April 28th, 2013, 10:26 PM
CSS april 2013 - LONG review
I figured I should post my review since I stalked the message board for months to help us have our dream vacation! I had to let the depression of being home lift before I could bear writing it
Overall this hotel was incredible. Yes the rooms were dated, we expected that and didn't care. It had a real traditional feel. It's also true that the staff make the place even more incredible!!! This was our first time to Jamaica, and first time to Couples - but not a first to all inclusive. We are a late 20s married couple.
We had 16 hours of travel and were landing on a Saturday so bought the arrival service. Overall it ended up being a waste of money out of pure luck. We were the first of 8 planes to land, so it saved us 10 minutes tops. Had we arrived 45 minutes later maybe it would've saved us 45 minutes. The Mobay lounge was crowded (although we met Jimmy Fallon), and the food wasn't actually good at all. The couples lounge looked just as great. We got through so fast we only had 10 minutes tops to our shuttle! We ended up having to hurry to change and slug a Red stripe. We came on a Saturday in April and wished we hadn't spent the $110 on the arrival lounge - however who knows in the future we might gamble and use it again. The airport upon arrival was quick and easy to get through at 1130am on a Saturday.
Trip to the resort:
It really only took about 90 minutes from first step on the bus, to first step off. Our driver was fast and aggressive (but not scary at all), and no one needed to stop. Upon arrival our bags were removed, we were ushered to check in and received a towel and some much needed champagne. Check in was smooth at efficient. We were at the resort by 2pm (before check in) and our room was ready.
We got a one bedroom ocean suite and requested G block in pre check in . Our room was g18 and BEYOND GORGEOUS. I swear it's the room they use to advertise that category on the website. The view from the balcony is truly from a post card. The balcony had a table with two chairs and a lounger. We spent every morning and evening out there. Only got room service once because it's so slow, more on that later. G block was the furthest away, but I gained 5 pounds anyway, probably would've been 10 if not for the steps. If you take the road in from of the lobby down you can avoid the steps and it makes for a shorter trek by the end of the week if you get tired. There are about 5 ways to get up and down from the room - that was our favorite part.
We had no ants which I had seen complaints of. Our room was dated, but very clean. Our AC was leaking really bad, a very nice staff member was up to fix it within 15 minutes. We struggled with our safe and also had someone come up to help.
Beautiful! It looks just like the pictures. We loved to wander around and see everything they had to offer. Lots of lizards, plants, flowers, sculptures etc. There are HUGE spiders but they are up high in the trees and I never had a single issue and I'm terrified of spiders. We loved visiting the 2 birds, Anita and Cracker. They both let us pet them by the end of the trip. DO get bread and feed the turtles at the pond. We didn't get that advice until the end of our trip. They swim up like ducks! If you're lucky you'll see a pelican snatch a fish!
Do Dunns river falls! It's included and very fun. We went on Sunday and heard from people on other days that it's very crowded. No cruise ships on Sunday. Our bus filled up fast, so register and arrive on time.
Sailing was by far our favorite. We took lessons and had someone take us out twice.
Peddle boat was more work that it was work.
We did the glass bottom boat tour, and snorkeling twice. MUST DO! The water staff is incredible. We didn't have time to do any other water sports, but they offered lots more and we saw it used daily. Sign up for snorkeling 1-2 days in advance. All green flag days when we were there.
We also took the bikes around the turtle pond a few times which was fun.
The staff was very nice, however we found the entertainment and music selection more suited for an older demographic. We had our own private party with the staff after the beach party because no one else showed up! There were about 4 couples and staff, we turned on our type of music and had a blast! We also did the Gala and couples bingo. From the balcony on G18 you can hear the music just fine from other nights and it's more romantic.
Fantastic! We LOVED Casanovas for dinner, Keston and Clayton were our favorite. Pallazina was good - but we preferred Bella Vista and Casanova. Arrive early for Bella Vista (630pm when it opens) and you can get a table right on the beach. Some issues with bugs, I always wear bug spray at night. I got bite up much less than in the Mayan riveria. Lunch we did really like the buffest at Pallazina, but found we just ended up eating too much! We ate many lunches at the beach grill. We loved the Pallazina breakfast buffet! We ordered room service for breakfast and lunch once, it took at hour each time. We found the food to be less than spectacular so we felt the restaurants were a better way to go. We also loved the smoothies and healthy snacks at Charlie's bar - try the sweet potato chips with pumpkin/jalapeno dip! Yum!
Ok, this could potentially be a "negative" but I felt I got my moneys worth anyway. There really isn't "top shelf liquor" At least not at restaurants and beach bar. We didn't spent much time at the balloon bar. Smirnoff is the only vodka, no even middle shelf tequila, and Appleton rum. All of the drinks tasted amazing and we had plenty all week long. This was not a deal breaker, or even a sore spot for us. However, I feel it's false advertising. They have decent stuff, the bartenders are great at what they do, and entertaining.
We actually loved the beach! It's small but never felt crowded, and it's easy to swim around. I don't love getting in the ocean, and had zero issues with rocks or seaweed. The seaweed is only if you get out pretty far. I didn't need water shoes. The beach is secluded and private, which we loved. People did reserve chairs before breakfast. We had no issues finding a spot, although you had to search a little harder for shade - which we needed after our 3rd or 4th day.
We loved the mineral pool and spa near there. It was peaceful and refreshing. Can't speak much to the main pool - however it was already crowded and the entertainment staff spent alot of time there playing games.
This was really sad, and hard. However, everything was very smooth and in a timely fashion. We were in the airport 3 hours early. Security was a breeze. We ended up having a 4 hours delaying, missing all connections, and getting stuck in another airport - but no fault of the resort. In this instance the departure lounge would have been nice! We didn't purchase it, nor would we. We had a great time shopping - prices are actually the best at the airport! I would wait to buy things there.
We had a great time! We would LOVE to return, but probably won't simply because it's incredibly difficult for us to travel there. This was by far our best vacation to date. It was so relaxing, there really was a no tipping policy (although we saw it a few times in water sports), and everyone made sure you knew they were there to help you relax. The staff was amazing, and so were the guests! We made some great friends! It was relaxing, romantic and didn't feel like a resort. In fact you didn't realize how many people were there until the beach party and the gala! Don't stay anywhere else but a couples resort - incredible!