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“Old wine, showing age”

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Man-O-War Bay Cottages
POS
Level Contributor
47 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Old wine, showing age”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 January 2013

First up, a confession.

I've visited and stayed sporadically over the last thirty plus years.

For those who know the island of Tobago, you'll appreciate the Cottages' fortune has tracked the fortune of the Estate (downward).

The principal attraction is the secluded location -on the beach- at Man-o-War Bay between the villages of Charlotteville and Campbellton. A secondary attraction is that cooking is on offer, mainly for lunch or dinner.

Otherwise, the property is old, with the exception of the more recently built wooden cabins. Appliances don't always work to plan and neglect has set in.

Employees are generally helpful, but they appear to be working in a vacuum.

In summary, this property is fine for those who are prepared to manage these gaps, but not for the average tourist. As always, caveat emptor.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank GJWPos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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22 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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    5
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    2 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Taos, New Mexico
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 January 2012

As a veteran traveler I sometimes feel like I have seen it all, however reality never fails to take a chunk out of my behind....We were drawn to Man O War (not by the name) but by the wonderful location of the cottages at the edge of a verdant rainforest, right on the bay....The best thing about the place and grounds is its location, waking up to a cacophony of Tobago's vibrant bird life and ocean waves breaking...(However, sleeping was difficult due to one of the cottage's dogs barking incessantly throughout one of the nights) When we showed up on the grounds, it took about 25 minutes for a long term resident of the cabins to find the owner....The resident gushed about the place and its amenities including internet and kayaks which she told us would be free of charge... The cabin we stayed in, named the sugar shack, had great potential but was fairly shabby, and we discovered on the first night that the toilet did not function and that we had no shower pressure or hot water....They had a novel in the cottage about all of the services they provided, for example a stocked commissary, but many of them( the services) were not in existence....No one seemed to keep regular hours in their "office" and we were out during most of the day hours so we never got the toilet/ hot water issue resolved....(that was our fault partially because we opted to spend the small time we had in the wonderful town of Charlotteville, enjoying the place and culture, rather than dealing with our sub-par cottage...) Unfortunately, i had to use internet which i try to minimize when traveling and that was only available for 10 dollars an hour (US)...When we inquired about kayaks, one particularly uninspired worker (whom we were lucky to find on the premises) sent us off property on a wild goose chase which ultimately wasted time and yielded no kayak....This place touts itself as something that it is not, and ultimately we felt like the owner's attitude was that we were lucky to be staying there under any conditions....For the FIRST time, after traveling the globe for twenty years, I decided to complain and ask for a partial refund....The owner was defensive and non-responsive to my request until i told her that we had been charged by one of her employees an extra twenty dollars in taxes, which she had told us was included in the asking price (which was refunded!)....We should have listened to a local who inferred that something strange was up at this joint....The place and people are a bit unfriendly and you feel like you are gate crashing a place where you are unwelcome but they will gladly take your cash... The literature on the place pays lip service to the supposed environmental action that they are taking but it is unapparent what that action is...Overall, big thumbs down....I only give it two stars because of the location....Peace!

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank travelwide108
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Northeast Coast hotels

Half Moon Bay
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 July 2011

I traveled to Tobago for a nature and cultural experience. The Man-O-War cottage was just what I was looking for. I didn't want a sterile Best Western where the locals are trying hard to make us feel like we were still in America. Being on an old plantation, in our own private cottage, with the village people passing by was great. Yes, the cabins are now a bit rustic and the staff left you alone, but the amount of space for the money, the privacy, the chickens in the morning, the beachfront location, made me feel like I had arrived. It would be a shame if it were "modernized", slicked up, and only those with enough money could experience paradise.

Room Tip: Cabins are spaced wide apart. They are all the same.
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
1 Thank Coastsider94019
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ny
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 March 2008

I just came across this website. It is with my graet amazement that i have read these negetive letters.Man O War Bay Cottages is a paradise on the edge of the rainforest.
The cottages are now working towards Green globe Certification.
If you check thier website they deliberately state NOT luxurious.
I have just returned from my yearly one month stay in the cottages ( I know all 10 of them intimately). They are comfortable and clean. The staff and managment are extremely attentive. They do not have mosquito nets or office food as stated in the other letters. All are self catering and fully screened. A commissaryprovides food for cooking apart from the nearby village. Staying in these cottages within the atmosphere created by the owners of Man O war Bay cottages renues me every year.
Heather
Upstate, Ny

Stayed February 2008
Helpful?
1 Thank NyPeahen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stony Brook, NY
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 February 2008

Great location, gorgeous grounds, in a lovely small fishing village. The cottages are in desperate need of renovation. The kitchen had a rusty, moldy refrigerator and an acceptable stove. It was fairly well stocked with odds and ends dinnerware and pots, but it never felt clean enough to want to cook there. The bathroom was definitely sub-standard. No hooks for towels (which were tattered and scratchy) and even though there were screens in the bedrooms, we were inundated with mosquitoes. There were only bare bulbs in all of the rooms, which were very dim. The outdoor deck was very nice, but we had difficulty getting the management to get us enough furniture to accommodate our family. The town was a lot of fun, but the food was limited,. You need to stop in Scarborough to stock up on food if you want to do some cooking, as the availability of groceries and selection of meals at the restaurants were extremely limited. We ate most of our meals at Jane's Quality kitchen, which is run by the most gracious man Charles and his son Jerome (highly recommended). Also Gail's Place for a delicious, albeit, SLOW dinner. The people in the town were warm and wonderful, which was the saving grace for staying in these sub -standard cottages. A word of warning:Don't ever stay in cottage #1. Our friends stayed there and it was a complete dump. Cottage #9 is a palace in comparison!

  • Liked — The Location
  • Disliked — The cottages were shabby
  • Stayed February 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank beadjane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
42 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 November 2007

We booked the flat as we wanted 2 separate beds. We were shown into a dark, dank concrete box. The cooker was rusty and looked dangerous. The toilet and shower were dirty and full of spiders and webs (clearly not cleaned recently). The beds were damp so that after laying on it for a few minutes our t-shirts were wet through.
I wouldn't want anybody to pay US$65 and waste their money on this one.

We were then shown No 10 - which was a much bigger, wooden chalet. It was very dark and not very clean but would probably have been ok in the dry season. Unfortunately the beds in here were also damp and so we didn't stay (friend has a back problem and couldn't risk it)

We had planned to stay for 4 nights but didn't stay one. We were unable to get our deposit back.

Because it is based in dense tropical gardens it means that it doesn't really see the sun and dry out. The open drains meant that there were a lot of mosquitos.

I can only talk about rainy season but I wouldn't every consider booking this place again.

  • Liked — nothing
  • Disliked — damp beds and sheets
  • Stayed October 2007, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank MistiLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh, UK
Level Contributor
55 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 January 2007

Having read the reviews of the man o war cottages i wanted to stand up for the place i loved so much. I am not the kind of person to revisit somewhere but we had such an amazing Honeymoon in the 'Sugar Shack' that we ended up returning for another 2 weeks.

Sure, this isn't the Hilton. There are no flash swimming pools, there are no 'added extras' as you would see in the sandles brochures, but this is such a beautiful place that the 'added extras' are on your doorsteps. the cottages are simple, they have adequate cooking and bedding facilities but the beach is a second from your door. there are sone really interesting little basic restaurants adn the people are fascinating.

Life in Charlottesville is very laid back. It sits on its own at the tip of the Island, a world away from the big touristy areas of the Island. and Manowar has a few cottages to chose from. We stayed in 2 different cottages and yes, there are a few insects, yes there is no air conditioning but you are sat on the edge of the jungle in a tropical island. If you want somewhere to relax, sip carib and eat tasty locally caught fish, this is the place for you. If you like all life's luxuries then head for the other end of the ISland.

There are a few things you should be aware of. The UK govt has reported an increase in crime on the island so make sure you take care in remote spots. We saw an increase in hassle from some of the locals, but they are just trying to make ends meet. At the end of the day this is a 3rd world country and so long as you approach with care and be polite we didn't encounter any problems. Watch out for the Fruit King - whatever he tells you - he wasn't a friend of David Attenborough and the fruit he sells is rubbish!

There are some lovely people in the village and the staff at the cottages were excellent. they are very laid back, but thats the beauty. They cleaned the cottage every other day and were massively helpfiul in getting us information when we were stranded because of all the Sept 11th air traffic issues.

Our only criticism, and this may have changed....is that the food in the village can get a bit samey after a few days. Its well worth having car and getting over to the other end of the island to a, see the sights, b, stock up on some supplies, c, go to a few of the good restaurants at the other end of the island. Indigo blue and the waterfall were excellent when we went (the lady at indigo blue kindley emailed me after i left to give me a recipe for her banana ketchup!). But there are so many good reasons to go to man o war and charlotteville that this was just a slight inconvienience caused by our desire to keep trying new food.

If you are looking for a more commercial place close by try the hotel just over the ridge on the edge of speyside. its a lot more organised and probably more to the tastes of classic hotel lovers but it is very westernised, but thats not a bad thing if thats what you are after. If you are after a very relaxed, simple, stressfree time to soak up the sun, carib and atmosphere then this is a wonderful place!

  • Liked — its location next to the sea
  • Disliked — leaving
  • Tips/Secrets — take a mosquito net!!!!
  • Stayed May 2005, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank busastep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Man-O-War Bay Cottages

Property: Man-O-War Bay Cottages
Address: Tobago
Region: Caribbean > Trinidad and Tobago > Tobago > Northeast Coast
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Speciality Lodging in Northeast Coast
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 6
Also Known As:
Man-O-War Bay Cottages Tobago, Trinidad And Tobago

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