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“Fifty Shades of Shabby”

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Coco Reef Resort & Spa Tobago
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Crown Point
Reviewed September 1, 2012

Just got back from Coco Reef. This hotel was sold to us as the top hotel in Tobago. 4*+.

Absolute rubbish. We booked a Superior Deluxe Room - Ocean View.

Well the Ocean View part is correct. Absolutely stunning view of the Carribean Sea.

However - the room was a disgrace. The bathroom was very old and tired. On arrival I entered the shower to find the taps came off in my hand. It took two hours for anyone to come to the room to stop the flow of water and repair (and I put the word repair but bodge them together would be more adequate).

The bedding had holes in. The curtains were grubby and very old. The room itself was not particularly clean.

The mini bar (a little fridge) did not even have a bottle of water in it for our arrival. We were told this facility is no longer available!

The food quality was very poor and the menu repetitive. When leaving full plates at dinner only once were we asked why, and would we prefer something else. Most of the time the mantra was "can I clear that now".

A few evenings there were two guys singing with backing tapes. Excrutiatingly bad. Other nights there was not even background music. Most people had to leave the hotel to find entertainment in the evening.

The staff did not interact with guests and made us feel we were being a nuisance.

We reported (along with other unhappy guests) to the management our concerns on the second
day of our holiday. Nothing was done. They showed no interest whatsoever.

Our representative reported to the General Manager that she thought our concerns were justified and still nothing was done.

The hotel was only 40% occupied during our stay. I WONDER WHY!!!!!

Coco Reef states on its website that it has won awards and is the best hotel on the Island. I think they probably won those awards twenty years ago.

The building is in dire need of repair and update. The swimming pool is tired and dirty.

Either side of the private beach at Coco Reef are two public beaches.
BEWARE - Locals start swimming and shouting at 6 a.m. The music starts around 7 a.m. and goes on until 2 a.m. EARPLUGS ARE MANDATORY.

I have travelled extensively in the Carribean and this is the worst place I've ever stayed and not cheap either.

COME ON MANAGEMENT OF COCO REEF - STOP RESTING ON PAST GLORY - YOU NEED TO UP YOUR GAME IF YOU WANT TO SURVIVE.

Tobago is desperate for tourists but if this is the standard you get when expecting 4*+ I do not think the future looks bright.

Another tip. Make sure you have plenty of drink and food when going to the airport. We were stuck in the International Departure Lounge (looked like someone's front room) - no cafe open or anywhere to get a drink.

The duty free shop is tiny and has very limited goods.

Would I return? Not even if they offerred it for free!

Room Tip: The only saving grace if you have to stay here is to look at the Ocean. So I guess book an ocean vi...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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15  Thank jenny1022655
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 31, 2012

Executive Summary

6 top tips on Coco Reef hotel in Tobago: NB some of these are generic to Tobago in August and not specifically relevant for Coco Reef hotel...

1. Insect repellant: bring plenty and use 24/7. My wife and I were eaten alive in the 1st 24 hours mainly on the first evening and then early morning. But there is no real window to guard against and the beach is awash with sand flies. Apply mozzie repellent (the spray canister variety is quite effective) ruthlessly and relentlessly to avoid the constant bite-itching and the ensuing unsightly scabs!!

2. Don't expect fantastic service and understand cultural differences in manners. Whilst tourism is officially Tobago's main economy-driver at the moment, not all sectors is its workforce subscribe to this idea. Efficient yet surly staff is common. Locals will go about their daily business without the liberal sprinkling of 'pleases' and 'thankyous' that dominate British daily interactions. In the hotel itself, contrary to other reviews on this site, are not the best I've experienced by a long chalk. Morale seems overall quite low, but given that the Tobagoan tourism industry has allegedly seen a 65% drop in the last 6 years, the proverbial sword of Damocles must be hanging by a constantly-thinning thread..

3. Sea water clarity: don't expect 10-20m of crystal-clear visibility, particularly in the lee of the hotel's man-made barrier reef. Visibility does increase significantly outside the house reef, but inside can seem a tad dirty, cloudy and generally off-putting. Snorkel outside the Coco Reef hotel's man-made barrier reef!!

4. At breakfast you can book in for dinner (less buffet nights) and specify a table. Do your research early and ascertain which tables are below a fan: otherwise dinner, regardless of the quality of the fayre, will certainly be a sweat-filled and therefore rather rushed affair.

5. Expect loud entertainment on most nights. Expect to have 2.5 hours of two local men belting out the old classics of "God take us up where we belong"; "Lady in Red"; "Come on Irelene" which, given the hard tiling and sparse furniture of the lobby, succeeds in drowning most of any post-dinner conversation in the central public areas (balcony, lobby, beach).

6. Local amenities: Exit the hotel on foot, turn left and there's an ATM, just a bit further there's a shop which sells everything, plus several decent bars and eateries. Of note, a bit further along and just past the big junction (Pigeon Point road) on the right is a bar called COLOURS. Head here for a beer and a chat with Steve the landlord. He's a great bloke: a retired Tobagoan airline Captain and a real font of local and national knowledge. He also has FREE WIFI!

Deployment

We flew with Monarch to Tobago and it was probably one of the most chaotic check-in experiences of my life. Firstly, it seemed that most people checking in were in groups of 4-5, mainly families and the like, which vindicated, among other things, my notion that children should not be entrusted with either luggage trolleys or wheeled suitcases. Surely we could invent a system where children are put in a separate pen, away from the queue, whilst their parents check in? Less kids swinging on tensa-barriers and cluttering up the queue would alleviate a good deal of early morning friction.

Because Monarch cares about fuel costs it would seem that his airline is quite keen on charging people for excess baggage fees: each check in serial then involves weighing hand baggage as well as checking in hold luggage. This process is made all the more painful moreover now by adults: I have genuinely not seen so much faff and chaos as people decide, once at the counter, to re-pack their case, get that all-important book out for the flight and generally occupy far too much time and patience of the already-understaffed check-in team. Any tangible benefit of overnighting in the nearby Copthorne in order to arrive early and fresh for check-in was rapidly ebbing away. And I wasn't 0730 yet. (Worse to note is that the baggage allowance on Monarch was 30kg: so goodness knows what was going on at check in that day!)

Boarding was relatively painless although the considerable faff at check-in significantly reduced duty-free time air-side (we had 40mins all-in). For those of you who have not flown with Monarch - think Easyjet - but in a bigger plane. Think charges for exit seats with extra legroom (£40), headphones (£2.50) and on-board refreshments (££.. With soft drinks at £1.20 per 120ml thus averaging around £3.40 for a standard 330ml can!). Just be crafty with your duty free ;-)

On arrival at Tobago airport, be prepared for the most ridiculous delays and chaos ever, but this time in a stifling 40 degrees. With the air thick with tired frustration, the 3 immigration desks struggled through the swarming passengers and the no-doubt misspelt and incorrectly filled-in immigration forms. Now, to be fair, the forms are hugely over complicated and strangely double sided, and include a whole range of ridiculous questions (are you bringing an animal carcass into the country). One could argue the tired holiday maker is not exactly setup for success in correctly filling out the what could easily pass for a Tobagoan national census!

After this painful experience getting 3 stamps on bits as of paper and our passports, any brief sense of optimism is soon shattered by the scene that greets you on proceeding through to the baggage collection hall. One is now confronted by another painfully slow-moving queue to bizarrely re-scan all our luggage. Cue aforementioned clutter of children to just ensure the queue moves as slow as possible, all contained in what can at best be described as a small, stuffy warehouse with gaudy yellow slats along the ceiling.

Coco-Reef Hotel

The Coco Reef hotel is thankfully 5 mins taxi ride from the airport. On exiting from the terminal, my wife and I are to find our joining instructions in a phone box outside. James Bond perhaps, but more like Mr Bean I'd have thought.

Arrival at the hotel was equally chaotic. We were simply caught in the perfect storm: changeover day which overlaps check-outers with check-inners.. After a 20 minute wait in reception we were duly escorted to our room which, in fact, had been upgraded from a superior garden to a deluxe sea view room. The room itself was fine: clean and very livable with the extra, un-solicited yet very welcome trimmings befitting of a 1st wedding anniversary.

The food in the Tamaras restaurant was fine. Be aware however that the French onion soup may not in fact come with the floating cheesy bread in it and by-en large the portions are light on carbs (not necessarily a bad thing). The wine waiter (Earl) was particularly effective, giving us the benefit if a bottle and a bit of wine under our all-inclusive tarif.

The standard trip around the island was booked for the Friday after a less than convincing sales pitch from our in-resort rep. But it is actually a pre-requisite serial to tick off, in my opinion, when staying at an island so small, compact and accessible as Tobago. Our driver was probably not quite the gregarious, cheerful and wonderfully optimistic local I would have expected to execute these duties and instead was a rather surly and dour individual, with faltering/lazy English who was more interested in getting back to his family. This of course is perfectly understandable but the lesson learned is to just manage expectations about the general overall level of customer service on this island (see executive summary).

But in spite of the shortcomings of our driver, some areas of Tobago are truly breathtaking and most definitely worth the effort. On our day's excursion, we saw the clutter and pleasant (if unbearably hot) chaos of Scarborough town (the island's capital), the wonderfully well-maintained Fort George which was the main bastion against French invasions from the late 18th century through to the quiet under-developed serenity of Englishman's Bay and then the rugged and Atlantic-windswept beauty of Speyside. The day culminated in an intriguing guided walk through some spectacular flora up to the the Argyl waterfall, all the while being observed by thousands of vividly-coloured birds (Jacamars, Kings of the Woods) and overly-vocal tiny frogs. The bamboo trees are particularly impressive as they effortlessly tower over dense clusters of cocoa, banana, papaya and breadfruit trees.

Overall would certainly recommend Tobago as a resort and certainly return one day. The Coco Reef hotel is a useful and perfectly amenable base. The diving (Undersea Tobago), based from the hotel, is excellently run by Derek and Ellis and offers challenging and pleasant dives.

Room Tip: Say it's your wedding anniversary...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank W12UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2012

i dont like how management treat there staff for the hard work the girls do when it have weddings it wonderful and i am sure the managers are taking money to decorate this venue cafe coco the girls here are great i talk to them and they dont get pay the law is do what is your job discription and what these girls doing just to make couples happy and they do isn't right / the next thing the money they working for give them a raise of pay please {FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF COCO REEF & CAFE COCO}

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled on business
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1  Thank Chantelle C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2012

We arrived to find out had been upgraded to a Garden suite, which was lovely. Bathroom fittings were gold and old but didn't detract from the charm of this suite. We came on a B & B basis because we wanted to eat out at local places, this food found 5-10 minutes walk from Coco Reef was fabulous, Curry Coat, Crab & Dumplings, Stewed Chicken, Peas & Rice, etc etc. We only ate in the Hotel restaurant once, it was a very nice a la carte menu not buffet. The staff were tremendous, very helpful & cheerful. Eric (General Manager) certainly knows how to make you feel special, for this I thank you Eric! A local dog & chicken disturbed my sleep several nights on the trot, I mentioned it to the virgin rep, and within an hour we were upgraded to an Ocean View Room free of charge, this room was more recently updated than the garden suite, bathrooms are lovely. Delicious Bowl of fruit in the room, balcony, table & chairs & sun lounger. Drinks in the hotel were very reasonable about £3 for a glass of wine (and it was good quality) and about £5 for a lushous cocktail. The beach is lovely, very quiet, no hassle from anybody. My daughter tried Scuba Diving and Jet Ski's for the first time, again, costs were very reasonable. We travel regularly at least three times a year and new usually return to the same place, but might have to make an exception on this occasion

Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
6  Thank SharonbHewett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2012

The rooms were great, the staff friendly, breakfast was great with the birds the owl made an appearance he's so handsome, the shower faucets were rundown i had to clean the drain out myself, (between myself and my husband we have very little hair) the place needs some upgrades. Overall it was great and i will be doing it again.

We gave it 2 thumbs up

Room Tip: Get a room with a view of the ocean, looks and sounds beautiful at night.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank Terri67_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 28, 2012

The service was fantastic and the rooms were clean. Friendly staff , okay food. The grounds were beautiful and well kept. The hotel is rightnear to the airport with a private beach. The rooms are a little dated but in very good condition.

Room Tip: Get a room overlooking the beach but not too close to the pool.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled solo
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5  Thank Trinichick76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2012

Well the staff is really great and pleasant food is really good as well location is really great very private although the rooms needs some modern decor other than that beautiful place.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled on business
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4  Thank Chrissachin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Coco Reef Resort & Spa Tobago

Address: Coconut Bay | Bon Accord Village, Crown Point, Tobago
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Trinidad and Tobago > Tobago > Crown Point
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Crown Point
Price Range: $263 - $595 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Coco Reef Resort & Spa Tobago 3.5*
Number of rooms: 135
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Exquisite architecture and well manicured grounds warmly welcome you to the enchanting paradise that is Coco Reef Resort. Tranquil turquoise waters caress the white sands of our private beach with magnificent snorkeling just outside the breakwater. Enjoy kayaking, pedalos, diving, tennis, gym, in-house shopping, massages, manicures, pedicures and much more. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Coco Reef Tobago Hotel Crown Point
Coco Reef Tobago Crown Point
Coco Reef Resort Tobago
Coco Reef Resort & Spa Tobago Crown Point

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