April 25th, 2011, 12:17 AM
CSA Review April 17 to April 24
We went to Couples Swept Away April 17th through the 24th. Two other couples vacationed with us for the first half of the trip. I read several reviews before booking and the resort exceeded my expectations. This review is kinda long, but I wanted it to be detailed. I"ve also posted on TA.
Arrival - Our arrival to Montego Bay was smooth and easy. We enjoyed a few beers at the Couples lounge before leaving the airport. We were asked (okay forced) to tip the baggage guys, which was a little annoying. We had a pretty nice ride to Negril, stopping with about 35 minutes to go for guests to purchase drinks or use the restroom. Check in was a breeze, we were greeted with towels and champagne and all three rooms were ready at 1:00 when we arrived! We hit the beach after lunch!
Food- Always amazing! We ate at all of the restaurants and never had one complaint about the food. The Palms was close to our room and has a good variety in the breakfast and lunch buffets. Seagrapes is really nice for a light meal, the fish tacos and plantain chips were my favorites there! This is also the spot to get a fresh coconut with actual coconut water. These arenít always available so check back if they arenít in yet. Thereís also a soft serve machine near Seagrapes! Yum!!! Patois was awesome for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We felt the best service was here by far. Make sure you try the banana stuffed French toast at breakfast, the mac and cheese at lunch, and the marlin dip at dinner. We also had a great white wine, kiwi and watermelon sangria here!! Feathers was great for the food and the service, but they are pretty strict about the dress code. The Cabana Grill is great too for jerk chicken, French fries, and the snapper sandwich. We ate at Lemongrass twice. Both times the meals were excellent, especially the appetizers sampler and pad thai noodles! All in all, we found the food to be amazing!
Beach- This is one of the best beaches Iíve ever seen. The sand is so soft, the water is crystal clear, and the floaties are heavenly! The people walking up and down the beach selling their crafts are fun to watch and talk to, and gave it a real Jamaican vibe. You just say no thank you, and they leave you alone. We loved the guy with the keychains all over his head and bought a few bracelets. The musicians are talented, and the guy who says ďSheeeelllllllllllllllsĒ was entertaining to our group! Watersports like kayaking, hobie cats, etc. are all included. The seat saving was the worst Iíve seen at a resort. People wake up at 5 am and save the palapas, and there arenít many. Also, many shady spots are gone by 8 or 9 am. We preferred the sunny spots, and never had a problem getting a chair, but I found the palapa saving to be very rude and wish it was better enforced by the management. We loved the hammocks and took a few naps in them!
Room- We stayed in a Garden Verandah Suite, and loved it! It was very clean, and the bed was comfy! We had our own private porch with a couch and chair for reading and relaxing. In our room we had a fully stocked mini bar and then we could also request other items to be brought to our room, including full sized bottles of liquor and wine! The room was cleaned while we were at the beach and we enjoyed the turn down service. The bathroom and shower were spacious, and we loved that the bathroom included bottles of aloe! The room has an IPOD docking station, which was great to charge our IPODs and listen to some reggae music while getting ready to go out. There was a nice TV in the room, but we didnít use it once! I loved the plantation style shutters on the windows and doors. The rooms have a lot of charm and character. I stayed in building 2, and the road noise didnít bother me at all!
Entertainment- At the Palms starting around 9 pm most nights there is a house band and singer playing and many people hang out, listen to the music, have some drinks, and lots of people dance. There are a few special nights with guest performers. I enjoyed ďSoul for SoulĒ. These shows are over around 11, and we never made it to the Aura Nightclub. We did go to the piano bar once, and had lots of fun. The pianist is very talented and knows how to get the crowd going! We also enjoyed the Shipwreck Beach Party, Talent Show, and Beach Bonfire. The entertainment staff is good! We didnít see them much during the day, but at night they got everyone on the dance floor. They arenít as active as the entertainment staff at other ALL INCLUSIVES, but they let you come to them if you are interested in activities.
Excursions- Included are glass bottom boat, snorkeling and a catamaran cruise. We did the snorkeling trip and catamaran. The cruise was LOTS of fun. You go past Rickís, watch a few people do some dives, and then head over to the caves. Itís so much fun jumping off the boat and going down the slide, and the cave is fun to swim in! The group I went with also really enjoyed snorkeling. You can go more than once and see a different site each time!
Fitness- The fitness facilities are great! We worked out in the weight and cardio area. I took the aerobics and yoga classes and they were great. My boyfriend, who is a fitness buff, thought the gym equipment was great for a resort! The running track is a little short (says my running buddies), the lap pool looked great but we didnít try it. If tennis is your thing, this is definitely the place to go! I wish we had taken some private lessons or gotten a personal training session. This is included free. The best part of the fitness center? The health bar after for banana smoothies, fruit infused water, or a healthy snack!
Spa- I had an hour Swedish massage and it was great. I enjoyed the spa facilities and liked relaxing in the long hot tub before my massage.
Drinks- Anything you want, anytime you want! They have a menu at each bar with TONS of choices, and you can also ask the bartenders to make you anything youíd like. They have some good top shelf choices! Iíll never understand why some people drank Miller Lite the whole time, but hey, to each his own! My favorite drink was the Sangria, Higher Level, Pina Colada, and Dirty Banana!
Security- I always felt safe at the resort. There are several guards on duty on the beach and they check you leaving and coming back to the resort if you take a walk on the beach.
Photos- There are several photographers who capture memories for you throughout the trip. They are very talented, and the staff at the photo shop were always very friendly. Theyíll make a folder for you and let you look at your pictures as often as youíd like. We purchased five photos and a frame for 65 dollars. Itís a bit pricey, but the sunset pictures are breathtaking, and itís nice to have professional photos while you are on excursions, so you donít have to risk your camera being ruined!
Departure- The only chaotic time. There were three full busloads checking out when we did, and the front desk staff was not only understaffed for this surge but also having trouble with two different couples who had credits not apply to their bills. I was getting worried Iíd miss the bus, but it turned out to be ďno problemĒ.
Favorite Staff- Donovan at Patois, Skippy of the Entertainment Staff, Jovian at the Photo Desk.
We will definitely make a return trip to Couples Swept Away!
April 26th, 2011, 07:10 PM
Great review! What is the Shipwreck Beach Party like? We also missed the Bonfire last time because of the iffy weather
April 28th, 2011, 10:59 PM
The Shipwreck Beach Party is like a huge wedding reception on the beach. 10 oerson tables, open bar, and buffet food. The lines for food were long, but the food was good! We enjoyed meeting new people at dinner and it was fun to eat dinner steps from the water. The entertainment was good too.
The bonfire is my favorite memory of the trip, for sure.
April 29th, 2011, 12:28 AM
Thanks for the detailed review! We are returning for our 3rd visit to CSA in July. It has been 5 years since our last trip there. Counting the days until we return to paradise...