Earthquake and Hurricane Irene
We stayed at CSA Aug 22-Aug 29. We missed the earthquake and Hurricane Irene. However, We had to stay 2 extra nights due to Hurricane Irene because all the flights were cancelled. The hotel was nice enough to discount the room to $250 per night for our last two nights. Our original flight was rescheduled for September 1st. We had to get back to our one year old son and to work so we ended up paying $2200 to fly home on Aug 29. We basically almost enough to spend another week at CSA just to get home. I kept saying, "I cannot believe we left our baby during an earthquake and hurricane". Thank God he was okay and none of our family experience any damage to their homes.
I have to start my review by saying that we stayed at the Hyatt in Aruba for our honeymoon and it's hard to beat that hotel.
We liked CSA and thought that the hotel was nice and the staff was amazingly friendly. We would recommend this hotel. But if you think this hotel is nice you haven't seen anything if you haven't stayed at the Hyatt in Aruba. But the Hyatt isn't all inclusive.
The beach and grounds: They take pride in the appearance of the hotel and the grounds and beach. The beach is amazing. Very calm and relaxing.
We stayed in a Beachfront Verandah Suite for 5 nights and the Ocean view room for 2 nights. There was no difference in the rooms except that one allowed us to walk from our room right out to the beach and the other gave us a very limited view of the beach. I'm surprised they call the rooms suites. They are far from suites and are just basic rooms. The beds are very hard, and after sleeping on it for 3 days my neck was in so much pain that it was painful for me to turn my head from side to side. I also didn't understand why some rooms had glass on the outside of the wooden slats in the windows and why some had screens. We would have loved to have slats with screens so we could have heard the ocean at night. Another thing we didn't understand was that the bottom floor suites with the larger balconies had key access from the balcony but the floor suites with regular sized balconies did not.
We live in the Washington Metropolitan Area and travel quite a bit and consider ourselves foodies. So with that being said we thought the food was just okay at most of the restaurants. We did not like Feathers at all. It was supposed to be the fine dining restaurant but the small portions and lack of flavor in the food left a great deal to be desired. We really like Lemongrass and ate there twice. However, I had to send my creme brule back because it tasted like cottage cheese. I asked for the cheesecake instead. I must say that they need a new cheesecake recipe. I had it at several of the restaurants there and it was not good. Patois was great for breakfast but just okay for lunch and dinner. The Palms buffet was good, the curry chicken was great. We left the resort and walked up to Cosmos restaurant (next to Beaches to the right of CSA) and we loved our food. I had curry goat and my husband had curry shrimp.
Private Dinner: We wanted to do a private dinner on the beach but I'm glad we did not book it in advance. We watched the staff night after night set up the private dinners during sunset and then served the guest in darkness. My husband and had a private dinner at the Hyatt in Aruba and it was during sunset and it was beautiful. We didn't understand the appeal to eating in the dark.
The drinks are made very weak but I'm not a heavy drinker so they were made just right for me. The bartenders at the Aura lounge and Swim up bar are very nice.
Water sports and Activities
Activities offered and water sports were a nice additional to the all inclusive typical experience. We had a great time in the couples massage class and learning to salsa. I made a beautiful basket which is now our key holder. I wish I would have gone to the hat making class. The water sports team was great and we had fun snorkeling, learning to windsurf, and learning to navigate a hobie cat. We wanted to water ski but the conditions were not great for beginners.
We took an ATV tour. The tour desks operators were very nice and helpful. We had a good time on the ATV. We were told that it's a very popular tour. We drove through the back woods and saw a small town and the view of the island from 1600 ft above sea level. I've been on other ATV tours and although I had a good time, I think we should have done zipling to see more of the island.
The Staff: The staff was very friendly and went out of their way to make you feel included and comfortable. Nicoholas, Curtis, Oneil and the two female entertainment coordinators were the standouts.
WiFi - The WiFi service was intermittent at best. We had to go to the computer room because our tablet would lose connectivity. In addition the service is not very secure so I would advise everyone to be careful of what the view on their own devices or in the hotel's computer room. My husband is a network engineer and was not very happy with the service.
Shopping at the hotel: The shopping was very nice at the hotel and we purchased most of our souvenirs there. We ran out of sunblock and had to pay $17 for another can. In the Dis and Dat shop it was $24.50 but it was cheaper in the Logo shop.
Security: The security on the beach was amazing and keep the vendors in check. We felt very safe because they remained on the beach even in the middle of the night.
Bugs and Crabs: It was like the attack of the Crabs. It was weird to see so many crabs crawling around everywhere. Being from the Washington DC Area, we kept thinking, "I wonder what they taste like". LOL. The mosquitoes are horrible. Bring DEET, our bug stray did nothing for us. There are little bugs everywhere. I hope we didn't bring any home with us.
So I know it seems like I had a lot of complaints, but I just wanted to give a realistic view of our stay at CSA. We really liked the hotel and would visit it again and recommend it to our friends. We did learn that we need to get travelers insurance.