January 22nd, 2010, 11:49 AM
Our first trip to CTI was in 1998 when it was the only Couples Resort. We thought it was okay but weren’t planning to return. The following year, we visited CN and have returned every year since then. This year, we’re visiting CN in March or April and again in August, so when my husband Kevin suggested that we go to Jamaica in January for my birthday, I decided that we’d give CTI another try. I am so glad we did.
Despite the December airline scare, there were no more stringent restrictions on carry-on luggage. We traveled, as we always do, with two small carry-on bags and a tote bag. We were asked repeatedly—at the Couples lounge, by our driver, by the staff at CTI—if the airline lost our luggage. It’s become a long-running joke for us.
The only hitch this trip had nothing to do with Couples. TimAir somehow lost our reservation, so we were unable to fly to Ocho Rios, but the road has been much improved since our last visit.
While waiting in the Couples lounge, we met a wonderful couple, Mike and Tresa from Pennsylvania. We met b/c Mike was jealous of my Peyton Manning jersey (not really, he’s originally from Boston and a Patriots fan). We started talking and ran into them repeatedly throughout our stay. While Kevin and I typically keep to ourselves, we spent a lot of time with Mike and Tresa and met another couple—Gerald and Jane from Seattle—whose company we enjoyed as well. Kevin and I introduced the four of them to the Bob Marley shot. The next day, Mike and Tresa went out to Tower Island, introduced the drink to some others, and proceeded to get half of the island hammered.
We were talking one evening about packing, and I mentioned that we traveled with carry-on luggage. Mike responded that they did as well; he told me that, while he didn’t post on the MB, he did read it, and he found a packing list for traveling with carry-on luggage only that he and his wife used. He told me that he didn’t remember the poster’s name but that she had a funny signature line that said something like, “I know everything—just ask my husband.” Kevin and I started laughing, and I said, “yeah, that’s me.” I was glad that he understood my sense of humor, although Kristen can verify that my husband confirmed that I DO know everything, and I AM always right. I won’t share with you what that concession cost me, but Kevin had a GREAT time.
I met Randymon and Seandymon on my first day, and Kevin and I talked with Gary Stephens and Stefan Spath, who were at CN for the first few years that we stayed there. I recognized Kristen (bkhiattky) at the anniversary party from a picture she posted on the MB and introduced myself to her. I ran into her on the beach later in the week, and we spent some time getting to know each other. It was a much more social vacation for me than is typical, and I had a wonderful time.
Food - We ate at each of the restaurants with the exception of the veggie bar. The food was very good everywhere, and it was nice to see Stefan again. The man is tireless. We saw him in the dining room frequently and even saw him on a ladder hanging fabric panels in preparation for the anniversary buffet.
Kevin is a picky eater, so when there was nothing in the lunch buffet that appealed to him one afternoon, he simply went to the grill, got some jerk chicken, and joined me in the main dining area. It was very convenient.
Gym/Studio - The gym is now located near the pool. It has new equipment with four treadmills, four stationary bikes, and two elliptical machines as well as weight machines and free weights. The studio is right next door with spinning bikes and mats. There were only two classes offered each day: spinning in the morning (8 am I think) and yoga in the afternoon. As always, I have trouble sleeping in when we’re in Jamaica so I was up really early. I was at the gym by 5:30 or 6:00 am every morning for an hour of cardio and then in the studio for an hour of yoga or Pilates. On only one morning were there others in the gym; the other mornings, I had both the gym and the studio to myself. Kevin usually worked out at 7:00 or 7:30 am, and others started to show up then. It was never crowded however.
Two things I would change about the gym: (1) I would provide guests with some cleaning solution with which to wipe down/clean equipment after use. I used water and a towel, but the other resorts have always provided something with which to clean the equipment. (2) I see the logic in the way that the equipment is set up in the gym, but I think people would like it if the cardio equipment faced the tv. As it is now, none of the equipment faces the tv, and the tv is actually at the backs of people using the treadmills and two of the bikes and to the extreme left of people using the other cardio equipment. I was using the treadmill during the Jets game and would really have liked to have been able to watch it while working out.
The Staff - People always write about how great the staff is; I’ve always found a mixed bag: some are competent, some disinterested, some friendly, etc. Last week at CTI, however, I finally experienced what everyone else always crows about. The staff really was wonderful. I didn’t have one encounter with anyone who was anything less than friendly and smiling. The servers in the dining room remembered how I liked my coffee after the first day, and when I asked the cook at the omelette station if they had Scotch bonnet peppers, she responded that they didn’t. When I showed up the next day to request an omelette, however, she told me that she had some for me.
The front desk staff was helpful in assisting us to arrange for our TimAir flight to return to MoBay at the end of our trip, and we were amazed at how polite they remained even when treated disrespectfully by some guests who were irate that they weren’t given a specific room despite requesting it in advance.
The bartenders were lively and engaging and fostered a fun atmosphere. They remained quite pleasant even when everyone at the bar ordered Bob Marleys after we introduced them to Mike & Tresa and Gerald & Jane. Sorry about that.
Room - We stayed in a premier ocean room that overlooked the main pool. The room was sunny and bright, the view was great, and the balcony afforded some privacy. We had enough drawer space for our clothes, and the bathroom had a light up makeup mirror, which is VERY important now that I need reading glasses. Our room attendant introduced herself to us and was quick and efficient in making up our room each day. We had no complaints.
Tower Island - We went over one morning but only stayed a few hours. It was VERY crowded on both sides, and it was really windy, so it was too chilly for me. The island looked great, however. As we experienced last time, people on the side with the pool bar were more social, while people on the other side tended to keep to themselves.
Beach - The beach is nice, although I prefer the beach at CN. We never had a problem finding a place to set up with me in the shade and Kevin in the sun, although we did have to move my chair more frequently to ensure that I remained in the shade. We liked the fact that there were no vendors or musicians on the CTI beach; we’ve found them bothersome at times at CN.
Pools/Hot Tubs - Both pools were very nice. There were never very many people around the main pool. The pool with the swim-up bar became more active in the late afternoon, and I think this was a great addition to the resort.
My lone complaint about CTI had to do with the hot tubs. The relaxation tub at the spa and the two hot tubs near the main pool were only luke warm. We didn’t try the other two hot tubs in the spa area, but we never saw anyone in them, so I assumed that they weren’t working properly either.
Spa - The new spa is very nice and relaxing. We upgraded our 30-minute massages to 60-minute massages and enjoyed them very much. Gerald & Jane told us that the steam room was great, but we were actually waiting for our ride to TimAir’s terminal in Boscobel Bay when we heard about it, so we weren’t able to enjoy it ourselves.
Overall, we had a great time, and we would absolutely return to CTI. CN remains our favorite of the four resorts, but I truly believe that you can have a great vacation at any Couples Resort. Thank you, Couples, for a great birthday trip. You made turning 45 an almost painless experience.
Last edited by Pamela; January 24th, 2010 at 03:43 PM.
Reason: Correction of typographical error
I know everything, and I'm always right (just ask my husband).
January 22nd, 2010, 05:06 PM
Pamela, thanks for a nicely detailed and informative read. I'm so glad your were impressed by all that CTI has to offer, especially the service. I've stated this before and it bears repeating, CTI seems to have placed great emphasis on this aspect, as the one constant positive in review after review is the staff and the service they provide.
It seems as if you & the hubster really enjoyed yourselves on this trip. Very happy for you.
Reading is fundamental. It's just that for some, it's more mental than fun.
January 22nd, 2010, 07:20 PM
Thanks, Pamela! Your review makes me look forward to our trip to CTI in exactly 4 weeks. Great information!
January 22nd, 2010, 10:42 PM
Thanks for the detailed review. I prefer this type of fact-based, informative review very much.
January 23rd, 2010, 03:01 PM
Pamela, thanks for your detailed review. I am counting the days, 17 of them, until we are there for our 8th visit. Can't wait to be blowing sand out of my nose daily.
Truly, you can't say enough nice things about the staff. They're just the best, and they are happy folks. I can't ever think of one time that any of the staff has been a disappointment to me.
I've read many of your posts, and you are right all the time. Amazing, and only 45. I can sorta remember 45...now that I'm 56. So enjoy your 45th year.
January 23rd, 2010, 05:08 PM
January 23rd, 2010, 05:55 PM
can you post that packing list again? i am going to try to pack lighter this year. we go to csa but it's been so long since we have been there. the last time we went all airlines still let you check two bags for free!! lol
January 24th, 2010, 01:22 PM
I second that request as I am flying to Florida with carry on only and our 14 y.o. Thanks!
Originally Posted by melody
January 24th, 2010, 03:50 PM