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“Lovely setting terrible service”
Review of Cocobay Resort

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Cocobay Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Bolans
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 June 2007

Cocobay is a beautiful hotel set in gorgeous grounds its just a shame it lets itself down by the terrible service in the restaurant.

My husband and I spent the 2nd week of our holiday at Cocobay and couldn't believe how bad the service was in the restaurant. Every time we used the restaurant we had to ask for drinks and most of the time we'd have to ask twice. On the Monday night we went down to dinner for the 8.30 sitting and was told there would be a short delay, we didn't get seated until 9.10pm and our starter was eventually brought to us at 9.40pm. A couple on a different section had sat down after us yet they were eating their dessert when we'd only just been given our starter.

The following day we asked the rep to move us to another hotel because it was spoiling what had been a brilliant holiday. We went back to Jolly Beach where we had spent our first week and had a fantastic time.

If you want peace and quiet but aren't bothered about the service this is the perfect hotel but we definately won't be going back to Cocbay. The manager admitted to us that they were short staffed in the restaurant, the customers shouldn't have to suffer for it!

Stayed: May 2007
7  Thank Dixonyork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 16 May 2007

Despite horrific behavior on the part of American Airlines, getting to the resort, all things ceased to matter upon entrance to Cocobay.

You are greeted immediately by the lovely receptionist who presents you with a cool damp towel to perk up the travel weary and a stiff rum punch to set the mood. She tells you you can worry about everything else later and within moments you can feel yourself getting giddy about the time you are about to enjoy.

This is how your time at Cocobay starts. It never lets up.

The little cottages are just intoxicatingly romantic. Those expecting
frills like AC, TV, internet or phone, look elsewhere. This is indeed
a place to fall in love for the first time, or fall in love again with a spouse, or even get engaged. There were 3 spontanious proposals the week we were there which ended in marriage that same week.

The open showers are perfect for mornings looking out over the ocean and no one can see you as every cottage is draped in purple blooming climbing flowers that hide the bathroom.

The two adirondack chairs on your perfect deck accents the slow pace of life on the island. You can sit and watch emerald green humming birds sip eagerly at blooming flowers. Yellow breasted sugar hunting birds will sit right in front of you and chirp. And lime green lizards will come from corners and prance about on the deck floors. It is truly paradise.

The views from the Seaview cottages were outstanding. Better even than the Seafront which are more expensive. As you will see from the pics, the color of the water is searing aquamarine. The camera does not do it justice.

We spent the evenings sipping calypso coolers and tequila sunrises poolside. The sunset from the pool area is uncanny.

The food at dinner was tasty but of European proportions (read small). This is no matter seeing as the self serve breakfasts and lunches leave you stuffed and welcoming of a smaller meal. You are served perfectly chilled white or red wine at your table and the wait staff is friendly and accomadating.

Breakfasts have omelette stations, pancakes, all sorts of local fruits, bacon, sausage, cereal, granola, assorted pasteries and three different fruit juices. Lunches always incorporated fish, meat, veggie options and salads. Dinners were everything from veal to lobster to portobello mushrooms. You have a great selection and if nothing meets your liking, you can always order from the extra menu (which is extra). The only suggestion I have for the resort would to incorporate more local dishes. I wished at some points that we could have tased the local flavor in the hotel. But there is always Dennis' for that!

The beach boasts a great view and if you are brave you can walk around to a secluded cliff portion and lay on a rock all to yourself. There are locals on the beach selling jewelery but if you buy something they will leave you alone.

If you get the chance, walk to the right of the resort to the neighboring beach (Freyes) and stop at a secluded bar called the Nest. It has an uncompromising western view perfect for sunsets and a Wadadli Beer. The owner is at the bar all day and with little to no foot traffic you will have it all to yourself. This was one of my favorite moments.

Also check out the Medicine Man tour put on through the hotel. This was pretty fun and he will show you all of the local horticulture (mangos, plantains, tamarind). Tip him well.

On your last night there, take it easy. Sit on your deck with a drink, let all of your worries float away. Almost everyone we met at Cocobay had been there before. I know I will be back.

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
21  Thank Susmraz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 May 2007

Just got back this afternoon from Cocobay - it was perfect.
All the previous reviews highlight a few slightly negative points, these we accepted and approached the holiday with an 'Antiguan' mindset - relax, slow down and go with the flow.

Reception and Staff- very friendly and willing to serve, always with a beautiful smile. This island is full of these wonderful people

Rooms - as previously stated - basic and clean, with a ceiling fan. this keeps you sufficiently cool as to get a good nights sleep. The view from the room was to die for, right across the bay to Five Islands and Jolly Harbour.

Bar - Free flowing with a good selection of drinks. The barman David mixes a mean old fashioned rum punch. He is also a very nice guy to talk to - dont be afraid to ask - he's a mine of local Info. as is Kenroy the Maitre,d.

Food - Excellent and filling - breakfast and lunch are self service buffet style. The al a carte evening meals outshine many a resteraunt - do not expect american size portions!! Time is taken between courses, as you should and the meals are not rushed in preperation. This is not a fast food joint and I say this in the postive sense.
If you don' t like anything ask Kenroy - he will do his utmost to accomodate most tastes.

Nothing rushes in this place and it causes you to relax and chillout to epic proportions. A lot of people struggled to stay awake past 10'o'clock in the evening!!

Ignore stories of rats - these are harmless mongeese that live in the grounds and keep the bug population down.
Use Avon 'Skin so soft' or Deet 100 all the time and you wont get bitten from mozzies or ants.

Just remember you are on holiday and think Antiguan and you will love the place.

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
7  Thank GeorgeExRN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 May 2007

First of all, read ALL of the TripAdvisor reviews. They were amazingly helpful and will make your trip better. I made note of the important things and took the list with me, and it made a huge difference in our stay!

The staff was amazingly nice, and the food was always yummy and interesting... We never got bored. The open air dining is awesome. The birds don't bother your food at all if you are sitting with it.

Sheer is an absolute MUST! Book in advance! We went the last night but would have gone every night if we had known how phenomenal it was. The setting is so romantic you won't even believe it... You have a little balcony section for the table with flowing white curtains, and it overlooks the sea. I've eaten in many amazing restaurants, and the food here is right up there with the best. Worth every single penny.

The rooms are simple but nice and clean and peaceful and authentic. Do not expect luxury, but expect a great, genuine environment.

Going to Shirley Heights on Sunday night is a must. All the locals and tourists mix for a night of dancing and eating and drinking with amazing views of the harbour. Not to be missed. Definitely take a cab... You will NOT want to leave when the hotel shuttle leaves (well before the party ends). The two bands are amazing... one is an 18 piece steel drum band that rocks. The other is more of a reggae band for dancing.

Wadadli Cats circumnavigation tour rocks. They stop at Cocobay first so you'll get the best seat. You also see all of the other resorts and become VERY appreciative that you are staying at Cocobay. The trip includes hot lunch and snorkeling. Really highly recommend this for one day. SIgn up early. FIlls fast.

We got massages... Not the best massage I've ever had (she hesitated to really dig in there), but definitely the best setting I've ever been in. The hut overlooks the water and only has 3 walls. You can look out onto the sea and listen to it but it's still very private.

We took the kayaks (free, along with the sunfish and small catamaran) over to Jolly Beach in search of an ATM (found one but didn't work with our card!). Quite a long way, but we were SO thankful to be staying at Cocobay! Cocobay is miles better than any of the other resorts I saw on the island (except Long Island but that's like 1000 a night or something ridiculous).

I was SO overprepared for bugs. We did take Vitamin B-1 for 2 weeks before, and most days I never felt a mosquito or sand fly. There was only 1 night I got a few bites while at the bar (they didnt touch my boyfriend), and that was it. I went back to the room for bugspray, and then I didn't notice them. There was one hole in our mosquito net... I closed it with a hairband, but we probably didnt need the net anyway.

Dennis's bar is fun because it's a different scene but within walking distance. it's to the left of the hotel. I think they have karaoke on Saturday nights. The beach to the left of Dennis's is deserted for the most part. Great to take a book, a towel, and just chil out for a couple hours.

Overall, the whole resort is incredibly scenic. The views are unbeatable, and the flowers are really bright and colorful. You definitely know you aren't at work anymore! It's a relaxing GORGEOUS place. If you are looking for spring breakers and dance music by the pool and constant activities, this is not the place. But if you are looking for a laid-back, peaceful getaway, look no further... Cocobay will meet/exceed all of your expectations.

Summary of important things to note:
-Some rooms have 2 beds, some have a king. Make sure you request your preference. You may also want to try to call ahead to request a bungalow that's farther away from some of the others. Some are rather close to eachother, and with the open-air style of the cabin, noise carries. Request one that's off the beaten path if you don't want to feel youre being too noisy while spending time with your significant other in the room. I hope that's not too blunt, but I wish someone had said it in a review before we went.
-Reserve Sheer early for at least 1 night.
-Take Vitamin b-1 for 2 weeks.
-Take bugspray
-We took playing cards... It was fun one rainy night to sit out by the bar and play.
-Long pants, collared shirt for meals after 7pm
-Get towels before breakfast (at least that was recommended but we never found getting towels to be a problem)
-DEFINITELY sign up for dinner before breakfast. Early times fill up fast!
-GO TO SHIRLEY HEIGHTS ON SUNDAY NIGHT! Take a cab. (Maybe try to split it with another couple.)
-Wadadli Cats: excellent tour.
-IMPORTANT: Take lots of cash. There are ATMs but they are a HASSLE to get to. Make sure you have about 40-50 bucks on the last day! There is an embarkation tax at the airport that we did not know about. Can't remember exactly how much, but set aside 50 just in case.

HAVE FUN! We are dying to return to this little slice of heaven!

  • Stayed: March 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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23  Thank speroli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 April 2007

I stayed at Cocobay in mid-April 2007 and found that most reviews on TripAdvisor were spot-on. Here's what else we found:

BEACHES: None of the cabanas are actually on the 'beach' - the entire property is on a sloping cliff and you can't actually walk from your room onto the beach (though some are seafront). However, there are some excellent beaches close to the hotel, which are MUCH better than the ones just to the right and left of Cocobay (i.e. Little Fryes on the left and Valley Church on the right). At both of these we found the water cloudy and a bit seaweed-y for swimming.

Instead, take a taxi and go to Darkwood Beach and Turners Beach. They are both GORGEOUS - crystal clear water, calm and shallow enough at the shore for non-swimmers (great for kids too). Totally worth the taxi-ride. They're both about 5-7 minutes from the hotel ($24 round trip with the hotel mini-bus) and you can rent beach chairs and sit under the shade ($5 per chair for the day). You can also buy decent lunch and drinks right on those beaches so it's comfortable to stay there all day. Both were quiet during the week and on Saturday too.

Fryes (i.e. Big Fryes) is within walking distance of Cocobay (it's the beach to the left of Little Fryes) and also has beautiful clear blue water. However, there is virtually no shade on the beach and zero facilities (can't buy anything to drink, eat, sit on) so is only good for a quick visit. We really tried to stay here for a few hours but got completely boiled in the sun and had to leave before sunstroke set in. Good for a short jaunt if you are not keen to take a taxi though.

FOOD: Chef tried to get a bit fancier than his skills allowed sometimes but overall not bad. Main complaint was that there were no local dishes on the menu at all. Management take note: we weren't the only ones who felt this way.

Wine - the house wine was not as bad as we thought it would be (based on previous reviews). Bottles however, are OUTRAGEOUSLY priced. We brought our own wine and found we had one of the same bottles on the list - we paid $14 duty-free and it was $59 on the wine list! The SAME bottle! Note: although we were told that there was a $10 corkage to bring our own wine, we opened it in our room and brought it out and the bar and restaurant both kindly accomodated us with no extra charge. Bring an opener with you if you bring your own bottles.

We ate at Sheer one night - expensive but worth it at least once.

Tip: If you want to try local food, just before Turners Beach there's a lady at a small shack on the left side of the street (if you are driving FROM Cocobay to Turners) selling takeout. Lots of locals were buying lunch there (go before 1pm to get your choice). We tried the 2 local dishes - funghi (like polenta) and duchana (a sweetish dumpling) which were quite interesting. Benji (the Cocobay mini-bus driver) recommended this place - ask him to point it out to you if he's driving you to Darkwood or Turners.

ROOMS: The views vary widely - some cabanas were overlooking the car park areas so ask when you book! We stayed at Loblolly Cay, which was fabulous. I was told that this is one of only 2 cabanas that close to the water (the others are a little further back even if they're also seafront) - the other is Tamarind Cay which is right next door. Loblolly Cay also has a large extra deck attached (larger than the one at Tamarind Cay, which also has an extra deck) with 2 loungers and with no vegetation blocking you from a full view of the sea when seated (we couldn't see past the vegetation on the main verandah when seated, even though we were seafront so the deck was great). I recommend this room - great views!

HOWEVER - we had a mouse in our room for 3 nights in a row and only got action when we complained directly to the hotel manager (the girls at the desk were very nice but for some reason couldn't generate action on the mouse). Turns out there was a hole in the netting over one of the windows, through which the mouse came. We were not the only one with a mouse (an American couple had the same problem) - so if this really bothers you you should know this can happen.

RENTAL CAR: We rented a car from Alamo and promptly gave it back as it was in horrible condition (dirty, sticky wheel, passenger window didn't roll down, banged up on the side, less than 1/4 tank of gas delivered on a Thursday when all the gas stations close half-day!). Be warned about Alamo in Antigua!

Final analysis - overall good value for $ at Cocobay. Try going in the low season for even better value - we would have paid hundreds less for the same room for the week if we went in late April instead of early April.

  • Stayed: April 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
16  Thank NewYorkTrini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 April 2007

Two of us, regular visitors to the Caribbean, stayed for an all-inclusive fortnight before Easter. The location was stunning: lush gardens and multi-level bar-restaurant area above bays curving past green volcanic hills with pelicans and egrets (or were they cranes?) lazily gliding by... the classic Caribbean scene.

Some previous travellers have criticised the food but we wonder what they expected - and we aren't that easy to please. We had some exceptional, memorable meals (up there with Galley Bay, which we've also visited) and none less than good: buffet breakfast with a variety of choices including fresh-cooked eggs; four courses including soup for lunch and dinner, as much wine as we needed and service never less than friendly. Similarly the genial bar staff produced anything we requested with a smile and a pleasant word.

Rooms were adequate - large bathroom, enormous comfortable beds and scrupulously cleaned - though we'd have liked better seating and lighting for evening reading. But the early morning panorama from the room terrace ,across the bays with the sun rising over the hills, was more than enough compensation.

If you enjoy chilling out on a hammock or sunbed surrounded by turtle doves and needle birds; if you love white beaches and a turquoise sea shading to aquamarine under scudding clouds and an azure sky; and if you can find your own entertainment rather than demanding a series of external attractions... then this one is for you.

  • Stayed: March 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11  Thank JohnBEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2007

We stayed at Cocobay during the Cricket WC 2007, for a week. The hotel is situated on a cliff, approximately 20 minutes from the airport.

We were welcomed with a rather strong rum punch and a wet towel and shown to our sea front cottage. The cottage is rather basic. 2 solid beds, a bathroom and a verandah. No phones, TV or A/C. Surprisingly, through out the stay during the first week of April, we did not feel the need for A/C. The breeze was good enough to keep the place cool. We did not notice the mosquitoes until the 5th day or so.

The views from hotel are incredible. Much better than the photos on the net. The pool stands out. We went on one of those circumnavigational tours and judging the other properties on the island by their location, I have to say that Cocobay is in a pretty good spot.

Breakfast and lunch buffets are standard. Decent, good quality food. Definitely not five star variety. Eggs cooked to order for breakfast and freshly grilled fish for lunch (Though I have to question the freshness of fish on at least one of the days). Dinners are more formal with an appetizer, soup and main course, all well prepared and presented. The quantity is really small. I had to eat 2-3 rolls every day to keep myself from starving. And oh, you will have to handle the birds during breakfast. Overall, my westernized eastern taste buds were not offended, although I was dying for a Kung Pao Chicken by the 6th night of my stay.

I wouldn't know if the bar is well stocked. A regular flow of the local beer and any drink with some rum mixed in are good enough to keep me in good spirits and they did.

There are two beaches next to the property. The beaches are public and on the Good Friday (public holiday), there was quite a local crowd on the beaches. I would rate both the beaches as just average. There is some kind of wasteland between the beach and the road (100 yards away), not very well used. To get to the beach on the right, you have to cut through some abandoned building.

The staff is very pleasant. Did not encounter any surliness at any time.

The Bad:
-- Lack of bottled water. Come on, these rooms are typically over $300 a day for 2 people. Throw in a bottle of water.
-- Dinner quantities.
-- I wish I could walk to a grocery store to pick up chips and water. You are dependent on the taxis for every thing. Taxis are not a bargain in that part of the world.
-- The shower has no curtain. However careful you are, water invariably leaks in to the main bathroom floor. We had to leave a couple of towels on the floor to soak up the water.

Overall, I would rate this place as above average. Not necessarily cheap, but given the Antiguan prices, not a bad bargain.

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
10  Thank kpsunil
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: £313 - £588 (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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