Another AMAZING week at CTI... I'm not a big fan of writing reviews, so I'll just share some random thoughts:
Tipping. There have been a lot of recent reports on other sites that have stated tipping is rampant. This is simply not true. During our seven night stay we did not see a single instance of a guest trying to tip a staff member, nor did we see any instances of staff soliciting tips.
Service. Our 2009 trip began eight days after the reopening. We had incredible service, but since then, have wondered if our experience was due to the staff being excited to be back to work after a year and a half, and if was a result of the resort only being at 30%-40% capacity. Nope - this team is the real deal. I'd guess CTI was at 90%-95% capacity during our stay, and our service was at least as good as last year - probably better.
Piano Bar. Yes, there is a faint mildewy smell. I don't think it was as bad as people have claimed, and it seemed to improve over the course of seven days.
Beach. The beach has healed itself nicely. In fact, had I not seen the pictures from a couple months ago, I probably wouldn't have noticed a changed from a year ago.
Food. All of the food was fantastic. Bayside was considerably better than last year. They definitely have gotten the menu dialed in. The beach grill also improved considerably from last year, however the service is still a little iffy. 8 Rivers was a great experience again. My first thought was that the food wasn't quite as good as our first trip, but really the only issue was that the quality of the beef didn't seem quite as good. However it was still a great meal. The Verandah and Pario were again both very, very good.
Repeaters Dinner. This year's was the smallest of the three repeaters dinners we've been to. It wasn't nearly as loud as in previous years, didn't seem to drag out so long, and was much more enjoyable.
Omelet Station. Yes, Ulysse was great, and we really miss him. But his replacement, Myma-Sue, is definitely doing a great job filling his shoes. She's a very warm, happy person with the most contagious smile.
Miscellaneous. We had the $350/$150 credits, plus our Romance Rewards perks for being at the Passionate Love level. Everything was as it should have been and was very easy to use. Our departure check was ready at check-out.
Grounds. Wow! The landscaping was a wonderful surprise. We'd only seen CTI one time right after the renovations, so there was a lot of dirt and construction debris still scattered around the property. Everything is absolutely beautiful now. It's hard to believe so much has changed in just a year.
Swim-up Bar. We spent a couple hours at the swim-up bar for the first time. This seemed to be the gathering spot for all the wedding parties, including a LOT of singles. That, coupled with the activities provided by the entertainment team, made it a little too Cancun-ish for our tastes. Nothing was too outrageous or annoying - we just prefer the atmosphere of the island.
The island. Still our favorite place in the world!