We went with Virgin Holidays and stayed for 11 nights from 20th August, this is our third visit to Antigua an Island that we love. The last two times we went to Grand Pineapple and in the main loved it but thought we would try somewhere different this time around.
I can’t speak highly enough of Virgin and their rep here called Andre, very professional and he made himself available every day for those who needed him, probably the best Virgin rep we have ever met. The flight was excellent and the little touches of things like an ice lolly between meals made us all smile!
Coconut Beach Club is rustic and a bit quirky. It will suit over 40’s wanting a get away from it all holiday on a budget where the understanding is that you will be fed and watered to a reasonable level but not a lot else. It is not suitable in my view for children even if they are 12-17 years old as there is so little for them to do. As a result, there are very few children here anyway so finding someone to play with/get along with will be tough. The hotel guests were, during our stay, about 75% British, 20% American with one couple from Germany and one from Italy.
Coconut Beach Club has some things it does really well and some things that really aren’t so good, let me start with the good points. The customer facing staff are helpful, happy and friendly. I must pick out for special mention Rene, Chris, Jahilda, Clinton and Brent as they were the stars. The evening meal is generally exceptional (the exceptions being buffet nights on Thursday and Sunday) with some of the best flavours I have ever tasted in the Caribbean. Please be aware that it is quality not quantity, for instance one night we had the most amazing salmon fish cake on a bed of sweet potato mash and onion marmalade but the fish cake was about 8cm across and the mash beneath was about 1cm high, nothing else on the plate. I could easily have eaten two! The rooms are big and comfortable and being a small hotel everything is close at hand.
The quirky thing about the rooms is that it seems that the hotel was once a self catering place. We were on the top floor and as you walk in there is a full kitchen, cupboards, cooker hood with extractor, work tops etc but no equipment other than a small fridge and a coffee maker.
The bar area is the hub of this hotel and when the mix of guests is right the evenings of chat and banter are great, we met some lovely people. It is the people who make this hotel, staff and guests rather than anything else.
On the not so good front they really need an egg station in the morning to liven up the breakfast. As it is, the breakfast is adequate but only that. You are told that you can order fried or poached eggs however there is a real timing issue here, when do you get your toast and bacon etc? Invariably you wait 10 minutes or so for the eggs and either have cold accompaniments or you go and get your toast etc after the eggs arrive and end up with cold eggs.
At lunch again they do an adequate job and you can always find something to eat but I like a salad at lunch in this climate. There is always an array of lettuce and tomato and dressings but unless you want pie or stew for instance there is nothing to go with it. Prawns, cheese, ham or boiled eggs would have been welcome.
The beach is ok but not terribly inviting. The sea is a bit rough and the sand is more often than not churned up, the view is of the West Indies Oil Company pumping station in the distance and the various boats coming in and out of St John’s. It is perfectly useable but if you go for a 20 minute walk to Deep Bay you will immediately see that the sea is calm, the waters crystal clear and overall so inviting you have to go in! The beach has clearly suffered coastal erosion and as the beach turns into hotel grounds there is a wall of stones all held together by thick wire “fencing” that doesn’t look so good. The sunshades are in really poor condition, laying under them you can see more sky than covering. It seemed to us a very small thing they could deal with quickly and cheaply, after all they are only covered with palm leaf thatch. The shelves and concrete bases on the sun shades also need attention.
The staff in the bar area are great but they need more equipment, a small dishwasher for glasses and at least one more cocktail maker (food processor) as hand washing glasses takes too much time and one cocktail maker simply isn’t enough.
We used the tennis courts daily and they are adequate if a little tired. It would have been nice to have a path leading to the courts as the route to the gate is through fairly boggy terrain (only 20 yards or so) but if it has rained in the night it isn’t nice on your tennis shoes.
On a Saturday and Sunday evening a part boat somewhere in St John’s starts its disco and the boom boom boom can be heard clearly at CBC. If you are not a heavy sleeper or have not had sufficient alcohol you can hear the booming in the distance in your room until about 4am. Nothing the hotel can do but perhaps the local authorities could put a 1am curfew on them?
If you have booked CBC and it is your first time to Antigua please explore the island so that you can see how beautiful it really is and ensure you return to this beautiful place. As a tip, if you speak to the manageress at CBC she can sometimes get you a free day pass to Cocobay Resort, the sister hotel. The beach, snorkelling and facilities are amazing.
CBC is, I believe, a hotel with an identity crisis. It is one of the cheaper All Inclusive hotels on the island but has superb a la carte evening meals befitting a hotel a lot higher up the list. It has big rooms but no iron or ironing board. It has all the facilities for self catering but is All Inclusive. It has a beach that with some investment could be really quite nice but in its present state is just not good enough at any star rating. I think the management need to decide if this is a shabby chic exclusive haven or a cheap and cheerful hotel in the sun. At the moment it does neither for me.
If you are the type of person who will find fault easily and take pictures of all of the faults to put on Trip Advisor, don’t book here as you won’t be happy and the holiday snaps will make a long and boring album of the bits that CBC don’t have quite right.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Coconut Beach Club is an affordable all inclusive resort also offering room only accommodations. We are a small, intimate and friendly and cater mainly to couples who want a quiet, restful and laid back Caribbean vacation. All rooms are beach front and include air conditioning, balcony with hammock and easy chairs, ceiling fan, fridge, bath and shower, hair dryer, coffee maker and telephone. Junior suites include dining facilities and kitchenette. Deluxe Suites have an extra bedroom. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Coconut Beach Club Hotel St. John`s
- Coconut Beach Hotel
- Coconut Beach Resort
- Coconut Beach Club Antigua/Saint John Parish
- Coconut Beach Antigua