10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"We stayed here in June 2005 (mongoose apts.) and were so pleased with it! First of all, Sandra is very personable and knowledgeable and was a huge help to us not only after we arrived but also before we left. She answered all our email questions clearly. Whenever we asked her for help, she gave it to us. She never acted like she was too busy. She even gave us some tips about getting around the island and traveling the roads at night. The apt. was clean and attractive. There is a lovely cement path through a coconut grove directly to the beach. It has lights along the way at night. The apt. was furnished with everything we needed. I liked the large walkin closet area where we kept all of our stuff out of the way. We appreciated the air-conditioning during this hot summer month. No problems with bugs inside at all. We wore bugspray outside at night and were not bitten at all. There is a small store within walking distance for basic groceries. Lots of restaurants to choose from, but our favorite was Palms Delight. Also, the beach is uncrowded and Sandra and Elroy have kayaks and beach chairs available right at the beach. I dont' think we lacked for anything. I would love to stay here again."
- Travel date: Fri 21st of October 2005
A True Gem
"We had the pleasure of spending over a week at the Mongoose Apartments. This was our first time in the B.V.I.'s, and the Mongoose played an instrumental role in our enjoyment of Tortola. I was in awe of how HUGE the rooms were, and for the value- you just can't beat it. The Mongoose was larger in size than of some of the apartments I rented living in San Francisco!!!
Since most of these reviews already point out the well-stocked kitchen and bathroom, and comfortable beds, I will not review those details. What's unique about the Mongoose is that you can not see it from the main road, and you have to walk/drive through the beautiful, lush coconut grove to get to it....Sandra and Elroy take pride in keeping the grounds pristine.
The hotel is only about a minute walk to the beach... we practically had the beach to ourselves during our stay. Beach chairs, towels, kayaks, etc. are provided for guests...Sandra was beyond helpful and accommodating. She gave helpful recommendations and set up some of our day trips and activities...
The only difficult part of our time at the Mongoose was leaving it to come home... We had a DELIGHTFUL time on Tortola - largely due to the fact that we stayed at the Mongoose... you won't be dissapointed!!!"
- Travel date: Fri 12th of August 2005
Pleasant lodging on a beautiful beach
"We were two guests at Mongoose and found the apartment well equipped - even down to Avon mosquito repellant lotion, chilled bottles of water in the fridge, beach cooler and towels. The apartment was clean - a new mattress was set in our room the day we arrived.
Sandra, the owner/mananger, is a very personable, capable individual with an interesting life history. Cane Garden Bay is a lovely wide beach - and the apartments have their own lounge chairs and kyacks for guests held in a private area on the beach. An adequate grocery is within walking distance of the property. It isn't the Sugar Mill or Lamberts Resort but it is a good value and a superior location."
- Travel date: Mon 8th of August 2005
Tranquil and relaxed place to stay, my first Carribean holiday
"This is a real blast from the past for me. I'm currently following the Kenya forums for my next holiday in September when a link on the front page caught my eye for the BVI's (or Beautiful Virgin Islands as the rep on the ferry called them), and I started to recall my trip to Tortolla in Nov 2000.
I vaguely recalled where I stayed but could not remember the name, but as soon as I saw the pictures it all came flooding back. I stayed in the top apartment on the right hand side. The apartment was huge I remember a walk through closet from the bedroom to the bathroom, opening the back door and having an impressive view of the mountain behind the apartments. The first night took some getting used to with the cocophony of night-time insects and frogs (remember this was my first Carribean holiday). The beautiful beach of Cane Garden Bay and the friendly locals, there was also a local distillery just down the road from Mongoose producing the local rum, wow good stuff. Don't know if it is still there.
Mongoose and Tortolla are a real gem if you are looking for a place to stay that is under commercialised in terms of tourists on package holidays. I organised this trip myself and Sandra helped me immensley which was great as I was also travelling alone.
At the time when I visited, the international route was a long one. I had to fly into the USVI go through US Immigration to get though the airport and then again when exiting to get the ferry from USVI to BVI and then through BVI immigration when I got to West End, don't know if this is still the case but it was an experience in itself! It was all worth it though as the island is so beautiful. I was also very lucky as the week I chose was also the same week as another English couple who had stayed at the Mongoose apartments every year for many years, so Sandra had asked them to look out for me and show me the way once we got into the USVI as we were also on the same flight! I think they were called Syd & Jackie, lovely couple and they also showed me around the island and took me to some great places including the wonderful experience of the Bomba shack.
I had intended to return the following year but instead decided to travel around a bit and experience other islands and destinations (Kenyan safari this year). I can also recommend a similiar "off the beaten track and quiet tranquil place" along the same lines as Mongoose, as I found a lovely Bahamas out island called Exuma in 2001 where I stayed at Regatta Point, check them out on the web just search "Regatta Point, Exuma"."
- Travel date: Wed 6th of July 2005
Fantastic Vacation Apartment and Location!!!
"I was a bit concerned before we left after reading the recent negative review. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the apartment was clean, relatively bug free (mosquitoes were not bad), and close to one of the most beautiful beaches that I have seen in the Caribbean.
Sandra was great and we loved our stay. If you are looking for a 5-Star hotel with lots of people, shopping, and night life, this place is not for you. If you are looking for good bars, live music, no crowds, a bay full of boats, and a beach to your self (we were there in June and it was deserted), this place is for you.
This place may be one of the best kept secrets in the Caribbean."
- Travel date: Wed 15th of June 2005
"I recently returned home from a wonderful vacation in beautiful Cane Garden Bay, Tortola. My home away from home for the week was at Mongoose Apartments which I would highly recommend. The apartment was very clean and spacious and was equipped with everything that I needed to feel right at home including a fully outfitted kitchen, comfortable sleeping quarters, and little extras such as beach towels, coolers, and a patio with a beautiful view. The beach was exceptional! Lounge chairs, floats, and sea kayaks were available for use.
The location of Mongoose Apartments was great. I was in walking distance to grocery stores, restaurants, and entertainment. I felt completely safe and met a lot of great people.
Sandra and Elroy were exceptional hosts and provided assistance and recommendations for travel on the island as well as to neighboring islands. Their attention to detail and providing the little extras was something that you donât often find.
After touring the island and assessing other places to stay, I definitely picked the best! The rates were very reasonable and I found Mongoose Apartments to be an exceptional value. I am planning to return soon!"
- Travel date: Tue 7th of June 2005
Far from a tropical paradise
"I am writing because the Mongoose is most definitely NOT for everyone. It certainly was not the right place for us. We stayed here for two nights the week of February 14th, 2005.
(1) The friendliness described by others was not our experience. We found management and staff to be not terribly helpful or warm. We missed a morning ferry upon check out as there was noone to handle the paperwork despite assurances that someone would be available (this was at 9am not 5 am!).
(2) The bug situation is much much worse than described. Housekeeping leaves the rooms wide open in an attempt to air out the stink of the "Kill All"-Style insecticide that is sprayed during their cleaning. This allows the unit to refill with hearty mosquitoes by late afternoon - just in time for ones return home from the beach. Window screens and door jams have huge gaps allowing the biting monsters to come and go as they please.
(3) This is one of the few lodgings in Cane Garden not equipped with a generator so you are left in the dark (and heat and mug) evrytime there is an outage (and there were 4 during our two-night stay).
(4) The room was not especially clean. A thick layer of dust covered the lamp shades and what appeared to be a mouse dropping remained on the stove for all 3 days - never touched by the cleaning staff and certainly not be us. The bedding and towels are of the absolute lowest quality and slightly musty.
Now - It is true, the location is convenient, if loud. A tethered dog out back barked all night, each night until sunrise. I know there are some loyal Mongoose-fans out there and their comments have their place. But we have stayed at dozens of Caribbean and Mexican hotels, inns, resorts, and B&Bs. We don't mind rustic and we love a bargain. We seldom write a negative review and frequently write glowing ones (even when it means letting a secret out about a little known gem). But this time, we found a property that did not live up to its press or our minimum standards."
- Travel date: Sun 22nd of May 2005
"Had an enjoyable stay at Mongoose for two days in April. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the room - humongous! Ideal for families. Especially with the fully stocked kitchen! - loved that! There was every utensil you could think of - pots, pans, plates, cups, can openers...just everything you could think of to make your own meals. Plus there's a mini-mart a short distance up the road where you can get all your groceries. I also liked that there were bottles of water, butter, and eggs in the fridge. The verandah is nice - not a beach view, but it was nice hanging out there and eating breakfast. Sandra was quite pleasant and gave me a nice welcome.
The only negative is that there was no phone in my room! That's the first place I've been to that didn't have a phone. To make calls you have to go down into the Office - same thing for receiving calls. This can be very inconvenient if you don't like having to traipse up on down the stairs everytime, if you need privacy when making calls, or if you need to make late-night or early morning calls, as no one is usually in the OFfice at that time. I think Mongoose should really consider getting extensions in the rooms.
All in all, though - it was a nice stay. The beach is wonderful and a short distance from the apartments. Also the price at Mongoose was very reasonable. I would definitely stay there again."
- Travel date: Thu 12th of May 2005
"My wife and I recently stayed at the Mongoose apartments located on beautiful Cane Garden Bay, Tortola. This place was the cleanest place we have ever stayed at in the Virgin islands! Ther was not one speck of sand or dirt anywhere, and I mean not any!! The housekeeper does a spectacular job, as well as being very friendly. The apartment has eveything you need to live there , with a fully stocked kitchen full of all things you need to cook meals if desired.The Mongoose is set of the road about 100 yards from the best beach on the island. It is a 2 or 3 minute walk to the beach through a nice coconut grove.Which was no problem ,a very nice walk which did not have you trecking up a steep hill like many other places in the islands do. They also provide 3 sizes of coolers to use for the beach ,which was a nice touch.There is a small but fully stocked mini -market called Jimmy's?,which is a short distance up the street.They carry everything you need to make you're own meals , also beer,wine, and spirits.We can't say enough good things about the Mongoose apartments!! The owner's are wonderful people. Sandra was the nicest person we met on our 2 week 2 island vacation.She was great!!!"
- Travel date: Tue 26th of April 2005
Worth every cent and then some....
We stayed at the Mongoose Apartment in November 2004 and I was very happy to have found it. Most accomodations on the island which include a kitchen are extremely expensive (we paid the same for one week as most charge for a night or two).
What I loved:
- the walk through the coconut grove to get to the beach (I know they mention this in their ads but the reality was more spectacular than I imagined)
-cold bottles of water in the fridge upon our arrival
-three sizes of coolers in the room for outings
-fresh beach towels every day
-the array of cooking appliances and utensils available in the large kitchen (I would guess this apt is about 1000 sq.ft)
-the walk-through closet (between the bathroom and bedroom - huge!)
-the in-room safe (big enough to hold all our valuables -passport, papers, TCs, jewellry, etc)
-the hundreds of books available in the office on the ground floor (great coral reef reference books! - we snorkel and it was fun identifying the things we saw in the water)
-the kayaks, floaties, chairs, and other beach toys available at the beach from Sandra & Ellies front yard
-the short walk to the beach down Mongoose Lane (2 min. - which meant that I could stay at the beach while my wonderful husband zipped back to whip up a picnic lunch - a big salad and wine generally - yummy!)
-the section of CGB in front of Sandra & Ellies home where we played is the nicest part of the beach IMHO (they rake and clean it on a daily basis)
-the basin of fresh water at the bottom of our stairs everyday to wash off the sand from walking to the beach in bare feet
-Sandra loaning us her umbrella when we went to town one day and it was pouring
-Sandra having one of the CGB locals make fresh coconut bread and delivering it to all the guests hot!
-The VERY special guests we met while staying at the Mongoose - it seems to attract wonderfully polite, pleasant and fun guests (generally!) - we even went down one night to the beach for dinner and dancing together (unusual for this loner type).
-Sandra calling the owner of a restaurant where we had a special dinner and arranging to treat us for the desserts (don't expect this - we are uncommonly special - or so they tell us - lol! )
-the breeze that flows through the apartment when the doors and windows are open
-the sound of the coconut jungle
-the sound of the waves crashing on CGB.
We did find ourselves sharing this piece of paradise with bugs occasionally (the small kind, not the tourist kind). I love being in nature and have come to accept that this is part of a healthy environment. We found that almost all the restaurants keep a can of bug spray for their guests to use. We hate having the doors/windows closed and the bugs only come out at sunrise and sunset generally. We found a solution that worked well for us - we closed off the bedroom/bathroom/walk-though closet part of the apartment and spent maybe 5 minutes swatting bugs in the evening (with a cocktail of course!). Voila! No more problem, no chemicals, and only 5 minutes (less than the time most people complain about it).
Tortola and the British Virgin islands are a very special place. I feel priviledged to have had the opportunity to visit them. Reach out in friendship and I think you will be surprised at the warmth of the response. We had a chef invite us to his house for a home cooked meal and a gentleman climb a coconut tree to give us a fresh coconut in return for coconut cookies we had shared with him. These are just a couple of stories. Go - stay at the Mongoose - and remember to pack a great attitude. You won't regret it.
A couple in their thirties"
- Travel date: Tue 22nd of March 2005