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Coco Reef Resort & Spa Tobago
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Reviewed April 11, 2012

We spent 10 days at the Coco Reef . The hotel sits in the most beautifully maintained gardens with an abundance of birds. My husband loves snorkeling and went out with Peter on the boat, Zoe and absolutely raved about the Nylon Pool, the bays, colour of fish, coral etc. The lagoon in front of hotel was perfect and I enjoyed hours of splashing about in the lovely warm water daily. Beach surrounding hotel was well maintained - no hawkers and plenty of loungers. A highlight was a trip to the Rain Forest with Kelton Thomas who is very knowledgable on the flora, birds, insects and provides you with a good insight to the island. Kelton can be found at breakfast with his owl and one or two eagles to ward off birds.

Meals were very good but breakfast was my least favourite as it would have been nice to have a some fish and more fresh fruit i.e. mangoes. Lunch was my favourite meal as always fresh fish and plenty of salad and other choices. Dinner sometimes meant I couldn't eat anything on the menu but the staff were excellent and always came up with a combination to suit my palette.

We changed rooms a few times during our stay but our final room was excellent with a good sea view and plenty of space to move around in the room. The rooms are a bit tired but as we have visited Grenada, Jamaica, Barbados, Bermuda and Tobago we felt the hotel did compare quite well to other Caribbean destinations. I thought the equipment in the gym was excellent and used it everyday - the spa was disappointing as I would have liked a facial but did not want to wait for 2 - 3 days for a person to be brought to the hotel to do it which meant I would not be able to discuss my skin type and products in advance of booking a treatment.

We found the staff went out of their way to make to make our stay enjoyable and would like to especially mention Eric the General Manager who looked out for us with special greetings, came to our table at dinner and provided us with some beautiful flowers and champagne. Julian, Assistant Manager and Samantha, Duty Manager were very attentive with our room changes. Kerlon, Catering Manager was very attentive and was always seen chatting away to the guests and looked out for us. Two waitresses who absoultely went out of their way for us were Melisa who has been there 13 years what a gem and Anika in the Main Restaurant.

Overall impression great relaxing holiday we say we never go back as the world is a big place but we may return to the Coco Reef. C & A Chart.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank 36uplands
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 11, 2012

We stayed at the Coco Reef for 10 nights in March 2012. This is a complex place! On the whole, it’s ok to average, but your point of view will probably be in direct correlation to the amount of money you spend to get there.

We paid a lot and didn’t think we had value for money. There are some appalling points to it and one or two really good things.

Our advice – if you get a deal and can live with the bad bits (mainly that the hotel is ‘tired’ and that some of the staff are downright miserable) – then go. If you are looking for a special break, give it a miss.

The hotel tries to pretend it is top end. For example, there is a strong emphasis on the dress code for the evening. No this that and the other. It sets an expectation that the dinner is going to be something rather fabulous. But the promise never lives up to expectations.

We did half board. The right choice for us. Most people seemed to be doing All Inc. It’s not really a drinking hotel, so if you don’t drink much, skip the AI. Drink wasn’t expensive. For lunch, we avoided the buffet and ordered room service for our terrace or a sandwich in the restaurant. It was much nicer than the sad looking samey buffet and overall we reckoned we had a better deal than if we had done AI.

There are a lot of reviews for this hotel, and they mainly cover the same things. Most of which we agree with. However, there are some basic things that people don’t write about so much that are worth mentioning:
• In some Caribbean resorts, tipping is expected all the time. We didn’t see it here at all. It’s possibly why most of the staff are miserable! However, it takes the pressure off the guests to hand over cash in return for simple things over and over again
• The beach hasn’t got any music playing out from the bar – joyous. Please keep it that way
• Sun beds – there are loads of them – no need to scramble to actually get one. The best bits of the beach (down the Store Bay end) do get bagged, but there is always plenty of sand to park a bed on elsewhere
• The sea – calm and warm – some might consider it a bit boring though
• The beach seems to be private – no beach vendors seen the whole time we were there – fabulous!
• Airport – round the corner – no noise at all
• Just outside the hotel gate, there is a mini mart, a bank with ATM and a very well stocked pharmacy. Plus there are some simple food options if bored of the hotel. There is a large supermarket a five minute drive away (out the gate, turn left)
• Birds – every hotel in the Caribbean has them. This isn’t a problem compared to most places. A couple fly about at breakfast but most mornings there is a bird man with 3 ’scary’ looking birds. Apparently, the problem was major a few years ago. This is nothing to worry about.
• We heard that a guest had got run over with a speed boat – not sure when but would guess it was mid-Feb 2012 or so. Apparently he was just outside the hotel breakwater. Boats in the hotel swimming area seemed to take great care when coming in to moor.

Good things:
• It’s 5 minutes from the airport with zero airport noise
• First impressions were good and the staff were welcoming
• The hotel is well thought out and easy to get around. It’s probably worth paying up for the sea view. It’s not the world’s most amazing sea view, but it’s ok
• It’s got hummingbirds
• The lagoon set up works well. The sea is nice for a quick dip and if you really want a ‘swim’, you can go outside of it very easily
• There are some fabulous staff, (Angie in the restaurant, Natasha and her team, Eric, the house keeping team we met). Fun, friendly and helpful. They are in the minority though.
• Eric, the GM is a delight. A lovely European man who was happy to listen and help where he could. He’s fighting a losing battle though. To really sort this hotel out, he needs to refurb and change the majority of the staff
• We had a kettle and a good supply of tea and coffee

The not so good:
• The hotel isn’t just ‘tired’, that would be too kind. It’s totally knackered. It’s not been refurbed since it was built. The public areas are ok, the gardens are ok. It’s the bedrooms that are the problem. They are quite small, with a small amount storage space. The fixtures, fittings and furnishings are exhausted. It’s a real problem area.
• For a spa hotel, the spa seems a bit lacking! We’d normally use a spa a lot, but it’s hidden away in the main hotel and there isn’t a sign. It doesn’t seem to be manned at all times but they call in staff when they need them.
• Food – don’t know where to start with this. I could write pages. Sometimes it’s ok, but the majority of the time, it’s not. For us, it was the tipping point between the hotel being ok/good to not ok. We complained when it wasn’t good but a lot of guests didn’t seem to. The highlight of the trip was having a mussels starter served to my husband with a grand total of 5 mussels on it. Really! The staff are more interested in serving themselves. Watch them in the evening buffet... they normally start swooping about an hour before the end of it with their plates piled high and food gets mysteriously replenished after most of the guests have eaten. Naughty.
• The evening dinner arrangements are a complete mystery. To be safe, book a table in the restaurant each evening when you leave breakfast. This is an area that isn’t covered in the info pack in the room. If you don’t book a table, you won’t get one! Sometimes dinner is a la carte and sometimes its buffet. There doesn’t seem to be a set pattern and often the staff don’t know themselves until mid-afternoon. Weird.
• No bottled water available as complimentary in the rooms – there should be a couple of small bottles every day for a hotel of this quality
• Terrible website – looks like it was done soon after the web was invented and hasn’t had a spruce since.
• Terrible information pack in the bedrooms – doesn’t cover everything – needs a serious re-write.
• The hotel goes on and on about being awarded ‘best resort in the Caribbean in 2006’. Can’t imagine who the competition was! The hotel needs to stop trading on some award it won years and years ago – it doesn’t mean anything and makes it look a little silly so many years later. What have you won in the last 18 months?

As I said at the top of this – if you get a deal and you are aware that the hotel is tired, the food at best ‘average’ and you aren’t looking for a top end place, then go. If you are thinking of spending a lot of hard earned cash on a special trip – look elsewhere.

Room Tip: It's probably worth paying out for a sea view room
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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6  Thank AbsandStu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 11, 2012

but still a good hotel and apparently the best in Tobago. Bedrooms and most areas of the hotel need a refurb, especially the bathrooms which are very old and worn, but still kept clean each day. Air con good and comfy beds though! But the gym was very hot with non-working air con! Food was good and restaurant staff mainly friendly and helpful once we said "hello". A choice each night between buffet or a la carte was good and unusual for all inclusive. Lunch was also good with a choice of cooked buffet or just sandwiches. Wine was generally free flowing too! Only five minutes from the airport but no flight noise. Natricia (the Virgin rep) was great and very helpful. Very quiet in the evenings, so don't go if you want lots of entertainment. Mostly "oldies" so everyone quiet and in bed by 11pm.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Virgin Holidays
Thank Rachel H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 5, 2012

Coco Reef is the most beautiful hotel in Tobago. It is very much like a paradise - serene, gorgeous landscapes with great service. Food is amazing! Entertainment every night. Definitely need to go again:)

  • Stayed: May 2011
    • Value
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2  Thank Sharz14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 31, 2012

Where do you start? Spent a week here in late March. Transfer from airport 2 mins but aircraft noise no issue at any time.
Arrival was quick and well handled. Taken to room which overlooked the pool towards the sea.
A nice location on a nice beach with a man made groyne to protect it.
Then you start to get inside this hotel, the issues and the cause. First, our issues.
Tired dark room with bathrooms which are not close to what a hotel of this claimed class should have. No tea making and when reception were asked all they could do was suggest we talk to the restaurant! woken before dawn by a cockerel and once by the bin lorry.
The beach is nice but dirty old uncomfortable sun loungers are poor. After complaints by several guests, the hotel brought in a lad to clean them, but he did very little other than talk to others, do press ups or most of the time, nothing! The sun shades are falling apart too.
Then there are the hundreds of laughing terns sat on the rocks all day squawking. I vist the Caribbean for peace and tranquility. There was none.
Breakfast - ok but no variation, limited fruit and juices every day.
Lunch - pleasant and again ok. They run a BBQ but it was oh so basic.
Dinner - one good meal, one ok buffet, lots of ordinary food and one quite disgusting meal which was shared by an adjacent table and had us in fits of laughter. The menu is amusing in its descriptions but often wide of the mark. Food has moved on in the world over but not here it seems.
The staff are on the whole pretty good and respond to being spoken to respectfully.
Now the crux of the problem - management and investment.
Management - people go on about Eric but what does he really do? Struts around the foyer at speed seeing nothing. What he does do is firefight people's complaints with apologies, drinks, upgrades and anything else to keep customers "sweet".
Eric, I don't want to go on holiday to complain, I expect you and your team to make my valuable time off a chance to relax. When I go back to work I deal with what life has to throw at me, I expect you to do all that in advance and provide me with trouble free experience.
Eric, I never saw you on the beach, nor at lunch or at dinner. In fact management avoid most areas.
Investment - tired and run down rooms, rotten wood throughout, wonky tables, rusty chairs, cheap sun beds, dirty canoes, an old Rolls with damaged seats. It's not all bad but this is supposed to be 4.5* and it isn't. Not close.
Entertainment! There was none of any quality - a cynic might say it sent guests to bed early to reduce the drinks bill for all inclusive.
We were hugely disappointed, it does not match the brochure and Virgin must realise this. The Virgin rep is a diamond and should be congratulated.
This hotel may have been a top resort once but it no longer is and won't be until the management open their eyes, do their jobs and the owners invest to protect their asset.
Far better on other islands throughout the Caribbean. Avoid.

Stayed: March 2012
9  Thank Brooke1403
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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