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.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Cocobay Hotel Bolans
- Coco Bay Antigua
- Cocobay Antigua
- Cocobay Hotel Antigua
- Cocobay Resort Antigua, Antigua And Barbuda