Let me start by saying that overall, we had a wonderful time at the Coral Cove. However, I have to be honest, there were a few things that happened during our one week stay that must be mentioned and the reason why I only gave it a 4 star instead of a 5 star.
We were a group of 23 heading to Coral Cove for our friends wedding in March 2013. The drive to Coral Cove is a bit long, but can be beautiful if they go the scenic route, which is just under 2 hours. If they go over the mountain, it will be approximately 1.5 hours. Coral Cove is about a 25 minute drive from Negril. If you want to go into town, you could ask Richie, the driver, to come on any given day to take you where ever you wanted to go.
Coral Cove is not your 'typical' resort. It has a few low rise buildings with rooms, as well as small cottages. It has a cove for a beach, which opens up to a larger body of water if you want to do some kayaking or snorkeling. (FYI...The cove is VERY rocky! You must bring water shoes or you will not be able to enter the water). There isn't a pool or daily activities, it is simply your own little piece of paradise. Not all the rooms have air conditioning, but I have to say with the windows open, we really didn't need air conditioning, I actually got cold a few nights as we were right on the water. You can request a room with air conditioning when you book. I stayed in the 'Sunset Cottage' which was newly built in May 2012. This consisted of a bedroom, a bathroom, a change room and an open air shower....which was AWESOME!!!
There are 3 chefs on site and you can request certain dietary needs. We had 4 children, 4 vegetarians and 3 people allergic to nuts in our group and they were able to accomodate everyone. The bride and groom set the times for breakfast, lunch and dinner and we all ate as a group for all meals. I personally love west indian food and chef Sean (pronounced Sea-on)helped settle my cravings with wonderful ackee & salt fish, oxtail, jerk chicken, curried goat and home made beef patties. For those people who like to stick to North American food, there was plenty of that as well.
The day of the wedding, the spot the bride and the groom chose was set up nicely, the food was plentiful and we had the perfect day weather wise. The staff really did pull out all the stops for the wedding and for that I thank them ALL!
Now there were a few things that stuck with me, as far as service is concerned. Not everyone flew in at the same time, so when my late flight came in and we arrived at the hotel after 10pm, some of the guests and dinner was waiting for us. When we asked for a glass of red wine, we were told that they had reached their limit for the day and it was locked up. How is this possible at an all inclusive resort? When we questioned it, we were told we could have red wine the following day. Throughout the week, we had similar situations with food, other liqour, ice cream for the kids, etc... Some of us had problems with the lack of water pressure and showering in luke warm to cool water. A few days there were no towels for the beach and we had to wait until 11:30am to get them. On a few occassions, there were some staff members who gave our group some attitude, something that really isn't acceptable at any resort. But the situation that really upset me the most was the day after the wedding, which was the day we were all leaving the resort. The bride and groom were told that they owed an additional $600 for liqour that the 'staff' had drank at the wedding. How is it their responsibility for this and at an all inclusive resort to boot? After further discussion, the amount changed from $600 to $850. This whole situation put a damper on our trip and in the end, they did not pay the bill. We had heard that the owner of the property was flying in the same day and perhaps the staff was to be held accountable for the 'excess' that had been consumed by the staff.
I feel that with proper management, accountability, training, this place could be top notch, but it certainly needs some tidying up.
A big shout out to Yeng, Sean, Cynthia, Maxine, Keisha, Richie & the gentleman who cleaned the grounds for the going the extra mile.
PS: If you're planning a trip to Coral Cove and have any questions or need additonal information, feel free to drop me a quick line :-)