Seeking the ultimate family holiday in the sun? Look no further than Tobago’s Coco Reef Resort & Spa in Tobago, which Kerrie Niblett found was the perfect destination for her family…
I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively to the Caribbean for both business and pleasure, but I decided this year would be different – the time had come to take my toddler on his first Caribbean holiday.
We shortlisted a few destinations, but my husband and I decided that we wanted our two-year old son’s first trip to the Caribbean to be authentic. Our “tick list” included somewhere we could embrace the Caribbean culture, access to a private beach (pretty hard to come by in the Caribbean, I know), somewhere we could easily venture out with the buggy, and a resort that would welcome our family. After thorough research, we opted for Coco Reef Resort & Spa in Tobago.
Upon arrival in Tobago, we took a taxi to the resort but hadn’t realised that Coco Reef is only a five-minute transfer time – ideal! Elaborate gold signage welcomed us to the island’s best resort. We drove up the breathtaking driveway lined with beautifully manicured gardens, fringed with palm trees and with an array of tropical birdlife visible. We parked up alongside the resort’s own gold Rolls-Royce and were personally welcomed by the GM, Eric Feniet.
We were ushered to a private check-in room, where Bertie was served his own pineapple mocktail, and Mum and Dad were spoilt with our own glass of Laurent Perrier rosé champagne. With registration and check-in complete we were escorted to our room, which we were delighted to find had been named after us – ‘The Niblett Suite’.
Our Deluxe Ocean View Bedroom Suite was just right for us. The master bedroom with en suite had a balcony facing the ocean and another along the side which was adjacent to Store Bay – a popular beach with lots of food huts and craft outlets. The living room had a flat-screen TV, sofas, and a second bathroom. We also had our additional bed set up in here and there was still plenty of space. The air-conditioning and complimentary WifI had both been recently upgraded too, so worked perfectly throughout our stay.
Everything at the resort was immaculately clean and all the staff were friendly and approachable. Coco Reef has a real sense of old-world charm but with a luxurious feel. There are gold statues around the property, quirky local artwork and crystal chandeliers – it feels very opulent without being tacky. They have a zero-tolerance policy on single use plastics and take pride in the surroundings. When you’re here, you really know you are somewhere special. The décor at Coco Reef is traditional Caribbean with wicker furniture, mahogany floor tiles and floral soft furnishings, so sleek and contemporary rooms wouldn’t fit with the character and style of the hotel; you very quickly look beyond the floral bedspread when you get absorbed into feeling of the place!
Our son was too young for a kids’ club, so we didn't need a large family-orientated property. What ultimately sold Coco Reef to us was the beach. Coco Reef boasts Tobago’s only private beach – the golden sandy bay has its own shallow lagoon. We spent hours building sandcastles, running up and down the sand and paddling with the school of fish swimming around our toes. The shallow water with no waves is perfect for small children.
There are plenty of bars, restaurants and shops within walking distance – Store Bay to the west and Pigeon Point a longer walk to the east. Whilst there are only two restaurants onsite, there is still plenty of variety. Lunch at Bacchanals is either à la carte with a light menu, buffet or barbecue. The dinner at Tamaras was absolutely incredible, and comparable with some of the dishes we have had at the world’s top five-star properties. The menu changes every two days, so there are always plenty of options to sample. We opted for an all-inclusive plan, but the location of the hotel means you don’t really need to if you prefer to venture out more.
I really do have to mention Eric the GM again though; he couldn't do enough for us all throughout our stay, nothing was too much trouble. He has the art of knowing what guests want – before they even know themselves – down to a tee, he is very intuitive. He even arranged deliveries of sweeties to our room on a rainy day as we told him we were staying in to watch a movie!
Overall, we had such a wonderful holiday here and made lifelong memories. I would personally recommend this resort to anyone who wants to holiday somewhere with an identity and sense of place. It’s perfect for those who want to be able to walk out to experience local nightlife, cuisine and heritage. Anyone who wants an authentic Caribbean experience can find it here. And, of course, it’s absolutely beautiful – photos simply don't do the property justice. We would return in a heartbeat.
Inspired to visit Tobago? Start planning your trip to Coco Reef today.