Ali relaxes in a rattan chair in the gallery of the
in wood, ceilings, walls and floor of the cabanas.
Photos: Adrian Boodan
When Couva businessman Liaquat Ali, 47, decided to build
a cozy log cabin getaway in Tobago in January 2008, he,
along with many, did not foresee the global financial crisis
that has impacted in the last few months. Ali said he has
changed his marketing strategy and now plans to target local
tourists to his mini-resort instead.
Ali said the idea to build the Sala Log Cabanas is unique
to T&T, noting that this was the first time that such
a venture was ever entered into. He said the idea for the
cabanas came to him after he constructed a similar type
cabin in Trinidad at a farm in Central.
Ali said he fell in love with the rustic look emanating
from the concept cabin, adding that many visitors
to the farm told him the cabin evoked a 19th century nostalgic
feeling. They even compare the cabin to what they saw on
old western television shows. Ali said he quickly moved
to transform this idea to paper and utilised a parcel of
land at Shirvan Road to start the groundwork.
He disclosed hardwood logs were split and shipped from Guyana
to Tobago where Guyanese craftsmen spent 11 months working
on erecting a main building and three separate cabins out
of bulletwood and greenheart that he said would last well
over 30 years.
Ali said because of the extreme hardness of the wood many
local carpenters backed out of the project that required
extensive drilling and the use of special nails.
The cabins have a full wood interior and a western style
gallery. The units are coated in a glossy varnished and
stocked with items including handcrafted rattan furniture
Ali, who opened the facility in the last week of November
took the Guardian on a tour. He said during the construction
phase he was approached by a number of individuals who were
interested in building their own log cabin homes.
While he did not want to share the cost of the venture,
Ali said it was costly and constructing a similar
sized unit out of brick and steel would be cheaper. Ali
said despite the impending downturn in the economy because
of falling gas and oil prices, nationals would still need
to go for a vacation.
However their purses would be strapped for cash, because
of this many locals would stay at home and seek local venues
for recreation instead of venturing to foreign shores.