Coyaba Beach Resort is about 15 minutes from Sangster International Airport. The resort is gated and is directly off of a main road (good and bad...more to come). The entry and front desk is nicely decorated and inviting. We arrived on a Tuesday afternoon and were greeted with some Rum Punch (tasty) and a cold towel. Check in was quick and efficient. We were walked to our room by one of the staff members and were told a bit about the resort along the way. There are no elevators, so if that's an issue for you, stay on the first floor. I like walking and don't mind stairs. 95% of guests were European.
I would not recommend this property to families with young children as there is not a lot for them to do.
In the room:
We were on the third floor and had a great view of the pool and ocean. Each room has a balcony or patio with chairs and a table. The room was clean and featured an LCD TV, refrigerator, king bed and high ceilings (very nice). The furniture was solid dark wood and well made. The air conditioning was very quiet and efficient at cooling the room down. There were a few defects in the room. One window didn't close all the way and several window locks were broken. The outside door handle on the balcony was busted off. The shower somehow leaked onto the floor even though the curtain appeared to shield the water. The curtain was too short for the tub. The toilet took at least two flushes each time (no, it wasn't blocked up with solid waste). There were tropical ants in the room at all times, but that's typical in tropical environments. Outside noise penetrated the room easily. Other than that, the room was nice.
Very nice walkways with a fountain in the courtyard made it a pleasant experience. Palm trees and flowers were mature and well kept for. There were a few trees that needed some dead leads trimmed off, but no major issues. All paths were swept each day and kept clean. Be careful where you walk because there are hermit crabs and lizards everywhere.
The noise from the road and the airport can be heard throughout the entire property and out on the dock. There really is no place on the property that you cannot hear the road noise.
There are three choices, all staffed with the same people that travel throughout the property. The menu choices are fairly limited, but there is enough variety to please most. Two restaurants have A/C, but it's not used often. The coolest looking place is the Polo Grounds...it's dark and pub-like. The food quality is average. There's not an abundance of seasoning or flavor in most dishes which was disappointing. Be careful with the fish as it's not cleaned properly...there were many bones in all fish meals that I had.
The best meal of the day was usually breakfast...only because of the variety. The pizza at the Docks was really good and is always a safe bet. If you don't do all-inclusive, you will be shocked by the high prices. All-inclusive is highly recommended if you plan on eating at the resort at all during your stay. Overall, they need to vastly improve the quality of food.
The beach is very nice, but a bit small if the property is fully booked. The water is clear, but seaweed is not cleaned off the bottom of the swimming area. There is a nice dock to snorkel under and a mostly-dead reef to kayak out to. Many cool fish are present under the dock. The sand is fairly clean, but there were cigarette butts and a few cups/beer bottles that were left out for days. You will be harassed by kayaking "salesmen" at various times of the day whenever you are on the dock and even sometimes on the beach. It's usually not too big of a deal though. It sounded like there was a boat repair shop right next door and you will occasionally smell fuel from the boats. Beware of any children present on the beach. The ones that were here were annoying and made it difficult to relax on the beach due to the small amount of beach area.
The staff quality varies greatly throughout the day and from person to person. Some are extremely nice and helpful, while others could care less about you. Dalton, for example, was usually very nasty. Kay on the other hand was always awesome. The staff needs to be trained on etiquette and customer service. Items were often forgotten and service was really slow most of the time. Dinner took 2 hours one night. I know it's laid back in Jamaica, but that's a bit ridiculous. The maids were mostly good. They don't always follow requests to change linens (you have to put a sign on the door for new linens) and they always put the nasty decorative pillows back on the bed touching the clean pillows. Those things never get washed.
Overall, Coyaba Beach Resort is quaint and a nice change of pace from the mega resorts that are often filled with drunken animals and too many kids. With improvements to the food offerings and staff, this place could be absolutely perfect. It will never compare to a Sandals or other high end resorts due to the location, but it could get much closer.