If you are thinking about renting this property, think again. My wife and I have rented several vacation homes in Bequia over the past decade. This year (2017) we booked, and paid for, three weeks at Anthony Eden Cottage in February/March, but we left after 24 hours. Here’s why.
Twenty-six steep, uneven steps bring you to an entry door opening into a hot, airless corridor with a bare wooden floor. This gives access to the two bedrooms on the upper floor. Each room is clean and spacious, but as hot and stuffy as the corridor outside. Use of the provided air conditioners is essential.
Bafflingly, each bedroom door is secured with a deadbolt lock. There is no conventional doorknob/latch – the door either gapes open or it is locked. Each room has two wardrobes equipped with many hangers – but no rail to hang them on, just seven hooks. In the master bedroom, neither of these wardrobes can be latched shut (one even has a deadbolt lock… but it doesn’t work)! Nowhere is there a desk or table.
The master bedroom’s en suite bathroom has modern fittings, but the shower stall offers nowhere to put soap, shampoo, razor, etc. Those who use an electric razor are out of luck – there is no electrical outlet. There is a thumb-sized hole in a soft, papery area on the wall near the bathroom exit. A tentative poke here yields a puff of pale brown powder, and the conviction that termites are at work.
Moving down the corridor provides further suggestive hints: the floor creaks and bangs alarmingly (we’re not talking Rice Krispies noises here), and at the end of the hall there is a soft spot that a firm heel would surely break through. Bare feet are not recommended! A smallish bathroom lies adjacent to the second bedroom. While the shower here does have a soap dish, once again there is no electrical outlet. Those who shave electrically must either work by ‘Braille’, or grow a beard.
At the opposite end of the Corridor of Ominous Noises are the ‘stairs’ to the lower level. These erratically spaced steps, with an interrupted handrail, would not meet any building code outside of Azerbaijan. They deliver, in one tense descent, the collected hazards of drunk-trap, finger-jammer, and head-banger, all in succession. Assuming you survive these ‘stairs’, to your right now lies the kitchen, to your left the living room.
The air-conditioned living room has all the warmth and charm of a bomb shelter. Walls and floor are concrete, the latter bumpy and uneven. Overhead, a low ceiling and large exposed steel I-beam accentuate the bunker atmosphere. Furnishings comprise two uncomfortable armchairs and matching chesterfield, the world’s largest floor lamp (the shade is the size of an oil drum, and is broken), and two small tables, one of which is completely occupied by TV remotes and a lamp of dubious taste, and non-functional for reading. Niches in the back wall contain a cheap telephone that sometimes manages a dial tone if you wiggle things, and enough tea-light candles to burn the joint to the ground. (No, that would be rude; leave it to the termites.) Oh, and there’s a huge TV.
There are sliding glass doors in the east and south walls. To the east, the view is of elaborately manicured shrubbery… which blocks the breeze. To the south is the deck, though about all that can be seen from inside are the backs of various chaises longues and, beyond, a fence with closely spaced palings. The deck is planked with boards so exquisitely sawn and planed that the edges form perfectly sharp corners. When walked on in bare feet, the result is not merely uncomfortable, it positively hurts. The total deck area, about 650 square feet, was determined by pacing. We did a lot of pacing… because the chairs here call for an on-site chiropractor. We didn’t spend the evening out here: the hotel band next door fired up shortly after sundown.
The kitchen is exactly as Anthony Eden left it, and we don’t blame him. Apart from imagining what might crawl from the cracks in the concrete-block outer wall, the garish turquoise interior is made even more lurid by a single flickering fluorescent tube that makes meat look mauve. Its location also guarantees that the chef casts his own shadow on whatever he is doing. The fridge has no light, the freezer has no shelves. There was also no citrus squeezer, nor measuring spoons, shot glass, bread knife, kitchen scissors. (In fairness, a bread knife was soon provided, together with a pair of… pruning shears!) Of the two doors leading out from the kitchen, one opens on to a shabby utility grotto with pooling water, i.e., a mosquito hatchery. The other cannot be opened at all without application of brute force, and for the same reason that the walls are cracked: this part of the building is slowly subsiding down the hill.
So, if your idea of a Caribbean vacation is sitting (uncomfortably) indoors with your shoes and the air-conditioning on, and watching TV (turned up loud, to drown out the band), and if you plan to eat out a lot, Anthony Eden Cottage may be for you. But not for us; despite no prospect of a refund, we walked away.