My partner and I stayed at CTI May 24-June 2. The following is a review of our stay.
We arrived from Toronto on time (yeaaa). Since it was a Monday afternoon the airport was not busy and we breezed though customs. The airport has improved 1000 times over since my last visit in 2003—it is so much more efficient. A minute later we were sitting in the Couples Lounge waiting for our bus. We both enjoyed a Red Stripe in the lounge and then about 10-15 mins later we were ready to board our bus. The transition from lounge to bus went pretty smooth but in hindsight we would have handled our own luggage. The porter who handled our bags for all of 60 seconds demanded a tip and although we had no problem with this he was very aggressive and borderline hostile. As I mentioned next time we will handle our own luggage.
Our bus driver (Vincent) was excellent! It was around 1:45 as we begun our journey to the hotel. There were only two other couples on the bus so we were able to spread out and get comfy for the ride. The sky was overcast as we drove and we encountered a brief rain shower. I have been to Jamaica many times before so I am used to the road theatrics. Half way through the ride as per usual the driver pulled into a roadside café to allow us to use the washrooms etc..none of us wanted to stop so he drove on.
When we arrived at CTI we tipped the driver and headed into the lobby. We received our room keys as well as a nice tall glass of rum punch and Captain Kirk led us to our room 4306. Kirk was the first CTI employee that we really interacted with and he set the standard that we where pleased to learn was the norm for all employees at the resort. Our room was spotlessly clean and the bed had a lovely towel arrangement in the form of swans on it. We brought a laptop with us and the resort was equipped with wireless.
The view of the ocean from our room was partially obscured by palm trees and we considered asking to be moved to another room but after a few minutes we decided we were happy where we were. There isn’t much else to say about the room except it was clean and comfortable. Following the advice of the other reviewers we promptly made reservations at all restaurants. We had no difficulty getting reservations, I think because the resort was not full.
A+++++our favorites were 8 Rivers and Bayside. We ate at 8 Rivers twice because we enjoyed it so much. Our server Charles provided the best service we have ever experienced anywhere and we are both seasoned travelers. He was extremely efficient and very charming Charles gets an A+++++ in our books. There isn’t much I can add about food that hasn’t already been mentioned by others. There is something for everyone and even the regular buffets were fantastic. Breakfast was my favorite meal of the day—the Jamaican station always had my favorites! We visited the Veggie bar everyday for sweet potato chips and pumpkin or smoked marlin dips. Our favorite Veggie Bar server was Karon. She always greeted us with a smile and said hello never batting an eye when I came by with my endless orders of coconut water. We tried the Pool grill a few times and enjoyed the snapper as well as the jerk burgers and chicken patties.
Excellent service—so good we tried to tip our favorite bartenders but were told that tips are not permitted! Our drink of choice was Miami Vice with Appleton rum! We also brought our own Mangoes in town since the resort did not have any on hand and the bar staff they made them into delicious smoothies for us.
We spent most of our days lounging by the pool bar area in a nice secluded spot under the palms. The only bug about the pool area was having to deal with cigarette smoke. We are both non-smokers and absolutely detest the smell of cigarette smoke. Most days we were lucky and didn’t have to deal with it.
We did not have any services done but we did utilize the spa areas mineral pool and lounge chairs. This was my favorite part of the resort it is very tranquil and relaxing and I loved the aroma of essential oils. The mineral pool was a wonderful oasis—my skin is still dewy soft the mineral bath soaks.
Every staff person we encountered was A+++. On our second day we were greeted at lunch by Kadian who chatted us up and let us know what daily events were scheduled. We also enjoyed chatting with some of the servers, Francin in the mornings, Karon at the Veggie bar, Kenisha at the pool bar. Kenisha was such a sweetheart mixing us delicious Miami Vice’s everyday. We would often plan our trips to the bar specifically when we knew she would be on shift so we could chat with her. We also met Dewdrops who is a lovely woman with a perennially sweet disposition. Maxine who would stop by and ask us how our stay was so far. Jean our housekeeper was also very friendly and A big part of our desire to return to CTI has to do specifically with seeing all the wonderful people we were able to interact with.
Activities / Entertainment—
Although we signed up for all of the excursions we were unable to go on most of them due to the weather. On the day we were supposed to go horseback riding as well as on the Catamaran Cruise it was raining. We did not relish the idea of either horseback riding or going out on the ocean in the pouring rain. There are other daily activities that we said we were going to participate in but just opted to relax instead. We did go to Dunn’s River Falls on Sunday and it was great. No cruise ships were in port! I had been before so I went so my partner could experience doing the climb. While he climbed I walked the grounds with one of the tour guides and got a tour of the beach and grounds of the falls—I really enjoyed the experience. Upon your departure from the falls you will get hustled by vendors and other hanger on’s trying to get you to buy, buy, buy!
We enjoyed the nightly entertainment. Our favorite was the steel pan band and the dancers who performed at the Beach Party on Monday night. We wanted to listen to the piano bar singer but he/she was never there when we walked by.
We meant to arrange to be taken over to the island early one morning to take pictures before it opened to visitors but we never got around to it.
Wish we had-
Brought a small amount of Jamaican currency and a calculator with us. If you are staying on the resort it’s no problem but we did go into town to shop. We knew what the exchange rate was but it could be confusing sometimes especially when dealing with street vendors. Although we had a local guide with us they are not always helpful and will tell you that ‘It costs more than that.” even when you are paying with American dollars and the exchange rate is 1 USD to 88 JMD.
Brought toys and treats for the parrots. We visited them often while we were there.
Booked 10 days instead of 8. But I know if we booked 10 days I would complain that I wished we had booked 12 days instead of 10…
Jamaica is a beautiful place to visit. While having dinner one night we overhead an guy say that 'He couldn't wait to get home so he could mow his lawn." I don't know about you, but in the midst of all the beauty of CTI getting back to reality was the LAST thing on my mind. It was a sad and depressing ride back to the airport for us. Overall we had a WONDERFUL stay at CTI and we will definitely visit again.
Last edited by ms325i; June 16th, 2010 at 12:13 PM.