a bit more than just lay on the beach for two weeks then there are cars for hire (we did a trip up to the north end of the island including a trip into the rain forest) and the local boatmen run fishing/snorkling/beach barbeque trips at a decent rate - on our trip Lodi's food was superb.

If you want to eat out every night then there are enough venues to provide variety, and all the food we had was excellent - asking in advance helps you get specials such as curried goat. Carpe Diem is well set up for those wishing to cook for themselves - with so much fresh fruit, veg and fish (bought from the fishermen down on the beach) this is what we did most.

Chris and Yvonne were very friendly and helpful during the booking process, organising a very reasonably priced lift from the airport with one of the local cabbies, and helping to let us know who to talk to and where to go for all the local services. You do have to be prepared to ask the locals if you want some things though, it's not all laid out for you as in a resort - which is definately part of the charm of the place.

Having found the tropical paradise that is Castara I shall be going back again and again, and Carpe Diem really is the perfect place to stay in Castara.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Pontefract, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2012

Yes Castara and it people were wonderful, the restaurants when open were expensive but provided good food, the wild life were entertaining, but sorry the Carpe Diem experiance left us very underwhelmed. From the off when Denzel came to collect us and our $240tt from the airport, all four of us and luggage for 10days, (obviously we would have more than a back pack each). Denzel was a good careful driver but the car was less than impressive with back seat belts not even working, a long juorney all squashed in with luggage on our knees !
On arrival there wasnt even a bed made up for my 14 yr old daughter, an ill fitting sheet was thrown on the bed by Denzel who said it was really Doris job.
Hearing tales of Bbq fresh fish, we were surprized to see the bbq was virtually wrecked and made a call for someone to come and rescue it, a half hearted attempt was made and it was left for us to ask Pandi the gardener to sort out. Pandi was a great help.
The pans ect were of a very poor standarded and really not sutiable for in house cooking, which twice we had to do as the restaurants were all shut.
No candles in our studio, and no torch in either, and we endured two very long power cuts. sharing two candles and a torch.
The hills and steps were very very steep, and the steps to the apartments very dangerous as it was rainy season we had torential rain everyday, the leaves were left to collect untill Pandi very kindly swept them away and tried to remove the moss when he saw how difficult the trek down was in flip flops. we didn take our walking shoes!
The pathway was unlit on a night with only one solar light working propaly.
I Understand there was no provision for a cleaner, but I really didnt expect to change the bedding on both beds twice. Not impressed. And worse it did reveal the state of some of the pillows lurking under the pillow cases. then a laundry basket of sweating bedding and wet smelly towels just left waiting to be collected.
We had no visits from the house keepers unless we rang and requested them ,ie when the router was down and when the roof was leaking over my daughteters bed.
We are all extensivly travelled and our sharing neighbour lives in Trinidad, so were we were not setting our expectations based on 5 star all inclusive in europe.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this review, September 4, 2012
What a shame that you didnt contact us during your stay! -I guess we cant please everybody.. but it is odd that so many other guests have found us to be just what they were looking for & other guests feedback tick all 5*s including those prior, during & after your arrival.
We are not sure what you or your friends in the adjoining apartment thought that you were or were not getting.
We do try to insure that guests are fully informed as to what is & isn’t provided.
Our house is run on very similar lines to most of the other accommodation in the village.

The journey to Carpe Diem is approx 45mins & you had previously advised us that “you were traveling light” & that Denzil’s estate car would be suitable otherwise we could have organized a minibus for you!
The studios are self-catering only. There is no maid or cleaning service but either Doris or Denzil are there at the end of the telephone if you require any help or advice. Every time you called, one of them came to the house as requested to help you.

Fresh linen is provided every 3/4days-but you have to change the bed linen yourself-this is made clear at the time of booking & was again made clear by our housekeeper when you commented on it

The kitchen wares provided are of good standard & there is cutlery & crockery etc for 4people in each studio. Many guests stay several weeks & do all their own cooking in the apartment!

Unfortunately it was the rainy season & tropical storm Ernesto passed by during your stay. Our neighbour Panday, who looks after our garden when we are not there, sweeps & cleans the path regularly especially at this time of the year

Candles/torches are things that you could have asked either Doris or Denzil (on their numerous visits to you) to provide for you as we keep a supply available.
We do ask you to check the inventory upon arrival so that any items missing or broken can be replaced straight away
We hope that other potenial guests after reading our comments & the reports from other guests will draw their own conclusions...
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Additional Information about Carpe Diem Villa

Address: Northside Road | Castara Tobago, Castara, Tobago
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Trinidad and Tobago > Tobago > Castara
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 13 Specialty Lodging in Castara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In the top 4 Specialty Accommodation on TripAdvisor with 116 reviews for last 4 years. All suites have queen size beds and en-suite bathrooms with hot and cold water. Fully equipped kitchen areas with larger than usual refrigerator, real stove/grill, toaster, juicer, water filter etc. Personal safe deposit box. All the rooms have great views of the ocean, without even getting out of bed, and great sunsets as it faces almost due West! ( Banana & Cocoa trees may obscure the studio view a little depending on how they are fruiting!!(House faces 240Degrees). The 2 safe beaches are 100 yards away and all village amenities are within walking distance. Wi-fi hotspot/1+GB broadband! Check with your partner if you are allowed to use it though! A recent couple ended up arguing because he stayed in daily contact with his office...... Ideal for birdwatchers as you can see most of the island's birds from the balcony. We can arrange diving, car hire, rainforest walks etc. Smoking allowed outside on the balcony,( well it is a wooden house! ) A lot of couples seem to get engaged while staying with us so yes we can sort out wedding arrangements as well........................!! We have been awarded the Trip Advisor "Certificate of Excellence" for the last 4 years for which we have to thank our guests for their reviews and trust it means we are getting it right! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Carpe Diem Villa Hotel Castara
Carpe Diem Villa Tobago/Castara

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