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“A long review(!), but hopefully helpful”
Review of Cocobay Resort

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Cocobay Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Bolans
Certificate of Excellence
Atlanta, GA
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“A long review(!), but hopefully helpful”
Reviewed 28 August 2012

As many other reviewers have noted, we spent a LOT of time reviewing Antigua (and other island) resorts. As a result, we weren’t surprised, other than a few relatively minor details. First to give you some context, we’re a 40-something couple who travel extensively throughout the world; in the last three years, we’ve taken at least one Caribbean trip, staying at a top-rated Caribbean resort in each of those years. We also, for this trip, upgraded to a plunge-pool room mid-way through the week. (It wasn’t available the first of the week.)

First, the pluses: we were greeted warmly upon arrival at the front desk with cold towels and rum punches. Our room was ready and we were taken there promptly. The food was very good (my husband thought “just good”) and service was generally friendly and prompt, although with regard to the former, as others have noted, there were one or two of the waitstaff who seemed as though they wanted to be anywhere but where they were. The beach was fairly nice (not the nicest I’ve been to, but generally clean and clear, calm, free of seaweed, and not rocky). Robert brought cold drinks to those of us enjoying the beach, which was very nice. The bed was comfortable. I personally liked the bathroom shower arrangement in that it was enclosed, but you could open double doors to your balcony (that section of which was enclosed by densely packed branches for privacy). I’ve stayed in two Trip Advisor 5-star resorts with outdoor showers, and while it sounds lovely to be “under the stars” so to speak, for us, it was constant battle with time so as to get in and out of the shower before the mosquitoes found you.

Now, on the list of things that could be improved upon, some of which many of you may think to be “nits” and some of which are(!), but nonetheless, collectively, reflect why we only gave Coco Bay a “4” and not a “5”. No washcloths provided. The air conditioning was extra, although because we booked directly with the hotel, they “generously” included it in the price. Still, because some people DO have to pay extra, the remote control for the unit is not kept in the room, and ours was not there when we arrived and didn’t arrive until a few hours later. My suggestion for those staying here: get the A/C. In order to take advantage of the breeze from the ocean, so as to get a “cross-breeze” going, you’d have to open the shutters at the front of the cottage, which is not a trivial matter, since they’re located behind tropical shrubbery. (I suppose the hotel would do it for you, but then, you have no flexibility.) Which brings up a second point: I don’t like to be “nickeled and dimed”, which is one reason I like all-inclusives. Yet, as one example (in addition to the A/C), despite the fact that food was included, there was at least one, if not three items on the menu every night that were extra to the tune of $25 per dish. Also, as noted earlier, we upgraded to the most expensive cottage, which included a TV and access to movies -- for a price. Come on. We’re already paying top dollar. And along those same lines, while many of us go on vacation to get away, the reality of the world we live in is that we often have to stay in touch with family, work, and in the case of one guest we overheard, school. But the resort charged an arm and a leg for (slow) Internet access, and to add salt to the wound, only permitted one device per charge. We paid the weekly charge, so my husband was able to get online with his laptop, but then discovered that he couldn’t access the Internet with his iPad or iPhone. And, on top of that, even the lobby area cost. Forget sending a quick “we arrived safely” email, checking your flights or checking in...unless you want to pay out the nose for the privilege. Finally, the bathroom area in particular needed a “refresh.” Tiles needed to re-caulked, we had a small hole in the roof (of our bathroom), the door between the bathroom and the main room didn’t close, rain came in under the front door, etc. To be fair, though, I noticed that the cottage next to ours was being worked on while we were there, so perhaps these maintenance type issues will be moot when Coco Bay starts the new season in the fall.

Two last notes: 1) the resort is located in an area such that there’s no place to walk to if you want to “get off property.” (Other than Jolly Harbour, which was a 35 minute walk along the main road and, at least during off-season, didn’t have much to offer.) Yet, despite being somewhat remote, we heard loud music almost every day from people just hanging out(?) nearby, as well as from a restaurant that sat on a hill overlooking Coco Bay and blared its karaoke music as loud as possible. (Thankfully, that was only the first night - Sunday -- and we could only hear the music from the beach and restaurant, not from our room.) I realize that resorts can’t always choose their neighbors, but unfortunately, in this case, those “neighbors” detracted somewhat from the peace and quiet. 2) We took three excursions, two of which were very nice; the third, a catamaran / snorkeling trip, so-so. What we didn’t expect, though, was that some tour operators only accept cash, so do your homework, and be prepared.

All in all, though, despite our laundry list above, I thought CocoBay did a nice job: we enjoyed the private plunge pool, enjoyed the privacy of the stand-alone cottage, enjoyed the views and generally, appreciated the friendliness of the staff in trying to make our stay pleasant. Would we go back: probably not, but then we rarely go back to the same place anyway, and we’ve now “done” Antigua.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
9 Thank Lindo07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (691)
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English first
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 August 2012

Another fabulous stay at CocoBay resort. All the staff still there since last year, looked after us from the minute we arrived to the time we left. Great to see them all again.
There have been a few changes since we stayed in 2011, the addition of a new infinity pool and pool bar. It was beautiful but extremely hot during the day - too hot for me but enjoyed going later on in the afternoon. As previous repeater guests have posted, there have been more 'subtle' changes which really made a difference and improved the holiday. The menu, although as per previous years, did seem of a higher standard. Portions and quality great.
Hope to revisit next year as we couldn't imagine staying in a standard hotel room now! Only concern is that the additional building work they are carrying out in September doesn't change the atmosphere of the resort. A large proportion of guests are 'repeaters' who return because it is ideal for them. Adding more cottages, additional bars, restaurants etc and increasing the prices dramatically may mean these loyal guests look elsewhere on the island. Please don't change it too much!

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank AllyMc19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 August 2012

Cocobay does exactly what it says on the tin. It's an all inclusive resort which means you don't need to leave the confines of the property if you don't want to. The food selection is fine (its not typically Caribbean but perfectly acceptable). Everyone who works there is courteous and friendly, right down to offering little local tips on dealing with insect bites.

We opted for Cocobay as we'd never been to The Caribbean before, so erred on the side of caution and went for a resort holiday.We were not disappointed at all by the location and beautiful simplicity of the chalets. There's something very special waking up to bullfinches tapping on your window wanting sugar on a morning, then sitting in your hammock watching the lizard and bird politics unfolding. The beaches are stunning, just 5 minutes away from the all inclusive bunch is Ffryes Beach, and most days we were the only people there other than the wonderful local people. We have never met such genuinely friendly people before and this is what made our holiday to be honest. The only down side are what we call 'The Daily Mail' reader types; those who think the sun has not yet set on the British Empire. I swear we overheard one woman telling one of the staff why the UK is soooo much better than Antigua. The member of staff was completely diginified, he listened to her ramblings then coughed a polite little cough and excused himself.

We spent very little time in the resort itself, choosing instead to hire a car for a few days, went riding, went walking, went sailing; there's plenty of inexpensive entertainment available.

There's a little restaurant at the top of a small hill 5 minutes from Cocobay called Dennis, its well worth a visit. The Conch curry was delicious, and the jerk pork at the Sunday barbeque is amazing.

The best thing about the place for us was the absence of tvs in the rooms and a limited internet connection throughout the resort. It was bliss to be really away from it all for 2 weeks.

If you are prone to being munched by creepie crawlies, take plenty of jungle juice with you. We got the tropical formula repellant from Boots, and neither of us were bothered by bugs. The resort is fogged a couple of times a week anyway. But it IS a tropical country, there are bugs. If you don't like the odd weird thing with antennae creeping around this probably isn't the right place for you.

There are people on the beach trying to sell their wares and excursions, they don't overly hassle you, but this is their only income to be honest. There's not much industry on the island other than tourism and off-shore investment schemes. We bought a couple of trips from one of the people selling on the beach, and it costs about the same as what you'd pay at the reception if you book at the resort, but at least it's going to the local economy directly.

All in all it was a fabulous first time Caribbean trip and we will most definately go back to the island.

Room Tip: A seaview room gives you lovely breezes.
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank J0hnandTrish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 August 2012

Like most of you here on TripAdvisor, I looked into the details of hotels in the Caribbean and specifically in Antigua. What set Cocobay apart from the others was the beautiful photos, stellar reviews, and the fact that it looked perfect for a peaceful getaway for couples. Cocobay was amazing from the moment we arrived to the moment we left. We were greeted like family by the wonderful Melissa and Assistant Manager Tameka with a cool towel and a delicious rum punch to start. Making our way to our private cottage with our very own plunge pool, it was clear we were in paradise. While we were only there for 5 days, we genuinely enjoyed every minute of relaxation. The beaches were amazingly clear and calm. The grounds were beautiful with plenty of foliage and flowers attracting tons of hummingbirds and lizards. The food was amazing (this was our first experience at an all-inclusive and we felt spoiled!). We also ate at Sheer Rocks which is located on the property but not a part of the all-inclusive (it was AMAZING!). Another amazing aspect to our trip was the private dinner on the beach. It was the perfect way to end our trip. I can't express how beautiful the staff were at Cocobay. We truly wanted some quality time and we got it! We never felt like the place was overcrowded or too busy like some resorts. Cocobay genuinely went out of their way to ensure we had the best vacation ever. The little things like the rum punch at arrival, to a little tour from Melissa, to a true Antigua snack and drink for our last day, and a beautiful array of flowers in the room. Even before we left, we said we will be back!

Room Tip: Plunge pool - it is so worth it! Very private! We never went to the other pools since we had our ver...
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank Yvette P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 August 2012 via mobile

I stayed here for 5 nights in July and had a great time. I spent most of my time on the back porch of my bungalow that had its own private plunge pool. The water was so cool and refreshing on warm days!

The room itself was nothing special, but the view from the back was amazing. The food was good and there was plenty of it. I was surprised to read some reviews that said the dinner portions weren't that big. Maybe not if you are used to super-sizing all of your meals at McDonalds, but to a normal person, after an appetizer, a soup, a main course, and a dessert, there was plenty to eat. Also, if you were still hungry, you could have asked for more...

The staff was so friendly and helpful. The front desk arranged two days of scuba diving for me, and they had the boat come and pick me up and drop me off at the beach each morning. The bar staff was amazing as well, and after the first day, they knew what you liked to drink and fixed it for you before you even got all the way to the bar to order it!

My only real complaint (and it is a minor one) is that they mow the lawn with a weed eater, so instead of taking just a couple of minutes to cut the grass around your cabin, it took ages and really took away from the serenity of the resort. This wasn't too big a problem, as I just moved to the main pool after about 15 minutes of listening to the weed eater.

All in all, a great place to stay, and apparently it will be closed for a complete overhaul in September, do I can only imagine how nice it will be afterwards! I hope to get to experience it again some day soon!!!

  • Stayed July 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Explorersample
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2012

Our stay at Cocobay was absolutely amazing!! We stayed from July 28th 2012 through August 4th 2012, and went on to Sandals Antigua for the following week (which couldn't even compare to Cocobay.) Our check-in and check-out were both quick and easy, and we felt welcome and relaxed the minute we were greeted. The grounds are beautiful and really well kept, and the cottages are all so cute, painted different pastel colors, and really nicely furnished. We stayed in seafront cottage #5, which had a spacious balcony and plunge pool overlooking a few palm trees and the ocean; it was really private, had a shower that opened up to the outdoors, and had an unbelievable view! The pools were beautifully placed on the rock ledges of the resort and were always pristine. We were worried that there is only one inclusive restaurant, but were so happy with the different daily menu and the delicious food. Everyone at the resort was so friendly and sweet, from the guests to the staff. All the drinks were awesome, strong yet absolutely tasty, and the wine we had with dinner was really great! We had adorable surprises in our room for our honeymoon like champagne, flowers, and candles, it made our stay feel extra special. The only thing we had an issue with were the bug bites we kept getting each day, so definitely load up on bug spray. Some of the guests we met have been returning for more than 7 years! After our week at Cocobay we knew we were going to come back soon. This resort is definitely a hidden treasure, and we can't wait to return for our anniversary!

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sylwia_72712
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Springfield, Missouri
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 August 2012

We had a wonderful stay at this resort. The staff was exceptional, the food and drink were very good, and the resort grounds are immaculate. We were pampered everyday with little surprises and ammenities. The beach is simply fantastic! We had a private dinner on the beach, the staff was amazing, the food and wine were 5 star quality. They made our vacation so easy for us, helping with any booking or transportation we needed to enjoy the island, but we found we most enjoyed the pools, and beach at the resort most, allowing us to relax and enjoy romance. The Spa and Wellness services are wonderful as well, this spot is highly recommended for a return visit, many guests said they have been there multiple times and continue to return to Cocobay due to the great staff and ammenities they offer.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank John M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Cocobay Resort

Property: Cocobay Resort
Address: Valley Church, Bolans, Saint Mary's 431, Antigua
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda > Antigua > Saint Mary's > Bolans
Amenities:
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 (Based on Average Rates): ££££
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, Antigua And Barbuda

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