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“Almost perfect”
Review of Cocobay Resort

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Cocobay Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Bolans
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 8 January 2014

We had the pleasure of staying in Cocobay in December 2013 and had a wonderful time. The resort is exactly as expected, the staff are incredibly friendly and the views are simply stunning (being able to shower in privacy whilst looking out on to an aqua sea is pretty magical!)
There was an issue with sand flies while we stayed here, however this is not a fault of the resort, who were doing what they could to treat the issue (we could simply have stayed away form the beach and lower pool if we desired.)
Our only gripe with the resort was the food... As Londoners who regularly eat a wide variety of cuisines, we were incredibly excited to experience authentic Caribbean food at its best. Unfortunately we were very disappointed.
Breakfast was adequate, if a little unimaginative (none of the in-season fresh pineapple we were expecting from the island), and there was always a large queue for the eggs, but being in the 'laid back' mood, we could excuse this.
Lunch, unfortunately, was particularly bland. Having had no flavour from any of our food fro a couple of days, I was very excited to see 'Jerk Eggplant' on our third day, however not only did this not taste of Jerk, it tasted of absolutely nothing. There is tilapia fish available every day, but this is fried, making it both greasy and tasteless - far from the fresh, vibrant flavours we were expecting from the Caribbean! We ended up having to add hot sauce to a lot of food to try and inject some flavour, however this too was not up to scratch!
The Thursday buffet evening had been hyped up, but again the food tasted of very little, and we remained disappointed and hungry for flavour!
Dinner portions were, whilst pleasantly presented, very small, and also lacked any flavour.

We had two delightful meals whilst in Antigua, and one was the surprise 'Beach dinner' my partner had organised for my birthday. Having paid extra, we had steak and lobster served to us on the beach. Both meals were beautiful and the brilliant service and idyllic, private setting made it a perfect evening.

Our other great meal was at Dennis's restaurant, down the other end of the beach. We ended our trip with extra spicy creole chicken and curried goat, wonderfully flavoured, delightfully authentic and cooked to perfection. Exactly what we'd hoped we'd get all week

It's such a shame that such a beautiful place was so lacking in such a major area! I'm not sure if our European palates are too developed (another British couple we spoke to had the same thoughts as us), or if a mass catering approach is taken to try to vaguely please everyone? Our lasting memory is that we would love to recommend Cocobay to our friends, but as they're all foodies too, we just can't.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank JCDizzler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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941 - 947 of 2,339 reviews

Reviewed 7 January 2014

We stayed for 10 nights in November. Really excellent from reception to departure. The bungalows are lovely with wonderful sea views. Beds and pillows are so comfortable. The bathroom spacious and so private that you can open the doors to the balcony and shower with the view. On the balcony colourful birds will visit and take food from your hand. There are two lovely beaches to soak up the sun. The sun beds could do with new covers. Mealtimes are leisurely with good to excellent food. Two nights a week a buffet is presented, personally I preferred the served dinners. Wine is a good variety, very drinkable as are all beverages. Staff could not be more helpful they are very well trained and highly motivated in all areas of the hotel. I enjoyed it so much that another booking for next November is already made.

Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
1  Thank Timothy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2014 via mobile

We sent our 20th anniversary at cocobay November 2nd thru the 7th. We could not have planned a better trip. We stayed in the premium waterfront suite (warri). Beautiful views great room worth the a/c. The staff could not do enough for us all you need to do is ask and you got it. Kathleen and kerry from the restaurant was the best, they catered to our every need made us feel special every time we ate there. Saskia, the bartender was great very attentive to our needs our drinks we're already on the bar as we walked up.the pools were so beautiful and relaxing. We highly recommend the catamaran cruise it's a long day but we'll worth it. We met some great couples who made our time there even better. Can't wait to get back next year.

Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Rich A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2014

This review is separated into categories.
FOOD
1. Real all-inclusive resorts do not charge for food
When will management at All Inclusive resorts learn that the reason people chose all-inclusive resorts is because they do not want to have to think about money or taking out their wallet whilst on vacation. They believe (falsely in this case) that the price paid includes everything. Cocobay bills itself as an all-inclusive so I was shocked when, on the first night, at the (only) dinner restaurant on the grounds the menu had two additional options which incurred a cost. This happened EVERY NIGHT. Every dinner menu had additional paid options. It wasn't that much- however it really showed the DIVIDE between what is INCLUDED and what you can PAY ADDITIONAL FOR. Included was a chicken, fish and veg. Lobster and beef was extra. This should NOT happen at an all inclusive. I've stayed at many, many all inclusive and have never before been confronted with paying for better food at dinner. The website states "The main all-inclusive restaurant Rafters provides an intimate setting for breakfast, lunch and dinner with spectacular sea views." No where does it say there is an extra fee for the good stuff. I honestly, would have rather paid an extra $100 upfront and had the good stuff included instead of having this system which made me angry.

2. There was no water at the breakfast buffet. I don't understand why it is so hard to have a pitcher of water. You had to track down a water to get water. This is a basic need in a hot country. I am perfectly fine with getting it myself and do not understand why there was no water jug.

3. Snack Bar was pre-made
All the snack bar food was pre-made which means that if you wanted anything to be vegetarians you were completely out of luck. There was no effort to accomodate and modify any of the sandwiches for vegetarians. You were simply told "sorry we only have one options and its pre-made". This happened every day.

NOISE/ Crowds
4. There is a paid restaurant on the premises.
This is not a big deal but it was very odd to have a stream of snobby people traipsing through the resort to go the the very expensive restaurant that is below the pool. They also use the pool bar and don't seem to pay for it although the bar is supposedly part of the resort

5. Weddings are disrupted by boats dropping/ picking people up
We were thinking about having a wedding there. After witnessing a wedding continuously interrupted by noisy boats dropping of and picking up people and loads of bikini wearing guests we decided against it (SEE PICTURES)

6. UPP's Annual "Huge Party" at Ffryes Beach- It starts early all and goes on all night.
The first Monday is Antiguan Labour Day Holiday. The United Progressive Party (UPP) hosts a HUGE party every year - with tents, radio stations, races- on the neighboring beach. This happens every year. There is a race that ends (or starts) at the nearby beach. There is an all night party that ends around 4am. The race starts early to avoid the heat. (I'm not sure of the precise sequence). The bass is so loud it permeates the resort. This is NOT the hotel's fault- however, the hotel clearly knows about this but does not tell guests and acts surprised when guests ask about it. It is impossible to sleep that one night or function that whole day as the noise is absolutely deafening. Yes- it is only one night. No- it did not ruin our vacation but it would be good if there were some notice on the website as this is an annual occurrence or something at the resort to counter act this.

7. Staff routinely talked poorly about guests.
Staff openly gossiped about guests- particularly at the pool bar. Repeat guests were treated much better than those there for the first time. HOWEVER, the front desk staff were AMAZING, helpful and kind. The staff at the bar was not as great and seemed to be resentful to be working there. It was often overstaffed (2 bar tenders and no guests) or understaffed (1-2 bartenders after dinner and 20 guests + overspill from the paid restaurant Sheer Rocks). They seemed annoyed to work.

ROOMS:
In generally the rooms were fine- simple which is what we wanted. Without TV which is what we wanted. Airy bathrooms that were opened to the porch. The bad is below:

8. Air con worked sporadically.
When we asked for help, we were often left waiting for hours.

9. Mosquito net had many holes in it.
Our net in our room was shabby with holes in it.

BEACH:
10. The beach is narrow but nice. However, you have to go down a very steep set of stairs to get to the beach. One the side of the steps is a woman who has decided this small, dangerous area is the best place to sell her junk bracelets. I cannot understand this. It is unclear if she is on private or public property.

General:
11. It was clear that some people tipped. They clearly got better, faster service. I resent this.

The Good:
1. Front desk staff is AMAZING. Totally accommodating and truly wanting you to have a good time. They did not make excuses for others and instead really and honestly tried to listen to your concerns and rectify any problems you had. The manager O'niell is VERY proactive and tries to fix things immediately.

2. The buffets were good and in general there food was plentiful and good enough quality.

3. Pool chairs were easy to come by which was fantastic. There was none of the 6am reserving nonsense you find at other resorts.

4. Good variety of ages and nationally. There were youngish couples, older couples, Americans and Europeans. IT was not dominated by any one group.

5. Flexibility on Dinner: Twice was messed up our dinner reservation and the staff were totally accommodating and welcomed us in at a new time.

6. Beach was not shared with other resorts

In General:
The resort needs to decide if it is in fact an all inclusive or not.
If not, then charging for food is fine as is having non-guests drinking at the bar and traipsing through the resort.
If it is an all inclusive than it needs to find another way to get Sheer Rocks customers to Sheer Rocks without going the the resort. All Inclusive should NOT have any extra charges. Charge the extra $15 a day and do away with the stupid extra charges!!!!

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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11  Thank Mogotravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CocobayGM, General Manager at Cocobay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 6 January 2014

Thank you for sharing feedback on your Cocobay stay of early 2013. We are truly sorry to learn that you did not enjoy all aspects of your experience while staying with us. Your review however, was received with humility and your constructive criticisms actually form the basis of our ongoing efforts to ensure guest satisfaction. We have noted some useful suggestions from your review as we have always been committed to listening to the people who matters - YOU, our past, present and prospective guests.

We do hope that you will consider visiting us again sometime in the future.


Respectfully,

O'Neal
Resort Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2014

This place was a honeymooner's dream!!! All of the staff were amazing and took care of Everything!!!! Even silly requests. I had requested fresh thinly sliced cucumbers to put on my eyes while enjoying the amazing outside tub. Not only was it put in our room a few hours later, but they replenished it each day we were there. I had also requested a chocolate cake be delivered with I note stating " I'm the Whooo." in honor of the wrestler Ric Flair which my husband loves to imitate. They not only delivered it, but Jerome and another staff member put on a Ric flair show. lol. My hubby got the biggest kick out of it.
The food is always amazing & tons of it. The only downfall is there is not any room service or after hours places to eat.Granted we were so full from the other meals we never needed it. The private dinner on the beach is an experience you can't miss. You do need to wake up early to put your reservation in for an early dinner time, otherwise you get the late dinners which is sometimes out of certain selections. Also if you book your trip through coco bays website you receive the choice of the premium supplemental food options at no extra charge.
This is a must if you like lobster. it could get pricy othinclusivehe premium waterfront suite was amazing. It is a little bit smaller than expected. There are also no drawers to put your clothes into. But the rest of the suite is well worth it.
The bar and wait staff were fantastic.Cyone was terrific. He always had our drinks ready for dinner before we were even seated. All of the servers exceeded all expectations. Since it is all inclusive resort you technically don't have to tip, but they are so amazing you should. Be sure to bring a lot of change because they do not usually have any.
There is one downside but it is the whole country of Antigua, not anything the resort can control. After dark, the locusts and frogs are extremely loud. So loud you can't even hear the ocean while in your room. I suffer from migraines and the first few days I had to sleep with my head under a pillow to try to block out the sound. You eventually get used to the noise, but I suffered a few migraines due to them. Bring lots of bug spray. We went through about a can a day. it is expensive in the gift shop, so bring plenty along.
Overall it was an absolutely amazing trip. I cannot say enough good things about it. It is the perfect setting for a quiet peaceful romantic trip. We pulled up to drop people off from a catamaran ride and were able to see other resorts. After seeing the Sandals resort and Jolly Barbour we both realized we picked the perfect resort for our honeymoon.

Room Tip: Book through the resorts website
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Elizabeth W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 December 2013

This is a detailed review from the perspective of a non-honeymooning 20-something couple vacationing to Antigua for a week. We were afraid that we were going to be one of the few younger couples at the resort, but in general there was a pretty even mix of younger and older couples, and even one or two families (though I wouldn't really recommend this resort for families, it's more geared towards couples).

Accommodations: We stayed in a SeaView room with a plunge pool. Upon arrival, like other reviewers encountered we were warmly greeted, given cool towels and rum punch immediately. After check-in, we were explained a little bit about dinner reservations and shown the room. Upon entering the room we were taken back. The room and view outside of the room were gorgeous, and worth every penny. There were flowers welcoming us to the room which gave it an extra special touch. There are in-room safes that are secure and included with the room, a hammock, and our room had a mini-fridge stocked with water, soda, beer, and rum/rum punch. Because we are not soda drinkers, we requested it be replaced with water and it was promptly done by the front desk. We had an amazing view from the bed that overlooked the beautiful blue water and mountains across the bay. Everything in the room was good quality and made for an amazing room. The bed was literally the most comfortable hotel/resort bed I have ever slept in! The negatives were that we saw many ants on the bathroom counters periodically, and a cockroach one night. These didn't bother us too much as they were very secluded incidents and we understand it is a warm, Caribbean climate and a bungalow room. We left the glass doors to the deck open a fair amount of time and did not have any noticeable mosquitos or other bugs in the room, so the mosquito net over the bed was not needed in that respects, but added to the decor. The plunge pool was a waste of money. Though it looked really beautiful, we traveled in December and it was simply too cold to use it. It would be nice if we would have known that ahead of time. If it had been heated or a warmer summer month, it would have been well worth the money and a great addition to the room.

Bug Bites: Cocobay did a good job of running a machine almost every night to fumigate the bugs from the property, which likely helped ward them off. My boyfriend got a total of 3 bug bites, while I got many more (bugs love me). Most of mine were attributed to staying our first night in Antigua at Jolly Beach, but I did get some from Cocobay as well. They were only when I didn't wear bug spray, and were not very bothersome. Tip for travelers - buy a solid bug repellant stick before your trip. The bug spray at the gift shop is way overprices, and I found the solid stick prevented bites and does not count as a liquid when flying. If you're rub some of that on legs and arms you will not smell or feel like you put on gross bug spray and it was effective. Mosquitos and sand flies are annoying, but Cocobay is doing what they can to prevent it and I did think it was nearly as bad as other reviewers state. Just wear a little bug spray on your ankles legs! (basically the only place where I was bit).

Service: Overall the front desk staff was always very helpful and answered all questions. The only weakness I encountered with the staff is that you had to ask about things, rather than be given the information upon arrival. I had to ask about the yoga sessions, nature walk, and how dinner worked, which I would have never heard about or known otherwise. A recommendation to Cocobay would be to give the guests information packets or sheets detailing events and all other resort information upon arrival, so they will not miss it or have to repeatedly ask. Otherwise the staff was wonderful, and quickly helped us out with anything we needed from answering questions, booking excursions, and scheduling taxis. All food, bar, and front desk workers were very pleasant and helpful.

Food: There is one restaurant that is inclusive, and a Sheer Rocks restaurant that you have to pay for if you choose to go there. We only at at the inclusive restaurant, and did not feel like we missed anything. Each time the food was amazing, and we had no issues with service or getting sick. Breakfast is a buffet, with eggs being cooked to your liking by one of the staff members, and usually the buffet portion consists of pancakes, sausage, bacon, pastries, fruit, bread, bagels, and juice. There are flies some days but all the food is protected and kept sanitary from what we saw. The food was always cooked well and being able to have freshly cooked eggs any way you want (fried, scrambled, omelets, you name it) was a bonus. Lunch was also a buffet, sometimes with a staff member cooking up food at the grill. We were on excursions for a couple of lunches, but a day we ate there they had fresh cooked hamburgers and fries, another day grilled fish, and another there was no one at the grill but there was delicious jerk chicken and fish in the buffet portion. There are always plenty of sides as well. You are required to make reservations for dinner at the front desk, and it's a sit down and order a for course meal kind of thing. Always there are 3 appetizer options, a soup, 4 different main dishes (one meat, vegetarian, fish, and pasta), and afterwards 3 dessert options. Each night had a different selection, and there was always something, if not multiple things, that sounded great. I have no complaints with the dinner taste or selections, everything we ate was amazing. The portions are slightly smaller and very well displayed, but we always were absolutely stuffed afterwards due to the many courses (and if you are hungry they would likely bring out some more food). If you miss the standard lunch hours or don't feel like doing the buffet, they serve paninis down at the beach bar. We had these twice and both times were very delicious.

Bar: Bar service was good, and they were able to mix up any drink you asked. Their cocktail list was very delicious, though I wish it did change every other day or so, because I am not very good at knowing different cocktail names and combinations. Overall the selection was good, and drinks were delicious. If you wanted it stronger or something on the rocks that was not a problem. If they have fresh bananas or other fruits they will be willing to make a fresh fruit daiquiri if you ask.

Beach: The water was insanely blue, and the beach was beautiful. We were always able to find a beach chair, no matter what time. The beach did get a lot of people at peak hours, but nothing compared to what you would see at Sandals or another bigger resort. The beach was secluded and really only Cocobay guests used it. Another beach is within walking distance if you want more variety. There was no noticeable place worth snorkeling off the resort, but that was alright by us. There is a Hobie cat and 3 kayaks for use as well. We booked a catamaran excursion with Wadali Cats and they were able to pick us up right from the beach.

Overall: We were both very pleased with our stay at Cocobay Resorts, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a romantic vacation with beautiful views, great food, friendly staff, and a gorgeous beach and pool. We had a very positive experience and felt that we did get our moneys worth. Aside from a few negative points, which any hotel will have, Cocobay helped make our vacation to Antigua great!

Room Tip: Seaview rooms are worth it. Plunge pools are too cold in the winter months.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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11  Thank lanatay03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 December 2013

We have recently returned from a two week holiday at this Hotel and can agree with nearly all of the previous guests comments. The staff - ALL of them - from the gardeners (who do a fantastic job of keeping the gardens immaculate), the cleaners who kept the room immaculate, to all of the waiters and waitresses, the bar staff and the front desk staff (who all have the perfect personality for their position) ALL were excellent. The Manager and Manageress were always visible if you needed to talk to them which was good. The bar staff were brilliant and the choice of drinks was good. The wine and the sparkling wine tasted very good and I sampled quite alot of it!
The rooms are as described with a really comfortable bed. I would give other guests a tip - take some ear plugs and an eye mask as the rooms have a tin roof and when it rains it is really noisey and you do get bats and other creatures running on the roof, plus they only have net curtains at the windows so when it gets light you will wake up whether you want to or not. This didnt bother us as we are early risers anyway but others may not be, plus I had taken ear plugs as my Husband snores!!!.
The views from the pools are fantastic as everyone has commented on
So, what do we not agree with? Unfortunately the food. We thought it was "style over substance". Yes the evening meal always looked good and was presented very well but the taste was bland. I do not mean I want spice, I just want flavour and most of the meals had none. On some occasions if I closed my eyes I had no idea what I was eating The breakfasts on the cooked side were disappointing. If there was sausages one day there was no beans and vice versa. I would have expected there to be more choice....sausages, bacon, eggs, beans, hash browns, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes .....but you didnt get this. The eggs were great but there was so often such a long queue for them that we didnt bother. My Husband waited 15 minutes one day. Could they not have two people working this station? Just a suggestion. We ate out quite a few times which is not what I would have expected to have to do.
Another suggestion, could the sun matresses not have been collected up each night and stored somewhere where they did not get rained on? Most nights it chucked it down so the matresses were always sodden and not very pleasant to lie on first thing.
We have a throughly good holiday as the staff, the grounds, the setting and the service was great. Its just the food that we thought let this excellent Hotel down.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank LeicestershireDex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Cocobay Resort

Address: Ffreyes Beach, 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: £331 - £624 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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