May 20th, 2012, 11:27 AM
CSA Trip Review 5/12-5-19
Just returned from our 5th trip to couples; 4th to CSA. We are a married couple in our early 30’s from Florida. Here’s our review:
Travel: In and out of customs/immigration was very fast. The shuttle bus left on the way there after about 10 minutes in the lounge. The way back we left at 7:00 for a 11:45 flight. We decided to do the MoBay VIP lounge and were very pleased. $30/person purchased through the front desk on check out and you have a comfortable place to sit and wait with TVs, Wifi, snacks, and free open bar. They will go and get food for you at an additional cost. Service was very good in the lounge.
Check in/out: Easy; we had done pre check in and it was very easy. We got to the resort very early (around noon), so our room wasn’t ready. It is great that they let you go and start your vacation even before the actual 3pm check in time. We had lunch, then changed into our suits and hit the beach. We came back at 3pm and our room was ready to go. They let you do check out the night before now so you can settle your charges and this was really convenient, especially with our early leaving time.
Room: We stayed in a second floor middle beachfront veranda suite. We like the second floor as it offers more privacy, as well as not having a corner room for the same reason. The mini bar person came by after a few hours to deliver our selections we chose during pre check in. We love having the mini bar—we often like to sit on our porch and having drinks right there is a real plus. Otherwise, the room was clean, the bed comfortable, and the AC works great. Housekeeping came between 12-4 every day and did a nice job. Most of the time we didn’t do turn down service, because we felt like we didn’t need it.
Crowd/Atmosphere: Wide age range; very varied this time. The “wild” groups were actually the “older” (50’s) crowd this time. Lots of early risers—we are usually alone with a few other people at 7:30 in the Palms, but it was pretty crowded early this time. We would pass a good number of people already laying out/swimming at 7:30. There also seemed to be some late night people too, the aura lounge had a lot of people the night we went. Overall fun groups; no one too aggressive or too crazy. Several wedding groups-but none that monopolized any one space.
Beach/Pool/Activity: The beach is the best; one of the best I’ve seen. It is coming back from the storms last year. The tree with the barry’s bar sign at the edge of the property is almost back out of the water completely. There are little huts along the beach, these are usually saved very early. We are early risers and would sit on our balcony and watch people go out and leave their things. Unlike in the past, those around us who saved a hut actually used it. We were up early enough to save a hut, but were never motivated enough to throw on clothes and go down there because there is a ton of natural shade in the trees. We went to the beach at varying times, from morning to afternoon and never saved a place. We always found two chairs with floats and a table without even really looking. There were always available chairs. The pools were pretty crowded this time, but we found a spot when we wanted one. The only activity we did was snorkeling and for the first time ever, they didn’t have a spot the first day we tried (we went around lunch). The next day we stopped right at 8 am and reserved a slot. I guess it was all the early risers; we have never seen people waiting in line at the water sports hut at 8am before. It was also a really active crowd. The paddleboards, kayaks, sailing boats, water ski boat, etc were constantly in use.
Bars: Our favorite part; or a close tie with food. Very good service, fast even when busy. The green flag servers now can wear shorts and t shirt and I think they have 2 per beach bar now, so they are faster. We always go get our drinks, since we sit close the bars. Martini bar was excellent as always-nothing better than a grey goose martini.
Food: Food was very good. We prefer Palms for breakfast—huge spread and lots of choices; fast. Patios breakfast was also good, not a favorite of mine because most of the breakfast choices have seafood in them but my husband is very happy there. Lunch at Palms is fast and good, with many choices, the pizza at Patios is worth the wait, and the grill has really good jerk chicken. Dinner at Palms was my favorite; my husband had his at Patios. Feathers was excellent, worth wearing pants and shoes for my husband. The repeaters’ dinner had great food. As I’ve said before, I don’t eat any seafood and I have no trouble finding good food.
Staff: We saw a lot of familiar faces, some new faces, and a good number of trainees. We met the new manager and had dinner with the bar manager. The staff/service has always been very good, but in our last trip we thought it was lacking compared to earlier service. This time, everyone, everywhere was on point it was like they have been re-energized. Excellent, attentive, and fast service. Even drink service at Palms for lunch (which had been a little lacking before) was great.
Credits/Romance Rewards: We had a $300 early booking credit plus a $150 Romance Reward credit, and a free bottle of sparkling wine (a little nicer than the one you can get in the room). We used our credits for some clothing items in the gift shop, a bottle of Dom Perignon at Feathers, and a massage for me. I love the new romance rewards program. It is nice to have a credit for things you forgot or little items you want.
Don’t Forget: So some of these aren’t must haves, but I like them. A pen for the plane to fill out your customs forms. Bug spray—and use it at night (I did forget this this trip, but we found a small bottle for $5 in the logo shop). A can size koozie—fits the cups on the beach just right and bendy straws (sitting up can just be too much sometimes). Also a wine stopper for your bottles in the mini bar.
Great trip—we will be back for our sixth time!
May 21st, 2012, 01:15 PM
Great review. thank you for taking the time to write it. It helps all the first timers and us repeaters. We're going for our 3rd time in Jan 13. Our first 2 trips were to CTI. This next trip we're splitting our vacation 7days at CTI & 7days at CSS. Thanks to people like you (submitting reviews) we decided to try another resort. Again thank you. Scott and Jennifer