February 5th, 2010, 01:06 PM
CTI/CSS Review Jan. 16-30
We are back from 2 wonderful weeks in Jamaica. Once again Couples has exceeded our expectations. The renovations at Tower Isle are fantastic and we were welcomed home by the wonderful staff that remembered us. We had befriended a young bartender named Simone in 2008. When we first met her she had a 14 month old daughter who is now almost 4. We met up with her and her daughter on her morning off. Once again we took school supplies and small gifts for the staff.
The spa at Tower Isle is fantastic - a huge improvement for the resort. Very tranquil. It was great fun using our spa credits and the staff is wonderful. The jacuzzi's at the spa were great and can be used anytime day or night. I had a manicure/pedicure and a body scrub and we had a couples massage. There is also a smoothie, juice bar at the spa.
We also had lots of credits for the gift shops. The shops are very nice with a good selection. Got some cover-ups, flip-flops, swimsuit, sundress, gifts for the kids...
The logo shop down by the beach has a coffee bar where you can get espresso, lattes, iced coffee, cookies etc. Very nice. The veggie/snack bar by the beach had some healthy snacks but we only tried it once. We were too full from all of the other food we were eating!
The food was great at all of the restaurants. Although we are not fans of Asian food the atmosphere at Bayside can't be beat. We just wished that it was still Italian.
The Beach Grill of course had jerk chicken and pork plus patties and burgers. The Patio had a good selection for breakfast and lunch. The chocolate croissants at breakfast are wonderful and the pizza from the stone fired grill was awesome!
We ate at 8 Rivers for the repeat guest dinner and it was excellent. We only wish they would change the night of the repeater's dinner so we didn't miss the Beach Party on Monday nights. I had a wonderful pan seared salmon another night and the crab cakes are excellent. We also ate at 8 Rivers for lobster night ( Friday) and it was fantastic. 8 Rivers was our favorite restaurant. The food was good at Verandah but we had slow service . Right after we were seated a very large table of VIPs that were there for the anniversary sat down so we were kind of forgotten in the corner.
Our room 4409 was on the 4th floor of the west wing with great views of the ocean and Tower Island. Quiet at night and high enough that we could keep our patio doors open at night to hear the waves and tree frogs. We had our coffee on the balcony every morning. The new walk-in shower was great so was the make-up mirror. Bathroom kind of small for 2 people. Bed was very comfortable.
Another great addition to the resort was the new pool with swim-up bar. The internet cafe was very nice with about 10 computers. We watched part of the Vikings game in the game room on Sunday. We went to one yoga class. The glass bottom boat ride was entertaining and informative. The nightly entertainment was very good. We really liked the steel drum band and dancers.
Our 2nd week we moved to San Souci.
Our room was F-7 on the top floor with great views, a large living room with balcony and a separate bedroom in the back. The rooms at Sans Souci seemed a little dated after being at Tower Isle. The mini fridge and 24 hour room service were a big plus. The lower floors seemed to be musty if you didn't keep the air on. The pools and public areas could use renovating also but the staff works hard to keep everything clean. The grounds and landscaping are beautiful. We didn't mind the steps because we needed to work off some of the calories we were consuming!
Pierre and his staff remembered us from last year and they were all great. Guest services Ricardo and Lij were very helpful and filled all of our requests with a smile. Lutzan reserved tables for our group of 12 for the beach party close to the stage. We were able to take 3 other couples to visit Tower Isle on a Trading Places Day with no problem. Michelle in Sales, Saskiann at Charlie's Bar and Jheanel at SSB remembered us as well. The entertainment team works very hard to include all the guests. What we love about Couples is the staff will fill all of your requests "no problem" without expecting a tip.
There seems to be more of a staff turn-over at CSS compared to CTI but they have some excellent new trainees.
The food was very good both at Palazzina and Casanova and room service was excellent. SSB grill has the best jerk chicken and french fries in Jamaica!
Once again we enjoyed the spa credits and had massages in the huts overlooking the ocean. Ruth and Kerry Ann were wonderful. I had another manicure/pedicure that lasted all week. We were able to buy Walkerswood jerk sauce at the gift shop and the wonderful Naniki Natural products that Peggyweggy recommended. The gift shop had different selections than Tower Isle so we had no problem using our credits.
We were lucky to have great weather compared to the first 2 weeks of January. It rained a little at night and a couple of mornings. The first Wednesday it was cloudy all day. Most days were sunny and 84 degrees with a nice breeze. We did use bug spray as a precaution at the beach party because we heard the sand fleas are out at dusk and after a rain. It seemed to work as we did not get any bites.
We received all of our Romance Rewards at both resorts including the $100 departure check.
We're already thinking of booking for next January!
February 5th, 2010, 02:18 PM
I forgot to add staff shout outs to CTI:
Byron, Kirk and all the bellhops who welcome you home (and won't let you forget a birthday!)
Damion, Adrian, Simone and all the bartenders and waitstaff who's names we can't remember.
Mr. Henry - it was a pleasure talking to you - Don't forget to look into getting those light-up martini glasses with the Couples logo for the gift shop!
Housekeeping staff in the west wing especially Denise.
The spa staff - Pam, Genivieve and Fenella
The gift shop ladies were also friendly and helpful.
Roger in water sports- thanks for bringing more floaties out to the island!
Last but not least it was a pleasure to meet Randymon and Seandymon at the Anniversary Party. Sean - you work way too hard but we appreciate all you do!
February 5th, 2010, 08:14 PM
Hot dang Suboo, that was one heck of a review. So glad you got to experience two separate vacations in one, and in equal amounts of time at that.
Maybe it's been mentioned before, but I wasn't aware that CTI's spa also included a juice bar. How convenient is that! And it seems everyone of late has really been crowing about how good the food at 8 Rivers is. We are so looking forward to dining there and at Bayside as well. We're fortunate that we happen to love Thai/Asian cuisine, so we will not only get to enjoy the food, but also take in that unsurpassed gorgeous setting on the water.
It sure sounds like CSS treated you special too. Again, so cool. We plan on visiting there for a day via Trading places - can't wait to see this most romantic of resorts.
Reading is fundamental. It's just that for some, it's more mental than fun.
February 6th, 2010, 11:17 PM
Hi Sue and Adolf...thanks for sharing your review! We miss you guys. I'm glad you had such a great time. You're making us reconsider CSA and trying CTI.
Kristen & Matt
February 7th, 2010, 03:38 PM
Great review! Two questions:
1) How did you get spa credits at CSS?
2) Mr. Henry is back?
Thanking you in advance!
February 7th, 2010, 04:37 PM
Pictures of CTI
Here are some of our CTI photos. Enjoy!
1. Simone and daughter Jenae
2. Bayside View
3. 8 Rivers lobster
4. 4409 balcony
5. Beach Party set up
Last edited by Sueboo; May 3rd, 2010 at 09:58 AM.
February 7th, 2010, 04:52 PM
CSS suite F-7 photos
Here are some pictures of CSS suite F-7
Last edited by Sueboo; May 3rd, 2010 at 09:58 AM.
February 8th, 2010, 11:00 AM
We got the $500 spa/gift shop credits when we booked the the early booking Fall in Love special last June for Jan. 2010 travel.
There is a similar special running now for 2011 if you book by April 15th 2010. The $500 credit can be used for ANYTHING you would charge to your room including the spa. See the Hot Deals tab above.
Leonard Henry, the general manager is still at CTI.
February 8th, 2010, 10:05 PM
Thanks for the reply. We just booked our CSS trip about a month ago, fairly last minute. We've been to CSS 8 times, but since it was a Grand Lido property at first, then independent and subsequently a Couples Resort, we haven't been able to accumulate too many perks (yet).
I thought you were referring to Mr. Henry, a former Bar Manager at CSS. He fell ill around two or three years ago and I was surprised that he may be back at work at SS. Wrong Mr. Henry, I take it.