CocoLaPalm Resort is a 107-room, European-plan hotel set on the fine white sugar sands on the Long Bay area of Negril’s famous 7-mile beach on Jamaica’s west coast. The resort is owned by John and Judy Vosika, a couple from Minnesota, who bought the property in 1991. “They started development in 1993,” says General Manager, William Vassell. “It was only four cottages and nothing much onsite.” The resort officially opened in 1995 with 19 rooms. “In 1997, we added 45 rooms,” Vassell says. “In 1999, we purchased the property next door, the Silver Sands, which took us to 75 rooms. By 2014, we were up to 107 rooms.”
Ideally situated near shopping, tours, restaurants, and entertainment, CocoLaPalm offers comfortable and immaculately maintained rooms and octagonal-shaped suites with large balconies overlooking the resort’s lush, tropical gardens, its courtyard pool, or the powdery white sand beach caressed by the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Facilities include free Wi-Fi in common areas, daily maid service, and 24-hour security. Complimentary Manager’s Cocktail Party is held every Monday evening, while Fridays are for the Beach Party which features live entertainment. Marley’s by The Sea, the resort’s beachside restaurant, offers a mouthwatering selection of breakfast and dinner choices, and its onsite bakery provides guests with an assortment of croissants, pastries, and banana bread, baked fresh, daily.
Currently, about 70 percent of CocoLaPalm’s guests come from the U.S. Midwest, with about 20 percent from Canada and the United Kingdom, and 10 percent from Europe and the rest of the Caribbean. This year, Vassell says the marketing team will be expanding in order to attract more visitors from England and Germany. Sales and Marketing Manager, Andrea Brown, adds, “Right now, we are doing more search engine marketing and looking for partners who can help us move forward with our online presence.” Open for 12 months a year, the resort averages an occupancy rate of 90-100 percent in the winter high season with a repeat business of close to 80 percent.
Unlike many other nearby hotels, CocoLaPalm is not all-inclusive. “Jamaica is not only for sun, sand, and beach,” explains Vassell. “Our guests want to interact with the local community. So, the resort is not all-inclusive.” Luckily there are many different and tasty restaurants in the area. Another competitive advantage, according to Vassell, is the resort’s 84-member staff. “Their friendliness, their willingness to serve not only the guests, but their fellow team members – that sets us apart,” he declares. “The reason we are successful is our people and the talent that we have here. The staff has done extremely well over the years and that is what makes us what we are today.”
Next year, Vassell reports, the resort will be adding another 36 rooms, some of which will be two-bedroom suites. In addition, they will be adding a new restaurant and conference space for weddings and other events. Already one of Negril’s largest and most popular European plan hotels, the future of the CocoLaPalm continues to look exceedingly bright, indeed.
Your piece of paradise awaits you.
AT A GLANCE
WHO: The CocoLaPalm Resort
WHAT: A European plan hotel
WHERE: Negril, Jamaica