A good vacation can make everything seems better. But when you step back for a review like this, you have to ask yourself – were the accommodations really that special? I have stayed at better timeshare exchanges than Coconut Bay. On its own, the place would probably rate a solid 3 – totally average, neither exceptional nor awful. But Coconut Bay is well-managed and provides a level of service that pushes it up to 4.
My wife, her sister, and I stayed at the Coconut Bay Resort over the week of August 27-September 3. We exchanged our unit in Cancun through Interval International. However, Coconut Bay is primarily affiliated with RCI. The resort itself is a converted condominium complex built in the early 1970’s. A friend of mine who now lives in the area describes the place as “a piece of old Florida”.
The area seemed safe. The resort is less than a block off Sunrise Blvd, two blocks to beach, and within short walking distance to Hugh Birch Taylor State Park and Bonnet House (I highly recommend the latter). The resort is also centrally located within easy driving distance to major areas of Fort Lauderdale. There are a number of shops and restaurants within walking distance, and more shopping (including the Galleria Mall and a Publix Grocery) just over the bridge.
We stayed in a one-bedroom unit on the 3rd floor. There was only one elevator, and it had a bad smell to it. We tried spraying it with Febreeze, but that didn’t help. But the elevator ride was generally less than 30 seconds, so we could put up with it. The resort provided luggage carts, which were very helpful. We frequently used the outside stairs when we weren’t carrying anything.
Our unit was basic, but quite nice and very clean overall. The furnishings were dated but serviceable furnishings. My wife and sister-in-law really liked the artwork. The finishings in the bathroom and the kitchen seemed on the cheap side, but everything worked. The kitchen was basic but adequately equipped. Similarly, the TVs were older tube-type models, but they worked fine too. The unit had an enclosed patio in the back overlooking the waterway. Strangely enough, there was also a sauna off the patio, but no heating element. There was a King size bed in the bedroom and a pull-out sofa in the living room. Both were comfortable. The resort offered towel exchange mid-week.
Coconut Bay has a very nice and well-maintained pool and hot-tub area. The wi-fi connection is only available at the pool. It went down one afternoon. However the front desk told us to reboot our computer, and it worked fine after that. There are a couple of covered areas, which are useful when it gets too hot or when it rains (you can expect both when you are visiting Florida in August). The resort also owns the boat slips off the waterway behind the complex. While we didn’t use them, it adds a nice character to the place. The resort also provides a coin laundry for guests. Like a lot of things at Coconut Bay, they are older but work fine.
The service really makes the difference here. As I mentioned before, our unit was very clean. In addition, the cleaning, maintenance and landscaping staff were out working very day, and the property was very well-maintained. The front office also provided excellent service. Check-in and check-out were a snap. I went to the front office several times to ask questions, and they were very helpful and friendly. On Monday morning, the staff offered coffee and doughnuts by the pool while the manager talked about local attractions and activities. We went to the timeshare pitch afterword, but it only lasted half an hour and was not high pressure.
Other than the fact that we had a great vacation, it is hard to say why Coconut Bay should rate higher than average. But the staff works so hard to make the place welcoming and homey that we found ourselves liking it a lot. And that, I suppose, is what makes a place above average.
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- Also Known As:
- Coconut Bay Hotel Fort Lauderdale