Just Back from CN
Just returned from our 1st trip to a Couples resort and unfortunately we weren't impressed. Although we had a nice week, weather and beach were great, we've been to other "luxury" AI's and we felt that CN just wasn't up to their level. The staff and service is very good, absolutely no complaints about how we were treated. Maybe we're hooked by the "wow factor" at other resorts but the pool area isn't dazzling, our deluxe beachfront room offered a look at the trees and the path leading toward the beach/ocean behind the grill, and the buildings looked dated from the outside. Food was fine, although the Lychee restaurant was our least favorite, but again we've stayed at other resorts where the meals were more extravagant, more choices, more variety. Upon arriving at CN just after 5pm last Saturday we were told our room wasn't ready and to go get a drink at the pool bar, not maddening, but surprised that despite having our reservation and arrival time that our room wasn't ready. Several days our room wasn't cleaned until after 3pm and on Friday not until after 5pm. Speaking of Friday, the "Chocolate Fountain" that many raved about was nothing more than a "community bowl of chocolate" with sliced fruits and bread to dip in. Where is the fountain? The trip to Margaritaville was a waste of time, did anyone really enjoy watching guys throw their wives around in the sand imitating different sexual positions? Real classy. The return bus was full by 6:45pm so I'm sure others felt like we did. Definite positives were the beach area and the clear blue water, no rocks, soft sand and gentle waves moving you along on your raft was amazingly relaxing, NO PLACE we've stayed at can top the beach at CN. Otaheite was our favorite restaurant, top notch service and a classy feel, plus great food made this our most memorable meals. The Cat Cruise was fun and a nice way to end the day in the sun. Snorkeling was fun with lots of fish to see. The staff is outstanding, they truly seem to enjoy interacting with the guests and I wish we would have gotten better acquainted with them but I was with my wife on the beach. They're as polite and friendly as the staff at any of the luxury AI's we've been to. Again, maybe our expectations were too high, our past experiences seemed to be in more luxurious resorts, but if we're comparing $$$ spent for our vacation, in OUR OPINION, Couples Negril was a level below what we've experienced at other luxury AI's. Unless there was a great deal, we probably would look elsewhere for our next trip.
Glad you had some positive experiences at CN. Thankfully , everyone has different tastes in hotels, and this just did not match your taste. Everyone's idea of a "perfect" vacation spot are not the same, and no crime in that. Been to many " luxury AI ", and for us CSA was our perfect match. And I agree, Margaritaville is a waste of time, with so many other wonderful places to visit in Negril.
You know, not even Couples is for everyone. For a number of reasons that you listed, it obviously didn't turn out to be your cup of tea.
We had a fantastic time at CN as well as CTI, and felt both resorts lived up to our expectations. But I also have to admit that we've only stayed one previous time at an AI. It was many years back in Cancun, so I don't have as much AI experience on which to draw. Still, we loved our four nite stay there.
The only criticism I'll take issue with is your comments on Margaritaville. No, not knocking your criticism per se - to be honest, you wouldn't catch us dead even so much as going there. Maybe it wasn't your intention, but the way your review reads, it's as if you've lumped this activity together with your overall criticism, as if CN is somehow responsible for your bad time there. That's a completely separate entity. One has nothing to do with the other. That's like blaming bad weather on the resort.
But other than that, sorry your trip wasn't all you hoped it would be. Good luck on your next vacation, wherever that may be.
BB Coach ~ I'm sorry CN didn't live up to your expectations. I think the bohemian decor at the resort can take some people aback and think the resort is run down when that is actually how the resort is suppose to look. And the outside of the buildings is an acid wash over the paint so that too is how they are to look.
I do think that guests who come from glitzier resorts can be let down by CN or any of the Couples resorts as they are not filled with marble, granite and crystal chandeliers. But if you can instead realize that all of the Couples resorts are decorated in a Jamaican/beach motif and not to look like the Taj Mahal, then I think most people can appreciate it, but I can see where if you were thinking you were going to get glitz and glamour that CN would be disappointing.
As for the value, my husband dives twice a day at CN and that alone is worth $300 per day. With diving included and several of the other inclusions, if you take advantage of the inclusions then CN is a fabulous deal, but if you just want to sit on the beach all day for your entire stay I can see how you might be inclined to think that CN is over priced.
As I said before, I am sorry that CN did not live up to your expectations. Couples is not the resort for everyone.
Thanks for your review - good to hear of some things to perhaps avoid (like Margaritaville)...just curious - have you been to other AIs in Jamaica? I suppose it is taboo to mention names here but if not, curious on your input. We're already booked for CN - we leave on Sat. and cannot wait! and we've not been to any other AI's so nothing to compare, and from what I've heard from others, I'm not worried at all that we won't have an amazing time - but always good to have more info!
We are trying to make up our mind and i am curious were you a lil disappointed based on the message board comments. I know how when we love something we tend to ignore the minor flaws and fixate on the the things we love.... base on your past travels
would you offer a objective comparison on a 1-10 scale
thanks in advance
I'm sorry CN wasn't up to your standards. I'm also sorry you didn't research the resort you were going to. Had you done any research you would have known that CN isn't a "luxury" resort. They don't try to be like all of the other AI mega-resorts. Did you even look at pictures of the resort? If you had you would have known that there is no marble or fountains or 27 pools. I would also like to add that the buildings are specially painted to make them look worn. It's funny that I go to CN for the exact reasons you didn't like it. Oh well more room for me!!! 105 days until I'm back home at CN...
Love this post....and feel the same way. I loved the way the buildings looked, and felt like that was a HUGE part of the charm of the resort. I went in with expectations on the rooms being less than glitzy and came out VERY pleasantly surprised. I think the rooms are as nice as anyplace I've stayed. Like another post said, I have never been to an AI before, so maybe I don't have a preconceived notion...or I am very easy to please. But like KellyandEddie.....I say more room for those of us who like it. Sorry you didn't BB. We are all a little different in what we want, that's what makes us special.
Originally Posted by KellyNEddie
Thanks for the honesty
Hello BB Coach,
Thank you for posting your honest feelings about CN. I agree that CN is not for everyone. I appreciate the fact that you posted the positives you encountered, as well as the negatives in your post. I think it's important that you have experienced several other AI's to compare it to, and can form your own opinion and express it here.
Not every place is perfect, and sometimes we CN cheerleaders forget that everyone is different. Please forgive the bit of snarkiness on some replies.
We're leaving this Sat. (May1st) as well. That guys oringinal impression of CN had me scared for a bit there, as this is our first AI ever as well. I'm just planning to have a good time and don't really care what it looks like. Anything has got to beat being in Michigan!
We too just returned from CN, but I guess we knew better what to expect. I will say we stayed at one of the major competitors last year (The one that is now closed in Dunns River) and we were not disappointed with the "feel" of CN. I will do a separate review tonight.
The one very big positive (If I were to compare Couples to the big S resorts) is that everyone is the same at Couples. There is no caste system where those who pay more get treated like kings while those who don't, have to grab the scraps. Nowhere was this more evident than at the beach. The butlers at the other place, grabbed all the prime spots for the kings long before us peasants were around. At CN it didn't happen and wasn't necessary anyway because the beach is so large and lovely.
Full review later.
Back to clarify a few things, we had a nice vacation, several positive memories including things as simple as swinging above the terrace restaurant overlooking the pool and ocean after dinner, along with the dining experience at Otaheite, Cat cruise, the MAGNIFICENT beach and very good service from the friendly staff. I did a LOT of research on where to go this trip and showed my wife pictures, comments, reviews, inclusions until she simply didn't want to see any more, we decided to try something different and try to compare after the trip, for us the "atmosphere" seemed more luxurious at the other AI's we've stayed at. My comment about the trip to Margaritaville was NOT a reflection on CN but just the excursion itself, as I said we filled up an entire bus 15 minutes before scheduled to return to CN because ALL OF US PREFERRED RETURNING TO CN. Someone asked to rate the different experiences and I find that hard as NOTHING was bad, in fact, we enjoyed ourselves and really were surprised just how fast our week went. If the cost of a trip was significantly lower at CN than other places we would definitely return, but if the cost was the same we would probably go elsewhere. In no way should anyone be anxious about picking CN as a vacation spot, for us, we may be influenced more by the lavish atmosphere than others, but everybody has different tastes. Cost/value is more important and based on our experiences we feel that we had better value at other resorts. Hopefully I've clarified our thoughts. A special THANK YOU to all of the staff, you represent the resort WITH CLASS !!!
There is always someone that is negative...i just got back fro CN and loved every minute of it..the people.. food beaches etc..loved it!
BB Coach, sorry to hear CN wasn't for you.
All I can say was the reviews beforehand lead me to believe it wasn't going to be ornate with marble and glitz, and all the reviews I read mentioned the bathroom tiles looked a little tired, and the paint on the outside looked a little worn. in fact just before we went I was second guessing the choice.
But the reality to me was that I started to like the look of CN and found little things impressive like the hand rails..dont know why but I loved the dark stained oversized wood handrails leading up to our room on third floor...also loved the paint once I saw it up close and realized it was supposed to look like that.
I guess what I am saying is if you have high expectations and they are important features to you than a mega resort with marble and fine ceramic tiles is probably a better choice.
For me after CN I am going for the rustic peaceful charm...CN exceeded the expecations I created based on the reviews I read..
hope they keep the rustic look in forever...that was the charm for us
Come on everyone, we can not knock them because, they were dissatified. I do agree that Couples is not a "luxury" hotel. I am what I consider to be a seasoned traveler and have stayed at several AI resorts. I did look at the pictures and read all the information about Couples. What drew me to them is the laid back atmosphere and the many excursions included. You go to different resorts for different things. If u r looking for luxury, them u would go to that type of resort. If u want laid back, that's the resort that u go to. I am dark skinned so, laying on the beach all day is not me. I like to go and do many different things such as horseback riding, shopping, boat riding, and others. I must admit that I have been to Ocho Rios in the past but, I haven't stayed @ Couples. I have done Dunn's River Falls and loved it. I want my husband to experience some of the things that I have. So, I am saying this to say that each resort provides a different experience. Depending on what u r looking for and needing, should determine the kind of resort that u book. I am too very sorry that u didn't enjoy your experience.
Different Strokes! We Absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE CN!!! CN = PARADISE!!! Heaven on Earth! And oh so hard to get back to the daily grind after being so spoiled!
We spend most of the day, every day of our vacation, on the beach, and the beach is one of the primary reasons why we return to CN year after year. I would, however, NEVER describe CN as a luxury resort. I think it's simply a rustic resort on a fantastic stretch of beach.
Originally Posted by BB Coach
BB, we are lovers of CN, but it is not for all. I completely understand that you did not find the "luxury" that you were looking for, but I am also very glad that you did truly understand some of what us lovers of CN love the most, the beach, the service, the beach, the beach, the beach, there is a theme here.
We have been to other AI's, that are fancier in their finishes, more marble, bigger pools, etc. But we have yet to find the same atomsphere that we find at CN. We do like the much more laid back feel and my husband likes the fact that he only has to wear long pants for the repeaters dinner.
But as someone said, different strokes. I am sorry that some of my fellow lovers of CN are chastising you for not loving it, I think, from your review, that you did like it, you just are not in love with CN, which is ok too. But I will venture to guess, that when you go on vacation or holiday next year, you might find yourself comparing some things to CN, the service, the beach, the warmth of the resort. I think you maybe be back to Couples at some point, whether it is CN or one of the other properties. For some their first visit to Couples is the start of a life long love, for others it seeps into your skin and takes a little longer to take hold, but once it does it to is a life long love. For still others, it was never meant to be, you enjoy the encounter but it is just a fond memory, which might be you and your wife.
Thank you for being honest.
I found this review a little confusing. They had a great time, food was good, staff exceptional and beach beautiful. Right there to me is value. Being in the industry I have been to luxury AI's, most of the luxury is in the looks, marble, huge pools, big resorts-BIG! I have also stayed at luxury resorts that are not all inclusive, what I have found over and over is top notch service at Couples(all 4), excellent food(all 4) beautiful beaches(Negril) great beaches(Ocho). I stress to clients these are not glitz, marble, fancy rooms or huge pools, what you do have is the thing I call "Funky Caribbean Soul" . At times when I have stayed at these other luxury AI's I kinda forget where I am, Mexico? Jamaica? Antigua?
I have also compared the price for clients, and the value of Couples certainly out weighs other resorts. If you are a diver you are paying aywhere from $60-$100 a dive per person, Catamaran cruise will set you back at least $100 per couple, and you usually have to leave the resort to catch it. Snorkleing at most other resorts will set you back $70.00.
Again if the reviewer looked at all the pictures and the other reviews it is made very clear these resorts are not "Mega Marble Mazes Of Glitz"
I'm flad they had a good time, although I'm not surprised.
We all find our Home away from Home and this was not for them. I hope future travels for them are filled with happiness and beauty.
2 DAYS TILL CSA!!!!!
My wife and I spent the first week of January in CN and I would rate it one of my best trips ever. Travelled to numerous all inclusives and CN had everything. Not a fancy resort but the inclusions, food and service were second to none. I have now booked two weeks, last week of Dec. at Csa and the second at CN. I hope that we are as satisfied with CSA but thought we would split it up.
Hi BB Coach,
I understand what you are saying here. We stayed at CN a number of years ago and had a nice time but I agree, we weren't wow'd. Found the view of the beachfront suites confusing too. We went to CSA next and there we were WOW'd. If you like the beach at CN you should see CSA's beach. I think it's better than CN's. The food and service at CSA are excellent too. If you want a true beachfront room then you have to go to CSA and book a beachfront veranda suite. It's right on the beach, fully facing the ocean. You get amazing sunset views from your patio/veranda.
Don't give up on Couples yet. There's one to fit everyone's taste.
Hello BBCoach. Thanks for your review. We visited CN in December and loved it. That being said, based on our experience I'd also say that everything in your review is factual and accurate. We came away saying "can't wait to return". You came away saying "probably not." To each his own. Hope you find your 'wow' factor next time. Cheers!
We definitely will compare this trip to future vacations, and as I said, if the price was right we would seriously look at returning. At the "other" resorts(my comparisons in a previous post were deleted/edited out) we never paid extra for snorkeling, glass bottom boat rides, scuba diving or using the "water toys". Maybe that's changed now, it's been a couple of years. For us, it's like comparing a good steak to a hamburger, no matter how good the burger, if the price was the same, I'd pick the tasty steak. That would seem like a better value. And I find nothing wrong with the "Couples loyalists" defending their resort, if they're completely satisfied then they've found their "home", and defending their "home" is all right with me.
BB, I thought your review, even tho critical at points, was nonetheless an honest opinion of your what you experienced vs. what you had expected. I know a few chimed in or implied that you were simply being negative, but most know the difference between someone who just complains for complaining's sake as opposed to someone who provides a detailed explanation as to what they liked and disliked about their stay. You simply gave us an objective analysis of your time there.
And you even responded to the only point I addressed about lumping CN with Buffetville by confirming you did not hold that against CN. I kinda had a feeling that's what you meant, but thanks for clearing it up anyway.
Bottom line, I am, as most others are personally grateful for folks who don't hold back, even when they risk some less-than-appreciative feedback. Let's face it, there are Couples loyalists on this board who at times take criticism of the resorts as a personal affront. Kind of endearing in one sense, but of course a bit extremiste at the same time.