Need to know
33 dhoni-style suites and villas.
Noon; check-outs up to 6pm are charged at 50 per cent; later, check-outs incur the full room cost. Earliest check-in, 2pm. A guest lounge is available for those leaving late or arriving early.
Double rooms from $900.00, excluding tax at 23.2 per cent.
Rates include breakfast but exclude tax.
The Como Shambhala Retreat is beyond good, and offers tempting treatments in its spa suites or in the privacy of your room. The focus is on holistic and Ayurvedic therapy: book in for a 'wellness path' course of treatments.
At the hotel
Gardens, beach, spa, steam room and hydrotherapy pool, gym, yoga pavilion, watersports centre, dive centre, library, boutique, free WiFi. In rooms: minibar, LCD TV, DVD/CD player, iPod dock, coffee maker.
Our favourite rooms
All the rooms here – Dhoni Suites, Dhoni Loft Suites, Loft Villas and Villas – are individual at-sea dwellings sited off a snake-like wooden pier, with private sun-decks, vintage-style ceiling fans, walk-in showers and roll-top bathtubs. It'll be love at first sight whichever one you choose, but we fell particularly hard for the split-level Dhoni Loft Suites, and the ultra-private one-bedroom Villas, with dining bales and outdoor showers. Try to get Villa 1001 or 1003, as they face away from Cocoa Island and have the best straight-to-snorkelling sea access. The Dhoni Loft Suites all face directly onto the house reef – pick the higher numbers (from 830 down) at the end of the boardwalk for maximum privacy.
You're not exactly short of places to swim here, but if you don't do saltwater, there's a beautiful beachside infinity pool to splash around in.
Footwear other than flip-flops won't leave your bag: you'll be barefoot most of the time and heels will just sink into the sand and between gaps in the decking. Snorkelling and diving kit is available to hire – just don't forget your certification.
Smoking is not permitted indoors anywhere.
This isn't somewhere you want to come with screaming infants, but under-threes stay free (you'll still have to pay US$8 tax a day, though); 4–12 year olds cost US$55 a night; 13–16, US$110. Babysitting (from US$10 an hour) and kids' menus available.
Cocoa Island has an comprehensive eco-policy and takes great care of its pristine natural environment and house reef, as well as working closely with local community projects and charities.