We have just returned from a magical week at Cocoa Island (30 March to 7 April 2007). We went to the Maldives for our honeymoon six years ago (Banyan Tree) and thought it was time to return. Words cannot hope to convey just how special is this resort.
The island is small (200m x 50m), but not cluttered. The retaurant, bar, spa, small shop, yoga centre etc are all on the island, as is the staff accommodation. All of the guests stay on Dhonis or villas connected to one semi-circular jetty which stretches round the lagoon. Often you will not see anyone. With so many places to go (scuba diving, snorkling, the spa, hydrotherapy pool, the infinity swimming pool, the beach, your terrace), nowhere is ever busy.
The whole resort is very chic - relaxed simplicity is combined with little touches that show you there has been great attention to detail. This is reflected in the attitude of the staff who come from all over south-east asia and are welcoming, helpful and very good at their jobs. Nothing is too much trouble. Particular mention must go to the restaurant, bar and spa staff, many of whom we got to know during the week.
The house reef, which is about 30-50m away from the back of your room, is home to a staggering array of fish and marine life (including a few turtles) . The water, which is only about chest deep at high tide, is bath temperature and crystal clear.
The food is amazing. Breakfast is a buffet of cereal, fresh fruit, museli, yoghurt, pastries etc, with eggs or pancakes as a hot option. There is a bar menu all day for lunch or a light dinner, but the food served in the restaurant at lunch or dinner is as good as any you will find in London. There is a strong south asian influence and fish and seafood feature heavily.
The other guests were a real mix of nationalities and ages. Few of them were honeymooners - one couple had even brought their teenage children for two weeks so they could revise for their exams (my parents never did that for me). There were some young children, but they were either very well behaved, or we just didn't see them.
Now for a few more prosaic tips/pointers:
1. We travelled overnight direct from London (with Sri Lankan Airways), which, if you can sleep on a plane, is really recommended. It is worthwhile thinking about flight options. We left the island at 9am. Some guests were leaving at 6am. To some extent it depends on where you are going, but with flights via Colombo and Dubai on the way back, it may be that there is a better option.
2. We stayed in a Loft Villa (pictures below). We never saw inside one of the Dhoni loft suites, but think the extra for the Loft Villa was probably worthwhile - bigger room, outdoor shower, larger terrace and more privacy on the terrace.
3. The food, whilst excellent, is fairly expensive. Three courses for dinner, without wine, will be about £50 a head. The menu refers to an all inclusive package, but we did not know this existed when we booked. Also, some reviews have said the menu does not change. They must now be out of date as a number of dishes change on the menu each day.
4. Each week, there is a curry evening (on Tuesday) and a seafood barbeque (on Friday). They cost US$90 per person and are both very worthwhile (particularly as the only other option is to get something from the short order menu).
5. The spa can get busy at certain times, so make sure you, at least, book your slots before you go. You can choose what treatments you have once you are there.
- 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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- Also Known As:
- Cocoa Island Hotel South Male Atoll
- Cocoa Island Maldives
- Hotel Cocoa Island