Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
Coyaba tends to attract a quieter crowd. You're more likely to see tea-sipping than beer-chugging here.
The crowd at Coyaba fluctuates -- young couples, retirees, families, and wedding crews after a party. The smaller setting generally attracts a quieter bunch who wants to be as far as possible from the beer-chugging and nonstop Marley found at the larger all-inclusives such as the Sunset, Iberostar or Riu resorts.
Although the decorating -- Ritz-Carlton. Though there are some classy touches to the hotel, like higher-grade drinks (Johnny Walker Black, Grey Goose vodka, and even some Sambuca) and an afternoon tea that serves free fresh fruit, passable hors d'oeuvres, and pastries., and -- attempts to evoke aristocratic elegance, the property is actually and bland, more like a Hampton Inn than the
Room service and a more attentive staff -- service is a cut above the bigger all-inclusives
At times, the staff is very helpful -- from the housekeepers to the restaurant staff. Bellmen show each guest to his or her room and runs through all the features (like the coffeemaker) -- that's a bit more attention than most of the all-inclusive resorts offer.and
Just 10 minutes from Montego Bay International Airport, this resort is also only a short taxi ride to shopping and off-site bars.
Coyaba is 10 minutes from the airport -- a fact I was reminded of each time I heard a plane take off overhead. It's just off of Montego Bay's major trafficked artery, flanked by golf courses and other resorts. For shopping or to visit the to party, taxis are lined up and ready any hour of the day.
The beach is tiny, but it's easy to find a lounger and rest under an umbrella.
The slight beach is too small to stroll, but it's a bit less crowded that at most other resorts, including the nearby Ritz-Carlton, and you can usually find an available lounger beneath a weathered palm umbrella. Though not entirely inviting -- algae washed in with the tide and sharp shells jut out from the sand -- the beach quality is on par with most other resorts in Montego Bay.
Furnished with Ritz-Carlton-esque dark varnish -- wooden chairs, headboards, carved pineapple lamps -- the rooms are prototypically comfortable, especially given the two feather pillows. All rooms include a 24-inch Phillips tube TV (satellite ready with premium cable, a VHS player, and a video rental library at the front desk), a Cuisinart coffeemaker with Jamaican coffee (worth smuggling home), a GE CD alarm clock, an intensely powerful Toshiba air-conditioning unit, and bath products from Gilchrist & Soames. They are entirely functional (which is saying a lot in Montego Bay) and the soft certainly one-up most of the mega resorts.
The only real glitch is in the bathroom. The shower blasts water across out of the shallow tub and on to the marble floor. To keep the water from leaking out of the tub, I had to hold the curtain against the back wall with my toes.
Outdoor equipment appears worn, and the spa and fitness center leave a lot to be desired.
The spa consists of a few small rooms next to a major road. Beside it, crammed into a small space, the fitness center has a reasonable amount of older, less impressive equipment. But the 12-inch TV only faces the multi-gym and isn't visible from the cardio machines. Scattered along the walls are deeply erotic body photos (mostly butts) -- the kind of excessive skin pictured in an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. With no TV in sight, I was forced to look at the better-buns pictures while sweating on the elliptical.
Rooms come with a VHS tape player. At the front desk there is a menu of about 150 movies, such as Top Gun, Like Water for Chocolate, and Kingpin (movies that pre-date the DVD era). There are also workout videos and Disney classics. But when I wanted to pick out a movie at 11 p.m., the keys (kept with the manager) were out of the resort, and I was out of luck.
The tennis court is well-maintained. The hotel advertises daily classes, but they weren't available during my stay. (The hotel canceled courses for the week without prior notice.)
I never saw anyone taking advantage of the water sports, but a lone staff member waited at the pier, anxious to take someone out on the .
Slew of activities for kids, but no kids' club
Various features -- like a small, sandy playground with slides and swings, a smaller slide for toddlers and a toy shack with trucks and scooters -- cater to kids, but there isn't a supervised kids' club.
Coyaba is an older, worn property, but it is kept impressively clean.
Despite several dining options, the food is overrated and lacks variety.
The food, at each of the restaurants, is tolerably average. Other guests I spoke with had similar sentiments -- "Eh, good enough, I guess."
There are several dining options: the Vineyard for breakfast, the Bar and Grill for lunch, the Polo Grounds for bar food and room service, and the Vineyard for dinner. The menu changes every day, but I didn't see any remarkable entrées (they basically just reshape the same handful of ingredients).
At the Bar and Grill, my jerk chicken club sandwich tasted more of mayo than spices, and the jerk pork wrap was about the same. From room service, the quesadillas and fajita chicken sandwiches are more in line with an airport bar than Southwestern cuisine. My Jamaican omelet ($17), allegedly prepared with native peppers and local seasonings, was slightly overcooked (browning) and not terribly different from what one might find in a Brooklyn diner. (The jerk sausage, however, was well worth ordering again.)
Also, it's worth noting that in order to make the $120-per-person all-inclusive package worthwhile, you would need to have an omelet for breakfast, a steak for lunch, lobster for dinner, and about five top-shelf drinks each evening. All the guests I spoke to didn't find this indulgence necessary, nor did I.
Simple, affordable options for a more intimate wedding -- unlike the mega-resorts
Virtually the only intimate resort in Montego Bay, Coyaba can be a quaint, beachside treasure during the high season (no fighting for lounge chairs here). But it is also an aging property (rooms still have VHS players) with average food, a cramped fitness center, a roadside spa, and a small pool.