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“''Home from Home''”
Review of Manta Lodge

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Manta Lodge
Ranked #3 of 5 Speyside B&B and Inns
Reviewed March 25, 2013

I have stayed at Manta Lodge over a dozen times over the last 10 years. It has become a home from home for my whole family. Where else can you kick off your shoes and become part of the family without the hassle or expense of owning your own villa?
Whether its diving or fishing or cooking your own lobster on the beach you could not ask for a more friendly and unique place to stay. We all love it!!

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Nigel H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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57 - 63 of 153 reviews

Reviewed March 24, 2013

My girlfriend and I showed up sometime in the afternoon at Manta Lodge with no reservations anywhere. We decided to stop and ask if there was any availability. We were instantly befriended by Kathleen who made us feel extremely welcome, and sure enough, showed us a lovely room with a patio looking out into the bay and little tobago island. Everyone was soo nice and accomodating, We even got the local pricing. The bar seemed to be on the honour system and the staff drinks with you and plays guitar. Breakfast was really good and so is dinner. Everything is so casual and relaxing and everything u buy there gets put on a tab, its great not having to break out your wallet at every meal or extra little purchase! One night we were drinking with one of the staff members who helps run the scuba department and I asked if he could take us scuba diving one of the days we were there. "How about tomorrow?" he replied. Well, the next morning we were fitted for scuba gear and taken to the practise pool, and within a few hours were in the atlantic scuba diving for the first time! What an amazing experience, we had so much fun diving little tobago! I can't believe this place got a couple bad reviews lately, dont let it detour you. Sure, the bathroom could use a lil updating, but how much time do you plan on spending on the toilet during your vacay? If you want elegance and extreme fine dining, cut off your arm and go to blue waters, by the way we had a look there, it had a real snobby atmosphere. Manta Lodge really MADE our stay in Speyside and we want to thank everyone again for their hospitality!
-Eric/Maggie

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank eric w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2013

I had a wonderful time in Speyside staying at the Manta Lodge! I travel often for work but rarely for pleasure. Every place I go looks just like a Hilton or a Holiday Inn and I wanted a trip to a place that retained some of its uniqueness. When things fell into place for a short vacation, and I have long wanted to get a taste of Caribbean waters, I was reminded having seen Tobago referenced in the scuba magazines for years. I found Manta Lodge from the internet and called for a reservation. Kathrine took my information and said someone will meet me at the Tobago airport.
Houston’s Bush Intercontinental airport has a flight with United Airlines to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Caribbean Airlines has a variety of connecting flights over to Tobago. The Port of Spain airport is a nice facility and the KFC is open all night. Even though I had to ask people to repeat what they were saying a bit slower so I could understand, I found them to be very friendly and helpful. The only United flight from Houston arrived at 10pm local time (8pm Central time) and I had no issues making my connection to Tobago. Manta Lodge had a car and driver waiting for me which took the stress out of a late night arrival.
An air conditioned room was awaiting me at the Manta Lodge along with a friendly smile. I’m an early riser and found the coffee bar ready with hot water and a choice of instant blends (evidently brewed coffee is rare in the Caribbean, maybe more so here since the Nestle facility that makes and packages instant coffee is in Port of Spain). The view of the sunrise coming over Little Tobago Island from the open air veranda of the Lodge was wonderful. Gentle waves lapped the beach only a few yards away. The sound of angry chachalaca birds could be heard from the trees beyond the surf. Small fishing boats bobbed in Speyside’s crescent bay. Breakfast was eggs any style, toast, fruit and juice.
Sean Robinson was the first to open a dive shop in Tobago many years ago and he teaches scuba diving throughout both islands, Trinidad and Tobago. His boat was ready so we checked out dive gear from the shop adjacent to the Lodge and took a short ride over to the pier. As dive master for our small group, Toolie gave us a choice of world-class dive locations, and we settled on Book Ends for the first dive and Coral Gardens for the second. Coral Gardens boasts the largest brain coral specimen in the Caribbean; a dome about ten feet across in an area 50 feet deep. Between dives we fished and caught several barracuda two to three feet in length. A local fisherman pulled alongside our vessel to regale us about his morning catch of dolphin fish (mahi-mahi). During the dives I saw a small group of large tarpon, many angel fish, a jack knife, a buried stingray, but it was the hawk billed turtle that capped the event! She glided nearby for several minutes and then came to within arm’s length as if I were a long lost travel companion.
The afternoon I planned to relax poolside but could not resist wondering around Speyside. The gentle hills are covered with multicolored houses with bright gardens. Children were racing their bikes as I approached the main street near the pier which is across from the sports stadium (a large grassy area with a covered bleacher). I hiked the well paved road up the hill to the south which looped back to where I started in view of the stadium. Along the beach a group of high school aged boys were playing football (soccer) between the water and the shade trees. Past the Lodge is the remains of a waterwheel brought over from Scotland in the 1840’s to help process the sugar cane. The stone walls are covered with flowering plants which attract hummingbirds and smiles.
Supper at the Lodge promised to be a cultural event of roti (an Indian fried bread, then eaten with seasoned chicken or fish or chicory beans and a fresh salad). Delightful! The guest cook came over from Trinidad for the evening along with his crew. And together with the hotel staff we had a wonderful time. Nothing like I would expect staying at a ‘chain’ hotel, this was a ‘family’ event that I felt fortunate to be a part of.
The trip to the other end of the island over the only ‘highway’ is winding and narrow by US standards. But during the daytime is one of the most beautiful drives I have seen! After sleeping in and a leisurely morning, I said my good-byes to Sean, Kathrine and the staff who all made me feel as though I were family. I hired the same driver who brought me from the airport, Quesi, to show me around the island before I flew home. Flagstaff Hill has an outstanding view of the island end and overlooks Charlottesville, which is a beautiful little village. We turned around to take the road back through Speyside to follow the highway to Roxborough township where the beach is worth a stop to walk along and take a few pictures. The town is pleasant and easy to find a refreshing Coke or Paradise Punch fruit drink from the refrigerator of a local merchant. From there it was a short drive and a nice hike to the Argyle Falls. A multi-tiered set of falls and pools the locals enjoy year around for bathing (swimming) and limin’ (picnicking). I had hoped to stroll around Fort King George in Scarborough but was told a movie was being filmed. So I arrived at the Tobago airport earlier than I wanted to but found a Reliant Coffee Shop (similar to Starbucks) just beyond the terminal area.
I loved my time at the Manta Lodge! I WILL be back as soon as possible. I would rate the overall experience 5 out of 5. The room I would rate a 5, the bed and all the pillows and linen were fresh and comfortable. The folding doors out onto the deck are a classic Caribbean touch. The staff I would rate a 5 because they actually cared about me and everything I needed was anticipated taken care of in a timely manner. The food was excellent. The beer was cold. The facility is a bit old and in need of some things but some of that was to my liking in that it wasn’t a Holiday Inn (no offense intended). I didn’t want to find – nor pay for – a chain hotel on the edge of civilization. I want – and found – a sleepy fishing village with friendly people and some great diving. The manta rays come to this bay in numbers during the late spring and early summer months. So that may be the time I will be returning too.
Phillip Barker
Houston, Texas USA

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Phillip B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2013

Just spent 5 days diving at Manta Lodge in Speyside.

Considering how tired and stressed most travelers are upon arrival in the Caribbean, you can't ask for a better place to transition from the fast paced frozen north - to laid back Tobago. The staff seems to understand this and made it very easy to relax, slow down and get on Island time (necessary for a proper dive vacation). While not the Four Seasons or Ritz, Manta Lodge has spacious rooms overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with large shuttered patio doors that open up to the steady trade winds and sounds of waves on the beach across the street at night. We found no AC needed, no bugs and a great sleep. The sheets & towels were always fresh & clean.

After the diving we had planned to spend a couple days on Tobago’s west coast but found the accommodations there were small and mostly higher priced. So we drove north and ended up back at the Manta Lodge. And it was so nice to go back. Hat’s off to Owner Sean, his father Clyde & Kat and staff for treating your guests so well!

The Speyside diving has most everything, healthy reefs, hordes of beautiful fish, moray eels & turtles (although did not spot any manta rays late Feb).

Room Tip: If you take the East facing ocean rooms with stutters open,the sunrise is quite strong.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Jim B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2013

This was a place that just grew on us - we had booked 4 days at the start of our Tobago visit and planned to go to Crown Point for the balance of our Tobago trip of 5 more days. We ended up taking a couple of days in Crown Point at a 4 star resort. But, found we much preferred the location at Speyside, and the layed back atmosphere at Manta Lodge, so we booked for another 3 days to complete our vacation.
During our stays at Manta we found the owners and staff extremely friendly and helpful, arranging a car hire, setting up snorkeling and hiking trips, lending us Snorkels & Fins when we wanted to go out on our own. In our experience the other visitors were also part of the great time we had there, when we returned from our 2 day sojourn – we were greeted with hugs from staff and other guests – clearly this place fosters a friendly welcoming environment. We did get lunch a couple of times at a very similar property next door, but we found the service so-so and there certainly was not same friendly atmosphere.
So for the detractors, yes the place needs some TLC – painting and new pool furniture would be high on our list. As far as cleanliness, it was not as good as we would have expected, however this was our experience at all the places we stayed in Trinidad & Tobago including the 4 star at Crown Point, which was only marginally better in this regard.

Room Tip: Both stays we a front rooms with balcony that had views over the Speyside bay, and any traffic noise...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Derek W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2013

We stayed here for 6 nights to dive & relax, and really enjoyed our stay. The lodge is across the road from the ocean, which made for great breezes, views and wooshing from the waves.

Our room was very clean and comfortable, with a lovely high ceiling, doors opening onto a small balcony overlooking the sea, & air conditioning. We had daily room service with clean towels provided. True, the doors to the balcony are a little warped with a few gaps and perhaps a little insecure - but on the second floor this wasn't a major issue. We locked our bags daily and had no problems with security/theft. True, the room could do with repainting (a bit of flaking paint in the bathroom) and the hotel with a general spruce up - but none of this detracted from our experience.

The staff were friendly, and we really enjoyed the late afternoon drinks & socialising at the bar or pool at the end of the day - easy, relaxed and an opportunity to meet travellers from all over. Sean the owner has many interesting stories to share, and is clearly very committed to diving & the oceans. Kathy was also friendly and helpful, for example ensuring that we had sandwiches ready for our early morning bird-watching trip!

It was also great, as divers, to be able to roll out of bed, wander downstairs for breakfast & then stroll over to the dive shop ready for our lift down to the wharf - it doesn't get much easier than that!

I can't agree with the two damming reviews recently posted, and wonder quite what they were expecting - this is Tobago, not the US or UK. We'd recommend Manta Lodge as a great place for a comfortable, relaxed, laid-back holiday, and as a good base for diving, snorkelling, bird watching or rainforest adventures.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Pandia_67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2013

I want to disagree with the 2 reviews from the beginning of Feb. Manta lodge is a small family run hotel. Most people who go there go to dive but my family does not dive. The staff went out of their way to find and book many wonderful hikes and snorkeling experiences for us since we were not divers. Yes there may be a broken chair or 2 but the service more than made up for it.

Room Tip: Stay at the back for better sleep. Large noisy trucks and dogs barking may disturb you if you stay a...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank shelvert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Manta Lodge

Address: Windward Road, Speyside, Tobago
Location: Caribbean > Trinidad and Tobago > Tobago > Speyside
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Speyside
Price Range: $60 - $175 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Manta Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The cozy 22 room property may be small, but it still features a number of 'big' amenities - the Green Moray Bar & Restaurant, soft sand beach, full service dive shop, freshwater swimming pool, reading nook with a multi-lingual lending library, endless hiking trails and plenty of room to relax! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Manta Hotel Speyside
Manta Lodge Tobago/Speyside

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