... But I'll try!
-Rarely do resorts live up to the pictures but in this case, it exceeded the photos. We went with the "basic" Dhoni Suite and it was amazing. Honestly, I somewhat wish we could have seen the other room options but I don't think its necessary nor worth the premium to pay for the higher class rooms ... maybe I'd think differently if I stayed in one
-33 villas is a wonderful number ... you'll see people from time to time but many of these Maldives resorts have far too many villas and I think that would detract from the experience
-The bed was very comfortable. The bathroom was very large and well laid out. The aircon was very good and while it never got cold, it was always very comfortable and we found that leaving the bathroom door open helped cool the overall unit down (as there was a 2nd air con in that room)
-The suite felt very private when sitting on the back deck - we'd see an occasional snorkeller come by but overall, you don't feel there are much more than 10 people on the island with the exception of during dinner.
-It takes 10 minutes to do a full circle (walking) around the island ... and that is awesome
-Enjoy the lagoon with all of the 1m (harmless) reef sharks and look out for the beautiful rays in the evenings.
-I expected high prices and above average food - nothing special given the difficulty. I was wrong ... I can't rave enough about the quality of the food. Yes it is expensive - $100 usd for a burger, chicken wrap, and 2-3 beers - but also not unlike what you'd pay at a Four Seasons in Hawaii for instance. We've lived in Singapore for a couple years and the prices were only marginally higher and given how great the food was, totally worth the price.
-We enjoyed the Saturday night "Thali" Indian dinner and especially appreciated the flexibility as we swapped a seafood (which we don't like) curry for a chicken curry. We also did a candlelit dinner - private on the beach - which I'd certainly recommend at least one night.
-One quick sell: the eggs benedict (homemade english muffin, arugula, prosciutto di parma, poached egg, hollandaise) .... the best I've ever had. Thankfully I ordered it the 1st day and never veered away from it for the rest of our stay. The rest of the breakfast spread was wonderful with homemade freshly-baked pastries and excellent cut fruit. Coffee was great as well.
-Note that there is "only" one restaurant but we never struggled to get a great table and its a wonderfully designed open air restaurant (they can close the doors if needed but unless its raining, everything was open and wonderfully breezy. Room service is an option as well which we did a couple times and loved the selection with similar high quality food.
-With only 33 villas, the whole island rarely has 70 guests but employs 170 people to care for everyone. The service is excellent: friendly, genuine, professional, but not overly stuffy. Given how many employees we talked to that had been there for upwards of 10 years, it is clear that they are well treated and enjoy working there ... huge props to the management for creating this type of culture.
-The GM, Laurent, was a wonderful guy and we had a nice talk about Asia while heading out for a dive (I think he was with his daughter or gf's daughter) ... very professional and welcoming and runs a phenomenal resort with memorable service. Also, we enjoyed the other managers and waiters ... even our houseboy who somehow kept our villa sand-free always wore a smile
-Get some treatments, please! We do massages about once a month and these were some of our best ever. We did the Como Shambala massage and despite being ~$200 incl tax/tip, we felt it was well worth it and did three sessions over our four days.
-Great snorkelling within 100 meters of the island with several coral gardens and walls off the back of the villas. Watch the tides as you can get somewhat caught on low tide
-I did one scuba dive and it was also a favorite ... great crew and we dropped right onto a spot with 2.5m manta rays circling a rock ... we watched them for 20+ minutes and its something I'll never forget. Prices are high - I think $110++ per dive - but the gear was good, service was great (Lina, I think is her name, is a great manager and very helpful/friendly), and the dive sites are 20-30 mins away so you can do your intervals on the beach.
-We spent some time thinking about it and Cocoa Island may be the best place we've ever been ... that being said, it's something to consider if its worth the premium vs many other places throughout SE Asia where one can enjoy a similar world class experience for 30-50% less. If that doesn't matter to you, then clearly you won't be disappointed. It was a honeymoon for us and we have no issues with what we spent and would recommend it for a special event. This place even beat an Aman I've stayed at which is no easy feat.
Part of me wants to rush back next year but another part of me knows there are many other resorts to be explored - if I had to guess, we'll be back in the next few years and I'm already looking forward to it.
- Also Known As:
- Cocoa Island Hotel South Male Atoll
- Cocoa Island Hotel
- Cocoa Island Maldives
- Cocoa Island
- Hotel Cocoa Island
- Cocoa Island By COMO Maldives/South Male Atoll
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Cocoa Island by COMO is a private island in the Maldives and offers measured simplicity in its design. Wrapped in white sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters, Cocoa Island is in close proximity to some of the best dive sites in the world. The tranquil setting is enhanced by the understated elegance of Cocoa Island’s 27 rooms, which resemble local dhoni fishing boats and feature direct access to the shallow lagoon. Ufaa, the resort’s restaurant, serves fresh local produce and seafood cooked in the Keralan style, while Faru bar overlooks the pristine infinity-edge pool. Cocoa Island’s spa, COMO Shambhala Retreat, offers rebalancing treatments, including Ayurveda, reflexology and a range of recuperative massages and facials. ... more less
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