Cocobay, Antigua: hotel review

 

I thought I had been to all of Antigua’s resort hotels, but Cocobay (www.cocobayresort.com) is a new one on me. And it’s a real find – perfect, I’d say,  for couples and single travellers who don’t have a Carlisle Bay budget, but who want peace and quiet – and a bit of style.

Perched on a promontory above a sandy beach, this is a small resort, with just 57 Caribbean-style cottages and four plantation houses,  two restaurants and a couple of bars. My pretty cottage was simple but very comfortable. The private veranda had a couple of adirondack chairs and a hammock and if I peered over the foliage I could just about see the sea. The bathroom was a bit tired – so were the towels – and I soon discovered that if I left the veranda doors open for long, a cheeky bird or two would fly in, rip open one of the little packets of sugar by the kettle and scatter the contents over the floor.

The resort has two pools , both of them rather chic with great views of the bay; the sandy beach has plenty of sun loungers and palapa parasols as well as water sports and there’s a second beach within a few minutes’ stroll. The resort was virtually full when we were there but neither the beach nor the pools felt crowded.

Food? Well, pretty good and certainly plentiful – buffet style at breakfast and lunch; à la carte in the evenings. The second, more romantic restaurant is only open in the evenings but was closed the night we wanted to try it.  The cocktails were definitely five-star and given that Cocobay is an all-inclusive resort, we happily over-indulged, working our way down the menu (Eden, made from vanilla vodka, sour apple, triple sec and lime cordial, was our favourite).

Service was friendly and enthusiastic – though the broken safe in my room never did get mended; nor did the overhead fan (the air-con worked).  Otherwise the only flies in an otherwise pretty perfect ointment were the WiFi which cost $10 a day but only managed intermittent connection, and the voracious no-see-ums on the beach (the resort shop did a roaring trade in antihistamene cream).

What it cost:  Expedia was offering a special deal on flights with British Airways and I paid £1,400 for four days/three nights in November 2013. The airport transfer was around $30.

 

In my suitcase: check out this Bogner video for 2013/14

I already have a gilet and a black ski jacket by German luxury skiwear brand Bogner (I bought it half price last season in the Bogner store in St Moritz). But now I’ve seen this season’s video (so much more than an ad), I’m hankering after more… Check it out (skip the preamble; the cool stuff starts at 0.46).

Bouquet for British Airways

British Airways gets a lot of flak. Not all of it undeserved. But here’s a BA story that ends well. My  suitcase was damaged on a recent BA flight from Antigua. I took it to the BA desk in the baggage hall, expecting to fill in a form which I would obviously then have to follow up with a phone call and several irrate several emails. They took a few details and promised to send me a new case. I know what you’re thinking. So was I. Airline customer services simply don’t work that way. Well, sometimes they do work that way. Two days later, a gleaming new suitcase was delivered to my door – absolutely free. It’s not often I say it, but hats off to BA.

 

In my suitcase: new design by Snow Angel

 

snowangelsI am tempted by this merino wool ski jersey by a new company called Snow Angel. It’s got thumb holes in the cuffs, a pocket on the sleeve and suede patches on the elbows and one shoulder (to prevent damage from shouldering your skis. How thoughtful is that?). It comes in several colours and costs £285 from www.snowangelskiwear.co.uk or, if you happen to be in Verbier, you can buy it from Mountain Air in Place Blanche.