September 7th, 2009, 05:15 PM
Bearso's CSS Late August 2009 Review
This is going to take me a while because it is going to be long. Bear with me and I hope I can make this worth your time to read.
The Trip from Home to CSS:
We booked the last flight out of San Diego to Houston on Continental. The flight was smooth and uneventful. We were pleasantly surprised to receive a small meal while in flight. It was a small turkey sandwich, salad and a Twix bar.
Upon arrival to Houston at 10:00 p.m. we walked into the terminal totally lost looking for some sign of the Airport Marriott we were supposed to overnight at. We would have loved to have had time to meet with Mike and Lew while we were in Houston but…. I digress. Houston is a pretty big AP, under construction, and we were tired; all a bad combination when you are lost. We hailed an electric cart driver and asked for directions. He said hop in and I will take you to the nearest Tram entrance. Now we had another decision…which tram do we get on, left or right. We got on the long train (or wrong) and had to go ¾ around the whole place.
We arrive at the Marriott check-in, go to the room, drop off bags and head for the bar at the top of the tower. We relaxed there and had a few cocktails while we unwound. Back to the room and into bed by about 12:30 a.m. looking to get some quick Zzzzzzz’s before we had to get up at 6:30 to catch the morning flight to Montego Bay, Jamaica.
While in the check-in line, we met up with Jeff and Darcie and their traveling companions Heather, Travis, Kelli, and Josh. Long back story I will not bore you with but it was a series of events dating back to 2005…that had us meet at this one particular time in history. Suffice it to say, they are GOOD people!!
Some of you reading this know that I have a total knee replacement and as such airport security can be an extended event for me. I “ALWAYS” get pulled into secondary inspection and get the once or twice over. Well this trip it was different!!! I got to go through the new high tech “whole body scan” machine. Viola!!! No secondary for the first time. I felt very special. Now they have a naked digital picture of me floating around somewhere. Naw, just kidding, I love technology.
Once again we had an uneventful flight into MBJ. The weather was fantastic looking out the plane window. Welcome Home! Arrival went well. The walk seems to take longer and the lines were long… Once you finally get to the desk, it goes fast with no problems. We clear immigration and customs and find the Couples lounge. There we find Jeff, Darcie and company SIPPING Red Stripes. We had thought they were way ahead of us. We ended up on the same bus to Ochie. They were going back to CTI where we had first met back in 2005 while we were going to CSS. All of this adds to the long story I will not go into (did I say that already?).
The bus ride was a blast! We had so much fun chatting with Jeff, Darcie and their posse, along with Jan-Michelle and Valerie the trip seemed to take only a few minutes. We stopped mid was for a stretch, drink and bathroom break. Four dollar Red Stripe Lites tasted soooo good even at that price.
We got dropped off first at CSS and bid our farewells to those going on to CTI. We planned to do the Trading Places on Monday and regroup but it turns out we did not leave the resort our entire visit. Check-in went smooth, cold cloths and sparkling wine. We booked an Ocean Balcony Suite and got G-04. We are taken to our room and given the layout by Lenworth.
The room is not my favorite. There is little to no view from this particular G block room the vegetation blocks most of it. The room could use some work but over all it was O.K. The AC units were good at cooling but noisy. We actually turned them off from time to time. I don’t think we would book this category again. The gamble of getting this room again is too much for us.
On another note, this place is GORGEOUS. The views are truly breath taking and awe inspiring. I took tons of pictures and none do this place justice. Some of my pics are very nice but it just can’t tell the story or recreate the true beauty.
Speaking of pictures, I took about 450 as it turns out. Some were good, some were bad, some were pointless, but you can see all the edited ones we kept on my webshots page but you must ask to see them. I have pictures of people I don’t have contact with and am posting their shot so they can get them. I tend to be chatty and take lots of pics of people I talk to. I must admit that there were some VERY beautiful couples that turned up on my camera. I must apologize to some because I don’t remember your names.
Names…now that is an art at all the Couples Resorts. As hard as I try, I can’t remember all the damn names. There are all the staff names that you interact with. I would say about 25 to 35 of those you get close to. Then there are the guests…holly crap, I talk to everyone, take picture of everyone, and will eventually eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner with just about everyone. How can I remember all the names? Well that brings in my beautiful wife Patty, she remembers most of them. Thanks hun…..
Activities are totally abundant, we did almost none. I had high intentions to do a bunch. I took a physical here at home so I could do scuba…did not happen. I went to the gym for months before our trip with the intention of hitting the gym everyday or so…no go. We booked with lots of spa and gift shop credits, eventually spent all the GS credits (last minute before the bus) but almost none of the spa credits. I don’t like massages and Patty got her nails done but that is it. SUGGESTION: Spend em early and often! Sailing, snorkeling, glass bottom boat, and on and on….did not do em. Could have, Should have…didn’t.
Now to the meat of this epic rambling…
The FOOD: Casanova’s was GREAT!!! Had the rack of lamb and the filet both were top notch. I could eat them every night. Bella Vista was great for lunch but we never had dinner there. The Palazzina restaurant was good but not as good as Casanova’s. We ate lunch almost exclusively at Sun Set Beach! WOW, it is so nice to be catered to the way they do at SSB. Every day they set up our own little buffet lunch. Usually there were 4 hot entrees plus patties and burgers if you want them. Oh, the fries are to die for… Top that off with a tray of cookies and you got lunch SSB style.
The STAFF: TOP Notch!!! I will list a few but there were too many to name them all so I won’t. Shelly Ann, Simone, and Miguel were members of the entertainment crew and they were awesome. They knew everyone’s name and treated you like family… The Bar Crew was unbelievable. Dave, Ilgrid, and Jhanel (to name a few) were all a hoot. Jhanel was at SSB and she single handedly stole our hearts. This little package of dynamite was by far the best service provider I have ever encountered. She not only knew your name and your drink, she knew when you needed a new one. She was the most accommodating person I have ever met. She went as far as bringing a special bottle of top shelf scotch over one day because one guest had mentioned that he liked it. Next day….full bottle ready and waiting for him… I hope she does not get in trouble for doing that!!!
The RESORT: “BEAUTIFUL”, “LUSH”, “STUNNING”!!!! Did I mention there were stairs? Lots and lots of stairs! Don’t worry if you have problems with stairs because they have a shuttle bus at your beckon call if you want to ride. We chose to tough it out and walk everywhere. No stinking shuttle bus for us!!! My calves however were not so happy. After the first day, my calves hurt the remainder of the trip.
None the less, you absolutely MUST walk the entire resort. There is hidden beauty everywhere. From the mineral pool to the mineral grotto to the turtle pond, to Charlie’s (Charlene’s) grotto…go see it all.
Entertainment: We had the great pleasure to be entertained by A.J. Brown at the Gala. He is awesome. What a voice this man has…Google him to hear some of his music. We bought two of his CD’s and love them. Patty cries when she listens to them (of course I don’t cry but…I like em just the same). Showtime happened just outside our balcony at the Balloon Bar each night so we got to listen without having to actually go down there. The Beach Party was O.K. but we got there late and seating was limited. During the day, Shelly-Ann would come over to SSB to force us to do some silly game or another. We resisted as much as possible but she always got us going just the same. HUGS and KISSES GIRL!!!
What can I say…the people we meet on our trips to Couples are why we keep coming back! From our first trip way back in 2004 at CSA where we met our most favorite vacation friends Angie and Myles, 2005 at COR with Jeff and Darcie, and the Six Pack, 2006 back at CSA Angie and Myles met us there for a reunion and we met Mike and Lew, 2007 back at CSA Jeff and Marybeth, Mike and Monica, Lew and Mike again…. So you see how it goes. We LOVE ALL our Couples vacation friends… Hugs and kisses to you all.
That brings us to this year. We met so many people that it was staggering. YES, I was staggering most of the time myself but that is not what I am talking about here. I met my East Coast alter Ego in Terry and his wife Peggy who looks just like one of our friends here in SD. Now I am going to tick someone off but here I go the best I can with names…We also really enjoyed meeting and hanging with the following people:
We really dug Dave and Jackie, rocked Ken and Debbie, chilled with Brian and Pat, would give our hearts to Tom and Phyllis, learned a lesson from Kathie and Dan, valued our time with Valerie and Jean-Michel, hung out with Rudy, Pat and their wives (Sorry ladies….names slipping me right now, you are both gorgeous). I know there were tons of others couples we met and enjoyed their company. I have picture of some of you so drop me a line and say hello. There was one couple at the beach bar that we had a really great time talking to and I took about a million pictures of you guys. You are both gorgeous and witty. I do wish we spent more time with you but alas we did not.
The Good-bye bus ride was sad, long and uneventful. This was probably the quietest bus ride of all that we have taken. We were hoping to meet up the Jeff and Darcie again on the bus ride but that did not happen. We did see them at the airport, Thanks for the bottle of water Jeff…. We arrived at Houston with a short turnaround flight to San Diego and had to run through the airport. Going back through security some dork parent was not paying any attention to their child and the little brat tripped me almost causing a severe injury to my replacement knee. PEOPLE….pay attention to your little rug rats! Thank you. I was as nice as I could be describing this even. I was pretty steamed at the time…Sorry Patty.
Plane ride to SD was uneventful and we got back at about 8:30 p.m. SD time. That would be 10:30 p.m. Ochie time. It was a long travel day since we got up at 4:30 a.m. SD time… WAAAAAaaaa yes, I am a big cry baby!!!!
Once home our cats went crazy. Rudy our big male would not shut up. He kept yacking until about 1:00 a.m. when we finally went to bed. We woke up to all the cats in bed with us….so cute, they missed us!
Trip Summary: All in all, we really enjoyed our trip to CSS. We loved the staff, the food, the resort, and the people we met. Still I think CSA is our favorite resort so far. Next time we will do a CN/CSA split so we will have then gone to all the resorts. Then we will probably start over and go back to them all. My favorite fantasy is spending a month in Jamaica and spending a week at each resort. Will it happen???? Some day, some day…yes it will…
If you want to see our pictures, or just contact me, please e-mail me at rutryder(at)yahoo(dot)com.
Until next time,
Barry and Patty (Miss P) AKA Barry White and Patty La Belle
September 8th, 2009, 12:03 PM
Bearso - thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed review. We were at CSS in January after having been CSA devotees. We loved CSS. However, you are spot-on with your assessment of the rooms. I would love to book a penthouse suite there, but there is such a variety of rooms, no telling what we might get (I'm sure they're all fabulous, just different). Isn't Casanova the best, though? We loved dinner on the terrace.
September 8th, 2009, 01:24 PM
Bearso - as usual - Monica and I are jealous. We're sitiing here in Alabama doing the double digit dance until we can return to CSA in Dec 09. Hope we get to see you and Patty soon.
Mike and Monica
Jamaica Soon Come.
CSA Torch Holder 2012
September 8th, 2009, 01:37 PM
Hey Barry sorry you didn't like your room so much but glad you loved CSS. To bad maybe they could have changed your room? We had E-2 last time and it had a blocked view to but I still loved it very jungle like view with the water peaking through. We'll have to get back to CSA someday it is great but Ochi keeps calling me!
Shari & James
Members of the 4 for 4 club
September 8th, 2009, 01:53 PM
Thanks for the great review, makes me miss it terribly 220 days till we return to CSS.
I think we had the same room as you, did you have the large bathroom, two vanities, and big shower???? I agree on the view, but I loved the big bath the rooms of that category don't all have the big bathroom. Now I'm curious if it was the same room.
Simone, aka Fluffy we loved her!!!!!!!!!!!!
September 8th, 2009, 08:13 PM
I probably should have asked for a different room but that is not my style unless the room was horrible which it was not. I just did not love it.
Sounds like the same room. The bath room was BIG! Open walk-in shoewer, two sinks...
Mike, We are dying to go back home already and it has only be a few days...
September 8th, 2009, 09:33 PM
Wow! What a review. We are first-timers going in May, 2010 and can hardly wait. Everything we read about Couples (any of the 4), makes us want to hop a plane and go now.
September 8th, 2009, 11:46 PM
WOW!! What a wonderful review!! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. These are the posts I enjoy most. Makes you feel like you know the resort without ever having been there.
September 9th, 2009, 05:33 AM
Sounds like you had a Wonderful Time.... and also met our friends Phyllis and the "Senator" aka Tom.... aren't they sweet?
Where can we see pics?
Art xo Francine
September 9th, 2009, 01:27 PM
GREAT report, Barry !! And, I feel so honored that Dave & I got a mention in it !! Now.....we just have to get Couples to build an AN rooftop facility at CSA...
September 9th, 2009, 02:14 PM
How is the airport lounge? Are there drinks in the lounge and are they included in the package or extra? How often does the bus leave the airport for the resort? We will be there in just about 30 days!!!
September 9th, 2009, 03:05 PM
Maybe they will do that when they do the Palms remodel....
September 9th, 2009, 06:33 PM
There is Red Stripe and Red Stripe lite, water and soft drinks I think. In the lounge, they have a restroom, some lounge chairs, and bar seating. We never seem to be in the lounge very long, maybe 5 to 10 minutes and they pack us off to the shuttle bus. I make it a point to head straight for the bathroom first thing then get my beers. Take a two cups each for the road. Make sure to have a few bucks to tip the baggage handlers at the bus. I like to sit up frond just behind the driver. Best view of the road but also you are able to sit with your S.O. There is a jump seat next to the driver but only seats one. Any more questions, please just ask... Have fun!!!!