July 6th, 2009, 03:47 AM
Here's my rather lengthy review I just poster at TA:
Bottom line, we loved this resort. We had a spectacular, magical time. CSA is absolutely beautiful from the perfect white powder sand beach to the luscious, verdant gardens. The vibe on the older part of the resort is very laid back and relaxed and we felt all tension melt away within a few moments of arriving.
We were at CSA for two weeks and we intended to stay in an atrium suite for the whole time. We had spent one week in our atrium and were napping in our hammock when renovations began in a block of rooms near us. We called the front desk and were told the work would be going on for the remainder of our vacation. They offered to move us to an Ocean Verandah Suite. The front desk manager (Lenease??) walked us over to our new room block and let us pick between two available rooms. She was very gracious and I appreciate that because I was quite upset about the move. I loved our atrium suite and while an Ocean Verandah is an upgrade, it didn’t have the magic for me. We were given a complimentary 50 minute Couples Massage to compensate for having to pack and move. We didn’t expect this and it was a nice touch.
Atrium Suite: It approaches irrational how I felt about this room. It was cozy, romantic, private, and very peaceful. Atriums have no TVs and we loved that. It felt like we were on retreat in paradise where we focused on each other and let the outside world go. The verandah was at least as big as the room and had the wonderful giant comfy woven cloth hammocks that you see in resort photos. (Only Atrium Suites have these hammocks.) The Atriums have only four suites per building, so every room is a corner room with windows on 3 sides. The bed was huge and very comfortable. The shower was double wide; easily accommodating two people.
Ocean Verandah Suite: This was a nice room but it felt much more like a regular hotel room. The verandah was much smaller with no hammock. We had a bit of an ocean view which we enjoyed. There are 12 rooms per building on the newer side of the resort (all rooms with Verandah in the title are on the new side) so half of the rooms are corner rooms and half are middle rooms. We had a 2nd floor corner room. It included a TV and a mini-bar. The bed was the same size and just as comfortable as the one in the Atrium. The grounds on the newer side are beautiful, but not as lush as the older side. We were very comfortable in this room; we just didn’t love it like we loved the Atrium Suite.
Negril is one of the best beaches in the world and Couples Swept Away is on one of the most beautiful stretches of that beach. The sand is powdery white and the water crystal clear. There are two beach bars, but you don’t have to get out of your lounge chair to get a drink. They hand out flags at about 10 am and all you have to do is stick your flag in the sand and they will come and serve you. Nice. One of my favorite things to do is float on the water and CSA has that covered. Each lounge chair at the beach and at the pools has a cushion on it that doubles as a float. Sweet! I didn’t have to bring a blow up one.
The swim up bar was rocking the 2 weeks we were there, lots of socializing and heavy drinking which we were not that into during the day. The great thing about CSA is there is lots of space for whatever you feel like. If you feel like a party animal you can go to the swim up bar. If you want total relaxation and alone time with your honey, there is a long beach with lots of private spots. If you want something in between you can pull up a stool at a beach bar and have a drink and some conversation with a mellower vibe then at the pool. There is literally something for everyone and every mood.
I have to give a shout out to the fabulous entertainment staff at CSA. There is always something to do but we never felt pressured to do anything. The staff made sure everyone was doing well and went out of their way to connect with us. Oliver, O’Neill, Jody, and Clover went above and beyond with us. I really miss them. I enjoyed hanging out with and goofing around with them all.
Food and Service:
We were happy with the food at CSA. My husband and I had several good laughs while were there remembering the person who posted on Trip Advisor just before we left on our trip that they didn’t get enough food and almost starved. The challenge is not getting enough to eat; the challenge is not pigging out so much that you can’t move.
My personal favorite was Sea Grape Café for lunch. There are tables right on the sand and we decided it was one of the best lunch views in the world. My hubby loved the Snapper sandwich and the fish tacos. I am vegetarian and was thrilled to get falafel cakes (didn’t really taste like falafels but were delicious), grilled veggie sandwiches, jerked vegetables (how cool! I got to try jerk!), and of course the famous sweet potato chips with jalapeno hummus. Yum! The service was always good here too.
We enjoyed Feathers. The food was excellent, but the service was very slow. I am fine with a nice restaurant having a leisurely pace, but 40 minutes before seeing an appetizer was a bit much. We ate at Feathers 3 times in our 2 weeks so the slow service was not a deal breaker for us.
After dinner, be sure and order The Flame, a coffee drink with Jamesons and Baileys that they pour over-proof rum over and light on fire. It looks fabulous and tastes so yummy.
The Palms had buffets at breakfast and lunch and the food was good. Dinner was challenging because the service was slow. It seemed that they were short staffed because all of the employees were very busy and working there bums off, and yet it still often took a long time and more then one request to get a drink or to order. Again not a deal breaker, but it is an area where the resort could improve.
We enjoyed Patois Patio. Service was great at dinner, but a bit slow at breakfast. The food was very good. I loved the pizza and of course the banana stuffed French toast in the morning.
There is room for improvement in food service at CSA. All of the staff were polite and personable and many were delightful and a joy to be around. It just often took longer then it should have to have a meal. I feel like I am nit picking a bit here because we so loved everything else and will definitely be back to CSA in the future.
My husband and I got certified as Open Water Divers while we were at CSA. What a great experience! I was nervous and they made it so easy. Anthony the dive master worked with me and made sure I was comfortable and that I could perform all of the skills with ease. Franz did one of my pool skill sessions and he was great too. Everyone on the dive team was funny and warm and made us feel as if we were part of their diving family. If you have ever considered getting certified, this is the place to do it. GlenRoy (Kung Fu Panda) and Wade (Captain Jack Sparrow) also took great care of us and made it lots of fun.
The diving was amazing. I felt weightless and free like I was flying underwater. We saw moray eels, sea snakes, jelly fish, colorful reefs and lots of gorgeous fish. My hubby went on 9 dives from 50-70 feet deep and he highly recommends the shallow plane dive-a dive to a wrecked Cessna airplane. I only decided to try scuba diving after my hubby was certified so I did 5 dives to a max of about 40 feet.
We love CSA. One of the things I haven’t mentioned yet is the people who come to CSA. We met so many great people from all over the US and Europe. I have never been at a resort before where it was so easy to connect with others. It was also easy to have lots of time for just the two of us. What a great combination.
We loved CSA and we recommend it highly to all. We have been to some great places in Hawaii and we have been to all-inclusive resorts in Cancun (Palace) and in Jamaica (Sandals and Beaches) and enjoyed them, but they don’t call us to come back like CSA does. Somehow, CSA feels like home to us now.
July 6th, 2009, 06:33 PM
We were there the same time as you sadly we never got to meet. Would be nice if you posted a pic so we could see if we recognise you. Great review, it was nice to read about staff memers we had met and can relate to. We also had a fantastic time and although we have only been home 3 weeks it feels as though we are homesick for CSA and cant wait to get back. Glad you enjoyed.
July 6th, 2009, 07:12 PM
great review!! Thanks for sharing!!
July 6th, 2009, 10:20 PM
Great review. It made me miss CSA even more. Thanks for the memories. Glad you found a home. Couples and CSA ROCKS!!
July 7th, 2009, 03:06 AM
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. Sounds like you had an awesome trip.
July 7th, 2009, 10:24 AM
Thank you for the great review. Isn't CSA amazing??? We discovered it a few years ago and have just booked our third trip for February. I am already counting down the days and your review just made it seem even more real...could almost taste the sweet potatoe chips and hear Ulti playing the piano. We are hooked on CSA now with no desire to go anywhere else. Some of our friends can't understand why we would want to return to the same resort over and over, but I just say..."Once you go, you will know!"
July 7th, 2009, 03:33 PM
ETF, Here we are at Patois Bar. Recognize us? How about a photo of you?
July 8th, 2009, 11:43 AM
Think I did see you towards the end of our holiday
July 9th, 2009, 01:06 AM
You look familiar too. Nice meeting you here since we missed meeting there.
January 10th, 2010, 04:15 PM
January 10th, 2010, 06:58 PM
Thanks for such a a great review! I'm a Couples newbie...you mentioned the coffee drink "The Flame"...was it listed on a drink menu at the restaurant? I'm worried I'm going to forget all of these wonderful suggestions by the time I get to Couples in March 2010!
January 10th, 2010, 08:58 PM
Check out the winners thread under photo contest. Our picture of the Flame came in 2nd in November. I don't think it was on the menu. Friends told us about it. It is delicious.
Here is a tip to help you remember. I keep a document on my computer of all the tips and photos I want to remember from here. If something catches my eye I copy it and paste it into my doc. Then I print it off and bring it with me.
January 10th, 2010, 09:34 PM
Great review, nicely detailed and VERY nicely formatted. Thanks a bunch for sharing, it was a most interesting read.
Reading is fundamental. It's just that for some, it's more mental than fun.
January 10th, 2010, 10:34 PM
Thank you for a great review. We are heading there for the second time in 21 days. We too felt Swept Away was magical. Hope we have as great a time as you did.
January 11th, 2010, 07:07 AM
Wow - what a great review - I have printed it off and will be taking ti with us for our first trip to CSA in April!
We are staying in an ocean v room so can't wait!!!!!!!!! Husband will love the coffee tip - thanks so much!
January 11th, 2010, 02:40 PM
Nice review...Can't wait to go on our first trip to CSA in April. Especially today that it is -27C in my home town, Moncton, New-Brunswick, Canada.
January 11th, 2010, 02:51 PM
Good review. I agree, the one area that CSA could improve is the food.
For us it was not the quality, it was the variety. We stayed 7 days, and I was tired of the same 2 menus at patois. At one point it was the same three days in a row. I do not like Palms so we either eat patois or lemongrass for dinner each night.
We are waiting to hear other reviews to see if couples addresses the menu issue we ran into. If it does not seem to be an issue anymore, we will book for 2010, if not, we will look for somewhere other than CSA to vacation at.