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COMO Cocoa Island
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Reviewed September 29, 2007

We spent a week of our honeymoon on Cocoa Island and it is was by far the most stunning place we have ever seen. I am a connoisseur of clear water and the Indian Ocean islands far exceeded my expectations. These islands are literally untouched paradise! We have traveled to many different places around the world and we always say how Cocoa Island was the most beautiful place we have ever visited. We had perfect weather for an entire week without a cloud in the sky. The attention to detail in everything at Cocoa island from the meals, to the raking of the sand twice a day ( which we actually found kind of amusing) was 5 star. We participated in the complementary yoga classes which are given everyday around 6 PM. My husband never thought he would like yoga, but we couldn't complain about this yoga studio. The studio is set at the tip of the island in an open air hut. You can listen to the waves lapping on the rocks below as you practice your yoga moves. Even if you don't like yoga, you are going to like this. The only thing we would have liked to see was another more casual option for dinning such as a beach bar with a more informal atmosphere rather than a sit down dinner every night. If you ever have the chance and the means to stay at Cocoa Island you will not be disappointed!

  • Stayed: December 2005, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Jessepoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2007

We arrived at Cocoa Island expecting paradise and that is exactly what we got. We fell in love with the island, we fell in love with the room (Room 1003) with uninterrupted views and sunrise views to die for. Levels of privacy were wonderful and the deck at the rear of our villa became our second home. i cannot say enough what paradise this place was and I didnt get to see inside the loft villas
or dhonis but this one bed villa was one of the nicest rooms we've ever stayed in...ever. I would go back tomorrow if I could and again,
and again....its that good. The bathrooms are the size of houses but we never used our indoor shower once - the outdoor shower is far too tempting and you cant do that in London can you? The toiletries are gorgeous. One of the best things about this hotel is that they actively encourage you to drink as much water as you can and replenish it throughout the day. When you are paying as much as this for a hotel and the temperatures are as hot as they were when we were
there, it makes such a pleasant change for the hotel to keep an eye that you don't get dehydrated. Other hotel chains should learn from this. The hotel staff are marvellous and really keen to chat and were so friendly. So proud of where they come from and so you get a sense of Maldivian life and dont feel that you have opted out of the culture completely. The spa is wonderful and the restaurant is great although a heavily fish based menu. Veggie options available but you have to ask for it. I was nearly crying when it came time to leave...

  • Stayed: April 2007, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Darls3000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 10, 2007

We stayed at Cocoa Island in the one bedroom villa after staying at Huvafen Fushi. We probably should have stayed at CI before HF because CI is visually not as appealing. When we first arrived we were definitely not happy. First impressions are important, and unfortunately ours was not good, however our stay proved to be lovely none the less.

Our main complaints when we arrived: there was trash on the beach (although it was picked up by the next day), the actual island is not very pretty, there is little vegetation (this is being compared to HF where the entire island is very lush and tropical feeling, CI is not). The pool is not nice, it is icky concrete with a few rocks around it, not stylish or attractive or a place that you would want to hang out at (and few did). The dive facilities are not new and the instructors a little less than friendly, and the boat is really old and slow. Luckily, most of the dive sites are fairly close by. The area where the employees live looks like the slums and is not very well hidden. There were old appliances scattered about and trash rotting in the sun. Apparently this side of the island is where the tsunami hit, but that is not an excuse for a 5 star hotel at this point. These initial problems were forgotten by the end of our stay, but do linger in my mind as things that need to be improved upon by the hotel.

Our room had the most fabulous view of the light green ocean and was perfect for swimming and snorkeling. It was spacious, but desperately needed to be renovated. The doors and windows are old and rusty. The stereo is from the last decade (I do expect modern electronics when paying this much at a luxury 5 star resort), there were stains from the AC on the rug, and the AC unit is ugly and not well hidden. The deck was nice and private and had 2 extra large lounge chairs (although only the one bedroom villas had 2 chairs, the others only have 1 large one to share), and we spent most of our time on our deck sunning, swimming and snorkeling.

Ok, the really outstanding things about Cocoa... First, the water is mostly shallow around the island and thus warm and great for swimming, more importantly, it is absolutely breathtaking to look at! Perhaps even prettier than HF. Endless sparkling green water. And there is fabulous snorkeling at the edge were it drops off into the deeper water. Tons of fish and corals, and bigger fish swimming by. You can also see lion fish, flounders, jacks, and of course baby sharks in the shallower water above the sand, but it is better if you swim to the edge. There are better dive sites near CI and they will take you to the more challenging areas so you will see more sharks, etc. and have a better dive. The dinners are actually better than HF, although breakfast and lunch is less then enjoyable. The juices are not freshly squeezed, the jams and breads not of highest quality (definitely not homemade), and the selection not as diverse as HF. But the dinners were somehow pretty tasty. There is free yoga in the evenings, however I was too "relaxed" by 5:00 each day to attend. And the Shambala products are heavenly! Every time I was my hair with our little mementos I am reminded of the best moments of our stay!

With a really big renovation and a few upgrades, this resort has the potential to surpass the other luxury resorts in the Maldives. The water surrounding the island is just perfect! The beaches are stunning. And the service was very good. Everyone was super friendly and happy to be of assistance. Hopefully, they will consider investing some cash to make this a world class resort. Until then, I have both good and bad memories. I would recommend it to those who are not concerned with having the absolute best of the best, those who seek a bit more of a rustic ambiance, and plan on spending most of their time on the deck off their villa.

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank Zoe H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2007

My husband and I stayed on Cocoa Island from 26th March to tyhe 7th April 2007 for our honeymoon. It had been recommended to us by our travel agent, and it was absolutely out of this world!

We travelled to the Maldives on Qatar Airways via Doha, which was an excellent flight (give or take Doha's communication problems with passengers!) and arrived at Male' mid-afternoon, to be met by one of their staff members. We were taken to the speed boat, given ice-cold face towels and bottled water, and set off on the 40-45 minute crossing to the island. I am not a great traveller on boats, but the journey over was fine, and passed very quickly.

It was raining when we got to the island, but all the staff took great care to ensure that our bags (and us!) stayed dry, and after a cocktail at check-in we were shown to our villa which was a Dhoni Loft suite.

Our villa was big - with a large bathroom / dressing room, large living room with dining area and private terrace at the back with steps into the lagoon. Upstairs was a mezzanine level bedroom with en-suite. The room was impeccably serviced, and every day the housekeeping staff spent c. 30 minutes servicing the suite, changing the bed-linen and towels, and cleaning. This could get a little intrusive if we were wanting to get ready to go out, but for the most-part the housekeeping staff were pleasant and friendly, and the villa was serviced to extremely high standards.

The restaurant and bar area on the island are superb, and the quality of food is amazing. Every single dish we had, without exception, was mouth-watering and perfectly cooked. My husband and I stay in a lot of hotels when travelling on business, and we felt prices were in line with standard hotel prices in the UK (not even top-class hotels either!) and didn't feel it was too over-priced. There is also a lighter bar menu which we used for lunch-times as an alternative, and a full "in room" dining menu available as well. The lunchtime menu didn't change at all while we were there (a point we raised with Cocoa Island in our departure survery, and for which we have received recognition from the island) but the evening menu changed 2 or 3 dishes a day.

On two nights of the week there is a "speciality night". On Tuesdays it is an Indian buffet - with dishes from North and South india, and different rices and breads; and on a Friday it is a seafood BBQ. Each of these is US$90 per person. We felt this was a bit expensive for the Indian buffet, as the food was a lot spicier than it is in the UK (and there is a limit to how much curry you can eat!), but as we are both lovers of seafood we felt the BBQ was excellent value for money. On the nights we didn't want the buffet we ate in our room - which was an excellent alternative.

The spa on the island is also wonderful, with prices again reflecting standard UK spa prices. We had two massages each (including a "couples massage") which were priced around £50 - £60. The Como Shambhala signature massage in particular was fantastic, and a wonderful experience. There is also a gym (which hardly seemed used!) and a hydrotherapy pool which was lovely (and which we had to ourselves most of the time).

The snorkelling on the island was great, and within a few feet of our boat we saw an amazing array of fish and other sea-life. We had a suite at the end nearest the jetty, which seemed to be the best side for seeing fantastically coloured fish. We were complete novices when we arrived, but it's a very sheltered lagoon and we soon got our confidence up.

The first week we stayed on the island, it was mainly couples in the villas and the ambience was very quiet and relaxed and romantic. The second week, however, things got a lot busier and there were larger family groups - including one group who were particularly loud and obnoxious in the dining room and who really spoilt a couple of nights for my husband and I when we couldn't even hear each other talk over the racket from the neighbouring table. There were also a lot of familiies with children, which surprised me, but they didn't particularly disrupt our stay (the day we left we noticed a couple with a very young baby who was screaming at the top of its lungs. I'm not sure their neighbours would have been so unaware of its existence!!!).

The service all over the island was impeccable, although the standards in the restaurant did slip a little in the busier second week of our stay. It is definitely worth checking the bill aftter lunch and dinner to make sure it is correct, as on a number of occassions we had missing items or items added to the bill which we hadn't had. All errors were quickly corrected, though.

Tips:

* Definitely invest in a case or bag for your digital camera to enable you to take underwater pictures whilst snorkelling. This was definitely one of the best investments for us and we have come home with lots of wonderful memories of our time on the island. The staff at Cocoa Island can also transfer images on to CD for you if you should get so "snap happy" your memory card becomes full (something we only found out on departure!!).

* Try to arrange your flights so you are arriving and leaving mid-afternoon if possible. Some people arrived on the island early in the morning and were left hanging around until after lunchtime before they could get to their accommodation. With very little to do on the island for newly arrived travellers, I think this would be more than a little tedious. We had a 5.30pm departure and were able to stay in our suite until 5pm which was great! But this was dependent on whether they needed the boat or not for new arrivals, so again, hanging around the island in travelling clothes waiting to depart wouldn't be much fun either.

* Get up early a couple of mornings and enjoy the amazing view. There were a couple of mornings we were up at 6am and sitting on the terrace watching turtles in the lagoon, dolphins swimming by doing acrobatics and the most amazing rainbows after a storm the night before. The water was also perfectly clear and it was an excellent time to go snorkelling.

* Don't bother taking any fancy clothes or shoes with you! Flip flops are all you need (these are provided for you) and shorts and t-shirts, or light trousers are fine for dinner. Basic toiletries (which are absolutely lovely!) are provided for you, so you don't need to take much of those with you either. Do take lots of suncream though and use it liberally! Being so close to the equator, we both suffered sunburn after being exposed for less than 10 minutes without suncream!

* As another reviewer said, there are UK style plug points in the villa, so there is no need for any adaptors.

* Take something with you (cards, a game, etc) to do if it's raining. We had two days of rain after being unlucky enough to catch the tail end of a storm. The weather considerably limited what we were able to do outside.

This is a truly amazing island, and we would love to return one day! It is a wonderful place!

  • Stayed: April 2007, traveled as a couple
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17  Thank Babs H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2007

The maldives as a destination is fantastic, and is every bit as good as the photos - tiny desert islands, white sand beaches, crystal clear water, wonderful diving.....and Cocoa Island is the perfect place to stay! It's not particularly flash - everything is kept pretty simple and uncluttered, although this resort is certainly not what you would call basic! We stayed in a Dhoni Loft suite (double level), and from what I saw of the other types of rooms this was a perfect choice. They were huge with great indoor and outdoor bathrooms with direct access to the sea and the house reef. Every day you could sit on your verandah and see a wide variety of fish including baby sharks and huge sting rays! The single level Dhoni suites looked a little small and dark and the villas not so well designed. Diving was unique in that you didn't go out for the whole day on a boat, instead the dive sites were very close to the island so you would go out for a dive, be at the site within 15 minutes and an hour later be back in the bar with a beer. There were three trips every day which meant it was easy to combine a bit of diving with relaxing at the resort every day. Be preparted to spend a stack of cash, everything is incredibly expensive, but the food is wonderful - varied, fresh and expertly cooked. Would definitely recommend this place if you want to enjoy the Maldives in style!

  • Stayed: April 2007, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank KL_Sue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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