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“Back to nature”

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Kariwak Village Holistic Haven and Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 9 April 2007

We have just returned from a stay at the Kariwak Hotel and concur with the glowing reviews previously posted on Trip Advisor. The hotel is situated just a short taxi ride or walk from Crown Point airport which puts it in within easy reach of everything as most of the hotels, bars, restaurants are clustered in this area. You are also close to the clear waters and clean sands of Store Bay.

To summarise, the big pluses:
-A real home from home feel with attentive staff and hands on management.
-Rooms close to the restaurant/pool area
-Tasty and beautifully presented food – the breakfasts are a wonderful start – fresh fruit, homemade cereals and bread as well as a varying main course which is generally a local dish.
-Lovely pool which is ozone filtered and not chlorinated.

One niggle - we were less keen on the buffet evenings (Fri and Sat). There is not such a wide choice as one would normally find at a buffet – no doubt because everything is so carefully prepared. 2 salads for starters, 2 main courses (with vegetables) and 1 choice of pudding (this was served to the table). Less good for us because we prefer a ‘sit down meal’ in the evening and the pasta choice for our 5 year old son was not available on these evenings. We stayed in for one buffet night and ate out on the next one.

Tobago is a back to nature experience and this hotel is totally in keeping with its environment. We look forward to returning.

Jeeps are available through the hotel as it has its own for rental. Do make sure you get out and explore this wonderful island. The roads are good (compared to many Caribbean islands) and traffic is light. Pigeon Point is a 5 minute drive away with superb facilities which do not detract from this tropical paradise. In fact beaches all offer car parks and some are life guarded. The rain forest is about an hour’s drive from Crown Point (on the south road) and can be easily done by yourself. The north road is a lot hillier. If you are out do stop at Shore Things Café, at Lambeau near Scarborough. Another place with the emphasis on tasty, homemade food.

Store Bay is a lovely beach just 5 minutes walk from the hotel. From here one can take glass bottomed boat trips out to the reef. The staff on Marlon’s Soca Queen worked hard to show us the best of what there was to see.

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled with family
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10  Thank HH65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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302 - 308 of 348 reviews

Reviewed 17 February 2007

This is one of the nicest places we have ever stayed. There are so many positive reviews (keep reading!) that it is difficult to add anything new.

Don't worry about the airport just over the boundary wall - we spent hours lounging in the garden hammocks and the most you hear is a few short bursts of buzzing as the inter-island planes take off or taxi. It's great also to have a two minute transfer to the hotel (you could even walk it if you wanted!)

Garden is packed with birds and tropical plants - we saw far more of both close up than in the rain forest/waterfall walk, though this is also well worth it for the experience (Peter Cox and Elvis are a great tour duo with real in-depth knowledge). If you like to see tropical birds, the Arnos Vale hotel is a 80TT taxi ride away. Its a scruffy place but the setting and birds are great, particularly at and after the 4pm tea and feeding session. Great snorkling too.

Most people in the hotel when we stayed were aged mid-forties upwards and it may be less attractive to younger people or children. Evening entertainment (Friday and Saturday only) was very low-key - solo guitar and a keyboard/steel pan duo playing in the corner - and there are no specific activities or provision for children.

  • Stayed: February 2007, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank PaulFranks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2007

There is no doubt that it really pays to stay in a hotel that is run by the people who own it. The co-owner of The Kariwak, Cynthia Clovis was in evidence throughout the time we stayed, from first thing in the morning to last thing at night and she even donned her apron and oversaw the wonderful cuisine that delighted our palates every evening.
Of course, The Kariwak isn't perfect, and I'll list the few negative bits at the end of this report but it is undoubtenly a lovely place and the highlights for us were the beautifully tended gardens with the lovely waterfall jacuzzi, the genuinely happy and helpful staff, the high standard of cleanliness everywhere, from the frequency of the linen change to the standard of presentation in the restaurant area, and most importantly, the fabulous food.
Breakfasts consisted of a fresh fruit platter, cereals, yoghurt, honey, eggs-any style, plus your choice of ham, cheese, bacon all finished off with home made toast and preserves and there was also a breakfast special every day, from fish with tartare sauce to cheese and chive omelette, all waitress service and very relaxing.
Dinner in the evening was again waitress service (although there is a buffet on a Friday and Saturday evening with entertainment) and the menu during the week started with a delicious home-made soup followed by a mixed salad and then a main course of fish or meat all served with interesting vegetables and rice and warm, home-made bread or rolls. The puddings tended to be a home-made cake or tart and the icecream was, again, home-made and very delicious.
So you really cannot fault the food, the grounds are delightful and the staff happy and helpful.
A few niggles:-
1. When we arrived after a delayed flight, we were bone tired and very dehydrated, and we would have welcomed the words "you must be exhausted, can we get you a drink from the bar" but alas there was no real welcome and we took our cases to our room without much ceremony. You only get one chance to make a first impression and The Kariwak blew it.
2. The beds are hard, as mentioned by another reviewer, and they take some getting used to.
3. There were no hairdriers in the rooms even though the website says they are provided - a bit of a problem as the voltage in Tobago is very weak and it took forever to dry our hair with our British equipment.
4. There were no tea/coffee-making facilities, and to be fair, none was promised, so we took a kettle but, again, because of the dodgy voltage it took about half an hour to boil a little travel kettle!
5. The co-owner Allan Clovis was not much in evidence and seemed rather remote from his guests; he could barely muster a nod when we tried to engage him in a greeting. Most odd considering how very visible his wife was.
6. The aircraft noise is quite noticeable especially when you are lounging in the garden but as the Kariwak is only a 5-7 minute walk from the airport, I suppose this isn't surprising.
Would we go there again? Yes, indeed, as it really was the nicest little hotel we have ever stayed in the Caribbean and we'll no doubt join the ranks of those who return to the Kariwak again and again.

Stayed: January 2007
5  Thank Chibs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 November 2006

We stayed in the Kariwak hotel for 2 nights and would definately return. It is by no means 'luxurious' but in a class of its own - rustic, relaxed and unimposing, I felt as if I was in the middle of nowhere but had convenience of Store Bay right outside. The rooms are large and spotlessly clean (always the most important thing for me!) although a little dark. The best thing about the hotel is the setting - its in a large, beautiful enclosure with lots of winding paths, gorgeous tropical flowers and then a wonderful suprise - the outdoor jacuzzi. This coupled with hammocks for lounging, the morning yoga classes, home grown herbs and home made yogurt andhoney in the mornings made for a great holistic mini-break. They also provide a complimentary shuttle bus to pigeon point which is very convenient, its a very efficient hotel considering the relaxed atmosphere. Some people worry about it being so close to the airport - dont! I dont recall the planes being imposing at all.

  • Stayed: October 2006, travelled with family
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6  Thank hammyryder79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 October 2006

Probably like many other visitors to this site, I have stayed in some of the swankiest hotels in the world - and this is certainly not one of them - don't expect a man to clean your sunglasses twice a day or 14 on site restaurants.

However what this IS, is a professionally run, charming, delightful, friendly, comfortable, relaxing, beautiful little hotel. The food would not be out of place in a 5 star restaurant and the rooms are simple but perfectly comfortable, clean, quiet and charming.

The staff are superb - they get to know your name, and treat you as a friend. I have just stayed there for a fortnight and was never once asked to sign for anything, give credit card imprints, etc. It just all quietly gets put on a tab for you to pay at the end (they know which room you are in without constantly asking)- with a full audit trail so you can check it.

For a holiday hotel (probably not so suitable for business) you will not find better if peace, quiet, relaxation, and sheer chillin' is what you are after.

  • Stayed: September 2006, travelled solo
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13  Thank GillyHolidayJunkie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2006

Having decided to go to Tobago for our honeymoon, I researched the various hotels available to us and saw the rave reviews of the Kariwak on here. Coincidentally, there was an article about Toabgo in a magazine and they also recommended the Kariwak, so that sealed our decision to choose this resort. I am so glad we did!

We had a garden room which was huge and very private. The airconditioning was great and the bathroom & seperate toilet were modern and spacious. The room was kept spotless by the chambermaid and we loved coming back "home" after a hot and tiring day exploring the island. We are normally very active travellers, but after a hectic few months leading up to our wedding, we just enjoyed lounging around in the beautiful gardens of the Kariwak and cooling off in the jacuzzi. (Some people on here have complained the jacuzzi hasn't got hot water - it's a jacuzzi, not a hot tub, and believe me, the cool water is heavenly in the hot & humid climate of Tobago!).

The food at the Kariwak deserves all the praise it gets...and then some! The breakfast consists of tea/coffee/cocoa, home made yoghurt, home made granola (delicious!), a selection of fresh fruit, freshly squeezed juice, home made bread and then a choice of the dish of the day, fish or eggs. We often found we didn't need any lunch after our sumptuous morning feast! The few times we did have lunch at the Kariwak, we feasted on the wonderful sandwiches and salads. The dinners were equally fabulous - from the superb buffet on Fridays and Saturdays (followed by live music) to the set menu. Although it is hard to leave anything on your plate, try to leave some room for the dessert! The cocktails at the Kariwak (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) became a running joke with us - every couple of hours one of us would pipe up and suggest "Cocktail?" - our bill upon departure consisted mainly of a very long list of cocktails! I'm having cravings for the Virgin Colada and the Kariwak Cooler...

The thing that makes the Kariwak so special, however, is the staff. Don't expect them to serve you quickly - just relax, be patient and enjoy their company. The staff in the other Tobagonian hotels were fairly off-hand, but the Kariwak staff are treated as family by Cynthia Clovis, the manager, and it shows. They are happy, friendly and will frequently walk around singing to themselves. We thoroughly enjoyed chatting to them, laughing with them and it was sad to have to say goodbye to them when we left. They are happy to help in any situation - my husband had an infected foot and one of the staff looked after him so well, disinfecting his foot and asking about him several times a day. Cynthia is also a very special woman - softly spoken and serene, a fabulous cook and charming hostess.

During our stay we brought a few people back to the Kariwak with us for dinner and enjoyed showing off the beautiful grounds and of course the amazing menu - they were all jealous! The location is actually ideal, despite the runway being so close. We were never woken up by plane sounds and there are so few planes, you hardly notice them. On the day we left, we walked over the airport with our suitcases, did an early check-in and walked back to enjoy a last few hours (and cocktails!) at the Kariwak. It is also only a few minutes' walk to Store Bay beach, the shops and to the other restaurants/bars nearby. Sheppy car rentals over the road is an inexpensive, reliable car rental place and the minimarts nearby sell everything from toiletries to drinks for low prices.

We never go to the same place twice, but have already decided to go back to the Kariwak...I can't wait!!

  • Stayed: September 2006, travelled as a couple
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19  Thank LiesjeK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2006

Kariwak village is first class food and accommodation at a three star rated hotel. It is close to the airport, walking distance, but we were not worried by the aircraft noise at all. It is a unique place, the whole atomosphere is tranquil and set in pretty gardens with water features and an excellent pool. The owners have given a lot of thought into the layout. We had a very comfortable room with everything we needed and more. The food was the best we have had anywhere for a long time. The staff were so friendly and helpful, they had been there a number of years and were able to offer excellent service. The choice of food was great and we only intended to eat there occasionally but enjoyed it so much ate there more or less every meal! It is close to a lovely beach and we recommend taking a boat trip from the nearby beach to the reef and nylon pool, cheap and such good value for money. We went twice because the snorkelling was so good. Went on an island tour with "Elvis" the guide to the rainforest etc and it was excellent. Would return again to the Kariwak without a doubt.

Stayed: July 2006
11  Thank SANDRAD5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kariwak Village Holistic Haven and Hotel

Address: Store Bay Local Road, Crown Point, Tobago
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Trinidad and Tobago > Tobago > Crown Point
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 14 Speciality Lodging in Crown Point
Price Range: £126 - £161 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Kariwak Village Holistic Haven and Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Kariwak is an intimate 24 room Tobago hotel with unmistakable Caribbean ambiance. It features wholesome cuisine using its own home-grown herbs in the restaurant, and holistic holiday activities - yoga, massage, Tai Chi. There is an award-winning tropical garden with abundant plants and bird life in addition to the garden jacuzzi, pool, weekend live entertainment. Kariwak enjoys a high percentage of repeat clientele. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kariwak Village Holistic Haven Hotel Crown Point
Kariwak Village Holistic Haven And Hotel Tobago/Crown Point

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