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“Coco Bay disappointng”
Review of Cocobay Resort

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Cocobay Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Bolans
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 10, 2006

We stayed in Coco Bay in 2000 and loved it, so much so we returned in October to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. Don't get me wrong, I still believe it to be one of the most beuatiful resorts you could ever wish to stay in and the grounds are maturing in a spectaclar fashion but the service and standards have slipped considerably.
We moved after 6 nights to Diane Bay, a decision that saved our holiday. Why?
The pool was dirty and overcrowded, get up early and leave a beach towel??? We're not in megalouf, we're in a 4 star all inclusive. The food was poor at best even the Maitre D couldn't reccommend a dish, and that's if you were fortunate to get a table.Like the pool if you don't get up early you could end up with a 10pm reservation for dinner. Lunch is now a buffet with three choices none of which are labelled and a chef that reccommends you don't eat the fish but when the alternative is pie and mash in the searing sun what are you going to do? The restaurant staff were surly at best, I returned from fetching my own cutlery one day(after waiting 10 minutes I thought it best to find my own) to find a bird enjoying my butter fish. The birds were all over the tables, drinking from glasses and pooping on chairs and none of the staff batted an eyelid.
The lack of air con and bugs I can live with even if the management made no attempt to abate the plague by using repellents in the bar and resturant area. But the attitude and complacency I will not put up with. There used to be fresh flowers in the bathroom every day, free shuttle buses twice a week to jolly harbour, a whopping twelve choices for lunch cooked to order including the most amazing crab and conch fritters. You used to be able to sit beside a clean pool. You used to look forward to a dinner, which was as good as any £50 a head meal in the uk with no supplements and portions you could live on, I gained half a stone in 2000, not a selling factor I'll grant you but definitely a satisfied customer.
I feel that the standards have slipped because of the addition of the new restaurant and the inability of the management to cope with a fully occupied resort. I acknowledge that the prices have not risen much in five years but I would gladly pay extra to stay if standards were on a par with those of 2000.

  • Stayed: October 2005
    • Value
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26  Thank JoyX5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 23, 2005

Cocobay really is a loved it, hate it place. If your laid back wanting to do nothing but chill for your stay then this is a great place. If you want to be waited on hand and foot and be non stop active then go else where. The room are basic in design and if you 'get-it' like we did its great. I wanted a simple relaxing time on holiday sleeping in the out-doors style relaxing on the balcony, chilling by the pool or swimming in the sea.

Drinks are ok(cud have bigger plastic cups when your drinking by the pool) although no margarita awwhhh!!!! Evening meals are great creative dishes and different menu everynight for the whole 14 nights, breakfast and dinner or nothing to be excited about but Cocobay is all about doing absolutley nothing for your stay.

  • Stayed: May 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
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17  Thank DB20_MANC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 19, 2005


After reading all the negative feedback on Cocobay we were having serious doubts about going to this hotel. However it definitely lived up to our expections and so here is our feedback for all you future visitors.

We were there from 5 - 15 December and had a fantastic time. The weather was good, a little cloudy on some days but that was almost a good thing.

We actually spent the night of the 5th at their sister hotel as Cocobay was over-booked but this was really not a problem.

Cocobay looks just like the brochure, you will NOT be disappointed. The sea and beaches are lovely, the sea is a little bit milky from the sand and their is a step as you get into the sea but once you get used to it you will be fine. The cottages are lovely, romantic and the views are fantastic. You have lots of privacy. We loved the double doors that open onto the balcony from the bathroom. The animal night life is noisy so I recommend ear plugs if you are a light sleeper.

There are mosquito shields on the windows and a mosi- net over the bed - no holes. We did take pegs just to hold the net down on the bed, which I would recommend. You will get bitten! I got some of BEN's mosi spray from Boots which is 95% deet, also take some antihistamine cream as this really helped too. We were lucky and only got a few bites!

We hired a car which was great and highly recommend this, there are no places that you have to avoid at night and the people are so friendly. Shirley Heights was good, great view of English Harbour and fantastic bands and there is a good bbq there too. Devils Bridge is worth seeing as are Darkwood and Turners Beaches. Stingray City is good, great snorkelling, and Eli's Eco Trip is also recommended.
We also got the hotel bus into St. Johns and then a local bus back - which was good and cheap. The taxis can be very expensive. For instance a return taxi to Shirley Heights is about $70, but car hire is about $50 per day!

The food was really not a problem in fact it was great. A buffet breakfast, buffet lunch and 4 course dinner. The main course does look small but is suprisingly filling. We had only one night where the service was slow but they were very busy - and what was the rush? The receptionists and the ladies who advise on trips are very polite and helpful. You do have to book a time slot for dinner - do this early in the morning unless you don't mind a late dinner slot - it gets booked up quickly. Also, I'm ashamed to say that some of the guests had an annoying habit of reserving the best sunbeds and then not using them for most of the day!!

You do have the occasional person approach you on the beach selling jewellry - we bought some, you do get a bargain but you can get it cheaper on the market stalls in St. Johns - do barter!

I would highly recommend Cocobay. If you want to stay somewhere romantic, quiet, friendly, then this is the place for you.

We think that the people who did put negative feedback are those who went expecting a 5* hotel and all the trimmings that go with it. Cocobay is a lovely hotel and we do not hesitate in recommending it to you. Just slow down to the Carribean pace of life and you will love it. We hope you have a lovely time.

Antony and Linda

22  Thank rose4liam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2005

This was a special holiday for us as we celebrated 25 years of marriage. The decision to go ‘all-inclusive’ (our first) was not taken lightly, but for a November break, with plenty of things to re-organize at work, it seemed sensible.

On arrival we were made to feel very welcome by O’Neal and the reception staff and this set the tone for the whole stay. The accommodation was exactly as described in the brochure and did not disappoint. Ours was a beachside house, for which you pay a supplement, and I would definitely recommend an unrestricted view across the bay. Nothing prepares you better for the beginning of your holiday than the sight of colourful birds and geckos on your verandah set again the blue of the water. Also, the sensible arrangement of the bathroom at the front of the property allows you to take a shower with a great view of the Carribean. The absence of air conditioning, together with the lack of a phone and a television, is entirely in keeping with the old and simple style of the resort, but the lack of the former could make it uncomfortable in the summer. For us in November this was not a problem, though those who are prone to mosquito or sandfly bites may not agree.

During the day there are plenty trips (not part of package) available for those who wish to do more than laze about on the sheltered beach. For those wanting something less organised, then there are other excellent beaches within a 20 min walking distance or you can make arrangements with the taxi drivers associated with the resort to trips further afield. I would strongly recommend a visit to Nelsons Dockyard near English Harbour. During the night a limited amount of live musical entertainment is provided, which is probably just about right. In our view the management should take the lead from forwarding thinking group who arrived with a scrabble set together with Othello. A few locally made chess sets, plus staff on hand to show how to play wari would add much needed variety to the evening.

Any venture like Coco Bay is crucially dependent on the staff and, while I would not normally single out individuals, I do feel a need on this occasion to name-check several people. Judith and the rest of the reception staff were always available to offer advice and dealt with minor problems in a prompt fashion. Jocelyn and the rest of the maid staff were impossibly bright and cheery, though there is something special about sunrise in the tropics that I have not quite worked out yet. Similarly, the waiters in the restaurant were attentive and eager to engage in conversation on a whole range of topics, though discussion with Kerry usually turned to football and cricket (our passions too). It was pleasing to exchange information with staff and a get a better feel for Antiguan life. The one discordant note was that we felt that some of our fellow guests were less than appreciative of the lovely hotel … our advice is to tell them to try the other larger, bland resorts on the island in future. This should take the form of better wording of the advert for the resort to discourage the notion that people will be able to ‘graze’ from morning until night. A medal should go to Kenroy and the ‘stress-free’ Patricia. The food was consistently good, please pass out thanks to your hardworking chefs and to Blondell for her lovely omelets. The rum punch (old fashioned) and vodka and tonics were excellent and appeared by magic as we approached the bar – hats off to the mind reading skills of Deacon and Peanut.

You should be glean from this that we had a thoroughly enjoyable time for our 25th wedding anniversary. All credit to my wife for insisting that we go on an all-inclusive break to such a warm, welcomimg and well-organised resort. Would I go back? Yes, and with considerably less resistance.

Suggestions (relatively minor).
i)Include curry goat and rice/jerk pork as part of the barbecue.
ii)Arrange with the taxi drivers for guests to be driven down to Darkwood Beach (our favourite) for the sunset. Quite spectacular!
iii)Brand beach towels and dressing gowns with the Coco Beach Resort logo and make them available for purchase only. This would be an excellent way of reminding visitors of their enjoyable time in Antigua – particularly welcome on a cold UK/US morning.
iv)Develop the far end of the site as a Botanical area.

12  Thank VinceNottingham_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 4, 2005

I have stayed at Cocobay 3 times now and love it so much I plan to get married there next year.
I am fortunate enough to have stayed elsewhere on Antigua and be fairly well travelled. I honestly have to say I feel that I was surprised to see bad reviews of the place. Cocobay is amazing value for money and an absolute gem of a place.
Mozzies are everywhere in Antigua, I usually get eaten alive but sensible precautions i.e not leaving all the cottage window slats open and getting ready with all the lights on at dusk being an obvious one but amazingly ignored.

There is a large lagoon behind Cocobay which stretches round to JollyBeach/Harbour resort and logically whenever there is rain you will see the inevitable increase in mozzies. Avoiding rainy season can help! The hotel do all possible to fog the resort to deal with this and I have always seen a notice in reception to advise this.

Doing your research is more than just reading trip advisor, most of the things that have been raised as issues would not be had the client done their research properly, read the property details compare with other properties, price and facilities.

I believe that the reason that US customers are so surprised is that it seems their travel agents are woefully misrepresenting Cocobay as sone 5 star resort and charging inappropriately. In compassion the UK passengers are paying about $120 each per night, and rating is about 3 stars, which is why they are probably more accepting of quirks. If you want a McHoliday book Sandals.
The manager O'Neil is extremely attentive and I have never found any of the staff other than friendly and helpful social interaction with the staff provides a totally different perspective.
Any issue I have seen raised whilst I have been there has been dealt with on the spot.
Believe the good reviews and take the bad ones with a pinch of salt.

  • Stayed: July 2005
    • Value
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18  Thank reganSurrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 27, 2005

We just returned from a short trip to CocoBay -- a quick, four day getaway! I'm not sure why all the negative reviews appear on this site -- if you do the research, you will know that (1) you are going to a Caribbean Island (2) it is warm and tropical which usually means humidity and mosquitoes/no-see-ums (3) life is slower paced and more relaxed. You will also know that there is no air conditioning ... a necessity for some, but not for all. That being said - we loved CocoBay.

We stayed in Room 33 - a seaview room - the view was spectacular, the breeze was wonderful (we slept with the french doors wide open at night) - our mosquito net was fine - one small tear that was easily fixed with a clothes peg. Usually, I get eaten alive (I did on Peter Island and at Bitter End Yacht Club - both beautiful resorts...) -- but, knowing that mosquitoes do exist on the islands, I bring "Deep Woods Off" - so long as you remember to put it on - you will be fine! The key is remembering!

If you are looking for a fun and friendly bartender who can mix a great Pain Killer, ask for David! He was great!

Judith was wonderful as was Kenroy -- always very friendly and willing to assist in any way.

Joanna (I hope I'm spelling it right) at the tour desk was also wonderful!

The beaches are lovely -- the bottom is mixed (sandy and some reef/grass) - but certainly won't stop you from swimming. The beach does drop off - but does not plummet you under 9 feet of water - I'm only 5'3" and I was still able to touch bottom with my head way out of the water! If you like to snorkel - you will find that the undertow is a bit strong and causes the sand to churn - therefore, next time I'd leave the snorkel gear home unless booking a tour. There were plenty of lounge chairs (it's not the Ritz - so don't expect to find luxurious cushioned beach chairs with cabana boys waiting for your command..) They were comfortable and the views were spectacular -- we also found some nice shells to take home.

The pool was fantastic! So beautiful -- we are usually beach people but found ourselves lounging in the pool enjoying the view... Yes -- some people engage in the art of "reserving" their pool chairs by leaving towels on them and not showing up for hours.... we just remove the towels if they are not present and use the chairs.... this happens at many resorts - not just CocoBay...

Breakfast was the usual buffet with made-to-order omelets and freshly made pancakes.. fruit, cereal, etc. -- the earlier you arrive, the more variety there is....

Lunch was buffet one day and made-to-order burgers the next...

Dinner was buffet and a la carte. The portions were excellent and the service was good (remember.. you are in the Caribbean and things are a bit slower -- so relax and enjoy your drink and the company that you are with...)

We also ate at Sheer one night -- it is beautiful and the food was a bit pricey but excellent!

Dinner reservations are made during breakfast - so make sure your reserve early if you want to eat at 7:30pm...

There is a hidden plunge pool - we won't tell you where it is (do some research and you'll discover it's whereabouts) - since no one else knew about it, we had it all to ourselves every day -- the views were spectacular and the privacy was wonderful!

Oh -- and for those of you who are afraid of bugs -- remember, you are outdoors, in the Caribbean, in a room without AC. That being said, we didn't see any insects in our room -- beware of the cute little birds though -- they will steal your sugar packetts if you leave your doors open (best to put them in the fridge..) But, most important -- for those who are really concerned -- they are in the process of putting screens up on all the open slatted windows. (Our rooms already had screens in the back...) Also... once it is evening -- if you don't need them -- turn off all of the lights -- lights attract insects -- this will help greatly!

The people at CocoBay were lovely and we met some wonderful people from England.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time... the property was beautiful -- We would definitely go back!!

  • Stayed: November 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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18  Thank LuluWoodstown_NJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Spring Lake, NJ
Reviewed November 24, 2005

We purchased a packed on Luxury Link and were looking forward to visiting Antigua. CoCoBay is not a luxury resort by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, this property has no business even being associated with Luxury Link and whomever previewed the property should also be held accountable.
The road into the property is not well maintained or groomed.The rooms were not air conditioned. The furniture is minimal and of poor quality. There were mosquito nets around the bed which did not entirely close, the open-air shower did not drain properly, in fact, it drained onto the porch.
The beach was not clean; broken chairs were literally tossed behind the nearest palm tree. Beach towels were not readily available. The manager had to go in search of some; the quality of which were like sheer gauze. They were of a poorer quality than my cleaning rags! The majority of the chaises around the "infinity pool" were lacking cushions; the few that were available were severely stained and not in good condition. The pool water was not clean; it was cloudy and clearly was not properly chlorinated.
The bar did not offer water; it had to be purchased at the front desk. Who would expect an all-inclusive property to charge $6 a bottle for water? Upon leaving our "bungalow" for dinner; we had to walk through a chemical haze to get to the restaurant. We felt like we were walking into a scene from Ghostbusters! They were spraying for mosquitoes which were ferocious.
The food, while excellent, had a very limited menu and most of the entrees had an up charge.
In addition, the furniture in the television room was virtually non-existent. It had 2 straight backed chairs which were uncomfortable. My husband and I even contemplated moving one of the couches from the bar into TV room. We decided against this because of the swarming mosquitoes and the notice on the TV screen that the cable was going to be turned off because of nonpayment of their account.
After a miserable night of fighting off moquitoes,
we were forced to check out after one night and find accommodations elsewhere. We asked the resort to refund our unused portion of our money which they declined.
Needless to say, were are very disappointed in this most recent trip.

This property truly did not have a lot going
for it with the exception of the location. However Cocobay did not do justice to the beautiful view because the property is so rundown, barren and in disrepair.

23  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cocobay Resort

Address: Ffreyes Beach, Bolans, Saint Mary's 431, Antigua
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint Mary's > Bolans
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Bolans
Price Range: $443 - $876 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Cocobay Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 65
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Antigua's most romantic all-inclusive resort - Cocobay is a colorful collection of pastel cottages crowning a breezy hillside undulating down to two white-sand beaches and miles of turquoise Caribbean Sea. Blessed with some of the most dramatic ocean views on the island, we cater to couples seeking a romantic getaway in a quaint, natural setting. Guests can choose from 57 private, authentic, Caribbean cottages and 4 plantation houses each enjoying a private verandah with striking sea views and custom designed wooden furniture. The premium pool cottages provide the very best oceanfront locations, and other amenities such as: private plunge pool, more spacious interior including extra seating area, air conditioning, bathrobes and other extra bathroom amenities, private balcony with adirondack chairs and hammock, ceiling fan, mini fridge, shower, hair dryer, espresso coffee machine, iron & ironing board, king size bed with pillowtop mattresses and high thread count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets, in-room safe. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cocobay Hotel Bolans
Coco Bay Antigua
Cocobay Antigua
Cocobay Hotel Antigua
Cocobay Resort Antigua/Bolans

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