For our second trip to enjoy the natural beauty of Dominica, we knew we wanted to stay in the lovely Calibishie area, on the north side of the island, and Calibishie Cove looked like the perfect choice; the photos of the view from the wraparound veranda was what sold us. We stayed in the Penthouse for 8 nights and had a wonderful time, but there were a few downsides that you may wish to consider. Here's the rundown:
- tasteful, spacious and unique suite with soaring ceilings and a world-class view
- staff who will do anything in their power to make your stay more pleasant if you ask
- very comfortable bed, nicely furnished veranda
- use of a local cell phone pre-programmed with staff's numbers
- probably the best lodging choice in the area, unless you like to rough it
- really helpful website with great advice for trip planning (YES! buy the Keane's amphibian shoes they advise-- all round best choice for hiking)
- convenient locale close to both the airport, cute little Calibishie village, and many beautiful beaches and walks
- Penthouse kitchen gives you the all important self catering option, with basic tools you'll need
- Breakfast included with the room price, with coffee fixings all there so you don't have to wait for breakfast to make your coffee
-management introduced us to Jenner Robinson, phenomenal guide and invaluable source of reliable information for anything you could wish to know about Dominica
-environmentally aware management
-prevailing winds and ceiling fans keep the bugs away, even without screens
-outdoor shower on the veranda, great for rinsing off gear and sandy feet
-A&A grocery, less than a mile from the inn, has a very respectable wine selection, and a modest but adequate selection of pantry basics. (Do not miss the farmer's market in Portsmouth, GET THERE by 7:30 am! to get the best selection of fresh produce that can be found outside Roseau.)
-Solar water heater; best time to get a truly hot shower is when the sun has been up a while; water was noticeably less hot before dawn, after dark, and on rainy days
-Windy location - stiff winds from the northeast made the veranda almost unusable during our entire stay, although other reviewers have clearly enjoyed this (we had looked forward to eating all our meals outdoors and only managed it once)
- Frequent showers and stiff winds require keeping the shutters closed on the north and east facing sides of the suite, so you can't enjoy the spectacular view of the northeast coast from inside (Dominica seemed to be experiencing unusually cool, windy and rainy weather for this time of year, the rain was mainly during the night and early in the a.m.,so it didn't spoil our daytime activities, but the wind literally howled every night, and it took some getting used to, to sleep through it) We did manage to place our porch chairs in the doorway on the narrower, west- facing, leeward side, of the veranda; so we could at least enjoy the view of the trees and birdsong.
- Unacceptably dim lighting in fixtures that cannot take brighter bulbs - bring an ipad if you like to read in bed; the bathroom, kitchen and dining areas can be quite gloomy in the evenings
- Staff is sometimes missing, particularly in the evenings (but you CAN call someone on the provided cell if you really need something). Don't expect the polished service of a resort, it's friendly, but laid back. We had some failures to communicate which, had we persevered, would probably have been resolved.
- In our experience, dinner at the inn was a hit or miss affair (Hazel, who usually cooks, was not there during our stay). (We also tried the Veranda View, Coral Reef and Bamboo in town; they were no better.) Admittedly, we are super picky about cuisine. Our advice: go to Dominica for the unspoiled nature, go to Italy for the food!
- Breakfast was adequate and sometimes late in arriving- (don't expect good baked goods on Dominica): Bacon, eggs, white bread for toast, some local fruit.
-Sadly, crime in Dominica seems to be increasing somewhat. Batibou, the prettiest beach on the island, has unfortunately gotten quite a reputation, and locals repeatedly warned us not to go unless we had a guide with us. So, we went, but did take a guide, and had it virtually to ourselves. It's still worth seeing!
Favorite things we did:
- Hired Jenner Robinson for 3 days out of the 8; he drove us, in our Courtesy Rental car, to the key sights we knew would be hard to get to on our own. With peerless timing, he got us to every spot just when the cruise ship daytrippers were elsewhere, so we had every stunning hike and view, totally to ourselves, even the Emerald Pool. He also gave us excellent advice on what, when, where & how to see the other things on our 'self-guided' days
- Hike to Victoria Falls (went with Jenner, this is NOT wise to attempt on your own)
- Hike to Glassy Point (with Jenner)
- Birdwatching (Jenner again) - saw Dominica's own Jaco parrots and unique hummingbirds
- Hike to both Spanny falls (first one is easy, for the second we were glad to have Jenner guiding us)
- Jaco falls (very pretty and easy, no guide necessary)
-Chaudiere falls & pool (very pretty; we had planned to self guide but a local one attached himself to us and actually showed us many marvelous things we'd have missed on our own)
- Hanging out in Calibishie, chatting with the locals, rum punches at the Coral Reef with its marvelous view -Admiring the Red Rocks and Pointe Baptiste (the beachside bar at Red Rock Haven is presently closed, however)
-Farmer's market at Portsmouth on Saturday a.m. (we left at 6:45 am to get there by 7:30!) -Calibishie Ridge Road walk (beautiful views, interesting talks with the farmers along the way)
-Syndicate Nature trail and birdwatching on the way (would never have known where to look for the Jaco parrot but for Jenner) - for this you need to leave at 6:30 am
-Wai'tukubuli trail - we only did segment 12 (by Indigo art center on way to Portsmouth) but it was unforgettable
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.