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Reviewed 3 December 2014

I am getting ready for my 3rd trip to Coral Cove Resort. I have been to many islands, and this intimate resort is my favorite. I am returning with a large group of friends-most are first timers to Jamaica.
We were reading reviews to give them a good feel for the experience ahead. I love to travel but seldom write reviews.
I have traveled to the resort both through the mountain and around the coast. It is about the same time either way. The driver will give a great tour and they are happy to stop anywhere along the way. I really recommend the Border Jerk - which is about halfway on the mountain route. It is a great intro to the island culture, with great food and cold Red Stripe!

Rooms at Coral Cove are very comfortable and decorated beautifully! I love the staff and their service --very friendly and accommodating. The food was fantastic & very plentiful. (They also adhere to specific needs of the vegetarian!). The staff was always meeting our needs and provided plenty of snacks/extras throughout the day or night. They even set a private table right on the beach for us one night....we loved it. Coral Cove offers plenty of excursions for the adventurer and if you want peace and quiet...you will have it. For anyone wanting to get away from large crowds of pushy vacationers (at the huge resorts)....this is a GREAT place to be! Come enjoy the Caribbean at Coral Cove!

Date of stay: November 2014
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Thank DRM502
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 August 2014

Coral Cove Jamaica –

We stayed five nights at Coral Cove to attend a wedding (Nov 10-15, 2010). The wedding was great and beautiful. Maybe I’m too Americanized; however, in our opinion as a guest, there are better alternatives for the amount paid (~$3.000 without any additional services).

Air Travel to/from MBJ:

We left out of DCA with a connection in MIA. The flight down and back was uneventful, which was great! (uneventful = no delays or any issues) (Roundtrip Airfare via American Airlines was $374.78 per person, added bonus was no baggage fees for first two checked bags!)

Drive from MBJ to Coral Cove and vice versa:

The trip from MBJ to Coral Cove seemed a bit longer than expected (~2hours); however, the driver (a Coral Cove employee) was very accommodating. He stopped at a market so we could purchase a six pack of Red Stripe (driver asked for $15, but I went in and bought it myself for $9…hrm…I still wonder if the driver would have giving back change). The drive took us across Jamaica which was nice and scenic! We went through allot towns that quickly reminded us that we were in a “developing” country (many houses half built). Drivers are more risky in Jamaica, so it was an exciting/memorable/thrilling/daunting drive in. Our driver appeared to be an experienced, so we did not worry too much. We were able to see true Jamaica
(Drive from MBJ to Coral Cove = $85 + $5 tip)

** Side note: Another person attending the wedding took a taxi not affiliated with Coral Cove and only paid $80 total (including tip) for the ride from MBJ.

We left early (4am-ish) for the trip back to the airport since our flight left at 8am. The night watchman was great and ensured we woke up on time. We were happy to leave. (Drive from Coral Cove to MBJ= $85 + $15 tip)

Arrival at Coral Cove and first night:

Unfortunately, our first day/night at Coral Cove left allot to be desired. After almost driving over some goats, we arrived at Coral Cove around ~3:30 PM. The entrance/driveway was unappealing. The hotel ambiance and atmosphere seemed dull and lifeless/empty. (Just a FYI, I like big resorts) We were greeted with a damp towel and some friendly faces. We were starving and dinner service was not until 6:30! We mentioned that we were extremely hungry to the front desk and asked for some food. The staff offered to take our bags to our room and told us that dinner was at 6:30. We again stressed that we were hungry and the staff took our bags to our room…..The staff seemed to ignore the fact that we were famished. We went to the room and grumbled because the place and staff were not up to expectations (again, maybe I’m too Americanized, but for the amount paid, I expected more). I then proceeded to go to the front desk and ask for a hamburger…..After some coaxing, they made a grilled cheese for us. More grumbling…..I then went to the bar. There was no one there to take my order (at this time I did not realize that I could go behind the bar and make my own drinks). Someone finally came and made drinks.

By dinner time, we were hungry! The main course dinner choices were goat meat or fish. I selected goat meat since I’m not a big fish fan. Again, maybe I’m too Americanized, but the goat meat was not a tasty option.

I then went to the bar after dinner service. While the bartender was making drinks a fat rat scurried across the bar. The bartender said “ah, that can’t be good”. ……..As much as I hate to admit it, I still drank after seeing the rat.

Later that night, I was irritated (which happens when I’m hungry and had a couple drinks) and complained. A staff member (I believe a manager) attempted to accommodate us when they found out we were not happy with the dinner service; however, he had to argue with the kitchen staff to make us some food. Yes, we heard it all - unappealing. We also heard that the kitchen staff had the supplies to make us a burger – need to add that they had supplies to make the burger all day – so why did we get a grilled cheese at first? Not sure…..We took the burger and went back to the room. At the room we grumbled more and seriously considered making reservations at another resort even if we would lose the money paid to Coral Cove. I was unable to connect to the wireless internet from the room to perform the necessary research. If we were not there for a wedding, we most likely would have gone to another resort the next morning. As I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, I saw a ~8 inch lizard crawling up the wall.

Accommodation/room: Starlight

Pros: private area for dining (but we never used it), bed was comfortable, warm water for showers (we heard some other rooms did not have warm/hot water)

Cons: No TV, no air conditioning, wireless internet did not work in the room, bathroom was too open and offered very little privacy, we saw a ~8 inch lizard crawling up the wall on the first night, we could “hear” the folks in Starbright who were just married the week before, keys to safe did not work – but we felt that our belongings were safe,

Rest of the trip:

Pros:
• Wedding was beautiful! Coral Cove does a really good job with the wedding.
• At times the food was great! For example, eggs mixed with cheese/peppers, jerked chicken, dinner at the wedding (Lobster Tail, Steak, Shrimp – but we did not get any wedding cake until the next day), pizza, soups (pumpkin),
• Great snorkeling in the water
• One of the bartenders was great and very accommodating!
• Weather was great!

Cons: (Again, remember I’m more of a big resort person)
• Automatically charged 20% more for the room for taxes and TIPS
• No pool or volley ball court
• At times, the food was disgusting. For example, eggs mixed with fish (I’m not a huge fish fan), goat….and no other alternative available…
• Requests seemed to go unfulfilled – Ask for a drink at dinner/lunch and you may get one ~25% of the time. More often than not, you will have to get your own beverages. Again, maybe I’m too Americanized, but if a server says they will get something, I expect them to get it.
• Someone requested iced tea and never got it. After tipping for something else, suddenly iced tea appeared. I thought tips were included.
• At times they did not bring out enough dinner/lunch plates and did not ensure every guest received food. If you were not there when they happened to bring food out…you may be out of luck….
• Service at the resort is Slow and everything seemed to begin 1/2 late (i.e. massage)..…..but I’ve read that this attribute might be inherent to Jamaican culture
• When filling my water at lunch a lizard came crawling out of the inside of the water jug…ug…
• Limited selection of food during lunch and dinner (usually only one fish and one meat available)…And if you wanted extra of something, at times you would get it and other times it seemed like a huge hassle…
• We had to bartend for ourselves most of the time. When we were creating our own drinks the bartender would sometimes come over and give us a weird look. Although, I didn’t see the rat again after the first night……
• Bartenders did not know how to make common drinks
• Found a bartender (not the one mentioned in the pros section) sleeping behind the bar. I accidentally woke him up while grabbing drinks for our group and again he gave me a weird look.
• Sunday must have been “fun day” for the staff. Someone from the kitchen area kept coming and grabbing as much beer as he could. He took it to the kitchen area. -- only reason I mention this is because he took the last of something I wanted.
• Beach and in the water was rocky – bring swimming sandals…
• Unlike big resorts, the excursions appear to be ad hoc. Which can be great since the boat driver will take you whereever you want for the most part….but the boat was really small and some of the waves were really big….Happy to be back alive……
• Maybe I’m paranoid, but the staff appeared to be talking negatively about me in a different language. Sounded like they stated that I’m too “American”.
• Atmosphere and environment did not make it feel like I was on vacation. I was looking forward to leaving and eating American food during our layover in Miami.

Tips:
• Take sandals / beach shoes
• Take bug spray (Staff can pick some up for you at a price)
• Don’t be afraid to barter for lower fees. I felt that I was being hustled allot at Ricks Café and when requesting services (i.e. boat rides) from Coral Cove. Different people would offer different prices for similar items or services.

Total Cost incurred for 2 people for five nights in Starlight: ~$2913.56 without additions

• Airfare: $374.78 * 2 = 749.56
• Ground Transportation to and from MBJ: Set price of $85 each way and tips totaling $20 = $190
• Accommodation: Starlight @ $394.80 per night * 5 nights = $1974 ($329+20% tax + gratuity)
• Addition: 2 Massages (One as a present): $60 each…120 + 12 tax + $20 tip = $152
• Addition: Boat Ride to Ricks Café / Negril: four people totaling $150 + $40 tip = 190/2 (split between us and another couple) = $80 + ~60 (food and drinks a Ricks) = $140

Date of stay: September 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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7  Thank MelonSmasher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2014

After months of searching for a wedding venue, we decided on Coral Cove based on the wonderful reviews it had been given. After a 2 hour ride from the airport (well worth being able to see many parts of Jamaica), we arrived at the resort. We were greeted by warm, friendly faces and brought to our rooms. The rooms were very clean and all the ones I saw were beautiful. I definitely recommend the cottages, as they are quaint and the newest on the property. They also both have stone outdoor showers, which are phenomenal. My husband and I stayed in the Treetop Cottage, which we also loved. The only issue was the water temperature being unpredictable. Hot water was hard to come by in our room.

I can't say enough about how amazing the staff is. Rouchelle, Tracy, and Maxine did a great job with the planning of our trip and wedding. Donald and Yang will forever be in our hearts as they delivered drink after drink to us as we floated in the cove. Yang also took my husband spear fishing and took us out for the day in Little Bay. Our servers Saskia, Sammy, and Sonia were wonderful, as were the cooks. The food they prepared was absolutely amazing, and I have been craving it since we left! Also, special thanks goes to Elaine for baking us cookies every afternoon. The best coconut macaroons I've ever had. Captain Georgie was always eager to take us out fishing or just tell a good story, and the grounds were kept beautiful by Bunny's hard work all day long. He even spent the entire day of our wedding raking an aisle in the sand. These people truly became our friends, and I will remember them always. We even keep in touch with some.

Our wedding was more than I could have ever imagined. The setting was breathtaking, and everyone worked so hard to make everything beautiful. We had our reception in the bar out by the water, where they lit torches all the way around. It was the most romantic setting I've ever seen. I'm so happy with our decision to get married at Coral Cove. We had a total of 18 guests, and everyone is eager to plan their next trip back.

If you are in need of luxury, tv, and all the latest technology - this is not the place for you. If you want a relaxing vacation in a beautiful setting with friendly, accommodating staff and great food - you can't find a better place than Coral Cove.

Date of stay: April 2014
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
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Thank Brittinghams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 June 2014

Coral Cove was a beautiful place to stay and get married.

The good...
The grounds are beautiful and well taken care of.
The staff spent hours making sure the environment was just perfect. We were able to choose the location for our wedding dinner, colors and flowers.
When I asked if they had Mt Dew, they did not, however the next day it was delivered to our room. They really do strive to take care of you.
Our bartender Donald will be remembered forever, he is that wonderful.
All of the staff introduce themselves and are very friendly.
The torches lit on our wedding night added a very special touch. There was a staff member close by the whole evening but he stayed discreetly in the background unless needed.
We were able to request what we ate and where we ate all meals, which were all very good. There was never a lack of food or drinks.
We never had to wait for drinks and whatever we wanted was accommodated.

The potentially bad depending on your opinion......
If you’re the type of bride that needs to have every detail discussed, then this environment may stress you out.
For example we were asked the day before our wedding if there was a particular song we wished to walk down the aisle to. It happened we had one on our iPod that
we thought would be great and they did play it. However isn’t this something that should have been asked perhaps weeks in advance? They had a lot of music and either way it would
have been very nice. I personally would have been OK with it either way. However I suspect not all brides would feel that way.

Our room did not have water for a few hours one day. Luckily it wasn’t on our wedding day. After we asked, another room was made available for us to use to shower in, but we had to ask.

Jamaican time really is a thing. The whole island has a very laid back attitude. So you need to be OK with that.

The beach is very rocky.

The really bad…

We never did receive our certified copy of our wedding certificate that were part of our wedding package. After weeks of emailing asking for it, I finally found the Jamaican Registry Office online and was able to order and pay for it myself.
The Coral Cove staff and owner blamed the Reverend who married us. The Reverend ignored my emails. Finally after more than 4 months I have the paperwork needed to change my name. And ONLY because I took care of it.

I would have loved to give Coral Cove a 5 star service review because the staff really do go above and beyond, and it is a beautiful place. However, actually receiving the promised certified copies of our wedding certificate is a very important thing that the staff and owner just gave us lip service about.

Date of stay: January 2014
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Shelly O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 May 2014

My fiance and I were en route to Little Bay for a day's sunbathing and happen to drive past this resort. Our taxi driver said we would be 'safer' and more relaxed if we pitched up here for the day providing they were OK with it (as Little Bay is quite isolated) So we asked the staff at Coral Cove if we could chill out there for the day and they said yes! The staff were so friendly and hospitable, nothing was too much trouble and the lunch was fantastic! We loved it so much we came back a few days later! Beautiful resort wih great views - very romantic too! 5 stars for Donald and the team!!!

Date of stay: May 2014
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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Thank Djenner01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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