Thanks to its secluded location and intimate size it was well suited to do-it-yourself activities and small gatherings.

Overall Impression It was easy to forget work, stress and the everyday while gazing toward the blue and green hues of the Caribbean on an open terrace 180 feet above the coast. We were the sole occupants of Being, a $2 million private luxury villa in Tobago created by tourism industry executive Auliana Poon a Trinidadian herself. Perched on five acres of land on the edge of the rain forest, Being had a distinctive look, a mixture of Caribbean elegance and modern styling with a playful touch of European flair.

Varied bird song, distinctive frog calls and the sound of the surf enriched our days and nights with nature’s music while a majestic view of the Caribbean to the north and the rain forest to the east lightened our step. We enjoyed the privacy, quiet ambiance and sense of isolation at Being. It was an excellent place to get away from it all.

We waged a losing war with mosquito repellent in an effort to keep some of the many biting insects in a dubious truce. We spent the early morning and afternoon hours lazing poolside, our favorite hang out on the property, with a book or taking a swim to cool off from the unrelenting heat of the sun. Ocean breezes and shady spots were a godsend. The daily summer rain showers also helped refresh us.

Situated on a hilly nook on the north coast of Tobago, Being was off the beaten path and away from any crowds. Having no television, radio, or Internet access heightened our appreciation of the leisure villa and its surroundings. Being was a grand spot for romance. It was also ideal for nature lovers, travelers wanting to get away from the everyday and for friends or family to spend time together. Thanks to its secluded location and intimate size it was well suited to do-it-yourself activities and small gatherings.

Class Of Accommodation Private luxury villa

Connectivity There was no connectivity. There were handheld phones throughout the house and a fax machine in the dining room.

Handicapped Access To reach the pool in the lower level it was necessary to go down a set of stone stairs. Otherwise, there were small steps around the common areas and to enter the bedrooms.

Length Of Stay Two nights

Location On a sea facing hill in Arnas Vale, an area on the Caribbean coast of Tobago, about 30 minutes drive from Crown Point.

Managed Tourism Intelligence International

Owned Auliana Poon

Size Two of Being’s three bedrooms with en suite bathrooms were available for guest use. Five part time staff members looked after the villa, guests and the five acres of the hillside estate.

Year Opened The house was completed in 1999

Common Areas The first thing we noticed when we arrived at Being was an Italianate building with antique yellow exterior walls and a spire which we later discovered housed the living area. It had wood and glass doors on all sides of the building, a sound system and a small paperback library. A divan, rocking chairs and other comfortable furniture filled the petite room which was decorated in green and pink tones to contrast against the green marble floor. Outside the building there was a table, chairs and umbrella. A separate building, a step away from the first and of a similar size, was home to a dining room. It had doors on three sides; facing inward from the hallway, facing the sea and facing the living area building.

Across from the dining building, just beyond a long water plant feature, was a kitchen building. It was outfitted almost completely in white with cutlery, glassware, German dinnerware, pots and pans and most of the utensils a home cook would need. The countertop was of grey and blue granite. Appliances included a side-by-side refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave and conventional ovens, gas stove and ample counter space. There was a little kitchen table with stools in the center, making it possible to enjoy a quick meal inside the kitchen.

One step from the kitchen underneath a green awning roof was an outdoor informal rectangular concrete dining table for six. It was made of a simple white granite top and cushioned wicker chairs. One end faced a tiny garden and the other an outdoor sculpture yard and the sea beyond it. This was our choice spot for breakfast.

Fifteen steps led down to our favorite part of Being. To the left, there was a wood walkway to the service staff section. To the right, was an informal dining room with a blue wicker dining set for four next to large sea facing windows; and adjoining it there was a 600 square foot blue and white living area. Two additional white wicker chairs were in the corners of the room. The other side of the room housed navy blue cloth furniture over a wicker and navy blue area rug. There was a love seat and matching sofa set next to a heavy wood table with ceramic inlay facing a video and DVD system. An adjacent area had two high back wicker cushioned armchairs, a glass top wicker chair and wood cabinet set atop a khaki and navy blue area rug. Beyond them there was a doorless bathroom featuring a shower and a walk-in water closet with sink. Colorful Caribbean artwork, mostly oil paintings, covered the walls of this and other common areas.

Double glass and wood doors led to an open terrace with a panoramic sea view. An infinity edge pool was the piece de resistance . Five white wood lounge chairs were spread around the pool. After breakfast and in the late afternoons we would set cushions on the chairs and drink in the amazing view. In the middle of the day, from 9 or 10 a.m. until 3 or 4 p.m. it was too hot to sit in the open sun, even for sun worshippers like us. For a while we settled in a narrow cushioned area that was in the shade but eventually summer showers forced us to retreat indoors.

DÉCor Being, designed by Trinidadian architect Roger Turton, was made up of a several small structures. The style was modern Caribbean with wood and prime color accents, tiled floors, sunlit open spaces, lush gardens, foliage and flowers, Italianate styling and artwork. A 10-year project, Being’s first building was the yellow gate house.

Bathroom White tile floor and white walls enhance open feeling. The shower, cooled by ocean breezes, had navy blue tile flooring. A partial wall divided the bathroom and the shower. The other side of the shower was framed by an open window with a view of the plants and the ocean. Thin white metal bars were the only decoration on the glassless window.

Rooms Our 300 square foot room with en suite bathroom was the only room with air conditioning in the villa. Double wood and glass doors marked the entrance. White cotton privacy cloths were thoughtfully placed by the doors. These could be set aside on a wood hook on each side of the entrance. White walls and white linen gave the room a clean and bright appearance. Two electric yellow throw pillows on the bed added a splash of color to the white theme. The tile floor was navy blue with a patch of white. Near the entrance there was a two-sided closet with lots of hanging and shelf space. A wicker chair was next to the closet followed by two twin beds set together to form a queen. They faced an attractive multi-colored oversize oil painting of a woman. A stool, wood dresser and mirror were caddy corner from the wicker chair. Above them, set high on the wall, was a loud and large air conditioning wall unit. A second wood and glass door led to a little sea facing porch with chairs. From the room we could see trees and beyond them the ocean.

Meals For our first meal we drove to Scarborough for lunch, a 20 minute drive. Other meals we made ourselves, except for one night when Jeremy Duncan, the Villa’s occasional chef, dedicated the better part of an afternoon to preparing a three course meal for us. After a day relaxing and snacking we were famished; doing nothing can make you hungry. It was a treat to arrive at the indoor dining room (it was raining so we couldn’t dine outdoors) to find dinner served. It was a satisfying ending to a precious day in Tobago and our last night at Being.

Duncan, who had worked at the Sea Horse Inn before joining the Being team, was available with advance notice to prepare lunch or dinner for a supplementary fee to cover his services and the food. We requested a fish dinner on our second night at Being. Dinner consisted of split pea soup, yellow fin tuna in a creole sauce, rice, salad with pineapple sauce, and sautéed potatoes with slightly steamed carrot slices. We enjoyed an elegant meal under a chandelier in the dining building. Scented candles, a tablecloth covered table and a sea breeze added to the romantic ambiance. The various dishes were in cellophane covered platters allowing us to serve ourselves whenever we were ready.

Amenities There was squeezable shampoo and shower gel in the shower and sink in our bathroom and in the pool bathroom. There was also a zippered plastic amenity kit with 1 oz bottles of German Hydro shampoo, conditioner, face cream, face mask, body peeling gel, body lotion, hand and nail cream and shower gel.

Pool The lower level of the house was built around an infinity pool with a striking view of the Caribbean Sea. The immaculate pool was 14 feet wide by 30 feet long, 4-foot deep in the shallow end and about 7’ 6” (2.29 meters) in the deep end. The day after we arrived, a team of three young men came by to clean it. They were gone in a jiffy.

Other Brent, the on site caretaker, greeted us on our arrival. After that, he checked on us briefly in the early morning and in the afternoon during our stay. Other than the pool service staff, the cook, the cleaning lady and some representatives from the health department who showed up unexpectedly in the morning, we had the villa to ourselves.

There was a Bose DVD player with speakers and Pioneer wall mounted television in the downstairs sitting room. The satellite service was not connected making it impossible to watch any TV. We watched a DVD from a handful of selections. There was a Bose CD player upstairs although we could not figure out how play CDs on it.

Being was designed for outdoor living. With the exception of one bedroom (the one we chose), all areas were without air conditioning or fans. This meant we battled to find a cool place to spend the day time hours. Although open areas offered pleasant ocean breezes they were almost always in the sun. In the evening there were more places to choose from although the no-see-ums (tiny biting insects) and mosquitoes could make outdoor relaxation difficult

One of the many things we liked at Being were the fruit plants such as guava, papaya, mango, and banana, and flowers. There was a bowl in the kitchen piled high with fruit when we arrived and we picked ripe guavas from the trip in the garden during a morning stroll. There were also birds, bats, geckos and other animals we could only guess at from the sounds they made.

Cleanliness Excellent

Date Of Review August 2006

Reviewers Article by Elena del Valle

Photos by Gary Cox

Welcome Five uniformed staff members, two women and three men, welcomed us the day we arrived.

Would You Stay There Again? Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • Arnes Vale
    • Tobago
    • Trinidad and Tobago
    • West Indies
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    • In the Americas
    • Tourism Intelligence International
    • 50 Richmond Street
    • Port of Spain
    • Trinidad West Indies
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