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Cocobay Resort
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All reviewscoco baythe cottagesplunge poolmr gorewaterfront suitelower poolbreakfast and lunchrum punchsheer rocksdeluxe cottageour honeymoonpaninislobstersea viewplantation housemosquito netbuffet style
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Reviewed December 21, 2012

Cocobay is a well established resort with good facilities. However, some of those facilities come at an additional price which should be included with the original fees - wifi is a staggering 60 dollars a week to use - and the wifi in general is poor to average in use (constant outages and poor speed) do not see the 60 dollars as value. The additional fee comes with the air conditioning in the rooms so get ready to put your hand yet again in your pocket if you require that - I would say it is a must although in the main we only used it during the period between lunch and getting ready for dinner.

The hotel is clean, the rooms very well kept and the see the introduction of mosquito nets to aid a good night sleep. The rooms have a ceiling fan to keep the air circulated and in general the rooms are fine for what the hotel is and where it is situated - a consideration when you book your room is that the sun doesn't shine at all on the balcony's, as the huts face out to sea and the sun is always behind them.

You will find a few ants and natural life coming in and out of the huts, bear with it - its the Caribbean.

The resort is generally very secure with no issues to report surrounding security - even though the resort is bordering on the busy side. Each room has a security box installed, and should you find yourself out and about with your electronics or valuables and want the staff to look after them they do so very well for you.

Food is very good, with some repetition on the menu over a two week period. breakfast is always the same but there is a choice of items. Lunch can either be in the restaurant or you can have ciabatta with different fillings from the beach bar - very good they are too.

The resort has a sailboat for use and two kayaks. Robert and Kenya who look after that part of the facility and the beach are an asset to the hotel, and do their jobs very well.

The bar staff are excellent as are the restaurant staff. However, a note on the restaurant provision is that as the hotel is busy, you do find that staff are rushed and the personal touch although attempted, is not the interaction it should be. Chris and Mr Gore try very hard to keep up to date with everybody but it is simply too busy to be stood there for them and their staff to chat away.

Evening food has a range on the menu, and after a fishing trip the kitchen was happy to prepare our catch which they did brilliantly, some very good cooks in the kitchen it has to be said.

The two pool areas are well kept although you may find that they are packed out if you don't get to them early enough, which will leave you down on the beach.. and here lies another issue - what I am about to describe has to be balanced with the fact that this is Antigua. The sandy areas, beach, bottom pool and bar, and also the top bar area which is decking will provide the visitor with more than enough sand flies come 3pm. These continue all the way through to about 7pm so make sure you are protected with sprays etc. If you get bit use something like pile cream - anusol to reduce the itching and the swelling - it works wonders. We have been to Antigua quite a number of times and cocobay has seen my bitten more times than anywhere else on the island, even when protected. My worst evening I have to admit was down to a few beers and very few cares in the world as I sat round the bar doing some work - you don't realise till later that you have had 60 or so bites within the 3 hour period if you are not covered. Another tip is to ask for a piece of lime from the bar - this seems to neutralise the bites quite quickly although it stings at first.

Overall its a lovely place to go, good food, great staff, but it is busy and will continue to get busier as building work is being undertaken on the bottom pool area to install a pizza oven and other provisions for the hotel and its guests. Its only when you go to the other hotels like cocobeach, coco's or keyana that you realise what peace and quiet is.

So if you don't mind too many people, don't mind paying for wifi that doesn't work and getting little assistance when its pointed out, and you don't mind paying for the air conditioning, everything for me was a lovely experience. In general the establishment is very very well put together and the staff are in the main as helpful as they can be with their busy routines.

One point of note : if you think you are going to leave the hotel on a few occasions to see the sites or go to other restaurants, go fishing, etc, then its cheaper to hire a car for the two weeks than to pay for the taxis. For trips to the airport there and back, to jolly harbor fishing, an outing to a restaurant and another hotel saw a dent of 220 US dollars. Much better to get a car hired at 120 dollars a week.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank dozibloke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2012

We have just returned from a fabulous holiday – the hotel and resort was everything we had hoped for, much as the positive reviews say. The hotel and gardens are lovely and well-tended, the staff all wonderful. We loved the style of slightly rustic charm and the ‘sugar almond coloured cottages’ they were just what we had hoped for. We had a sea view cottage (No 23) and could not have asked for a better view. We did not need to use and therefore pay the air conditioning supplement as the fan was more than adequate in December (this may not be the case at hotter times of the year)
As others have said the food is excellent the best we have had for an all-inclusive, breakfast has a massive choice – lunch again a nice buffet- if you were still peckish there was always afternoon tea, and then evening service was great, with a lovely choice every night and 4 courses. You really had to manage what you ate if you wanted to fit into your clothes when you got home. Niggles re portion sizes at dinner are simply silly, and if you really did want more bread or a large portion of the pasta or veg or something then just ask. As someone else says there are 4 meals a day and you can eat as much as you want as you serve yourself at breakfast and lunch. There were alternatives down at the new pool for lunch but we did not try these. We also noted that if you did have a dietary requirement then all you had to do was talk to the staff, we did not (well other than a simple request met immediately) but we met people who had and they were given all the help they needed. I note that one review said you did not need to dress up for dinner, this may be translation as to what dressed up means, but there is an expectation for men to wear collars and long trousers and for ladies to wear something a bit smarter than pool wear. Given the level of service and lovely atmosphere I think the evening meal deserves a bit of effort and most people did do just that.
The bar and drinks are also very good, the wine is more than acceptable and the glasses large, the staff top up without any need to prompt. The cocktails were nice and used good quality spirits. As with the rest of the island there is a shortage of sugar free soft drinks but you can top up fruit juice with soda water.
It is difficult to single out any particular staff as to be frank they are all lovely, helpful and friendly and clearly the ethos of the management is to get customer service and training just right and it pays off. If I had to mention anyone I think I would say thanks to Mr Gore!!!, and Denise in the restaurant, Daphne and the rest of housekeeping all of whom did a great job but Daphne gets the above and beyond award for tidying up after us, and lovely smiley Robert at the pool and beach. Now I am feeling guilty at missing out others as basically they all did a great job.
We understand that there has been a lot of work upgrading the main older pool, the bar and the new pool. Also new rooms and cottages. Most of the work is finished, although a couple of finishing off jobs were on-going. We ended up with the benefits of all of this work. Not sure if this means price rises next year as we heard a whisper.
A couple of other points we paid for internet but unlike others we could get it in the room so we were not too concerned about the price. We did wonder why some people always seemed to be using it in reception. So it must be room dependant, and how far you are from a wireless point. So maybe that is something the hotel needs to extend more around the site.
We also ate in Sheer Rock which is no longer managed by the hotel. Whilst it was OK and a nice atmosphere to be honest the food was no better than the hotel despite being quite pricy and indeed the lobster supplement at the hotel was better. The owner was very nice and I know they are catering for a wider external audience so they have made the place a bit more accessible for outsiders and prices clearly reflect local costs, but as a consequence it does not offer a much better experience than the main dining room. If you have a special occasion ask the hotel what they can do.
It is worth noting that although there is a nice beach next to the hotel – there are 2 other beaches within a couple of mins walk, although you would need to pay for beach umbrellas and drinks at these whereas it is all covered at the resort beach.
So suggestions and points – there probably is some room for improvement in the storage areas within the rooms, a set of draws maybe and we would have liked a small table on the veranda as well as the 2 chairs and the hammock supplied; we were worried about losing things through the floor boards if we put small things on the floor. I feel that the room mini fridges could have been restocked with water, although the water is drinkable from the tap clearly few would do this.
I would say that not all the rooms have as good an outlook as ours did although most did have nice views. We did meet some people who had been given sea view rooms which were on the turning circle by the front of the hotel a shame as they were a young couple on their honymoon. I think that the hotel should rethink whether they can justify the turning circle rooms as being sea view as clearly the verandas are not private enough. To be honest I had not appreciated these were guest rooms so I was surprised.
They could probably do with another set of toilets down by the lower pool area, the main ones by the bar/ reception etc are heavily used. Housekeeping do a fantastic job keeping them spotless but they are under pressure and some way from the beach and lower pool.
One minor disappointment was I was not able to get a pedicure at the hotel, although there are some sort of spa facilities they seem to be under development. The reception did offer to book me an appointment elsewhere but I was not that desperate. Also the taxi / shuttle bus’s vary a bit and maybe could be reviewed.
On the mosi front this is clearly a potential issue anywhere on the island and the hotel do manage it. I don’t see what alternative they have to the fogging which one reviewer complained about. Some guests felt that the hotel could provide additional in room burners, we had bought our own which worked, but not all do due to voltage issues. Our advice bring good quality / effective bug repellent (this means going beyond the basic supermarket options)and use it – even if you think you do not get bitten. The worst bites were on the legs of men who I suspect thought they were immune. I usually suffer but with care using the repellents I got of lightly. Remember to put it on after swimming as it is not waterproof. Also a tip, add citronella oil to your sun tan cream which seems to work for the little sand flies.
Would we go back – well we rarely do as there are lots of places to see in the world but I think we might as it was really a lovely place. I am interested to hear what happens at Christmas, as someone else said a highly guarded secret, I think this could be a nice alternative Christmas sometime in the future.

Room Tip: Upgrade to a Sea view as a minimum and Beach front if you can as the latter tend to look over towards the Cocos/ jolly harbour side which we felt were better views
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank RewelPeople
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2012

Despite my husband already having reviewed this, I feel compelled to also review after reading a couple of negative reviews about CocoBay. They couldn't be more wrong, Antigua and the resort were stunning from start to finish! If yoou want 24 hour entertainment, I would suggest the Caribbean is not for you, but if like us, you wanted to relax and forget about the real world, it could not be more perfect!

Its the little things that make all the difference, from the rum punch on arrival to the champagne in our room to someone collecting our bags while we lazed by the pool on our last morning, the incredible staff could not do enough to help!

The food was always plentiful and of a wide variety and yes, you do have to pay a premium for a couple of items on the dinner menu, but $25 for lobster is excellent value for money and if you do not want to pay the extra, there is always enough to choose from.

As well as being our honeymoon, it was also my birthday while we were there and we had dinner in Sheer Rocks. We started the eveining on a day bed with a bottle of chilled champagne watching the sun set and finished with a beautiful meal, Yes, it was expensive, but completely worth it as its not something you do every day!

The two pools are stunning, we tended to spend most of our time at the top pool as there were sandflies at the bottom pool, but this is common in most tropical countries and the repellant they sold in the gift shop is more than adequate to combat this. You also never struggled for a sunbed, which can be symptomatic of European package resorts.

I would not hesitate to recommend this amazing place to anyone. A beautiful place, beautiful weather and a great start to our honeymoon!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank gen1980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 19, 2012

We recently returned from Cocobay on Friday 14th Dec after the best 2 weeks of our lives. We decided last year to get married abroad, and as it was unlikely our family and friends could travel with us, we had agonised long and hard over the location for our first ever 2 week holiday, our first trip to the Caribbean, as well as of course, our wedding. After doing some researching, it was between Galley Bay (based on a friends recommendation) and Cocobay, and while we will never know what Galley Bay was like, we know that for sure that what we received at Cocobay could not be topped. Sorry in advance for the long review but I feel it well warranted for this resort.

We booked with Virgin Holidays and while we had originally wanted a seafront pool cottage for the full 2 weeks, we were told that this would not be possible for the first week as the hotel was full, but that we could have a seaview room for week 1, and then switch to a seafront room for week 2. This was not a problem for us, and as we were getting married in week 2, this suited us nicely.

Whilst the airport arrival was a bit hectic, the Virgin team quickly pointed us to our booked transfer and we arrived at Cocobay to be greeted with the cold towels and rum punch as mentioned in other reviews. Check in was quick and efficient, and the security team kindly brought our heavy suitcases up to our room.

First impressions of our seaview room (30) were very good - the rooms at Cocobay are all "rustic Caribbean" style wooden cottages, with balconies and hammocks, as well as plunge pools for the seafront rooms. Our room had no air con, but the ceiling fan was more than adequate and the bathroom doors open wide to allow a breeze. The only slight point for us was that the room didnt really have a sea view as some of the others did, more a "tree view", but that did not bother us. It pains me to read other reviews describing various shortcomings in the rooms such as the bathroom door sticking or more storage space needed, as when you are in a location such as this, things like this really are not important and the hotel will quickly and happily sort things for you if you give them the chance (as they did for us with no hassle at all). If you are used to staying in 5 star resorts that all look the same, are clinical and lack personality then this is not the place for you - but the Cocobay style was absolutely perfect for us as well as romantic. There are mosquitoes and sandflies here, which were a bit of a pain as we did get devoured a bit, but this is to be expected with a tropical location and as long as you bring some decent repellant, antihistamines and sleep under the provided net, you will be fine. The hotel also spray a fog type things on the grounds a few times a week to try and help.

At the start of our second week, the hotel arranged for all our luggage to be moved to our seafront pool room (9), even the things on hangers directly so we didnt have to pack.The whole process was so easy and while we loved our first toom, I have to say the seafront room was SPECTACULAR with a good sized plunge pool (not too cold as it got sun in the afternoon) fabulous views over to Jolly Harbour and some amazing wildlife which came to eat out of our hands. I have to disagree with a previous recent review on this room that the exterior is overlooked - there are rooms 7 and 8 to the left however you can only be seen if you and the people in those rooms are both on the very edge of the pool or deck, which never happened to us once. We know this for sure, as being newly weds we spent a lot of time in the room in week 2!

From the food side, this was probably the best in all the "all inclusive" resorts we have been to. At breakfast, there is something for all - cereal, toast, breads and pastries, variety of fruit and yoghurts, juices, and well as a hot selection of bacon, sausages and eggs in any way you can imagine - Sonia does the best eggs/omelettes as per other posts! For lunch, you have the restaurant buffet or the hot sandwich option at the lower pool. We tried both but tended to prefer the sandwich so as not to overeat as well as that we didnt want to move too far! The sandwich was different every day of the whole two weeks we were there so there was always something new to try. Dinner is where Cocobay really stands out - aside from Thursday buffet nights, there is an a la carte menu where you can select what starter, main course and desert you would like. There was always a meat, fish, vegetarian and pasta option which always suited us and we only once went for the steak option where a supplement was payable. The waiting staff were all very good - every time I turned around my wine glass was topped up so beware! Booking a dinner slot was no problem although you need to try and remember to do this when you go down to breakfast on the day unless you want to eat at 6:30 or after 8:30.

As we were getting married, we didnt venture too far from resort aside from a couple of excursions on our first week. I would highly recommend the "Virgin Ahoy" or Excellence Catamaran trip around the island as this was a fab day out and we were lucky enough the Atlantic portion of the trip was as flat as a pancake that day. We heard this trip was generally a better experience than the equivalent offered on the "Wadadli Cat", but obviously cant say ourselves. We also did the Jeep Safari/Stingray City, as well as a trip into St Johns for shopping - beware to try and avoid doing this when the big cruise ships are in, we didnt and it was super crowded and very hot, meaning we left as soon as we could. The trips are all run by the same companies, so you can book them either through your agent or through the ladies on the beach, the only difference is really who received the commission. We did some jet skiing through the beach lady which was good fun.

And lastly, onto the wedding. We had been in constant touch with the the hotel in the run up to our arrival on the 30th November with various questions and always got a very polite and prompt email back with all the information we needed. On arrival, we met with Tameka, the Assistant Manager and Wedding Co-ordinator, who ran through everything with us and made arrangements for us to visit the town hall in the first week of our stay to apply for our marriage licence. As you would expect for a young nervous couple (even after being together for 11 years), we continued to have a ton of questions right up until the very day of the wedding and Tameka was always on hand with a smile and a laugh to help us and make us feel relaxed - we appreciated her great sense of humour!

On the day itself, our wedding was at 4pm and we chose the lower pool location. Arrangements were made for the other half to get ready in the courtesy room and myself in our room as we wanted to be separate, and despite there being no friends or family, little things like having help with the dress or in his case, the tie (!) were never an issue. The hair and makeup artist provided by Cocobay was also amazing and I received a lot of compliments. The wedding itself when 4pm came around went without a hitch - just a couple of raindrops (as is normal in Antigua) but aside from that, stunning weather, and scenery. The cake was delicious and there were so many special touches, like the scattering of petals, champagne and so on. Despite flying out alone, we ended up with a congregation of about 30 which was amazing!

Although there was a wedding every day that week, we were never once made to feel like "another wedding" and eveything was totally personalised to how we wanted it with the team always on hand. It turned out that our wedding day (10th December) was actually an Antiguan national holiday, and as we had booked a private dinner on the beach following our wedding, the hotel made sure that arrangements were made for us to relocate our dinner to the pool deck where we were actually married (locals congregate on the beach on national holidays), which actually made it even more special as this is not usually done.

As others have pointed out, its hard to single out staff as the entire team treated us beautifully and always greeted us by name with a smile. We also met some fantastic other guests at the hotel who we plan to keep in touch with. But we do feel special thanks need to be given to Robert and Vincia down at the beach/lower pool bar, Saskia, Sasha, Jermaine, Craig, Kerry, Kenroy (who delivered our wedding breakfast in bed) and Rowella (our private dinner waitress, amazing!) in the restaurant/upper bar, Dwayne in security, Dena in housekeeping, Phylis and Melissa in reception, and of course, the wonderful Tameka. O'Neal - your entire team is superb, make sure to hang onto them all so that we can see them again next year!

As a final note, Virgin were also great throughout, both on the plane with some complimentary champagne for us when they spotted our wedding cake on the way home, as well as in resort (thanks Marlene!), and were only to pleased to help us along with the hotel when one of us had some health problems. The whole proceess of booking with them was smooth from start to finish and I highly recommend them.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank gem_zzz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2012

Our family of 8, spread out across the U.S., decided to have a family reunion at Cocobay. From the moment we arrived, worn out from the long trip and long lines at the airport, being greeted by O'Neal, the manager, offered refreshing wet cloths and rum punch, until the moment we had to leave, we were made to feel special as never before at a resort. We were greeted by name whenever we walked through the lobby, and always met with a smile and "good morning" or "good afternoon" when passing a staff member on the grounds. Our cottage had a beautiful view, with yellow birds and hummingbirds up close and personal. We loved the shower that opened up to the balcony. The restaurant offers great views as well, and the food was yummy. Plenty of variety, for meat eaters, fish lovers, and vegetarians, and delicious desserts. The service was not rushed at all, as I had read in some reviews. The pools were great, with very comfortable seating, and the beach had plenty of chairs and palapas for shade-lovers. Oh, yes, the bar...fabulous, where most nights entertainment was provided by jazz or steel drum bands. I hesitate to name particular staff members who were outstanding, for fear of leaving someone out, as there were so many. Needless to say, we will be returning to Cocobay next year.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Elaine B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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