1. Intro: Trust me, you don’t want to go to Cocoa Island. No matter what I write in this review, you need to know you don’t want to go. You will only be disappointed—with everything else.
This trip was over two years in the making.We were originally scheduled to visit Cocoa Island and its sister resort Maalefushi in 2015 for 3 weeks, where we had reservations for the CMO villas at each resorts for the two of us. Circumstances caused us to cancel that trip and we thought we would likely never go. But good fortune intervened, and we were able to schedule an abbreviated trip in April of 2017. Cocoa Island has two COMO villas, but neither would be available for this trip; but one-bedroom villas were available. So, we booked the trip, cashed in some Singapore miles for biz class, as the first class itinerary we originally had was not available on days we could travel. I know, I know, it’s tough.
2. Getting there: for anyone in the Eastern Hemisphere, it’s probably a bit easier. From the West Coast USA [SFO], it’s a full 24-hour day of travel and possibly more depending on your connections. The Malé Velana International airport has one runway for landing, takeoff, and taxiing, You will land and u-turn back to the terminal, where you will take jet stairs in the awesome humidity to the terminal. Maldives Immigration is professional and pleasant. If you are in a Biz or 1st class cabin, you’ll be provided a pass for the priority line in Immigration. Luggage carts are free to use, and all signs have English, so if you speak it, it’s pretty easy to navigate, as it is in most places. Luggage is delivered reasonably quickly. A Cocoa Island representative will greet you just outside Immigration and assist you with your bags to your waiting speedboat. It’s a cool thing seeing the boats lined up outside closer than the average US day parking garage. You will board and be on your way for the 45-minute ride. Ours was in darkness as we arrived at about 10:30. Note that Cocoa Island is on its own version of DST, so its clocks are one hour ahead of Malé; your phone probably won’t pick that up. The boat has wi-fi, so you can FB all your friends about your adventure. Our boat was crewed by three, while there was only the two of us. This would be a recurrent theme.
3. Resort arrival: When we pulled up to the jetty at Cocoa Island, we were greeted by at least four staff members, including the manager. They walked us to their open air reception area, where we filled out a little paperwork, and were given a freshly carved and punctured coconut full of, that's right, fresh coconut water. believe me, these folks are expert at coconut. Seems the local coconuts are good for cooking and meat, but that for the water a neighbor island’s coconuts are preferred. Incredibly refreshing. We were then escorted to our villa by our butler [Binoy].
4. The room. Our villa was superb. A one-bedroom of approximately 1325 sq ft/125 sq m, it had an eastern view from its lounging deck and living room area. When the privacy curtain for the bedroom is pulled back, it has the same view. The outdoor deck has a double chaise lounge, table and chairs plus umbrella, and a ladder into the lagoon. It’s the first, westerly, of the two northern facing villas in the aerial photo of the island on the web site].
Inside, the villa has a huge bathroom with stand-alone tub, shower and bathroom stall. There are no doors on the shower or toilet stall, so if you’re one of those privacy nuts, you may not love this. The ceilings are vaulted and very tall, so there is a huge sense of spaciousness. Floors are wood and comfortable on the feet. The bed is on a raised platform, which has two steps down on two sides. Can take getting used to. The bed in our one-bedroom villa was very comfortable. Though we had the occasional time change [13 hours] adjustment problem, we never had any problems sleeping. The bathroom is stocked with spa-type amenities, including one labeled Invigorate. A combination of Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Geranium, and Lavender oil, it is a great scent. The resort uses it on a lot of their cold towels and in their spa. Behind the bathroom, facing west, is an enclosed and private but open air deck and shower. Plenty of hot water. Excellent shower water pressure both indoors and out. All three main parts of the villa have individualized air conditioning zones. AC is very effective, and it’s essential. Temps at night never get below 82F, and the heat index can soar during the day. Other amenities include a nice flat screen TV, not easily visible from the bedroom if that matters, an entertainment system, a mini bar and fridge, Nespresso machine. If there is something you want more of, less of, or simply different, all you have to do is ask. It will be immediately addressed. Decor is a lot of tropical wood, crisp white linen, and colorful tile. It’s all clean, feels like it was just built, and is clearly impeccably maintained.
4. The Facilities. Spa, Hydrotherapy Pavilion, gym [with multiple device connections], dive shack, bar, infinity pool, yoga pavilion. Separate single and couples massage cabins. There is actually much to do here, but absolutely zero compulsion—except from within yourself—to do it. The spa has a small shop where you can buy some souvenirs, oils, clothing, etc. We had an excellent reef snorkeling trip, and indulgent spa services, including a wonderful couples massage session. We had the hydrotherapy pavilion to ourselves every time. Water and a tasty ginger tea were always at the ready. The resort supplies water everywhere, and does not charge extra for it.
5. Eating. It’s well-known that much of the food served in the Maldives is imported, accounting a great deal for the price. It was our impression that meal prices were not out of bounds compared to other high-end resorts. Food has all the “eye candy” and tastebud appeal of top-tier continental and American coastal cuisine. It might be a star below and not make you forget The Ledbury or Taillevent, but it won’t leave you longing for them either. Locally caught ocean fare is superb. The lobster is quite different from Maine and Florida lobster, and it comes right off the beach. It tastes excellent, and the scallops may be the best I have ever had. One night’s dinner was Thali, and it was excellent. Fresh-baked naan was wonderful. The kitchen is exceptionally capable. The bar, a small and intimate open air affair, is very pleasant. We were often the only ones there If there was a downside, we were often left alone there, though somehow someone always appeared just as we needed a refresher. The wine list is more extensive than I expected it to be. Breakfast can be buffet style, or a la carte, or both. Fresh juices, fruits, and baked goods are excellent. The French toast, omelettes, cooked any way you want, are excellent.
We had a sandbar dinner one evening, which is done at the opposite end off the island from the kitchen. Somehow, food was perfectly served. Wonderful, romantic evening with a beautiful sunset.
1. Impeccable service. We’ve stayed and dined in 5-star hotels and restaurants in London, Paris, New York, Florence, SFO, LA, Chicago, Miami, etc. These have included Shangri-La, Corinthian, Starwoods, Sofitel, Four Seasons, a host of one-off luxury places, etc. But we have never stayed in a COMO property before. That will change. Cocoa Island is generally better than all of our past experiences. Part of the reason for that is the amazing staff to guest ratio of about 2.5. Note that that is not 2.5-guest room, but to guest. That is way above the averages I see on the net for luxury and 5-star hotels. of course, with only 33 rooms, that means prices are higher. But they are not ridiculously so. Management is always present throughout the day and night.
2. Superb food.
3. Luxury accommodations.
4. Effective wifi all over the island.
5. Complete sense of isolation from the world [might be a con to you, but probably not if you’ve read this far].
Cons: None. Wait, for certain travelers, maybe there are some cons:
1. No casinos. That’s a plus for me.
2. Only 33 rooms. That’s a plus in my book.
3. Expensive. No, it’s not, or at least, on a relative scale, I don’t think it is.. It’s a high-value place, i.e., you get what you pay for and more.
4. Difficult to get to compared to some other resorts. Maybe a plus as well, but you still have to get there, and it’s a trek.
5. Feels like you have the place to yourself. If you like crowds, forget Cocoa Island; again, a plus for us.
6. Effective wifi all over the island.
7. No kiddie pools, slides, rope swings, tubes, or whatever. A calm serene infinity pool by the restaurant.
8. Quiet. Occasionally soft music in the bar, but at almost no time can you hear anything other than the water, which is always very close by, the water hens, and the crows. No seagulls that we saw anywhere
As I said, trust me, you really don’t want to come here. ;-)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- COMO Cocoa Island is a private island in the Maldives and offers measured simplicity in its design. Wrapped in white sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters, Cocoa Island is in close proximity to some of the best dive sites in the world. The tranquil setting is enhanced by the understated elegance of Cocoa Island’s 33 rooms, which resemble local dhoni fishing boats and feature direct access to the shallow lagoon. Ufaa, the resort’s restaurant, serves fresh local produce and seafood cooked in the Keralan style, while Faru bar overlooks the pristine infinity-edge pool. COMO Cocoa Island’s spa, COMO Shambhala Retreat, offers rebalancing treatments, including Ayurveda, reflexology and a range of recuperative massages and facials. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Agoda, Booking.com and DerbySoft Ltd Shanghai HQ Supplier Direct so you can book your COMO Cocoa Island reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Cocoa Island Hotel South Male Atoll
- Cocoa Island Maldives
- Hotel Cocoa Island