Coco Reef Resort - Review Page 1
Reviewed by Steve & Jill Wooler in March 2011
So, how has this luxury holiday resort changed since our reviews of 2000, 2002 and 2006? Has the hotel become a victim of its own success?
Is the hotel worthy of the 2010 accolade “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel” awarded by World Travel Awards in London, or deserving of the “Best Resort in the Caribbean” award presented in each of the preceding five years?
It is not really our place to judge. No hotel, anywhere in the world, is perfect for everyone. We can only recount our impressions and detail the hotel’s facilities, then let our reader decide. However, before we do, allow us to extend one considered thought: the Coco Reef Resort is very much more than the sum of its parts. You will either ‘get it’ or you won’t. We do!
The Coco Reef Resort is a 4*+ luxury resort boasting Tobago’s only private beach. The general ethos of the resort is restrained good taste. The hotel’s stylish up-market ambience attracts a wide range of clientele from young newlyweds to mature couples. It is perhaps not an ideal choice for families with young children, or for those wanting serious nightlife, but a repeat rate of over 47% proves satisfaction in the most eloquent and powerful way possible.
The truly wonderful members of staff are, without doubt, the Coco Reef’s outstanding attraction. They create that indefinable je ne sais quoi that lifts the resort from being simply good, to being truly memorable. Never have we found such a combination of service, courtesy, efficiency, friendliness and hospitality. They are magic!
The Coco Reef is located on Crown Point – the flat southern coral-bed tip of Tobago - just a five-minute walk from the airport. Despite that, aircraft noise is never an issue. The hotel grounds are an oasis within a desert. Once you have passed through the protected entrance gate you are in a different world; a fantasy world where you will be largely unaware of life outside the resort.
Let us be brutally honest: Crown Point is not exactly a Tobago beauty spot. Other than beautiful Pigeon Point, the area largely consists of nothing but an unattractive sprawl of low-end guesthouses, fast food outlets and small shops. However, it is a small island (26x8 miles) and within a 10-minute drive you will begin to enjoy the spectacular beauty of Tobago’s beautiful coastline and lush green hilly interior.
The lush trees and foliage surrounding the hotel disguise the size of the resort and help to generate the more intimate atmosphere of a smaller property. The eclectic architectural style, described as Caribbean-Palladian, is highly pleasing and blends superbly with the surroundings. Beautiful hand-made tiles are a major feature of the hotel and enhance the cool atmosphere throughout. Two-storey accommodation wings extend either side of the main building, which houses the central foyer, reception desk, restaurant and bars.
Every aspect of the architecture and décor are stylish, tasteful and easy on the eye. We endorse the hotel’s own description of ‘understated elegance’. I previously expressed reservation about the Cuban art that dominates the hotel. We are now starting to appreciate that it somehow affords the hotel its own unique identity and is actually quite appropriate.
The resort is set in 10-acres of beautifully manicured and maintained grounds. These gardens are a major and exclusive feature of the hotel. No other resort on Tobago comes close in terms of ‘wow’ factor. The gardens along the beach front, in particular, present a stunning cascade of colour.
The hotel has been traditionally most popular with British travellers. They still represent the majority, but the mix is becoming increasingly cosmopolitan. The most noticeable change since our last stay was the very substantial increase in guests from sister island, Trinidad.
As on previous visits, the average guest age leans more towards the senior than the junior. This was possibly a good thing – or possibly a product of – the absence of nightlife and serious sporting activity, both at the resort and on Tobago generally. The hotel is deservedly popular for weddings and with honeymooners.
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