March 4th, 2013, 05:03 PM
CTI trip report with a little CSS...LONG read (sorry)
From Feb 20-27th, my lovely wife and I spent another great week at CTI. Our main focus of our trip was to surprise friends of ours, as we knew they were going to be there at this time. We became friends during last year's trip to CTI, and with them being from UK and us from western Canada, it's kind of tough to get together otherwise. They had no idea we were going to be there, and it only took about 5 seconds of us being on the island before they spotted us and ran at us for what I thought would be a more awkward hug (remember, we were on the island). After a few "oh my god!"s and "I can't believe you lied to us! Hahaha"s, the next thing they asked was what we're drinking and then said "Now get naked!" We had now been at the resort for about 15 minutes...here's how the rest of our trip played out.
The arrival at the airport was as fun as any airport...walk a mile, enjoy some riveting conversation at the customs booth, and grab your luggage. Sarcasm aside, the real fun started as you approach what I call, the "Couples Staging Area". A very friendly man is there to grab and tag your bags to prep them to load into the shuttle, while you quickly sign in and enjoy a Red Stripe/Red Stripe Light/soda/juice/or water. Within 20 minutes, you're on your way to your resort, which is about a 1.5-2hr drive, depending mostly on traffic density and the red lights in the couple towns you drive though. If you haven't heard about driving in Jamaica, you should probably grab a 2nd Red Stripe at the Staging Area. I personally don't find it too bad at all, but I'm used to Jamaican cab drivers lacking depth perception now so...
Getting to the resort, the first words that you will probably hear are "Welcome Home!" from the various people working the main entrance. Your luggage again is quickly dealt with as you check-in and get your room number. Before we even sat at the check-in counter, we were offered a refreshing rum punch, and it was in our hands within 2 minutes. The good mood of the staff is infectious, and will imporve the mood of even the most stressed "just rode in a Jamaican cab" person. A casual fist-bump, and a "yeah mon, hahahaha!" will make you forget you just about rear-ended 78 cars on the way there. After getting your room number, one of these fine gentlemen wheel your luggage to your room and go over your room with you. Mini-bar, safe, how to order room service, etc, are all quickly but thoroughly explained. And then you're free to enjoy the resort at your leisure. I recommend getting to guest services quickly and booking any reservations at restaurants that you'd like to check out, or any excursions you wish to do. They book up quick.
I'm not a "foodie", but I think the food here is GREAT, and personally think it's the best of any resort I've been to in Cuba, Dominican, or Mexico. Again, this is more of a "personal preference" kinda thing, so it's tough to tell people "no, THIS food is better than other food YOU ate before". I just enjoyed the variety. The buffet always impressed me at all times of the day. Eight Rivers was quite fancy...one of those four forks, three knives, two spoons kinda joints, where the "un-classy" folks like myself have to ask their wives which one they eat the soup/dinner/desert with. Just ask quietly...some classy folk are appauled by this. The Verandah is also nice, facing the ocean, does not require reservations (but get there before it opens!), and is a nice escape for those who get bored with the buffet. Check out the signs in the hallway for the menu for both Eight Rivers and the Verandah...both these restaurants are located across the hall from one another. The Grill, next to the main pool (no swim up bar)was great for a quick snack later at night, or for "brunch" or "lupper". Primarily simple meals like burgers and fries, chicken strips, calamari, etc. Fills the gap when the hunger pangs strike....especially at 2 am. At the far end is the asian restaurant, Bayside. On this trip, this was our favorite place to eat (reservations needed). We actually tried booking twice, but good nude pool company and too many rums made other plans for us on our second trip. Our waiter was more amazing than the food, believe it or not, explained the menu perfectly, and always talked to you by first names (which he only asks for once). We were VERY impressed with this restaurant. (I cannot comment on the Veggie Bar near the beach on the lower level, but I've heard they have some great options, including shakes).
There's a whiteboard near the steps by the buffet that lays out that days activities and locations, as well as nightly entertainment. I was quite impressed with the beach activities this time around in comparison to a year ago. There were always people out on the water in Hobie Cats and kayaks, full dive boats leaving at 9:30 each morning, and the option of beach volleyball (although I didn't see anyone play). As night arrives, there is the option of the band/show in the buffet area. Sometimes a steel drum band, sometimes a dance show (I've never seen people dance across a dance floor on ONE HAND BEFORE...wow!). My wife and I only attended these two shows and therefore can't vouche much for what else happens there, because we were usually at the piano bar! For you see, after a steady flow of rum, lots of people like myself think they can sing. If you're a music critic, stay away!! If you like laughing with other people who think they can sing, enjoy chatting with very interesting piano players, and nearly no line up at the bar, this might be the place for you. Usually it starts shutting down at around the 11:30-12:00 kinda area. Usually the sun and rum has beaten people up enough that they don't last much past this, but if so, you pretty much make your own fun later in the night. We'd mingle with friends at the piano bar, hit one of the hot tubs, etc. I almost forgot to mention the beach BBQ on Monday evening. Food was again, incredible. The show was also fantastic, and a good change from the usual nightly entertainment....watching traditional Jamaican dancing, followed by a very funny game played with couples from the crowd. Long story short, the guys had to show their dance moves...then the finalists brought their wives up and had to dance with each other, but imitating how their partner dances. Hilarious!
The main beach is smaller than many other resorts, and runs about 2/3rds the length of the resort. The option is there to swim in the ocean, but mostly people are just tanning. Others will get their "social on" at the swim up bar, and casually lounge around in the pool. My wife and I spent very little time here, so again, take this part of the report with a grain of salt. We spend all our time on the island! People often ask "what happens over there?" And usually their views of it range somewhere in the "everyone just stares at everyone's PARTS" to "it's basically Hedo". A quick trip over there would delete any of these ignorant views. You wanna know what happens over there?? Whatever happens on other beaches, but everyone is naked. In the morning, most people are reading books or soaking up the sun, and some are in the pool, "swimming" (walking) up to the bar. The worst thing I've seen out there was when the locks to the bar were corroded and we couldn't get in for like.....minutes!! Thanks bolt cutters. I think one reason that the nude areas are so much more social is because you know for sure that you have at least ONE thing in common with whoever you talk to, and makes for a good ice-breaker. "Hey, I see you like being naked...me too! So where ya from?" (Actual conversations are much more intellectual, and this was just for example purposes) Then you go from there. We were actually able to talk some people into trying it, and saw them out there a few times after. We've also read a lot of people concerned about their scars/"mom belly"/weight/moles/tail...and I can't stress enough to anyone that reads this. DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT! You're not there for a pageant, contest, or any kind of judgement. You are there to relax, just like everyone else. We all have our "imperfections" if you want to call them that, but it's what makes us who we are. As a prime example, on this trip, we saw a woman, probably in her early 40's. The only thing she was wearing was a pink hat and pink sunglasses...both with the familiar pink bow. And she had no nipples. And she was having a fantastic time every time we saw her. I said to my wife that I thought that was incredible. You can't help but be proud of her, first of all for the obvious hardships she overcame, but to also have the confidence to hit the nude side of the resort. She's an inspiration in my books. If she reads this, I really hope she isn't offended by this mentioning of her, as I only bring it up to inspire.
Moving on...the island itself is pretty small, but holds a place in our hearts. It's got everything you need...bathroom, bar, chairs, and always some good company. While we are partial to the island, I believe that we will book at Sans Souci next time based STRICTLY on the size of the AN area. There is a large beach, lots of room back from the beach, and a very large pool (especially by AN standards). Entering the ocean is rocky...but it's not coral! You can get out far enough to hop on your floatie and enjoy some rays out on the water. Be aware however, that the waves DO pull you out...quicker than you think. It's so relaxing that you don't really notice, but the swim back is not nearly as relaxing. My wife really enjoyed floating in the pool after that (because there's ROOM for it). For those that are maybe trying it out for the first time, there is lots of room to sit far away from others if needed. Some might even find that the mostly female bar staff is a more comfortable aspect as well. Not sure if this is all the time, but it was the 2 times we went there. We really enjoyed the San Souci nude side, but did not enjoy any other facilities, and therefore have no input on restaurants or anything. The lunch by the nude pool was amazing both times.
I'm very sorry this is so long, but hopefully those that read it found it helpful/interesting. My wife and I would be more than happy to answer any questions anyone might have. Also, remember that everything written here was just based on our perceptions. Anything that we said was good or bad are strictly our opinions, and not fact. Thanks for reading.
P.S. The trip from resort to airport was terrible. I don't recommend doing it at all.
March 5th, 2013, 07:07 PM
Great review Hendy!!
BTW, no review is ever TOO long. This is like crack to us Couples addicts that don't have a trip planned.
March 5th, 2013, 09:38 PM
Wow... Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a great descriptive review of CTI! Hubby and I are making our first trip to a Couples Resort and our virgin venture to the AN side in May. (It's on his bucket list, so I can't say no!) You definitely helped to calm my nerves a bit about the island. 62 days and counting!
March 6th, 2013, 10:22 AM
cti is amazing. i wld say that the island is a must do. if u dont like it u can just catch the pontoon back. but for my wife and i we were there everyday. there was not very many couples out there so there was never a wait on drinks. they serve lunch on the island every day and if u wld prefer something else all u hv to do is tell the bartender what u want to eat and they will bring it to u. NOW THATS SERVICE!!! if there is left-overs from lunch they wld throw it in the ocean for the fish. one day they were feeding the fish. there was us and 2 other couples standing on the sea wall watching. just then a boat went by pretty close to the island with about 30 people on so we all just stood there and waved. the people waved back and was a laugh for everyone including us. and all the crabs crawling around the sea walls are fun to mess with. and dont forget about the hermit crabs. it made me laugh cause we hv them in pet stores and here they just roam free. i dont know if we will go back to cti next winter. i kinda want to go to couples negril. we were at csa a year and a half ago and loved the beach. my goal is to try them all. i tell everyone that couples resorts r the way to go.
March 6th, 2013, 10:23 AM
Sounds as though you had a great time (of course). We're on the short countdown... 32... Jack&Barb
Originally Posted by Hendy
March 6th, 2013, 11:14 AM
Great review!! Thanks for sharing!!! We will be there soon enough.... Can't wait!
-Annaleis & Neil
March 6th, 2013, 02:03 PM
Thank you so much for your valuable time! My hubby and I are leaving on Sunday for CTI and are newbies. We are in our late 40's & 50. We are definitely not in shape. We feel so much more comfortable trying the Island, thanks to your post.
March 6th, 2013, 02:24 PM
Thank You for the fabulous review! The humour was perfect! We have just a couple of weeks to go and reading about the actual experiences of people just there just increases my excitement! 16 sleeps to go!
March 7th, 2013, 12:25 AM
Appreciated your insight....our 1st time will be in May. Thank you.
Last edited by gabby131; March 7th, 2013 at 04:42 PM.
March 9th, 2013, 05:08 PM
Thanks for the great review, Hendy! Sorry we will miss you this year but it sounds like you had a blast. I just made a note to be sure to try trading spaces to CSS this year. I always put it on my "to do" list but somehow it seems less important when it's time to pack a beach bag and go. Beach intertia! Maybe the 3rd time is a charm. :-) It sounds fantastic!
We are "tied" to the last two weeks in March because of my vacation schedule, I am hoping we run into you two again some year!
March 12th, 2013, 05:35 PM
Hello to our ol' friends novascotiajack (and Barb!) and Godiva (and Bob if I remember correctly)! Yes, it seems we're missing most of the old crew by a month or so this year, but it was just so worth it to see the looks on the other's faces when we showed up. Having a naked women run up to you with sheer glee on her face just boosts the ego, ya know?? Lol. Yeah, about the CSS trip, like I said before, it's a great idea to visit their au natural side for a day or two. Although nothing can really take away from the unique atmosphere that the island provides, it was just nice to enjoy something a little larger for a little while. And, if the shuttle is on time (which it was, both times) you can still quickly get out to the island to enjoy another 45-60 minutes out there at the end of the day. I hope all you repeaters have a great time again, and hope all you FUTURE repeaters have a great first experience like we all obviously have.
P.S. Keep us posted on future trips, we'll always be looking to meet up with old friends in the upcoming years!
March 12th, 2013, 05:49 PM
Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading your review and appreciate your humor.
March 12th, 2013, 11:26 PM
Wow, thanks for the very well written, informative and FUNNY review!!!!! Even though it was a little "long", it kept me wanting to read more. Out of curiosity, (if you don't mind me asking) how old are you and what do you do for a living? If you're not a travel writer, you should be or a comedian. I'm not going to this Couples Resort as my boyfriend and I have booked Couples Barbados for this year. I will certainly keep CTI in mind. Thanks again Hendy!!!!!! Happy Travels!!!!!
March 16th, 2013, 09:58 AM
LOL, well thanks very much Wai Yee Lui, and everyone else who read this. Always nice to entertain while letting people know what these places are all about...we just love these resorts. As for ages, my wife and I are 35 and 31 respectively. However, she was mistaken our entire trip for 26-27 (yep, I'm one lucky dude). The best I got was 29...I'm sure if I shaved the beard off I could have presented better. As for work, I'm in the telecommunications industry. A lowly drone at one company, and the owner of another. Thanks for the compliment again, you're not the first to mention a "change of occupation" actually. I just wanted the review to kind of reflect what I feel about the resorts...they're seriously super nice resorts, where you can have a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy Barbados, would love to hear more about it. But make sure, even just once, that you try out some AN facilities at 3 of the other 4 resorts. If for nothing else, just to scratch it off your bucket list....you'll be back, lol!