Castaway is a beautiful villa--perfect for our extended family of 11 (grandparents, son, daughter and their spouses, and 5 grandkids ages 4-8.) The view from the villa is gorgeous, with large sliding doors that open up one wall, bringing the outside in. The furnishings, kitchen, and bathrooms are all high-end and seem to have been recently done.
The description and pictures on Trip Advisor are accurate for the most part although the heading needs to be corrected. As I write this review, the heading says 2 BR, 3 BR, Sleeps 4. It should be 5 BR, 6 BR, Sleeps 10 (actually we had 11 with three kids in the bunk room--we had a sleeping bag for the 4-year old). Perhaps the owners will see this and get it corrected.
The other two items I would question are “short walk from dining and entertainment.” Da Conch Shack is the only restaurant within a short walk—about a 10-minute stroll down the beach. However, the villa is so well equipped and beautiful that you may not want to leave—and then your dining and entertainment are a “short” walk. The last item I would question is “great snorkeling just off shore.” We did try it once and didn’t see much, not even many fish, but maybe we tried the wrong places. A few people who wrote in the villa guest book talked about snorkeling, so if there is good snorkeling, a map where to look would be a helpful addition to the villa.
The villa is located on Thompson Cove west of Grace Bay so away from the hustle and bustle. Thompson Cove is centrally located on the island, so most destinations are a short drive away since the island is not that big.
We were worried about having any beach area as it was hard to tell from pictures, but it more than met our needs. The water is beautiful with the same turquoise color as Grace Bay, and there is a fairly wide sandy beach area for walking or for the kids to make sand castles. Maybe not as wide as Grace Bay, but since you have it almost all to yourselves, it is more than adequate. Two kayaks are provided, which we used several times. If you paddle to the right and up a waterway, you will find lots of egret nests—at least we did in April.
We used the pool more than the beach, however. The temperature was perfect—warm enough but still refreshing. There are two bins of pool and beach gear—snorkeling fins and masks, pool and beach toys, noodles, etc.
The kitchen is fairly well appointed with sharp knives, good pans, and most gadgets you would want. Quite a few spices are available, along with basics like olive oil and vinegar probably left by previous guests. More mixing/serving bowls, extra dish towels, and a larger fry pan would be good additions. There is a built-in grill area right outside the kitchen which is high-end as well. The over-sized refrigerator had just been removed for repairs, and the temporary regular-sized replacement was a little small for 11 people eating most of their meals at the villa. However, it wasn’t bad, and the extra-large refrigerator is probably repaired by now. There is another small chest freezer in the laundry room where we kept extra ice and some frozen items.
The villa caretakers were very responsive. They met our son and family at the airport (they arrived first), waited until they picked up one of our car rentals, and then led the way to the villa, showing them around and giving instructions on how everything worked. When we called about a cigarette smoke smell in one wing after the rest of us arrived, they were there in a short time to spray. The smell did come back when we turned on the air conditioning, but using the spray they left seemed to help.
You can't see the villa from the road, so would-be thieves would have a hard time knowing if anyone was home or not. There is a locked gate by the road with a keypad entrance, further discouraging intruders. The villa provided a security guard at night who arrived at 7:00 pm and stayed until 7:00 am, mostly on the beach. However, when an alarm went off at a nearby villa, he was up by our villa in seconds, making sure everything was OK. Another night I was awake and heard a bang near our villa as though something had fallen. Again, the security guard responded, checking things out.
The security guard was an added bonus as this was not mentioned in any of the villa postings, so maybe it's something the owners were just trying out. There is a safe in the villa, but it's not available for use by guests. However, with all the other security, we weren't worried. There is a computer provided for guests, but we all had our own, and the WIFI worked great.
A car is needed if you are staying here. Grocery stores are too far to walk, and as I mentioned, the only restaurant within walking distance is Da Conch Shack. Not having restaurants within walking distance worked out fine for us as we had planned to do our own cooking. If you do want to eat out more often, many restaurants are a short drive away. Of course, hiring a chef is another option.
All in all, this villa was perfect for our family and I highly recommend it.