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Cocobay Resort
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All reviewscoco baythe cottagesplunge poolmr gorewaterfront suitelower poolbreakfast and lunchrum punchsheer rocksdeluxe cottageour honeymoonpaninislobstersea viewplantation housemosquito netbuffet style
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Reviewed 27 May 2008

For travellers who are reliant on taxis from the airport to their hotel: the ‘adventure’ begins there! The only taxis available at the airport are old rusty mini-buses where you are herded in a chaotic way by a rude ‘taxi manager’. You have no option to take a taxi as a couple but must wait until these bone-shakers are ‘loaded’ and full before it will set off. In many respects it sets the whole tone for the Antigua island experience.

We arrived at the Cocobay after the taxi driver’s political rants (and a patriotic song on the local radio) and appalling roads. First impression was one of relief. The reception was simple and pleasant.

The resort, however, was disappointing in almost every other way. It is comprised of a series of simple one-room chalets with very basic bathrooms. The plus points were that our chalet had a veranda and a superb sea view. There was no air-conditioning and ventilation was poor. Mosquitoes and even a large cockroach made this uncomfortably hot room accommodation even more miserable.

Generally, we found the service appalling from no one to help with luggage to the chalet to being told where to sit in the restaurant. Overall, expect sullen indifference at best.

Our package included full board catering. The breakfast buffet and lunches were very disappointing and made worse by the plague of birds constantly landing on tables to dip into drinks and food. Dinner was better, mostly overcooked, but generally nicely presented and reasonable variety but let down by the whole lack of service.

The resort swimming pool is small and needs renovation. It is situated on a terrace with a bar with spectacular views. This could be a really special place but it is not. We can hardly describe some of the barman's overtly sexist jokes and comments as 'witty' or 'funny'.
The beach below the hotel was ok but busy.

Whilst in Antigua we took a couple of boat trips, one to Barbuda that simply wasn’t worth the money, and the other - an ‘EcoTour’: excellent value, good variety of attractions, including snorkelling, a visit to uninhabited island and a boat crew with some real passion for what they do. Highly recommended.

The biggest highlight of our trip though was just a few hundred meters away from Cocobay: an absolutely deserted stretch of beach.

It is fair to say that we did not enjoy Cocobay and can find little to recommend it. Like the taxi ride at the beginning of our visit, it summed up Antigua – the beaches might be beautiful but there is more to the dream holiday than that. For the same money we have had some exceptional quality hotels with impeccable service in places like Thailand or Indonesia that leaves Antigua (with its ‘relaxed’ pace of life and generally loose standards of service) wanting in every respect.

  • Stayed: October 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
5  Thank ozon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2008

After booking Cocobay we then decided to read the reviews on tripadvisor, how we wish we had not!! We was dreading our holiday but after spending 2 weeks there we can honestly say we do not understand some of the views.
Arrival: We was greeted by Phyllis the receptionist, she had the most huge smile straight away we began to feel at ease. We was given our key to our room and the glass of rum punch, mmm much needed after our long journey.
Room: We had booked and paid for a seafront bungalow with our own private plunge pool, two weeks before our arrival I did email Cocobay to make sure we was given what we paid for and and they did not let us down!!! On entering our room we was not dissapointed, Yes the room is minimistic but who spends all there time in there room? The plunge pool and views was out of this world. The bathroom was basic but very clean, our housekeeper Verona kept the whole room clean and tidy and brought clean towels to us daily. We often had a good chat with her about life in Antigua she was so friendly.
Restaurant: Breakfast / lunch was the buffet style, all food was covered with either lids or cling film and clean serving spoons was always put by the individual dishes, although these did get mixed up at times. Evening meals was of a good standard and variety. It was so nice dressing up for the evening and being waited on. The service we got in the restaurant was above average, we never had to ask for our glass/cup to be re-filled as soon as either was empty they was re-filled without us asking.
Bar: Well what can we say about David that has not ben said, He is so funny and to be honest very clever, stand back and just watch him making the cocktails. As soon as we left the restaurant David would spot you and by the time you reached the bar our usual Vodka and tonics would be waiting for us. Never once did we encounter the running out of spirits. We did make friends at the bar with "Sweet Pea, Chav, Norman and Jan" Not once did they mention spirits being ran out.
Beach: All beaches are public places in Antigua and while we was there they did have 2 bank holidays this did not cause any problems with us at all. There was a notice put up in the main reception warning all guest that the beaches would be busy and there could be some music beind played. We enjoyed just watching how the carribeans enjoy there time of from work they do seem to enjoy there days of.
Staff: Hand on heart we had no problem with any staff, we spoke to all staff that we passed and asked them how they was, if they was having a good day ect, We always got a reply and a smile from the gardner/cleaners/receptionist ect. In doing this we made some true friends.
Cocobay: We enjoyed our stay at Cocobay, although we did find some guest quite rude!! Everyday was the same people at reception moaning about something or another, it did seem in the end that they was trying to out do each other with there complaints. If Cocobay was that bad why did we meet repeat guest that was on there 5th/4th/3rd visit? (Hi Bev & Ralph) Pleases and thank-you go along way, not many people know how to say them. To you all at Cocobay thank-you for making our holiday so memorable. Well done to you all.

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank Charliedrake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 May 2008

I should have checked the reviews before my trip! On arrival in Antigua we were informed that the hotel was overbooked and that there were no rooms available.

Our travel agent rebooked us into the Hawksbill Resort, which is by the way a good choice. The next day the manager of the Cocobay Resort called us and informed us that they are highly overbooked and not only we had to find another hotel! He announced some compensation, but was never heard of again.

So, beware when you book the Cocobay, perhaps you end up in a different hotel!

  • Stayed: May 2008
    • Value
4  Thank KlausFuxl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2008

On arrival to Cocobay Resort we were placed into a room that did not have a plunge pool when this issue was addressed with the hotel manager we were told that there was not anything he could do about this situation as plunge pools were subject to availability. We then enquired when we could be transferred to a room with a plunge pool to be told that other guests have requested the facility and therefore they take priority. I explained to the manager that we had requested this facility but he told us that because there was no evidence of this request then there was nothing he could do to help us.

On a more positive note the views are priceless. I cannot describe how beauitifull the photos do not do it justice. Shirley hieghts is recommended but the party does not get started untill after 8pm so you gotta go later that the hotel tour. The Taxi driver Benji was a god send to us although taxi's are expensive he gave us plenty of uselful tips.

The accommodation was fair inside, however outside the front of the cottage was a large pile of bricks so that we could not use this area to relax and sunbath. On the rear of the cottage the small garden was over grown and unpleasant and the other cottages gardens were landscaped and in excellent condition. The room didn't have much starage space for cloths and my wedding dress had to hung behind a makeshift wardrobe. Within the brochure it states that air conditioning is supposed to be provided and on arrival we were informed that we had to pay $8 per day for the service.

The reception staffs attitudes varied and often did not want to help with any concerns. Changing travellers checks for example they never have enough to change them. They do not offer alternative situations or assistance to meet your needs we gave up asking them for anything and took finding our own solutions.

The wedding was a disaster to say the least and the only reason that we went through with the wedding was that nine other guests had come to Antigua (staying in different resorts) and we could not let them down. The cake was not a wedding cake it was a childlike decorated birthday cake. The day before our wedding day on the Tuesday we met with the wedding coordinator who informed us that our guests could not be accommodated within the resort as the hotel was fully booked, we were however offered the alternative to book the Sheer restaurant. We had to pay $35 per person to use the hotel facilities from 14:00 but had to leave by 18:00. After this we did not want to get married there let alone spend money in an expensive restaurant that was dictated by the resort manager. At such short notice we tried to book an alternative location to have the reception with no luck therefore we did not have a reception on the wedding day.

The bride had try to keep the tradition of not letting the groom see the wedding gown. When we enquired about were the groom could get changed into his wedding attire he was told there was no changing facilities as the complimentary rooms were being used by other guests. Therefore the whole 11 people in the wedding party had to get changed into there suits in the cottage and therefore seen the brides wedding gown.

We wanted a particular wedding song on arrival of the bride that took us months to chose. We discussed this with the wedding planner, initially she was not keen on the idea as music would disturb the other guests we explained that it was only one song and the use of a steel pan band would disturb them more. She agreed and informed us that she would bring a CD player for the music to be played. On the wedding day itself the wedding planner was supposed to meet the bride in the cottage at 13:50 with the photographer but at 14:10 no one arrived. As we were supposed to be getting married at 14:00 the bride, bridesmaids and the brides father walked down to the resort reception and met the wedding planner and photographer there. The bride gave the music CD to the wedding planner and then she was told that the CD player was not working. The bride luckily had the song on ipod therefore the bridesmaid went to collect them from the cottage. The wedding planner then turned the volume down so low that the music could not be heard.

A positive about the wedding was the minister she was great and funny she made us feel relaxed.

Within the wedding package it states that there is a decorated location but there is not and there is only three areas in which you can get married. Also it states that there was only one wedding per day but on our wedding day there was two weddings limiting the time we could be married. We wanted to be married later in the day so it was cooler but this was not an option due to the other wedding being booked at 16:00.

On the wedding night after the guests had left the bride and groom bought a meal from the other side of the menu. The waiter rushed us and we received one glass of water each with no offering of wine. Half way through the meal the waiter made the bride sign the bill for the meal. When we were in the resort restaurant there was only three couples (six people) dining in the area we were seated therefore the reception could have been accommodated. At this point we left without desert and retired to our room very upset.

We were promised that our wedding photos would arrive on the Saturday/Sunday but they did not arrive until the Tuesday. When we received them they had the wrong wedding date on them stating the 8th May when we were married on the 7th May. This was changed but not until the following Friday. The photos in the album were of poor quality as some peoples eyes were closed or a poor angle. The was no option for us to choose the photos we wanted. We paid $350 for the photos. Luckily we bought the additional CD with all the photos on it which cost $75 and now we may be able to create our own wedding album.

We were made to feel less important to other guests on numerous occasions. One day there was a bottle of Champaign in our room which was a lovely surprise but when we read the card it was for another room. My husband went to the reception and was told that this service was only received by special guests and honeymooners.

Other areas for improvement were the quality of beverages there was a poor selection. As an example the smoothie machine was only working on the odd occasions when we enquired we were told it was either broke or not ready. They would regularly run out of spirits and would not get any more until a day or two later.

The cleaning was a cause for concern. As we observed that the table tops were cleaned with floor mops. The water in the bucket was emptied in the bar sink were the drinking glasses were cleaned. The cleaner for our room was great she decorated our bed on the wedding day which was a wonderful suprise.

For the two weeks stay both of us had painful stomach cramps and diarrhoea. There is supposed to be a complimentary room available when checking out of the resort however when we tried to book this facility we were told it was fully booked.

This was a great holiday but i would advise you to seriously consider wether you want to leave you wedding to this ad hoc service that we recieved.

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
5  Thank joanne889
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 May 2008

Upon arrival, you cannot fail to be impressed with the location and lovely ocean views. We were greeted with rum / fruit punch and our bags taken to our room – all the signs were good!

Rooms:
The rooms are described as ‘rustic’. Some may think they are a little tired round the edges, but we were pretty satisfied. Perhaps another mirror in the bedroom and drawers wouldn’t go amiss. Our room had a fan which was fairly adequate with the breeze, a large deck and an open-bathroom, with double doors to be opened when showering. Air con is available in some rooms at extra cost.

The cleanliness of the room depended entirely on the maid. At times, it was adequately cleaned, others someone had simply made the bed and changed the towels – dead flowers weren’t removed / replaced, the floor wasn’t cleaned around the toilet, surfaces not dusted etc.

You are in the tropics, so geckos / ants / frogs etc may come into your bathroom through the double doors, attracted by the water from your shower. Unfortunately, on four occasions, cockroaches entered our bathroom as the doors are not entirely flush against the floor. On advising reception of this, we were merely greeted with a shrug of the shoulders – a general response to other concerns we expressed. On our final night, we were given some spray and told pest control had been called.

Staff:
For the most part, the attitude was a ‘relaxed’ one, with service at times slow and requests for top ups on wine / water / desert often necessary. David the barman was lovely nad always cheerful.

Those on reception were a bit hit and miss too. The general attitude when making a complaint was one where the staff weren’t empowered to make a decision, didn’t communicate with guests, nor it seems with other members of staff through handovers. This often left us frustrated when we could have had a quick resolution or response.

On several occasions, we asked to speak with the manager. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to speak with O’Neal Richards until the day before we left. After expressing our concerns, he accepted our points and tried to make amends. Unfortunately, it was a little too late.

The staff also had a habit of using the guest toilets. Whilst I wouldn’t normally care about this, they frequently didn’t flush them or left them in a less than desirable state. These were then the people preparing our food!!!

Food:
B/fast is the usual continental, fresh fruit, pastries, eggs, bacon etc. Do ask for toast if you want it, as this isn’t always offered – for the first week we didn’t even realise they had it!

Lunch was generally soup and two options (usually a meat or fish), accompanied with salad. If you like large portions, this is your opportunity to ‘stock up’.

Dinner was adequate. With 4 main course options (meat, fish, veggie, pasta of the day), portion sizes could be considered smaller than average. However, you do get 4 courses and in the Caribbean heat, personally, we felt these were adequate.

The sometimes frustrating system of having to book your dinner slot meant that unless this was done by 7.45amish, you would generally either get the 6.30 or 9pm slot.

The glass sizes could do with increasing – especially if you are at the beach. It’s a bit of a trek from beach to bar to get around 200ml of refreshment. Under the Caribbean sun, you should be encouraged to drink lots (and not just the rum punch!). 1.5litre bottles of water are available from reception, though this will cost you $2 a go.

General:
We had a couple of experiences with the hotel that marred this trip, and is ultimately the reason I wouldn’t recommend Cocobay to friends / family.

Beyond the cockroaches, we were placed in a room that directly overlooked a public beach which is routinely used for parties and a lagoon which is currently being dug out (building work will be on-going for the next 18months according to a local taxi driver). Unfortunately, this meant there were a number of nights where we were unable to sleep with a heavy base vibrating our bedroom floor boards and bed.

On an evening of national celebration, the hotel did not warn affected guests, nor keep the bar open a little later so those who couldn’t sleep till the party finished at 12:30 / 1am could have a drink. We were also refused a room change for the night, despite one being available, though it was suggested I sleep on a sofa in the bar. I’m six months pregnant, so you this wasn’t a welcomed option.

This may seem like whinging, but when you book a tranquil, private getaway, I do not expect to be kept awake at night, nor woken at 6am with diggers.

Following discussions with other guests, there seemed to be a spate of unfortunate incidences. At least four of us (me included) suffered from diarrhoea within 24hrs, an elderly couple were placed in the room furthest from the amenities, despite asking to being located more centrally as she tired easily, a gentleman was taken to hospital with food poisoning, guests spending their first night in another hotel due to double-booking and another couple getting married had their reception guests turned away, despite being booked in.

Whilst these are other's experiences, hearing these tales didn’t really give us any further reason to recommend this hotel.

Cocobay is a very personal experience. There are fantastic views and you may have great service, love the food and be happy with your room. It seems a great pity that our experience put us towards the bottom end of the scale.

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Charley2878
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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