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“Just what we wanted” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Man-O-War Bay Cottages

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Man-O-War Bay Cottages
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Just what we wanted”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 July 2013

Remembering Charlotteville from some years ago we were certain that it was what we wanted. We wanted a villa/cottage on a real beach away from the generally touristy areas where we could walk into the sea and sup rum punches as the sun went down (and up, come to think of it!). We were concerned that our 4 kids 19 to 23 would be bored but no, we had terrific diving from the Shark Shack just behind the villa and we were there for the various festivals. The Fishermans festival which I thought maybe related to fishermen was just an excuse for massive drinking and music loud enough to make your ears bleed - even at 6 in the morning, but hey, it was fun! Having been in tourism for some years we have some idea of customer satisfaction and attention to detail, both notions were obviously alien concepts! The villa built I estimate some 40/50 years ago have not been improved or modernised in any way since then. It was a bit like those industrial heritage museums where you see how people lived in 1890 or whatever. Lights, plumbing, decor, kitchen, bathrooms were unbelievable, but the beds were very comfortable and that is really all we needed, luckily! I was actually itching to set to work as with just so little effort you could really make something of the place. Charlotteville is great, the odd restaurant forgot to open or ran out of this or that, the supermarkets had remarkably little in them and even for bread what was available was pappy rubbish so every morning we made a large crusty loaf, a new experience which enhanced the Robin Crusoe experience. We loved it and will go back but it does take a certain resilience I would say.

Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank scarthy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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21 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    4
    8
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    4
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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
San Francisco
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 March 2013

Let's face it: All tripadvisor reviews are guided by expectations. The folks who like a plush America-in-the-wilderness resort aren't looking for the cultural experience of a hut in the jungle.
Well, read the reviews for Man-O-War Bay Cottages accordingly.
These cottages are located in a small fishing village at the far end of the less developed island in the nation of Trinidad and Tobago. They sit essentially on the beach on a portion of what was once a colonial cocoa estate and are managed the widow of a descendent of the colonial family who, when the cocoa industry collapsed, sought to preserve the huge estate, not for his own benefit, but as an income producing asset for the village while also preserving the environment of this lovely island. The cottages are part of that effort.
The cottages are a great bargain. At $85US a night for a two bedroom cottage with a kitchen, living room, bathroom, and porch (with housekeeping twice a week), they are not the least expensive in the village, but they are a fine value.
That being said, one has to be prepared for their deficiencies. We have been coming to Man-O-War regularly for more than 20 years with grandmother, parents, and children (from pre-conception to 18 years old) and have learned to expect that the knives in the kitchen won't be so sharp, that the shower can be weak (once there was no hot water... fortunately, the cold isn't to bad when it is always 80 degrees), that the lighting is poor, that the screens usually have a few holes. We know that the village of Charlotteville has poorly supplied stores.
But we also know that the grounds of Man-O-War are beautiful, right on a safe and welcoming beach, close to a village that has a life of its own beyond tourism, and that if we maintain modest expectations for luxury, that we have a great time-- reading, playing games as a family, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, SCUBA diving, hiking in the rain forest, and getting to know the village and its lovely people.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank doctoraaron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 February 2013

We first came here in the 1970's with our young family and had several great holidays here. Remembering this, my youngest son brought me and two of his children for a few days so that we could enjoy a place of which he has fond memories. These are eco-friendly cottages and initially came as a shock to the children who are accustomed to all the mod-coms of the 21st century. Reading the detailed and very informative handbook I noted aloud that we could request anything we needed from the office, whereupon the older of the two children asked for air-conditioning and a tv! They soon adjusted to the lovely environment however and we spent great family time at night with quizzes and cards. The setting is truly beautiful and a wide range of outings and activities are available. The houses show signs of wear and tear but if you care about conservation and want basic comfort, simplicity and serenity this is the place. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Stella J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bonar Bridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 January 2013

Cottages have everything you need, lived there for 11 weeks with a group students and loved it. The cottages have a safe on sight for any valuables you may be concerned about, but generally speaking, Charlotteville is one of the safest places in Tobago for the sensible traveller. There's also a security guard in the grounds.
Location is within walking distance of popular snorkeling spot Pirates Bay. Also good for snorkeling is the other end of the bay and within swimming distance from the cottages where 'Lover's Bay' is located, which is a small, secluded coral beach.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Eilidh S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
POS
Level Contributor
47 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
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
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank GJWPos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank travelwide108
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
Helpful?
1 Thank Coastsider94019
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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