More about Cocobay Resort
A Positive American Review of Cocobay
Stayed at Cocobay in June 2004. If you are trying to decide whether or not to go there, I'm writing this review for you. This will be comprehensive and philosophical.
Since there are lots of differing opinions about this place, you need to understand that your Cocobay experience will completely depend on you and your personality. Before we came I was rather nervous because the Americans had been so negative about their experiences at Cocobay. Well, I will tell you it was the best vacation that my wife and I have had!
We discussed the different opinions of the place as we lounged in the infiniti pool and looked out over what must be one of the most beautiful coves on earth, books and free drinks in hand.... I said to my wife "I would like to meet the person who can write a bad review of their experience here." It is that gorgeous! It's heaven on earth.
Here's what I decided. Cocobay is a great metaphor for life. It's incredible, you wouldn't want to miss it, but it's not perfect. How much you enjoy it will be dependent on the type of person you are. As with life, if you appreciate its beauty and don't sweat the insignificant things, there's enough great stuff here to make this the vacation of a life time. However, if you are a cup is half empty person, who can take the one thing that's wrong with an experience and let that color everything else that comes with it, then this could be a bad place for you. Basically, if you are a sourpuss, you won't like this place.
Here are the details:
The rooms are charming. The showers that open to the outdoors are great fun. They've designed the place for maximum privacy while you have all your doors open (angles of the cabins and cleverly done vines on the porches).
There are only three imperfections with Cocobay: (1) no air conditioning, (2) the mosquitos and (3) the Brits. There are some very important things to remember about 1 and 2 if you are going to go there. You must get a room where the ceiling fan is working properly. Many of the rooms have anemic ceiling fans and you will bake at night. So, make sure your room has a fan that has a fast speed. The second most important thing to make sure of: make sure that your mosquito net does not have holes. Some folks had large holes in the nets and they were eaten alive. We had a few bites but were fine with the mosquitos.
Also important is the mosquito repellent that you bring. I highly recommend getting a sun screen that has DEET in it. Get a couple of bottles of Coppertone's Sun and Bug if you go and cover yourself from top to bottom 24 hours a day and you won't get a single bite. Wipe ons and sprays don't seem to be as effective. There's something about the oils from the sunscreen that keeps your DEET on you much better than the regular mosquito repellents. This is wise stuff here.... I would follow this one if I were you.
Another bit of specific advice. The mosquito nets have a potential gap at night as you sleep. They close with a simple end over end overlap. If you move around and touch the net at night, a gap can easily develop. Another American traveller developed a technique and taught it to me. Just tie one flip flop to the end of the inside flap. This keeps enough weight on the bottom flap to never allow a gap to develop.
Now to the third problem with the place: the Brits. Antigua is definitely a british vacation spot. Very few Americans. Be warned, the Brits are very different than we are when on "Holiday". They are VERY quiet. You difinitely won't find the obnoxious drunk Texan problem at Cocobay (unless I'm there :)). I'll give you a typical scenario. You can have 5 British couples sitting in the bar together (free alcohol mind you) within a 20X20 room for 3 hours and have none of them talking to each other. They say hi but then have nothing else to say after that. Actually, I watched while I was there and noticed that a lot of times the couples were not even talking to each other let alone other couples. I think it must have to do with the fact that they have to expend so much energy to say "isn't it?" after every comment that they make.
Don't hate them, pity them. They are just not an open people. They are very reserved and conversation seems to be difficult for them. After my second day, I decided that I had had enough silence and began to round up all the Americans. We had a fabulous time together after that. Can you imagine an American tourist spot where a free bar was not taken advantage of? Craziness.
For the brits who are getting hot under the collar while reading this review, I'm sorry but you guys just don't know how to have fun! While it's great that you can appreciate the simple pleasures of a place like Cocobay and not complain like loud Americans when everything is not perfect, I found that your reserved nature keeps you from being able to enjoy meeting new friends on your travels and just being able to cut loose and embrace your experiences. While some Americans will let a place that's not a perfect A+ ruin what can be a great vacation, and the Brits can be happy with a place that's a C...... Unfortunately, they also seem to be happy with the social aspects of a vacation being at C level also.
I think that half of the fun of a vacation is meeting new people.
Okay, that's it. Get a room with a working ceiling fan, bring the right bug repellent, make sure your mosquito net is tight and be prepared for Brits lounging around without talking to anybody.
Food was excellent (British portions which means that we didn't gain weight on a vacation for once...yeah!). Think cruise ship but healthy portions. Staff was fine to good. Landscaping was amazing, the pool was perfect and view is heaven on earth.
Would go back in a heart beat!!!
Good but Basic
We have stayed at Cocobay resort twice, both times over the Xmas New Year period.Overall it is a great hotel,very relaxing and great views from your balcony. Rooms pretty basic but the views make up for it.
Breakfast and lunch pretty basic but very good food for dinner On the minus side, on our last visit there were many Italians who : 1, smoked regularly in the restuarant which could be very offputting during your meal if you happen to be non smokers and 2. regularly chatted loudly on their mobile phones with no consideration to other guests. The British could be just as bad for this.
If you sunbath by the pool here then expect to think you are back at work as mobiles go off regularly. We come on vacation to escape and forget about work. Why people feel the need to bring a mobile with them and chat loudly beside the swimming pool is behond us! very inconsiderate we think.
Our minor gripes aside we would definately recommed this hotel to anyone wanting a quiet vacation.
I noted on other reviews some visitors were bothered with Mosquitos, we used spray every evening and don't think we even picked up a bite over our two weeks. So this really should not be a problem to anyone.
This was by far the best holiday my wife and i have had in the caribbean.The Cocobay was just wonderful with great views,great food,great drink and wonderful smiling staff everywhere.And even better no loud music to spoil hearing the waves coming in against the rocks below. The bungalows are very private with beautiful views over the 2 bays(whichever you may be facing)and the colour of the sea is just amazing.I fell asleep numerous times on the bacony hammock just listening to the sea(bliss). Unfortunately my wife got a few bites as did many others,luckily i did'nt receive any and i don't use any repelants unlike the wife. I was'nt over impressed with Antigua itself but Cocobay made up for that.The excursions were pretty pricey so we did'nt do any bar the Monserrat Volcano 45 minute helicopter trip at $190 each which was well worth the money for the wonderful views. I will recommend Cocobay to everybody but hopefully not too many will go as it's my little bit of paradise.
Fantastic setting, beautiful beaches, friendly staff. Yes there could be a little more attention to detail, that little extra which makes a perfectly good hotel something really special, but probably not at this price. So what is the problem with the Cocobay? Overbooking (read previous reviews). The day we arrived three couples were overbooked having to spend our first night in a different hotel. The management were very apologetic, meeting us at the airport, giving us a room upgrade and a complimentary meal in the sheer restaurant. But why does this appear to happen so often and why did the Cocobay only inform the tour operator the day before we travelled? How was the manager able to upgrade three couples to seafront rooms when I was told at the time of booking the holiday, and again when I emailed the hotel a few weeks before travelling that no sea front rooms were available all being fully booked? I smell something a little fishy and it doesn't come from the restaurant.If you book this hotel don't be suprised to find it overbooked, and if it is you probably won't find out until you arrive in Antigua.The tour operator, Thomas Cook Signature, in dealing with this were excellent, they couldn't have been more helpful.
location better then the food. food better then the nightlife
My wife and i stayed at cocobay in march 03 for two weeks i will do the +s then the -s
LOCATION: Fantastic you would find it hard to stay anywhere more picturesque the views where stunning.
HOTEL: Very clean and well layed out loved the open air resturant and bar, swimming pool was small but clean.
STAFF: Very friendly and would do every thing possable to help the best was a young lad called clifton who was a star.
BEACH: Ok not the best on the island but plenty of sun loungers and brollies and clean.
BREAKFAST: A good choice of fried or ceiral or fruit.
LUNCH: Very good and tastey.
NOW THE -S.
DINNER: Rubbish it was too small too poncey for my pallet and it ruined what was a good holiday if you dont pigeon pie or rabbit stew and that sort of food dont go to cocobay.
ROOMS: Very basic and no air con did have a ceiling fan but it sounded like a spitfire taking off had a mosie net but me and the wife never got bit once but it was a pain getting in and out of bed with the net. very clean room and towels changed reg. Watch when you have a shower the floor floods and can get slippery.
ENTERTAMENT: Ha,ha, ha, ha, ha, ha , crap had more fun watching paint dry 3 times a week by 10pm you have all gone to bed, the 1 night we stayed up while 2 local blokes was having a sing song with a guiter the mangement stoped them at 11pm i think we were drinking and enjoying ourselves to much and that was costing them money and they dont like that at coco.
BEACH BAR: Havn't got one you have to walk back to the hotel for a drink, sometimes the waiter came round with soft drinks but if you are at the end of the beach you didnt get one.
I,TIES: To many of them, load, rude and stuck up there own backsides not plesent people at all.
GENERAL: Lovely island with lovely people coco could be better but still a very nice place, if you like rich food and very quiet nightlife this is the place for you if not go to jolly harbour.
Would i go back :Yes to the island and no to cocobay.
We stayed at Cocobay in November 2002 and had a pretty good time. The resort chalets are very attractive and benefit form open-air style showers and lovely balconies that offer terrific views.
Unlike most of the reviewers on this site, we did not think the food was all that great (but maybe we were loking for a simpler menu). The bar was nice, again with great views but too often it was a painfully long wait for service (quite often there was no-one around) and the small plastic beakers used for either beach or poolside drinks were tiny.
I understand that a new restuarant has opened (the building work was on-going when we visited) and this can only be a good thing.
Overall, it was a very tranquil resort with little going on and an empty bar by 10pm. The aesthetic beauty of the place (especially the horizon pool) does help you forget the bugs, lack of air-con and, it must be said, fairly basic rooms. Having said that, we would return one day.
Cricket fans should take a trip to Lashings bar, run by Richie Richardson - a fun, lively place that stays open very late with live bands (including one with Richie himself and Curtly Ambrose!). Everyone should visit Shirley Heights for the weekly Sunday night reggae festival.
My wife & I have jjust spent 2 weeks at the Cocobay in Antigua and having read some of the other reviews I wanted to add my own thoughts, good & bad.
In summary; if you want to escape & forget the world outside this is a very good place to come.
However if you need a TV, air-conditioning, phones in the rooms, no other living things other than fellow guests & staff, things happening exactly when you ask, everything "just so" or an action-packed adventure, then you may want to reconsider. Those who do complain about the lack of such amenities presumably only looked at the photos and failed to read the text.
The location is great with most rooms overlooking the bay but only 2 effectively on the beach. The bar, restaurant & pool are all on the point with the rooms behind.
During our stay (early to mid January) the weather was mostly patchy cloud and occassional rain, temperatures in the mid 20's (oC). The rain is no big deal as it quickly passes but don't be fooled into thinking that you can stay longer in the sun.
Several reviewers comment on the mosquitoes & sandflies which can often be a real problem but shouldn't put you off. Best bet is to take plenty of repellant and apply it, especially first thing in the morning & evening when the little biters are most active. The hotel could do better to instruct people what to do (I got bitten several times on arriving in Reception!) and put flit sprays in the rooms (coils are provided). But if you know how to use a mosquito net (make sure its tucked in around the bed and there are no gaps, especially if you get up in the night) and you cover up in the evenings (either wear long sleeves & trousers or apply repellant to any exposed skin), you'll be fine. There is a clear learning curve amongst new guests as you see them after the first night covered in bites! I suspect the reason there are often alot of biting insects is because there are 2 large bodies of standing water nearby. Unless these are drained it's probable that they will persist.
The huts have a balcony with a hammock & I found ours a great place to look out over the bay & chill with a drink. Local birdlife will often drop by to see if you have any food for them and there are always the lizards keeping an eye on you. Those overlooking the bay will also benefit from the breeze. Yes the rooms are basic but they're clean and frankly, when you're on holiday, what else do you need?
The food is pretty good and the menu seems to vary over a 2 week period so you shouldn't be having the same menu repeated during your stay. As others have commented, the Sheer restaurant is wonderful and definitely worth a visit but you'll need to book - it only has 4 tables I think and is normally full.
We certainly found that the atmosphere is laregly made by the guests - it's a small hotel and people quickly start to talk and this made it alot less annonymous than the larger, "industrial" hotels. Clearly it's popular as many people there are repeat guests.
Staff are friendly, helpful and laid back. If you want to get out into the island they can organise trips for you, alternativley take one of the local buses (about US$1 into St Johns vs. US$70 for a taxi!)
Our conclusion: We will go back as it is somewhere where you can leave the world behind for a couple of weeks and really relax.
We arrived on July 11, 2004 for our honeymoon..... we were upgraded to a superior room and the views were awesome!! We kayaked to nearby coco bay, jet skiied and played pool at Jolly beach resort. My favorite ammenity was the shower outdoor wide open to the sea. I would go back many times again thanks to Renada. I rate this an 11 on a scale of 10!!
relaxing and excellant food
We have just returned from a 10 day break. well its lovely , rooms are airy , lovely views all round , no real need to pay extra , as all sea views. The food is excellant , service very good. We hired a car to see the island , well worth it. Shirley heights don't bother on a sunday , better on a seperate visit. We found some lovely bays. Very quiet nothing to do but relax. However be ware of the BITES - MOSSES. MUST GET PROPER ' MOUNTAIN BITE CREAM FROM WALKING SHOP. I did hence no botes , people didn't got loads of bites. Wouldn't get married there not very good area , after seems very quiet. not a good setting for the ceremony.
Antigua: Paradise Found
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 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.
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!
Has anyone stayed here as I am getting married there in April 05 and have read good and bad reports, especially reports about the mosquitos. Also is there entertainment every night and if not, how far is it to the nearest town.
Re: Cocobay, Antigua
Coco Bay is is a beautiful resort with a great beach. I'm not certain about the entertainment schedule but you will find plenty to do nearby. Antigua only has 1 town really and that's St. John's but there are lots of villages in the area and plenty of beach bars etc to spend the evenings if the hotel entertainment is insufficient in any way. Also, some of Antigua's best beaches are very close to Coco Bay.
As far as the mosquitos, this is the Tropics so mosquitos are part & parcel of it. The worst times are dawn & dusk. The trick is... mosquitos are attracted to sweat so if you shower in the early morning, apply repellant, then shower again in the late afternoon and again apply repellant for your evening activities, you should do well.
Check out OJ's in Crabbe Hill, Blue Hawaii in Johnson's Point and Seaview Lawn in Urlings for some great local fun!
You will also be close to the local bus route so can save some $$ in taxi fare during the daylight hours.
Contact me if you want more info, hope this helps!