More about Coco Reef Bermuda
The Coco Reef needs a management overhaul
This was our third consecutive visit to Coco Reef/ Stonington Beach. This year I had a group of 52 people from our company for our Annual Sales Incentive Trip, from July 26th to July 31st. In past years I've had over 30 people each time at Stonington Beach.
The local management, especially Andrea Jennings, needs to be replaced. Ms. Jennings had an attitude with some of our people, attempted to enforce a no smoking rule which was neither posted or given verbally to our group. The travel agent had no idea that such a rule was in place, and management seemed to change the rules as we went through the week.
Some of the maids smoked in the rooms, but the guests could not. Some guests were told that smoking was permitted on the balcony, other were told it was a "smoke free' resort, but there was smoking in the bar and the outside restaurant??
If you have a No Smoking policy...fine, no problem, but post some signs, tell the guests, hand out a sheet of paper explaining "the rules", something.
Most of the old Stonington Beach employees are gone. The new owner has brought in off-islanders (Non-Bermudians), and they DO NOT have the same sense of Good Customer Service that all Bermudians have when it comes to guests needs.
The food was still great. Most of the Stonington restaurant staff was still there, and the chef Stephan remains in charge.
The new owner eliminated afternoon tea, and the Thursday night Bar-B-Que. There was no piano music at dinner, and they seemed to be always short-handed.
Every time we rode in a cab, the driver asked us how it was to stay at the Coco Reef. They had heard horror stories from some of their passengers.
I still love Bermuda, and would return to the island, but I will never take my employees back to Coco Reef unless drastic changes are made with regard to local management.
Coco Reef DOES NOT reflect the true feeling you should get from a vacation in Bermuda.
Very Positive Experience at the Coco Reef
We just returned on July 16, 2004, from our 8th stay at the Stonington Beach Hotel in Bermuda (now Coco Reef). As long-time repeat customers, I feel we are quite qualified to comment on the changes and perspectives at the new hotel. I want to say that many of the negative comments here are way off base and extremely exaggerated. I will try to address the ones that I feel may present the wrong impression to a potential guest.
First, the architectural renovations to the hotel are beautiful. The new lobby is very impressive and elegant, with a nice Bermudian feel. The pool area with its extended deck in white and tile is breathtaking. One cannot help but admire its gorgeous panoramic view. As for the comment about roaches on the frog in the pool, I have never seen one there in all my years staying at the hotel. And I used the pool every day! Also, towels were readily available for both the pool and the beach.
I did not recognize any familiar face at the front desk since there was a complete turnover there. However, I found everyone to be very pleasant and accommodating. I find that if you are polite and friendly to people, they, in turn, will reciprocate. And that's exactly what happened. Everyone always had a positive greeting and a smile, and made us feel very welcomed. As for the dining room, most of the staff from previous years was still in tact, and they were wonderful and attentive.
I did notice some differences in some of the amenities and extras that gave the old Stonington a special touch. For example, there was nothing offered at the tea besides "tea." In the past, one could find small sandwiches, cookies, and cakes that made the afternoon event a bit more special. Also, there was no longer a welcome Swizzle party or the wonderful weekly barbecue. Those details were noticed and missed, but I am sure that the new management will replace them or compensate for them in other ways as the hotel gets back to full service. After all, it only reopened in May, and there was much damage to repair due to Hurricane Fabian last October. Rebuilding to the point of full functionality is a long and tedious process, and we were very aware of that and realistic in our expectations. In other words, we were flexible and didn't "sweat the small stuff," but we made sure that the things important to our having a positive experience were in tact. We wouldn't accept anything less than that, and we weren't disappointed. We remained very satisfied customers.
After having experienced the "before and after" of the hotel, would I return? Absolutely! - in a heartbeat! The view is spectacular, the highly accessible beach is gorgeous, and the staff I encountered was very accommodating and hospitable. Of course one will find fault if he or she is looking for perfection. But if that is the case, they shouldn't travel anywhere because they will always be disappointed because perfection does not exist. However, I found the Coco Reef to be exactly what I wanted and needed in an ideal vacation, and I would recommend it to anyone looking to have a beautiful, relaxing time in Bermuda.
Marie G. Nuzzi, Albertson, NY
One night in very nice hotel. Great buffet breakfast, included. Room overlooking the ocean. Nice, friendly staff. A/C worked well. Very commendable. Also, close to bus line. Drawbacks-occasional tiny ant, dead bug or two, water came out brown for first few seconds (then fine). Hotels are expensive in Bermuda so, for the price I felt did better than average for my needs. Since, you can't rent a car, I chose the bus (2 days pass). The bus stop was just over the hill through the Bermuda college parking lot. However, you can get scooters by inquiring at the front desk (they will also, get you a taxi if you choose). The buffet breakfast really was a bargain because, I eat a big breakfast before I go to see the sites.
Best Small Hotel
On the offical Bermuda small Hotel site this is the only one with 6 stars -- This place does deserve the best small rating for sure. The manager made me feel like a long lost family member and went out of his way to make me feel welcome. The staff was great from the reception folks to the night watchman, even had a great chat with the hotel handyman. If you’re looking to relax and frolic in White sand with a slight pink huge which is just outside your room than this is the place-- And, all only two hours from NYC. A charming, newly renovated property with a spectacular lobby and restaurant offers 67 rooms with terraces or balconies overlooking the ocean with secluded beach. Elegant dining in Juanito’s. Large selection of European and American wines. Sunken bar, well-stocked library, freshwater pool with sundeck. Hamilton within ten minutes by taxi or bus. Manicured gardens in seaside setting.
I got the surprise! June 14 - 18 2004
I planned a 40th birthday surprise for my daughter and stay at Coco Reef at Stonington because I was told it was part of the Hospitality and Culinary Institute of Bermuda. I got the surprise! When I planned this trip back in March, 2004 the objective was to have my daughter take cooking classes at the Culinary Institute which was affiliated with the College of Bermuda and the old Stonington. Coco Reef is not part of the college anymore and I was not informed of this until we arrived at the resort. Neither was my travel agent. (best kept secret) I spoke to the manager of Coco Reef several time about these classes and had a problem getting a straight answer. I should have suspected something was not right. As a result of the new management any amenities which where at the college are not available anymore.
With no cooking classes, workout room, yoga classes, a bug or two in our room, over priced and understaffed we did not have a pleasant vacation. We could have stayed at Elbow Beach or The Princess Southampton for what I paid here. I should have found another resort to stay at from day one.
The only plus this resort has is the location and a wonderful view.
This was my 4th trip to Bermuda and the only time I was disappointed. Of course I will go back but will not stay at Coco Reef.
Read this...do NOT stay here!!
PLEASE read this if you are booked to stay at the Coco Reef Hotel! I wish we had before my husband and I wasted 4 days here.
I will give you the bottom line: if you are under 60 years old and go to bed after 8pm, you will be very unhappy here. There are no ammenities. I am not talking spa treatments or feather pillows. I am talking ice and towels... The staff could care less if you are happy or not. We had to whisper whenever we were inside because it was so quiet. Thank goodness we did not waste a dinner experience at the hotel (we figured they ruined breakfast and lunch, we shouldn't take the chance on dinner). Make sure you pack light, we had to carry our own bags down the steep hill and up 2 flights of stairs to our room.
Seriously, this is JUST a hotel. There is nothing else here. The food is terrible and the staff is rude at best. The beach is beautiful and the tiny pool is kept up. For what you pay here, there should be more. Heck, invest in some outside speakers and have some soft music playing on the patio...something, anything to make it a nicer setting. DO NOT waste your time or money here. The cab drivers laugh when you tell them you are staying at this hotel. Call your travel agent and change your reservations. Do not be fooled by others who wrote reviews saying it was a nice experience. That is, unless you are over 60 yrs old and go to bed before 8pm. The guests who fit this demographic seemed to have a decent time (at best).
Oh yeah, we were here in August 2004. The hotel is closing again in November 2004 to renovate. The word on the island is that when the hotel closed the first time to redo after the hurricane, they laid off all of the local employees that had been working there forever. There is a lot of industry unrest on the island right now. NO ONE is happy with the Coco Reef and what has become of it. Please don't waste your vacation here.
Getting it together! A great time!
I am dismayed at the slam the staff and facilities at Coco Reefs is getting. I had made my reservation (having been at the Coco Reefs in Trinidad and loving that!) and considered changing after some of your reviews, but wanted to assess the sister-hotel of this very impressive resort.
I stayed a week at the end of August and loved it ... I found the staff to be cheerful and well-managed. I understand that there are some union problems, but that is to be expected when government employees become part of the private sector. In fact, on local t.v. one evening, there was a 'blurb' about Coco Reef Bermudian employees complaining about the new, 'ex-pat' management ... and the Minister's response was that they had to recognize that they finally had job descriptions and no more free rides!
I found the beach one of the most beautiful on the Island, the food was excellent (compliments to head chef Stefan!) and my room immaculate and fully stocked. I understand there are plans to carefully add facilities (like a beach bar) as the new management is comfortable that all existing facilities 'chinks' are worked out. It will definitely add to the fun, but I think I will miss the peace that the hotel affords right now.
I will definitely return.
There is much better options
My wife and I read review after review before we planned our trip to Bermuda (6/11 – 6/16) trying to find the perfect hotel. We didn’t make a good choice.
Our story is when we got to the hotel at 4:15 PM our room was not ready, check in time is 3pm. We had to wait in the lobby for an hour and luckily we were able to get something to eat for lunch, at a price. There was a wedding at the hotel that evening so all of the hotel staff was busy getting everything ready for them. That was discouraging but we still had a good attitude about being there and looked forward to finally getting settled in our room. Once we got to our room we were a little disturbed that the room did not have all of the accommodations that we were expecting. No hairdryer, no ironing board and iron, no coffee maker and no beach towels. I am trying not to sound picky but when you leave home with all wrinkled clothes and no hairdryer you expect those things to be there especially when you are told in booking they are included in the room. The next thing, which I had to laugh from the last review because it was true, is that the king bed in our room was 2 twins put together to make a king bed. Some rooms might have had true king beds but I think from reading the reviews on this hotel that you now know it is very common practice. We slept on it and didn’t complain, it was only annoying when you wanted to roll to the other side. Not comfortable at all!
To be perfectly honest about this hotel, it seems like it has great potential but just falls way short of what a hotel should provide considering what you are paying to stay here. The staff was always friendly but I don’t think they had a good knowledge of how to run a hotel. This property was just reopened in May and it is under new management and staff. Please don’t take any reviews into account until after May of 2004 because that is a different time and place. The property itself is pretty and has lots of beautiful views that you can see from any point on the backend of the property but you find that pretty common for most of Bermuda. Beautiful water and views are all over this island. The thing that the hotel missed was atmosphere. There was no entertainment at all. When you walked into the lobby at any time during the day or night you could always find the bar area empty. We had breakfast every morning at the hotel (was included) the food was ok but it was the same 10 item menu everyday. Most of the fruit set out at breakfast was canned fruit pored into a bowl. Not the type of quality you would expect from a hotel that is pushing the restaurant to be of high quality. We did have dinner there one night and found it to be pretty good. We were again disturbed about the lack of atmosphere, just seemed like you were there for dinner and that is all, nothing really enticed you to stay longer. There wasn’t a large portion of food but it was adequate.
We found ourselves going into Hamilton to eat frequently which we had decided to do before we came because the meal plan the hotel offers is only for their restaurant. I am glad that we choose not buy this option because the menu was small but do wish we didn’t have to travel each day for dinner.
Traveling wasn’t that difficult once you got the hang of it…the hotel wasn’t very helpful with giving you instructions, actually it depended on who was working the front desk. Make sure you bring your walking shoes! The hotel sits back from the road about ½ mile so you have a little hike up a hill to the bus stop. You will want to take the bus because the taxi into the city and back will cost you $25. Make sure you understand the bus schedule and don’t buy the bus pass (they offer 1/3/7 day passes rather than single ride tokens) until you study the schedule and make sure it is going to be running the times where it will benefit you. We unfortunately bought the tickets on a Saturday and didn’t realize that the bus was limited on runs on Sunday and Holiday (Monday was a holiday). Pretty much a waste of our money because in Bermuda they take their Sunday’s and holiday’s very seriously and everything is closed.
My wife and I will go back to Bermuda but we will not stay at the Coco Reef. Hopefully they will improve on their quality of service and really make it a more entertaining and comfortable place to go. They really have some beautiful beach and views, every room has a great view. They just don’t offer anything past the view and the rooms should be upgraded over what I would call a run down holiday inn look. It is not worth the high price to stay here.
Beautiful location, terribly indifferent staff! Our security gaurd, (Heinz?) and our maid were the only 2 people in the entire hotel who even hinted that they cared. They were both very nice. Our first night we discovered cockroaches in our "king" size bed(2 beds taped together)and were told at the desk that "it's just a way of life in Bermuda". Oh, really? They have roaches at the Hamilton Princess as well?!?! They wouldn't even call house services, directing my wife and I to a closet where they kept the insecticides. We didn't sleep well for 3 nights, but by that time I couldnt sleep anyway, because my asthma had kicked in. (triggered by all of that spray?)
The restaurant service is poor, the food bland, so we ate out most of the time. The roaches also infest the large marble frog out by the pool, although we never saw any in the pool. There are a number of feral cats roaming the grounds. Upon the 2 white cats, ticks can be visably seen!
This is how we spent our honeymoon, and believe me, though we both loved Bermuda, and have every intention of returning some day, we would NEVER return to this hotel, or recommend it to others. Quite the opposite. And that's a shame, because it occupies a beautiful section of the island, they obviously are putting money into the physical layout, and it has unlimited potential. And the rates are far from cheap! Time to start investing more money on staffing. I understand that pre-hurricane, it was a wonderful resort, but that the majority of those employees left to find work elsewhere. Maybe they were all starting to suffer asthma-like symptoms.
WHAT A SHAME
What a shame !!! My wife and I stayed at the Stonington in July,2003.It was really alot of fun,a great small hotel with an awesome view and a super relaxing atmosphere. All the rooms truely overlooked the beach, great spot. Bermuda is a great island if you need to get away from it all and relax, not a big party island like some of the Carrabean Islands(depends what your looking for). We have been to the Island 5 times and stayed at the Southhampton Princess(now the Fairmont) for our honeymoon 27 years ago. Every trip to Bermuda has been great .We were real interested in returning to "Coco" in 2004 or 2005 with some friends when we heard it was going to be renovated. Now after reading all the bad reviews I guess we'll look elsewhere. Hopefully, they can get their act together and get back to were they were prior to the hurricane. "COCO" needs to to get its PR department in high gear!
Fountain In the Lobby of Coco Reef Hotel
Art Lawn Piece at Coco Reef Hotel