Six friends sat on the coast watching the Caribbean sun set over the horizon in 1991. A day of sailing had left their throats dry and their skin baked and as the departing sun threw up vibrant streaks of orange, pink and blue across the Trinidad twilight they had the “beach dream.” A dream commonly shared by anyone finding themselves on a beach watching a sunset. It’s the one where we imagine owning and retiring on our own slip of perfect paradise.
While it is true, such fantasies dreamt up by friends on beaches are usually forgotten the next day, this idea stuck with these six friends. Collectively the group bought a beachfront at Stonehaven Bay on the island of Tobago and half a dozen homes were summarily built. The plan was simple, when each of the group was not enjoying their property themselves, the houses would be opened to travellers and run like a hotel. Plantation Beach Villas was born.
Since then, a couple of the villas have changed hands, but the original idea still is the intrinsic part of the guest experience. Not merely commercial properties, these are sanctuaries designed by Swedish architect Arne Hasselqvist, who is famous for building celebrity homes on the Island of Mustique. The villas boast classic turn-of-the-century colonial British stylings, complete with typical West Indian decorative fretwork, with carefully balanced interior furnishings and a layout that encourages social gatherings and big meals.
Stonehaven Bay, on the southeast coast of Tobago, enjoys a tropical climate with warm temperatures throughout the year, averaging around 27-32°C (81-90°F). The region experiences a distinct wet season from June to November, characterized by refreshing afternoon showers, while the dry season lasts from December to May.
Nestled in their own woodlands, the villas offer superb privacy and blend smoothly into the natural environment. A bit of a nature lover’s paradise, over two hundred species of birds can be found on the island of Tobago with the Blue Tanager, Tropical Mockingbird and Bananaquit loitering near the villas to check up on the guests.
Seven full time employees keep the villas up-to-spec with added staff coming in during the busier periods. The original shareholders and their families still play a key role in the running of the business and together ensure that guests feel at home and free to roam.
Resort manager, Sean Clarke says, “We are one of the only villa resorts in Tobago with direct access to the beach and we also sit on the edge of a bird sanctuary. So, there are a number of attractive avenues for exploration, encouraging our guests to get active island wide.”
TRAVEL TRENDS IN TOBAGO
Sean notes that family travel is on the rise, which is perfect for Plantation Beach Villas. With each of the properties having three bedrooms they are a perfect choice for the big family or friend reunion and especially wedding parties. This is a particularly wonderful location for weddings, as Stonehaven is that sort of enviable Hollywood-island setting where any occasion is upgraded to the level of a 90’s or early 00’s romantic comedy.
A contraction in airlifts to Tobago since 2020 has affected the island’s tourism, and Plantation Beach Villas are working hard with the Tobago Hotel Association and Tourism Authority to promote the island and all it can offer.
It is one of the last unspoilt tourism destinations on earth, boasting the oldest named rain forest reserve in the western hemisphere, twenty-six rivers and twenty-four waterfalls (that they know of). A bird population of 259 species with 97 of them being on island all year-round. Not to mention a vibrant culture and a layered history thanks to Tobago being one of the most fought over islands in the Caribbean. The island’s governance has changed hands no less than thirty-three times, affording visitors a remarkably rich experience flavoured by varied cultural experiences, coupled with warm friendly people who have a love of tasty food, drink and coastal activities. Frankly, a perfect place for your own beach dream.
ADDRESS: Stonehaven Bay Rd. Black Rock Tobago
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 001 (868) 689-3114