CSS, CN or CTI
First off HI! :) I'm completely new here. My hubby and I have traveled to Cuba and the Dominican and next year we will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary as well as my 30th birthday and would like to do so in Jamaica between April and May. I never thought I'd even consider an A/N beach however I have decided as a surprise to my husband I'd give it a try as he has mentioned wanting to do it for a LONG time, so long as it's almost completely private with just the A/N people being there I think I'd be ok. I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with clothed people hanging around.
That being said, I'm having a very hard time deciding on a resort. I've narrowed it down to couples for sure, but now which one. We love to mingle, stay up late in a lounge or at a beach party drinking and having a good time. We've been known to snorkel a bit although I tend to have a hard time staying in the ocean too long due to a fear of what lurks beneath. I know nothing about Jamaica so I'm at a total loss.
As far as the resorts go we are not high end type people, but we do like a little bit of extra wow in a room and we like to have a good variety of dining options.
I'm afraid I'm rambling on but would love any advise as to a good choice for first timers. THANKS in advance!
We prefer CTI. I don't think at Couples you will get a "wow" just from the rooms, but you will get a "wow" factor from the views at CTI. Most of the ocean rooms are right at the edge of the ocean. CTI does have mini bars in all the rooms now with room service available during the day. The rooms are kept very clean, and are comfortable. This last stay, we had a premier room in Building 3 (main building) 3rd floor. I loved waking up early and opening the doors and hearing the waves roll into shore. In Building 2, the Premier rooms are much larger with larger bathrooms. They are above the main pool that has a water feature, so it is a bit more difficult to hear the waves over the water feature. But again the views are incredible.
Any of the AN beaches/island you chose will have a clothed bartender and sometimes a clothed water sports and clothed chef. No worries, though, they "are all blind". I never noticed any "gawking" from the staff.
I'll start by saying we haven't been to Negril, so defer to other comments about Negril. I hear the beach is awesome, but having the textiles walking by makes me nervous.
So in comparing CSS and CTI...
You seem interested in first time experience of A/N. CTI is more comfortable as it is remote and you don't have the few locals on the river to contend with. While its small, it is remarkably private on the right side, and its unique. How many people can experience being on a nude island! However, CSS is larger, which can also result in some privacy, and it has a real beach and real pool. TI's pool is rather small and there is no real beach. CSS also has a hot tub. But for those worried about being naked in front of others, the pool and hot tub really shouldn't factor into the decision. Both SSB and TI have friendly crowds by the pool bar, although CTI has always seemed a bit more social.
Snorkeling is good from either resort and both have trips out to the reef. Neither resort has much to see right off the beach, although I've heard snorkeling around TI is quite interesting. The experience is not as good as we've had in the Bahamas or Cozumel, but its free, quick and easy and you still see a lot of fish and coral.
Rooms: We thought that CSS had better accommodations and that the only Wow factor at CTI was looking out of the room. You don't forget that view. CTI did not have true room service or minibars when we went either, so that's an improvement.
Dining Options - We found CTI to have more variety. I thought the quality was the same, but CTI just offered a little more. It was also easier to get to the restaurants.
Social life - we didn't stay up much past 12 any nights, so can't attest to either resorts night life. Up until then the Balloon bar had an ok crowd at CSS and the there were nights where the piano bar at CTI was rocking, and then some nights it was dead. It all depends on the crowd that's there. I might give the edge to CTI since its more compact it may just seem like more is going on.
Mingling - again, it depends on the crowd. At CSS we found the A/N area super friendly and the regular pool/bar area less so. The vibe there was more private and intimate than at CTI where sometimes the pool bar got really loud. People at TI (pool area) were always friendly. We are not outgoing people by any means, but we had no problems meeting others and making friends at both resorts.
One major difference is that CSS is really spread out -it, built into cliffs and its beauty seem to go on forever. CTI is beautiful as well, but its compact. A final note, both CSS and CTI have private beaches, with no public access. We loved this, but if you are expecting long walks on the beach, then you will be disappointed.
Not sure this helped, but writing about it always brings back good memories! Congrats on your 10th!
We just back from CSS a week ago (boohoo!) and loved SSB which is the AN area there. We had not been to AN before either, and it was a great experience. You can start out down on the beach and work your way to the more social area of pool/area. The reason I picked it was because it was completely secluded from the rest of the resort. Also the resort is the smallest of all the Couples (150 rooms). There were 3 resteraunts to choose from, plus room service. I know that CTI has a private AN island, but was worried the resort itself was not what we wanted. We LOVED the rainforest on the cliff feel of CSS. Its spread out and that was something we really loved, and the reason we are going back!