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Reviewed 2 July 2012

We spent 2 weeks at Cocobay Resort from 2nd - 16th June. We always research our holidays thoroughly prior to booking, we make great use of Trip Advisor. We booked our holiday in May2011 so we had 13 months to look forward to our holiday, checking reviews and forums regularly.
I am sorry to say that we were left disappointed with Cocobay. This is the only holiday we have had, where we have looked forward to going home.

IMHO – ‘The Ugly’
• The cockroaches in our bathroom on 3 separate occasions, one in particular was enormous.
• The army of ants in our bathroom and under our front door every evening.
We had to block the gaps under our bathroom door & front door every evening before going out, yet one cockroach still found its way in!! It made coming back to our cottage every night an unpleasant experience. It was a relief when day light came. The floorboards in the cottage are so dark I was worried I might tread on something when using the bathroom through the night.

IMHO – ‘The Bad’
• The builders who turned up Monday – Friday from 08:00 – 16:00 and Saturday from 08:00 – 12:00 to lay the foundations for new cottages right in front of our sea view with plunge pool cottage.
• The lady who turned up one day to paint the side of our cottage. Love the smell of paint fumes whilst relaxing in the plunge pool – not!!
The resort manager walked by one day, as we were sat on the steps of our plunge pool, as we did every day, he asked “is this bothering you?” referring to the builders, I replied “it was unexpected”. He said come and see me later. He then went & got the Virgin rep to show her the builders.
After discussing the issue with my boyfriend we decided that Virgin should be informing guests that building works are taking place and that we would speak to our rep the next day.
The next day, the resort manager saw us going to lunch & stopped to talk to us about the builders. He offered to move us to a different cottage of the same standard, he showed us the cottage he wanted to move us to. It was overlooked by the bar & the plunge pool was in the shade, whereas our cottage was totally private & the plunge pool was in the sun all day. We declined his offer, saying Virgin ought to be informing guests, his reply was “your complaint is now null & void” and he rang the Virgin rep to inform her that we had declined his offer. I then spoke on the phone to the rep who agreed with the resort manager that the men weren’t actually building, they were just laying foundations. He then offered us another cottage, but we decided it wasn’t really worth the effort to pack up & move, so we stayed put. We weren’t really looking for a move, just an advance warning from Virgin. Whilst the resort manager was talking to us, he kept his sunglasses on, we found this very rude, we had both taken our sunglasses off.
The workmen had been digging holes and filling them with cement, one worker even took a toilet break against a palm tree, knowing that I was sat at the plunge pool and had full view of him.
The builders then moved further up the resort next to the Plantation House to dig some more foundations and cut down trees around the resort.
• The original infinity pool isn’t really an infinity pool when the trees are growing up over the edge, spoiling the infinity look. The decking area was loose in several places.
• The plug socket for the hairdryer in the bathroom is located way too high, almost impossible to reach.
• The free Wi-Fi in reception was switched off after our 1st week (although we were offered the access code for their office wifi as recompense for our troubles, but this was also switched off after 24 hours, we had to speak to reception about this, it was then switched back on).
• The evening meals – you are given a half hour slot to eat a 4 course meal. During our 1st week, this seemed to work fine, we always booked the last sitting as they wouldn’t be rushing us out for the next sitting, although several times they had run out of items on the menu. The food wasn’t always to our liking and several guests dined out at another restaurant, Dennis’s. Most nights we chose the pasta dish of the day. The food seemed a bit pretentious to us. The 2nd week, the service in the restaurant went down hill, it was very slow, waiting a very long time to be served and between courses. Thursday night dinner after the manager’s cocktail party is the only night with buffet food, we didn’t enjoy this meal at all.
• Bottled water isn’t included in the All Inclusive, you are given a bottle of tap water with your evening meal, it tasted earthy to us.
• By day 10, our plunge pool needed a clean, the water was looking green, we mentioned this to a maintenance man, who cleaned out the overflow trough and the filter, but this didn’t make any difference, by day 14 the water was very green looking!
• Nobody told us about the afternoon tea or the sandwich of the day at the new sunset pool, we only knew about these thanks to TA, although we didn’t know what the times were for them. An information sheet in the cottage with restaurant times etc would be a good idea?
• There aren’t enough parasols for the sunbeds, you definitely need some shade.
• The new sunset infinity pool, beware when getting out using the steps, there are tiles on the edge of the steps, only they are set back from the edge of the steps, very misleading about where the edge of the steps are, I scraped my shin.
• The towels from our bathroom were removed, whilst we were at breakfast, even though the do not disturb sign was in use, it could then be several hours before the cleaners came in to replace the towels. Not good as we spent all morning at our plunge pool, so when going to the toilet we didn’t have any towels in the bathroom and we couldn’t have had a shower if we had wanted one

IMHO – ‘The Good’
• On arrival in our cottage, I cried because the view & the setting were stunning.
• Most of the staff were lovely, special mention to Vincia, Sonia, Kenroy, Jermaine, Saskia & Kerry.
• Breakfast was the best meal of the day, plenty to choose from and eggs cooked however you liked every morning.
• We did the helicopter trip over Montserrat, very moving. We booked through the Virgin rep and had to pay for a taxi to & from the helicopter.
• We met some great people & we did actually have a good holiday despite the niggles.
Will we go back to Antigua? Probably. Will we go back to Cocobay? No. Their prices have also increased significantly for next year.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Val J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 4 July 2012

Thank you for sharing a very detailed review of your recent Cocobay visit. We sincerely regret not meeting all of your expectations and please accept our apologies for any disruption to your holiday. We have noted some very valuable points from your review and we are committed to ensuring that our guests' satisfaction remains our paramount priority. Every effort will be made to provide our guests with the idyllic Caribbean get-away that they have been anticipating. Unfortunately, we disappointed you and that should not have happenned.

We are in the process of "reaching out to you" via your Tour Operator. We truly hope that you would consider returning to Cocobay some time 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 30 June 2012

We have just returned from a fantastic 10 days here, the new pool is just perfect looking over the beach (we preferred it to the main pool by the bar as others have stated some of the decking was in a little need of some maintenance but as the place will be shut later this year I'm sure it will be sorted. I think our main issue with the place which will be short lived was the fact that they had started doing some of the work in advance although they did try to minimise disruption to guests particularly around the restaurant area. We thought the food was excellent and particulary liked the way they staggered the evening meal sittings so that weout could have a nice relaxed meal without overcrowding, the way it was staggered it would only by about 30% full at any one time. Probably the most disappointing meal was the Thursday evening buffet, but breakfast and lunches were very acceptable, sometimes we took the sandwich offer from the sunset pool and took it up to the main restaurant to add salad etc to it. Our room didn't have aircon, but we got by Ok without it, yes the bathroom did get very warm with a hair dryer going, but I didn't have an issue (not much hair). My wife had been terrified of being bitten to death, but she escaped totally, I got a few sandfly bites but nothing to worry me, and once I started using the patches my wife used from the start I didn't get bitten again. Other precautions were adding citronella oil to the suntan lotion (a tip we got from other visitors on here) plus repellant, not sure which one worked or whether it was a result of all, but anyway it worked and to be honest we didn't see much evidence of mozzies to start with, they seemed to fog the place every Wednesday too. (we didn't see or here about the spiders mentioned in another recent report).
We went to Shirley Heights which was OK but we did get free entry and a drink courtesy off our Virgin tour rep. We also did the round the island trip on the Excellence cat, which was really good, although the snorkelling was a little disappointing, the best snorkelling we did was on the combined Safari and Stingray City trip, holding and feeding the rays was one of the big highlights of the holiday and it seemed to attract lots of other fish wish we had taken an underwater camera.
A couple of tips which we didn't pick up before we went, the hotel provide beach towels and you can drink the local water, and the departure tax is EC$70 per person, and the hotel don't do money exchanges.
We tend not to back to the same place just because there is so much of the world to see, but we would thoroughly recommend Cocobay, as a small friendly and very relaxed holiday destination, I believe they are adding 10 more bungalows but this won't really have too much of an impact as they are adding more sitting area to the restaurant and most of the time the areas round the pools were pretty empty, you could get a sunbed any time of the day, but beware of the sunbeds around the sunset pool, they are very heavy and can drop on your arm or worse foot very easily both of us got bruises on our arms and we know of others who suffered the same fate.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank johnnywilk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2012

Just returned from Cocobay 21/6/12.
The fact that this hotel is small makes it all the more a relaxing holiday. No rush for beds around either of the pools or beach as people are sensible.The staff are all excellent and enjoy a bit of banter. Food is good too as are the drinks. To be honest the hotel does need , in my opinion, a bit of a refurb which is about to happen apparantly, as the main pool area is looking a bit tired. Hopefully they will replace all the decking area as parts were quite dangerous sticking up. Also the standard cottages would benefit from new bathrooms too. We didn't have a/c in the cottages which really should be standard as the ceiling fan ( in June) is just not sufficient. The bathrooms are like saunas, no good to dry hair (for us girls) and very poor lighting. A mirror would be useful in the bedroom too.
That all said it is a lovely little resort and very friendly. The beach is gorgeous and the water is fantastic. If you want to get out and about ask a taxi driver to take you. The more of you club together the better value for money you will get. The normal charge is around $25 per person for practically an all day excursion. Much cheaper than a tour operator.
The one large downside to this resort is the SPIDERS. There are all sizes, the one living right outside our doorstep was massive. They have Horse spiders and Tarantulas and they DO bite.
Not everyone saw one, but one is enough for me! The disappointing thing about this is that the Hotel Mangement will try and tell you they don't have any - they are crabs - and neither was it mentioned by the Virgin Rep. which we found quite wrong. They are there and once you have seen one hole in the ground, you will see many more. Beware of when it rains as this is when they come out of these holes. Someone was bitten while we were there and spent 5 hours at the hopsital, where she received NO treatment. Nevertheless she was hysterical as this happended in her room. Not what you would expect really. But forewarned is forearmed for some I suppose.
We still had a lovely time and met some great people.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with friends
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8  Thank sheilapoole
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2012

This was our third visit to cocobay to celebrate our wedding anniversary, we married there in 2005 so it feels very special to us. cocobay has got under our skin,there is no place like it that I have found on this planet. The staff are fabulous, and it is lovely to see the same happy faces. the food and service is excellent and the new infinity pool was a great surprise. Sopleased we went for candle lit dinner on the beach,great value for money. I love cocobay it is paradise, it is sheer luxury.cocobay has restored my health and i can not wait to go back.everyone deserves the cocobay experience !

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank susiewoozie11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2012

We went to Cocobay for our 2 week honeymoon. It was everything we wished for and more!!!!! This place is fantastic, brilliant atmosphere, very relaxing and the staff were absolutely brilliant. Special mention to Robert on the beach, Denise and Kerry in the restaurant and of course Kenroy. The food each night was stunning
The best compliment we can pay this resort is We Will Be Back!!!!!!!!

Tony & Christine Davies

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank taff-tony
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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