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“Great Value” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Cocobay Resort

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Cocobay Resort
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Valley Church, Bolans, Saint Mary's 431, Antigua   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Price
20% off room rate
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Bolans
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
52 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
134 helpful votes 134 helpful votes
“Great Value”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2007

Stayed here for 3 nights in early November. The staff is lovely and very friendly. The general manager is a gem. The units are rustic and were pretty much what I expected based on reviews and comments. We stayed in one of the units (#12 if I remember correctly) with an infinity edge plunge pool. Our view was spectacular but the pool was already missing pieces of tile and they have just been done!! Our showerhead was rusty and about to fall off but the water pressure was very good. The bed was extremely hard and caused me great distress as my body did not respond positively -- in fact I was in pain.

Food: Dinners were gourmet. We thoroughly enjoyed them and especially the chocolate creme brulee - it was to die for. Breakfast was just fine and lunch was the weakest connection of the 3 meals. Drinks at the bar were great.

Beaches: These were lovely. You could walk to 3 different beaches which was quite nice. The pool area was small but very nice and we enjoyed this as well.

Bugs: Oh My God! They were horrific. We had read the reviews before going so made sure to bring spray with deet as well as mosquito coils. Did not help much as we were bitten quite a lot and then very itchy to boot.

Overall Cocobay has many redeeming qualities and is romantic. Unfortunately for us we will not return as being in pain from the bed and being eaten alive by the bugs is not something we care to repeat.

  • Liked — Views, Serenity, Staff
  • Disliked — Bed hardness and bugs
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Leeds, England
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2007

My partner and I spent a week at Cocobay at the end of October/early November. We chose the venue because we wanted a completely relaxing weeks break having already had our main holiday this year. Typically our 2 week holidays combine beach and adventure as we can get restless lying on the beach for 2 weeks solid. For a week long break though, we found Cocobay to be perfect. We spent the majority of the time relaxing on the beach, eating the fabulous food and snoozing round the pool. If you fancy the odd little activity you can stroll down to Jolly Harbour beach or go in the other direction, past Dennis’ bar to another more often than not, deserted beach. The latter makes for a nice walk after breakfast. Talking of breakfast we found ourselves waking up quite early which works well as the sun seemed to disappear around 4 when the clouds rolled in from the hills so it’s worth getting up and making the most of the day.

The resort itself is really well laid out. A lot of thought obviously went into maximising the excellent location and wonderful views it affords. Usually when we go somewhere like this we spend our whole time on the beach, but the layout and views around the infinity pool (and proximity to the bar!) meant that we ended up spending the morning on the beach and then getting a spot round the pool in the afternoon which worked really well for us.

Aside from the location and tranquillity, the other big selling point is the food which for an all inclusive was excellent. Buffet breakfast with a hot selection, fruit, cereals, pastries etc. Lunch there was typically a fish option from the grill, a hot meat option and a choice of excellent salads. Blondelle who does the eggs in the morning and fish at lunch is lovely! Dinner is 4 course a la carte every night with the standard and choice of food excellent all the way. There are upgrade options you can pay extra for but we couldn’t see the point ourselves as the standard selection was top drawer. The wine was…. OK. We’re not wine buffs but we know enough and it often wasn’t great in comparison to the food. The red usually offered a better option to the white. Oh and at lunch its worth collaring one of the waiters as soon as you get seated for a glassful as if you wait for them to come to you, you might be close to finished before they offer you wine. I should emphasise though that generally speaking the restaurant staff were very attentive, pleasant and helpful. The other nice thing is that there are 3 different seating areas with different views which gives a nice bit of variety. We were a little concerned that we might get a bit bored of eating in the same place for every meal but when it came to it we couldn’t wait to get in there and get stuck in! If you do fancy a change of scenery, there is another restaurant on site – Sheer. We didn’t eat there but heard excellent reports (although it is a bit pricey). You can also eat at Dennis’ where again we heard good reports.

A word on drinks. We are into good drinks as much as our food. There are no premium or brand spirits included in the all inclusive although you can pay for them. I was hoping I might try a few good rums but I guess wasn’t overly surprised to find there was no option for this. The local beer is pretty rubbish also. That said there was a decent cocktail list and David on the bar is cracking guy who will make up whatever you like. Top of the pops were the pina coladas. We had plenty of these and thoroughly enjoyed supping on a couple post lunch around the pool.

On the subject of the all inclusive, take advantage of the beach activities. The snorkelling off the beaching isn’t amazing, largely due to poor visibility, but I did see a big stingray and if you get out to the reef (visible from the beach / resort) it’s a bit clearer and there’s more to see. Watch the currents there though. We would thoroughly recommend taking out the hobby cat. I know nothing about sailing but we took it out a few times to sail down to Jolly Harbour and had a great time.

As regards other facilities, our room / hut was spot on for us. We were perfectly fine with the fan and no air con and slept well on the comfy bed under the mosquito net. The bathroom was basic and looked its age but was spacious and functional and kept clean. Do not expect luxury accommodation here. Our room was cute and cosy though and it felt very Caribbean being in our little wooden hut. Oh and there was a hammock on the balcony which had stunning views.

We did one day trip which took in the main sights on the island (St John’s, English Harbour, Shirley Heights) as well as a trip to Sting Ray city where you can swim with stingrays in a netted off area – safe, great fun and highly recommended (see our photo of it!). When we asked about Stingray City at the hotel they suggested an island 4x4 safari day trip which wasn’t really what we fancied. We ended up finding an excellent taxi driver called Dave who took us out for the whole day, stopping wherever we fancied. We paid him $90 for the whole day and did a combo of what we wanted plus his suggestions. Avoid the over-priced tour desk at reception and call him directly on [--] to book him for a day. We arranged our trip with him a couple of days ahead. He checked for a day when there were no cruise ships coming in so St John’s and Stingray City would be quieter. He rang ahead and booked Stingray City for us and we ended up being the only ones there which was great!

One stop we made was at a village called Bolans where we had read about a guy called Bushy who is the Postmaster, runs the general store and also makes his own rum. We stopped off at his store and bought 2 bottles ($4 US each). He was a real character – worth a visit! All in all the day out worked out really well, was fairly cheap and David doubled up as a good tour guide. There’s not loads to see round the island but it was great to get out and about for a day to get a feel for the island.

Other advice – do take insect repellent with DEET. Apply throughout the day. The weird things about the mosquitos here is that they are tiny so you tend not to see, or hear them. Saying that we’ve had much worse bites from mozzies in Asia and Africa. Also avoid the beach late afternoon as the sand fleas – so small you can barely see them – will make a meal out of you.

SUMMARY:

PROS: Great food, stunning location, friendly staff, other guests nice, no kids, beautiful beach(es)

CONS: Mossies, sand fleas, no brand spirits, wine not amazing, harmless but vaguely annoying and persistent hawkers on the beach

WOULD WE GO BACK? Yes!

  • Liked — Setting / food
  • Disliked — Mosquitos, sand fleas, beach hawkers
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lancashire
1 review
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2007

I don't know what some other reviewer is talking about when they say the sea was hard to get into and was cloudy!
The only steps you need to use are at the hotel entrance (about three). But you can use the stepps if you want. Unless you're in a wheelchair or on your last legs, this should not be a problem for anyone.
When we were there, you could easily walk into the sea. In fact you can walk about 100 yards out (see picture) and still only be up to your waist if you head towards Jolly beach resort. The beaches (3 of them within 5 minutes) were uncrowded (read deserted) and the sea was as clear as a bell, it was also like a warm bath! We could not have gone snorkelling if it hadn't been so clear.
We didn't have one of the best rooms but it was still not overlooked and had a wonderful sea view. the cabins are described as "rustic" but we found them spacious and charming. It was more like a little holiday home than a hotel room.
The food was trully excellent and plentiful. Breakfast & lunch being buffets but some parts of the meal were cooked fresh as you ordered them. We did not have one dish we could find fault with. Most of the staff treated us like old friends or family and the only one who didn't was one of the waiters who told us off for not getting a table before we collected our lunch.
He was a bit of a moaner so we merely avoided his part of the restaurant thereafter.
Although all the drinks were free, we did not see one person drunk! With no kids about it was the most peaceful and relaxing holiday we have ever had.
One tip, don't go on the Shirley Heights trip, it's a waste of time and theres nothing to see when you get there (except a view of English Harbour). The jetski boys can be a bit of a nuisance but they're not agressive (just persistent, but with a sense of humour).
Some of the people, we met, were booking for their 3rd time and there was a good mix of young and not so young (we are in our 50s).
There was only one thing that spoiled it for us (slightly). A group of noisy Italians (about 10) turned up on the second week and took over part of the beach. They were harmless enough but it did shatter the tranquility somewhat. Fortunately, there are other beaches very close by so we avoided the main one.

Stayed June 2007
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cheltenham united kingdom
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2007

We have just returned from a great week at Cocobay. It was our first visit to the Caribbean and we both were really impressed with the island and the resort.

The resort does exactly what it says on the tin - it is a rustic, no-fuss, relaxing resort with no evening entertainment and only a couple of huts with air-con. However, I don't think you'd better the views or the friendliness and true Antiguan feel of the resort.

We went on the 'Excellence' boat trip around the island for the day and were so pleased to be returning to Cocobay rather than some of the other higher starred resorts, where the beaches were small with no shade and not nearly such impressive views and location.

The food was good, plentiful and prompt and drinks were on-tap with a smile.

Our hut was very clean with good views and we didn't miss the air-con, however it was in the shade all day.

Quite a number of people there over the week were returning for the 2nd time and on party for the 6th, so that must be testament for it.

If you want razamatazz, air-con, sterile, totally non-Antiguan feel to your holiday don't go to Cocobay!

  • Liked — Simple, no-fuss, clean & great views/beaches
  • Disliked — Coming home
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Essex
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2007

On the way to the Airport we had a call to say that the rooms had been double booked. We had 5 rooms booked for our wedding party. We were taken to a sister hotel accross the island for the first night. Our room was awfull and we were moved to a neighbouring site. We were really upset such a bad start.
The first evening at Cocobay the resturant manager refused to sit us all together by the end of the evening I got upset and spoke to him and pointed out that we had come as a group to celebrate and could not understand why they had excepted our booking. We were sat together after that point. Some of the party were only staying for a week and two evenings were ruined.
The wedding its self was lovely.Evelyn who married us was wonderful, it was magic. (only down side wedding organiser was late and indiffrent as was the photographer). I thought it was my job to be late as the bride.
We did have a lovely time over all and at times inspite of many of the staff. I think this was mainly due to us all being together. The food was good the view amaizing. The lady who looked after our room was great and helpful.
Reg the taxei driver took us all over the island at a reasonable price and took us to a resturant that we would never have found ourselves.
I feel a bit sad because I hoped that we would want to return to celebrate our aniversary at some point, the spot that we got married at was beautiful. They could have been nicer and more helpful so I think we will most likely give it a miss. Why the staff are allowed to treat people like they do is beyond me. We are a friendly bunch, my mum and dad are almost 80 and they were not even helpful to them and they had done so well to travel all that way.
Beach was great as were the views.

  • Liked — The view, The privicy and it was cute.
  • Disliked — At times it was unbearably hot.
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
1 review
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2007

My wife and I spent our two week honeymoon in this charming little hotel. On arrival we were greeted by a glass of punch and a smiling receptionist. We had stupidly forgotten to bring our room vouchers but this created no problem and was sorted out over the first week between the receptionist and our rep.

Our room was wonderfull, it's not five star luxury but that's not what we were after, the room was not overlooked, was spacious, had beautifull view from the balcony and best of all you could shower looking out over the bay, we loved it!

The bar was our next destination, the barman was very friendly and mixed a great range of cocktails, make converstation with the staff and it's surprising how friendly you will find them! This may have been the reason why other reviews complain of rudeness, if you are rude to the staff they might not be so accomodating.

The food was generally very good, breakfast is simple but the egg chef cooks them how you like, again, we got to know her and found out how charming she could be. The lunch buffet usually had a local fresh fish cooked to order which was always good.

The evening meals were also of a good standard, if you want huge plates of fish and chips maybe you should visit Benidorm. The only complaint I have on the restaurant is that two of the female waiting staff were quite sullen.

The insect problem mentioned by others was something we didn't really
struggle with, use a high deet repelent at night and all will be fine, we had about 4 mosi bites between us over the two weeks.

We met some great people during our stay, the lack of entertainment makes people talk to each other, a plus point in my opinion.

The courtesy hut is a hut, there is no denying it, it was very clean when we used it, there were plenty of toiletries left over but hey, make use of them.

All over the resort were beautiful humming birds, yellow breasts and many other wonderful birds and flowers.

In summary, this hotel is not a Sandals beach resort, it is a small, charming, individual establishment that will provide those looking for a beautiful holiday without too much fuss and noise the perfect holiday.

  • Liked — The setting
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2007

We recently spent 3 nights at Cocobay. The stay was the final leg of a Caribbean island hopping trip. This was the only all-inclusive resort that we stayed in - the idea being that we wanted to take it easy after 2 1/2 weeks of travelling.

First impressions were shocking. The lead receptionist had no ‘knowledge’ of our telephone booking. Apparently all bookings ‘have’ to be made by this particular receptionist (not sure what happens then when she has a day off - or maybe we were unfortunate enough to find out).

Reservation errors however can and are regularly made throughout the world which is just one of those things and something that regular travellers expect to occasionally happen. What you don’t expect as a willing paying customer however is to be branded a liar and be frog-marched to the nearest computer and asked to provide evidence of your booking. We really couldn’t believe the attitude of this woman – especially when there were spare rooms at the resort readily available for us to be offered.

Bad start and it certainly left a bad taste in the mouth (compiled by the cheap rum punch that we’d been handed on arrival). As for the hotel itself – we were reluctantly handed a sea view cottage. The view is indeed very attractive. The room didn’t have air con although we didn’t find this much of a problem as the ceiling fan was quite effective. The room was adequate for our needs although the vast bathroom could have been better utilised as living space. The infinity style pool was very shallow but likewise most attractive. Just outside the hotel is a beach – fairly average by Caribbean standards but certainly acceptable.

Aesthetics aside the resort doesn’t really deserve to call itself a resort. Watersports equate to a kayak and a couple of sail boats. There didn’t seem to be much in the way of entertainment and there is nothing outside of the grounds of the hotel. This was our first encounter with the world of all-inclusive hotels so we don’t have anything else to benchmark the food by. Breakfast was undoubtedly the best meal provided. Both breakfast and lunch were buffet style offerings. Dinner was disappointing. Firstly guests are required to book a time – you soon realise this has to be done early in the morning to get a decent time. Portions were tiny by anyone’s standards. What grated us most though was the tightness of the place. All inclusive drinks could only be obtained from the bar – not even from the restaurant when having meals. Drinks from the bar came in ridiculously small glass sizes. Where else do you get beer in quarter pint size glasses? Obviously they are hoping that constant refilling will deter guests from returning to the bar but surely this is the wrong way to impress guests spending their holiday time at the resort.

As other reviewers have mentioned be very aware of the insects at Cocobay. Mosquito’s are found throughout the Caribbean but they appear to be particularly keen on Cocobay. There are some large ponds behind the hotel which may have something to do with it but either way that seemed to be what most guests were talking about a lot of the time. There really were some bad sights with bodies decimated by bites. Finally the resort seemed to be a bit of a chav hangout. Without trying to sound snobbish Adidas tracksuit trousers and large tattoos seemed to be the order of the day.

In summary, maybe we were unlucky during our stay but there just seemed to be too many negatives to make it all be a coincidence. Cocobay has a really nice outlook but I’m sure most other resorts in Antigua do as well. This view gets a lot less attractive though when you add in constant attention from mosquitos, the rudest receptionist in the Caribbean and kid sized glasses from the bar.

  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cocobay Resort

Address: Valley Church, Bolans, Saint Mary's 431, Antigua
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint Mary's > Bolans
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Bolans
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Cocobay Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 57
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A colorful collection of quaint wooden cottages set on a breezy hillside bordered by three white sand beaches, Cocobay offers quiet relaxation and privacy in a rustic, romantic setting. The 49 cottages and 4 plantation houses each boast large verandahs with easy chairs, hammocks and striking sea views. Rooms include hand made wooden furniture, ceiling fans, mini fridge, shower, hair dryer, coffee maker and in-room safe. Seafront rooms include air- conditioning and private plunge pools. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cocobay Hotel Bolans
Coco Bay Antigua
Cocobay Antigua
Cocobay Hotel Antigua
Cocobay Resort Antigua/Bolans

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