Coco Reef Resort - Reader Reports & Opinion
Return To The Coco Reef
Post Recreated: Originally posted - 03 May
Bill Dover reporting yet again about a return visit to Coco Reef. My wife and I visited for the third time from 6/4 to 20/4/2002. You remember we were there during the 'hell-fortnight' in 2000 only to return to see Coco Reef in all its glory in 2001. Well 2002 proved that we were right to return there yet again. The hotel itself was just as wonderful this year as it was last year. There were some changes in the senior staff, but the management of the restaurants remained the same and the food was equally as splendid as in the past. The junior staff were much the same and it was nice to renew old acquaintances and friendships in this area. In fact the interaction of guests and staff remains one of the hotel's strongest aspects. One does get the feeling of being one of the family. There are a large number of long service staff and we met guests who were on their seventh visit. We feel this speaks for itself. I am sure there are classier (and more expensive) hotels in the Caribbean but I there can be none that are any friendlier or more comfortable than Coco Reef. This holiday remains good value for money. Regards - Bill (& Carol) Dover
[Note from Steve Wooler: The above message was copied from an email sent to me by Bill Dover - a regular contributor over the past two years. In a second email, giving permission for me to add his comments to the forum, Bill added the following further comment.]
One thing springs to mind and that was the state of the gardens. They were in splendid condition and I had the good fortune to meet the Head Gardener/Chief Horticulturalist, named Delia (or Blondie). She is doing tours of the gardens for an hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you haven't tried it then please do - it was an experience and I say no more - it's best to let you find out for yourself. Oh by the way if you walk down the drive after dinner and knock on the woodpeckers tree he pops his head out to see who is there - even he is one of the family.
Wedding/holiday At The Coco Reef
Post Recreated: Originally posted - 13 May
The following report was sent to me by Martin and Karen Hart who recently returned from the Coco Reef, having been married there in late April. I am really grateful for the trouble Martin has taken in writing the following long report on the hotel, problems, excursions, restaurants and weather. This report will prove invaluable to other visitors. Thank you, Martin & Karen and all the very best of luck in your married life together. [Steve
We stayed at the Coco Reef between 20th April and 4th May, having chosen the resort for our marriage ceremony.
The wedding itself was fantastic, especially as Karen's brother and his wife arrived unexpectedly. Everything was wonderfully done with beautiful flowers, a huge cake and champagne. We’d recommend the Coco Reef’s Wedding Package to anyone and can only thank Karen and the others at the Coco Reef for making it such a wonderful day to remember.
I believe a hotel stays roughly the same, given good management - which is what the Coco Reef has. However, the people staying at the hotel from week to week can make it either a very good experience or sometimes, unfortunately, a bad one.
We decided to go ‘All Inclusive’ and found it an excellent option with the food in Tamara’s being of especially high quality. The Beach Bar and Bistro also served up very good meals for lunch or when we did not fancy a full blown 3 courses in the evening. The drinks available on the ‘All Inclusive’ were not restrictive at all with a large range of beer, cocktails and local spirits to choose from.
We didn’t come across anything we wanted that wasn’t included. The house wine was fine with our preference being the white, probably because it was usually nice and chilled!! We ate out a few times but still considered the ‘All Inclusive’ a very good deal. We can only duplicate what has already been said about the Coco Reef with regard to the staff, location etc. It’s all wonderful.
Another frequent question seems to be about the aircraft / airport noise. I can only say the same as Steve in that it's not a problem. The angle of the runway and the fact they always seem to land approaching the hotel ensures that there is very little noise. the only time we heard anything was when they were actually down and stuck the thrust reversers on and it was at no time, a nuisance.
Sorry, but there are always a few and again, people’s views change on this in respect of what people want out of a holiday. We wanted peace and quiet and a chance to unwind and get away from it all for 2 weeks. This was slightly hampered by the fact that on a few occasions, we felt we were in the midst of A) A seabird colony and B) a Kindergarten.
The sea wall that has been created, while very good for swimming etc. has also attracted a colony of seabirds that we are told stay there for about 3 months with end of April / early May being the breeding season. The noise was consistent from dawn to dusk and very hard to ignore. There is very little that can be done about this and you can’t blame the birds. The Management did try certain ‘methods’ to get rid of them but were swiftly told off by the Authorities. Our only advice would be to avoid March, April and May if you feel this would be a nuisance to you.
As for the Kindergarten, I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to totally agree with Steve’s earlier comments about children at the Coco Reef. I apologise if this upsets or annoys anyone but please, will parents think very carefully before taking babies and children there. It is hot, very hot and combined with the time difference and the lack of activities for children it’s not an ideal place to take them. We witnessed small babies being kept up till all hours of the night, being taken into the Restaurant late and doing nothing but cry. I’m sorry, but this is unfair on them, the staff and most of all, other diners who are in there trying to have a quiet meal. We are not alone in this view; many many other people staying at the hotel said the same thing. Parents, do yourselves and others a favour and save yourselves money at the same time, don’t take babies or small children there, even teenagers were bored stiff! As we went out of school holiday time we had to wonder what kids between the ages of 8 to 16ish were doing there anyway!!
A few other things we noticed were that ladies were topless on the beach. While we have nothing against this at all, if you’re asked not to, you should respect that request and keep covered. A few individuals seemed to be trying to make as much out of the ‘All Inclusive’ as possible by drinking as much beer as possible from about 10:00 in the morning. This is where I hope, Steve, that your concerns voiced previously don’t come to fruition.
Also, rather distressingly, a young Italian couple were allowing their daughter to fish off of the right hand pier (looking out to sea) with a line and hook. The fish out there appreciate being fed after breakfast so there are always many of them around and are easy to catch. The only problem was that she was unable to unhook them and was dragging them along the pier still alive to be unhooked and thrown back by her parents who thought it a great laugh. This practice was fortunately stopped very quickly by the good old English contingent after it appeared at one point, the father was about to be despatched into the water himself!!!
The last problem, and I can’t and wouldn’t want to verify this, is that a couple, again Italian, were in the water with their daughter when suddenly, mum pulled down the back of her daughters swimming cossie and swished ‘something’ away from the shore with her hand. I wouldn’t want to speculate but I don’t think it was a fish..................
Because of the wedding and Karen’s brother arriving, we didn’t do too many Excursions, although we crammed a few in after they had left.
Rainforest trip with David Rook’s. Full day trip out to the rain forest going up the Windward Coast and back down the Leeward. David Rook’s was very informative and it was very interesting although we didn’t see many birds due to the fact their all pretty much hidden up in the canopy. Good day out, picnic lunch recommended. The hotel will supply lunches but at a cost of around £20 each, their quite expensive. Personally, as well, I believe that if you’re on ‘All Inclusive’ you should not have to pay as you could quite easily spend that and more on lunch at the Hotel. They save money and charge you for the lunch that you’re really entitled to.
If you’d like to see some of the wonderful bird life then the Gratfton Caledonia Bird Sanctuary has feeding at 16:00 and is free although a donation is helpful. Unfortunately, it’s getting a bit run down and we found a far better alternative was to go to the Arnos Vale Hotel for afternoon tea. Absolutely brilliant and you can have a wander through the grounds to the beach and then sit on the patio and have a lovely cup of tea and a variety of cakes. This is served at 16:00 also and coincides with the feeding of the birds at which point all sorts come down to feed including Motmots and Hummingbirds etc. You can get right up to them to get some wonderful photos and if there are no birds around when you arrive, there’s a lovely Amazon Parrot who lives on the Patio and is very tame. Taxi was about £12 return from the Hotel & £3 each for tea.
Our penultimate trip was to have a half day on the Coco Motion, a powerboat with 2 x 200hp Mercury engines strapped to the back. You are collected from the hotel and the boat leaves from the beach at the Mt. Irvine. Our trip took us right up to Castara where we anchored in a small protected bay for some wonderful snorkelling. Neither myself nor Karen are too confident in deep water but we were supplied with a sort of lifebelt which just went round your waist and given plenty of confidence by the crew. Both of us are so glad we went in, what a truly magical experience, so many fish, so many colours. The trip finished off with another stop on the way back at a bay with a beach so we could swim, beachcombe etc. and some cold cans of Carib to wash down the Captain’s wife’s renowned Carrot Cake. This trip cost about £30 each and was also enjoyed by a number of other people staying at the hotel.
Our last trip was out to Buccoo Reef and Nylon Pool on the glass bottom boats. This was not too bad but the weather and slightly rough sea hindered any thoughts about snorkelling again. A good trip though but sad to see so much of the reef dying off. The main reef was good though and the guy on the boat very knowledgeable about the plants and fish. About £15 each.
The last morning, Karen had said that she would like to come along for the buggy ride when I had a game of golf at the Mt. Irvine. I forgot to mention that I had booked my tee time for 06:45!!!!!!!!! What was that old saying, a great walk ruined etc.... Well, at least we had a buggy! I managed a round of 107 gross playing off of an 18 handicap but the views were good, especially of most of the coconut trees which seemed to get in my way! This cost me about £70 but included the round, cart and hire clubs. If anyone’s going and is interested in a round of golf, make sure you pack your golf shoes; they’re the only items you can’t hire.
We did want to go on one of the Catamaran trips but time got the better of us I’m afraid.
The only main restaurant we tried was the Seahorse Inn which was really good and had an excellent choice of food and wines. We were taken here by Karen’s brother and his wife the night before our wedding and did enjoy it although not as good, in our opinion, as Tamara’s (at the Coco Reef). A lovely setting though and worth going to if you just fancy a change.
We did eat out at a few other places, mainly at lunchtimes and found the place down the road (turn right out of the Coco Reef and it’s the only one on the left hand side) to be quite good. Also the French Patisserie type place opposite the arrivals ‘hall’ behind the Tourist Office was very good. Karen’s brother and wife ate out at Dillons Seafood restaurant (left out of the hotel), The Pelican Reef and the Mumtaz (Indian), both also left out of the hotel but on the right hand side of the road and gave good reports from each of them.
Was very good the first week with a couple of really hot days, 90 – 95, most days were a pleasant 80ish though. The second week we had 2 or 3 rainy days but at least it gave us a chance to cool the burnt bits down.
As I mentioned above, hotels are as good as the surroundings and staff can make them. In the Coco reef’s case, everything is really superb and you are made to feel welcome and treated as individuals. The guests can make all the difference and you can have a great week one week and not so great the next and it’s nothing to do with the hotel, it’s down to luck really.
Would we go back? Probably. Certainly, if it were ever to be made into an 18+ resort. We had a fantastic time, made some wonderful friends and are still really depressed at having to return. We truly hope to have the opportunity to return and relive some very very happy memories.
A very big thank you to all the staff at the Coco Reef and also to Steve for producing such a professional Website which proved invaluable to us. Lastly, a big thank you to Karen who by saying ‘yes’ in Bruges last year gave me the opportunity to book a dream in Tobago.
Coco Reef Hotel
Kay & Doug
Post Recreated: Originally posted - 05 June
Just had wonderful two weeks at Coco Reef. Staff exceedingly friendly and went out of way to help with two elderly parents travelling with us. Toured island by taxi,organised by Hotel.Ask for a driver named David Eastman.He knows the island,all about the flora & fauna and really shows you the place.Certainly better than a couple of "scheduled" mini-bus tours we went on. As a matter of interest the first week of May was the "Angustura" boat race week which certainly liveneed the hotel up with the influx of some interesting characters! Should be similar activity next year with around fifty yachts and power boats. Went on Kalina Kats for day. I recommend people to take sea sickness pills 2 hrs before sailing as the waters during end May are very choppy & may get worse as wet season develops. Good trip with good snorkelling. (Saw sting rays aboutr 4ft. diameter) Will certainly return again to Coco Reef in future Found major hotels on rest of island pretty well empty so there may be chance to get a good holiday "deal" if you can get a flight. eg.Arnos Vale., Turtle Beach.
Kay & Doug
Doug And Brenda - UK
Post Recreated: Originally posted - 17 July
We spent two weeks here from the last week of May. Initial impression was slight disappointment at the room - it needed some renovation. However, we soon forgot about this and really enjoyed the place. Beautiful beach and gardens, great food, and friendly staff. Unfortunately, the hotel was very empty, so there was little atmosphere at the evening entertainment. Hint - the sea is full of tropical fish - take an underwater camera from the UK! Happy to answer any questions.
Coco Reef And Tobago
Pat & Steve Taylor
Post Recreated: Originally posted - 17 July
Visit July 2002 Rainy season but wonderfull time Hotel staff and entertainment a delight Kariwak restaurant is brilliant - service, the place, food,wine and prices. Tobago beautifull - go eveywhere, speak to the people and pay for the guides - dont be mean and they add to the enjoyment of it - for a few bucks which you can afford. And dont miss the calipso man at Fort Bennet- he'll sing one just for you.