My husband and I stayed at The Refuge for a week at the end of April/beginning of May 2013. We were specifically looking for a get-away-from-it-all vacation, and that's exactly what we found at this beautiful villa. The location is incredibly quiet and remote feeling, even though you're only a short drive away from restaurants, grocery, etc.
You'll find that the professional photos of The Refuge are accurate. Everything seemed new and in great condition. The highlight of the villa for us was the short nature trail down to the nearly-private beach. (Note: I say "nearly private" only because I don't think it's actually private, but we had the beach to ourselves every single day). It's a fairly easy 5-minute walk down a cleared path with steps. I think if you have mobility issues it might be a bit of a challenge, but otherwise it's easy enough even in flip-flops if you're careful. The long stretch of beach below The Refuge is soft sand with plenty of shade or sun. The shore has a gentle slope, a generous shallow area, and the water was calm/easily swimmable while we were there. Upon returning to the villa, there's an outdoor shower to wash away the sand on your feet. Speaking of showers, we also liked having the option of indoor OR outdoor showers off of the master bedrooms. We selected the bedroom on the main floor, although all of the bedrooms were lovely with spectacular views. Our bed was quite comfortable.
The entire house was immaculate - I was thoroughly impressed with how clean it was. And we are a/c-loving people, so I'll mention that the a/c throughout the house worked perfectly. The wifi Internet access also worked well the entire week. Everything we needed for preparing meals was found in the stocked kitchen, though we didn't do a ton of cooking. The plunge pool is perfect for cooling off and enjoying the unobstructed view of the bay. The pool deck was perfect for just the two of us, though if you have a larger group I expect you'd have to take turns since there are only two lounge chairs (as per the photos). You'll find plenty of other places to sit outside though - with three balconies and an outdoor dining area, there are lots of options.
Driving to the villa is incredibly easy, especially compared to some of the villas we've stayed at on other islands. Yes, the roads are steep and you will navigate through a few hairpin turns, but the road is paved all the way to the house, and the driveway is not steep at all. At night, the drive home from both directions on the islands is lit with street lights, so we also considered that a huge bonus! We LOVED that the property is gated.
The only setbacks we encountered were: 1.) the washing machine was apparently not working - we were advised by our greeter that it was in repair. Thankfully we decided to bring extras of things and not to depend on being able to do laundry while we were there. Not a big deal to us, but if it's something you require, it might be worth asking the current status before you finalize your packing. 2.) We couldn't get the gas grill to work even after changing to a new gas tank. We do love grilling while we're on vacation, but it was only a minor disappointment. And those two things were very small drops in the bucket relative to all of the other wonderful amentities.
I'd highly recommend The Refuge to families, couples, small groups of friends, and anyone who is looking for a truly peaceful place to stay on their island getaway.
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