We visited CN June 9-16 2011. We never thought we'd be the type of people to return to the same resort year and after year. Yet...this was our third visit to CN and we've stayed at CSA once. (Going to try CSS in 2012!) As expected, it was an AMAZING holiday and didn't disappoint. This review is a bit of a stream of consciousness, so please forgive grammar errors, etc.
Arrived into Montego Bay around 10:30. Chose the wrong lane in immigration and it took a good 45 minutes, always frustrating to wait. Once through, bags were waiting. Just enough time to get a Red Stripe and use the restroom before someone took us over the TimAir counter. This was our first time flying TimAir and it won't be the last. Took about 10 minutes to get everything squared away. Got another beer while we were waiting and immediately went through "security" and out to the plane. Curtis was our pilot and as so many have commented he was just wonderful. Take off was so cool and he let me fly the plane. Within 15 minutes we touched down in Negril. Took a cab for $5 across the street to CN.
Herbert...one of my favorite people in the world, was waiting with champagne and towels. Check in was a breeze and this was by far the friendliest front desk staff we've had at CN. I just love skipping over to the railing and getting my first view of the pool and beach...such a great feeling!
Herbert took us to our room, Beachfront 5101. At first we were disappointed, as we usually stay on the other side of the resort close to everything. After one night we decided this is the best room. It's a corner room completely surrounded by the tropical foliage. Every morning we watched flowers fall from the trees into the pond. And since we were on the ground floor it was easy to visit with Aldeen, who works so hard keeping the grounds immaculate. We also met Craig from the dive shop. We are first floor people....hardly ever use the front door. We never locked our patio doors (although housekeeping always did) and never had any security issues. Kept our camera and a few items in the safe. Room was also around the corner from a hot tub that rarely got used. Had a couple of midnight dips in it, surrounded by palm trees and tons of stars overhead. The dive pool was also between us and the beach, which was nice because we would jump in to get the saltwater off before getting back to the room. KerryAnn was our housekeeper. Never did meet her, wish we did. She kept our room spotless...and we dragged in alot of sand!!! Always had towel art. Nightly turndown service is a treat too.
Beach was gorgeous, as usual. Water was warm and calm. Spent lots of time floating the days away. Red flag service was top notch! Just a few vendors around and of course "Cigarettes, Cigars...it's going to be hot, hot, hot, hot." (Love that guy.) Main pool and swim up bar was perfectly kept and Franklyn welcomed us home with a Bob Marley shot. Spent some at the au naturale area. Once we had it to ourselves, at the most there were 6 other couples there. No socializing to speak of, everyone kept to themselves.
By far, this was the best food we've experienced at CN. Ate at Lychee once...super service and good food. (My chicken was a bit dry...the only food disappointment of the week.) Otaheite was just wonderful...ate there twice. Food and service was impeccable!! Shout outs to Shaun and Leroy who took great care of us. Had dinner once at Cassava Terrace and it was awesome!!!! Ate once at Heliconia and were pleasantly surprised. We were disappointed with the food there our first trip to CN, didn't try it our second trip. This time it was VERY good. Loved the olive oil/hot pepper sauce. Used resort credit to do a private dinner on the beach. They set us up in the massage hut and we were so glad they did. No issue with bugs and it created a romantic atmosphere. Sabrina was a sweetheart and was fun to have as our server. There was a pretty big wedding reception happening at Heliconia. Their music was really loud and drowned out the romantic music they had for us. Some folks may have been annoyed, but we thought it was great. First relaxing dinner music, then dance music so we even got up and did the white man's overbite between courses. Then there was the Repeaters Dinner which never disappoints. Drinks and hors d oeurves to start in the piano bar. Spent some time chatting with employees. Then off to Lychee for dinner. Made awesome new friends and laughed alot. Food and service were great! I think the soups at all the restaurants were my favorite. We ate lunch at the beach grill every day. Food took a bit of time, but no worries. Played ping pong while we waited. We had breakfast on our patio each day, just the continental items they offer for room service. It was late one day and they called us to apologize and let us know it was on its way. We're not buffet people, so I can't comment on those. Although I always made a mimosa in the morning with whatever fruit juice they had on the buffet. Yummy!!! Derrick at the smoothie bar was so kind and went in the back to bring me passion fruit.
The surprise of the trip was that I decided to get PADI certified. My husband was already certified but he stayed with me the whole time. Richardo was our instructor and I can't say enough great things about him. He was patient, calm, and I felt safe at all times. He made it easy and fun. Craig was also wonderful!!! He was our guide for my first deep dive. I freaked out a bit when I first got in the water and wanted to go back to the boat. He was amazing and took my hand, had me stare into his eyes (which wasn't hard because he is a cutie) and slowly had me descend with him. The rest of the group was wonderful waiting for me and we had a great dive! Dove with Shrek for my last dive and what a fun guy he is. My only regret was not getting certified earlier in the trip so we could have more dives. Met more fabulous people that I know we'll hook up with again. I'm hooked and can't wait to get back for more!
I can't comment on too many of the activities, as we spent most of our time either lying on the beach, floating on the water, of diving under water. Hubby played some beach volleyball. Bocce ball during sunset was one of our favorite activities, usually with a glass of champagne in hand. Entertainment staff was lots of fun, but we didn't get to know them as well this year as in year's past.
Checkout took a little more time than usual. We had $700 in resort credit and various expenses, so I think that held it up a bit. Since we took TimAir back we had a good hour or two at the resort than if we had taken the shuttle. The best part of that is the depression that sets in for the dreaded ride back to Montego Bay wasn't nearly as bad. We got to see Curtis again and the thrill of the flight. Immigration and check-in at MoBay was a breeze...easiest its ever been for us.
All in all, another amazing vacation at Couples Negril. Every year I cry before I leave, knowing full well I'll come home again soon. They do such an incredible job at creating the best holiday ever. For those of us with full, crazy-busy, blessed, yet stressful lives at home it is such a great escape from reality. Kudos to Karen Lanigan, general manager of CN. Her exceptional leadership is evident in every detail and employee of CN. I can only imagine all the hard work that happens behind the scenes to create such a special place for us. Thank you for everything Couples Negril!!!!
Photos are at this link. (Hope this works!) You'll need to skip through some family shots on the front and back end. Jamaica is the bulk of the photos in the middle. http://www1.snapfish.com/snapfish/th...NAME=snapfish/