After another trip back on Biggles’ plane from St Marteen to Antigua, we made our way to our final destination of the trip, Cocobay, in another beautiful corner of Antigua, 15km from the town centre of St John’s. Here we had full board accommodation, not something we usually do, but so glad we did.
The independent cottages were dotted around the property, and some of the more expensive cottages were actually quite a hike away from the main hotel, but who cares when time isn’t an issue! The standard cottages were basic in their decor, but perfect for what you need as you don’t really spend a lot of time in them, all the rooms are comfortable, with a fresh and airy atmosphere!
Unless of course you book a deluxe cottage with a view and private plunge pool, this was the end of a splashing out trip for us, so we didn’t take the luxury option for our 5 nights, however we did get moved to one for the last 24 hours of our stay to make up for the noisy and bright room we did stay in! Here’s a tip, don’t accept the villa with a view on to the front of the hotel. with the sea in the distance, it was very noisy, day and night, and also very light, day and night. The deluxe pool cottage is the room we’d have next time, and its definitely worth investing in for a celebration trip as you don’t even need to leave that room except maybe for more food and drink!
The breakfasts were plentiful, and taken on a stunning veranda with views of the beach and turquoise sea for miles; lunch was usually fish of the day with different salads available, and a dessert selection if you were that way inclined. And dinner each evening was always table service, which if all inclusive, was a welcome surprise, 3 choices for each course, so we felt like we were actually in a restaurant rather than at a buffet bundle, free for all.
Wine was brought to the table, selection of red, white or rose, and for a little bit extra there was a lovely wine list to choose from. As far as all inclusives go, this one was high end, the only downside of eating here was that you had to get up quite early to write your chosen reservation time in the book at reception! It didn’t really matter if we had dinner late, because there was a lovely bar to sit in beforehand and wait, but at the later time the restaurant was usually empty so be warned, despite it being an adults only hotel, they eat early there.
There were two pools in the hotel, one towards the back of the main building, leading onto Sheer Rocks (see below), and the other was out the front of the hotel and down a few steps, and from there was the beach. We dotted around between them all but preferred the beach option. The pool at the back of the main building was more secluded but you had to get up to get your drinks (heaven forbid).
The other one had a bar with food options if you didn’t want to go up to the main restaurant for a salad and fish lunch, and it also had the views of the beach that you dream about when sitting at cold, wet home. There was only one wedding there when we were there, and a rather odd photoshoot for the bride and groom. Why would you?!
Sadly we only discovered the jewel in the crown of this hotel, and also one of the best restaurant experiences on the island, Sheer Rocks. I thought we could only eat here once, and had reserved it for the last night, but actually discovered then that we could have eaten here every evening, for a price! Having said that, it was the most expensive meal of the whole trip, but you paid for the view at sunset and the romantic ambience.
Sheer Rocks is actually an exclusive, small beach club, with linen draped day beds and two cliff-front plunge pools. A beautiful space to sit in the sun, enjoy a tapas lunch, or a romantic sunset dinner in the evening. The walk to the place was covered in bougainvillea, twinkling lights and lush greenery, and the whole experience was a very special one.
I’m not a food expert, unless eating a lot of it makes me one, in which case I’m a connoisseur, but the meal was outstanding, and if anyone visits Antigua and isn’t staying at Cocobay, I suggest booking this place in advance and making the trip there for either a day, or at least for sunset cocktails and dinner. We managed to squeeze back in for an enormous sunset gin cocktail before we left on our last day, but that was only because they recognized us from the night before and gave us a table for an hour.
Another highlight of the hotel was the private outdoor space which you could book for the day, within the rocks at the side of the property and looking straight out onto the ocean. We had the option of a floating breakfast or lunch here, served by our own personal butler. We decided on lunch, and after a little sunbathe on the secluded day bed, the butler arrived, made a big show of laying it out on the tray, pouring the champagne and then before we were allowed to be served our lunch, he turned into a rather keen photographer, insisting on us posing in various positions, looking this way and that, kissing, not kissing, in the water, out the water, not what I had planned for, and if I’d have known being a supermodel for the day was also included, I would definitely have worked harder on picking a more appropriate pool outfit and applying some make up, for modelling purposes . I haven’d added any of these photos, as I didn’t want to ruin the blog!
This was a place for pure relaxation, we ventured out twice, once to the town centre of St John’s, A very busy centre, filled with drivers ready to take the day trippers from the cruises for a ride, not somewhere we wanted to spend a lot of time, but definitely somewhere worth visiting for an afternoon.
We stopped for a quick bite at Hemingway’s, a busy oasis for the above mentioned cruisers during the day, so maybe a night time visit is better. It’s a rooftop cafe not far from the shopping centre of Heritage Quay, we had a little mooch around the shops there afterwards and there were some gorgeous little independent shops full of handmade jewellery and other crafts, all duty free. The second place we visited was Shirley Heights, a bit touristy but another ‘must do’ if you’re there. Sunset cocktails from the bar, which was a bit of a bun fight, a few artisan market stalls, and the obligatory Caribbean steel band, to sing in the sunset.
We often don’t want to revisit places we go to, as it’s never the same second time round and there’s so much to see in the world, but we’d absolutely jump at the chance to go back here again.
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