The two resorts are close enough that I could simply walk along the sand with my luggage to get there. They are, however, a world apart. Both overlook the same majestic bay, but Cocos is located on a hill and has only 19 suites (compared to the hundreds found at Jolly Beach Resort). This creates an entirely different atmosphere.
Rooms at Cocos are actually private hillside bungalow. Each is quaint, small and seems to have been carpentered together by a low bidder–although I was told that the Premium suites were far superior to the Standard one in which we stayed. Nonetheless, the view, privacy, and the way the suites are individually nestled into a jungle-covered hillside more than make up for it. In fact, I still loved the place after discovering it didn’t have air-conditioning (fans only); I still enjoyed it when the water turned off one night; and I still highly recommend it despite the loud, chirping tree frogs (which initially bothered me but eventually became a soothing sound to which to fall asleep).
The bungalows hark back to another era. They have no telephone or TVs (great!) and each bed has a gigantic mosquito net hanging over it. And yes, there is a good reason for that net.
In addition to the fantastic view, each balcony also has a hammock as well as an outside shower. Yep, you can shower naked on your balcony while looking out over the intoxicating blues of Jolly Bay.
Cocos is blessed with one of the best restaurants on the island. I usually opted for some tasty fish and my girlfriend enjoyed the red meat selections, such as bacon-wrapped pork loin. Even if the food was bad, however, which it isn’t, the view would still be worth a visit. Simply sitting on the veranda and watching the sun play across the waters of the bay would still make me happy even if all they served was water and crackers. If you happen to be staying next door at Jolly Beach, be sure to stop by and eat at least one meal here.
Cocos, being such a small resort, has limited amenities but the ones they do have, are more upscale and classy than those found up the sand at Jolly Beach Resort. Coco’s, for example has a much smaller beach but the lounge chairs are made of rich, dark-grained wood and each has a very comfortable cushion atop it. A little cocktail shack at the edge of the beach is staffed by an extremely amicable bartender who would wander amongst the dozen or so people on the beach taking drink orders and then would personally deliver them to the recumbent guests.
There are also a couple of kayaks that can be taken out as well as a fresh water pool just off the beach. Unfortunately, the pool is ensconced in shrubbery and coconut trees and, albeit beautiful, doesn’t offer enough sun to truly enjoy. But who cares? You don’t travel this far to lay poolside when a world class beach is just ten steps away.
I quite liked Cocos. It is a very unique resort and very different than Jolly Beach. It is much more of a couples/honeymoon place, devoid of screaming kids and drunken Brit teenagers. Cocos is quiet, relaxed, romantic, classy, and blessed with a mellowness and character to which all tropical resorts should aspire.