Our first couples experience took place March 14-21, 2010 at CN. We loved it and definitely plan to return! Unfortunately it won’t be until next year, but if we could, we’d go back tomorrow!
Our fabulous vacation began at the Couples lounge at Sangster Airport. It was brightly decorated and was my first taste of Red Stripe Light!- delicious after a long flight and a warm wait while gaining entry to Jamaica. The bartender was really not that enthusiastic or friendly, but the check-in staff were pleasant and ensured we were registered on the list to CN. We were only at the lounge for about 15 minutes and then we were on the shuttle to CN, along with those who were going to Swept Away. The entire trip to CN took about 1 hr 15 minutes and it was enjoyable to see the countryside.
Check-in at CN was smooth and quick. We were given cool towels and chilled sparkling wine/champagne while completing the necessary paperwork. I honestly thought the greeting at CN was a bit weak and impersonal as we just milled around the lobby for about 5 minutes after stepping off the shuttle until someone called out for new arrivals to do paperwork. I had stepped up to the front desk upon arrival stating that we were checking-in, and was brusquely asked to step aside and that someone would be with us shortly. Now that I’ve been to CN, I know how the process works, but it was a little cool and I was disappointed as I certainly did not feel like I was “home” which is what I totally expected to feel after immersing myself in the Couples website message board for months before the trip.
Something I had heard through posts and reviews before the trip was that CN was a little tired and worn, but I did not get that impression at all. What struck me most about CN is that at night, the lighting within the resort is so beautifully and thoughtfully placed, it is very romantic! Candles flicker on tables which are scattered around outside of the restaurants. A great feature of CN is that it is a small resort that has one large pool between the lobby and the beach, and all restaurants/bars surround the pool. It’s intimate and centralized, and only a few minute walk back to your room. Lovely layout! It is so lush with vegetation and we enjoyed hearing the tree frogs at night, and birds chirping in the morning. We saw a large hummingbird feeding on the gorgeous flowers one day when walking on the walkway near the spa.
Rooms: We stayed in a Garden room and it was fantastic. The king bed was super comfortable for me and my husband found it a bit too firm, but beds are so personal it’s hard to completely satisfy everyone’s preferences. Our room had two white waffle-weave Couples robes in the closet, an iron, ironing board, flat screen t.v., IPOD dock, and a lovely patio with a small table and two chairs. The mini bar was stocked each day as requested. We asked for red wine and were given a bottle of Chilean wine which was very good. A cocktail we enjoyed in our room before dinner was rum and pineapple juice. We found there was the perfect amount of space for two people and our luggage. The turndown service at night was a nice touch. The bathroom is small but suited us fine. But I honestly found that I was itching terribly for a huge bottle of bleach to scrub down all the tiles and crevices. I felt that the bathroom, although cleaned and tidied very well by the maid each day, had almost a “grubby” feel to the tiles. We had many tiny ants scurrying around on our bathroom counter the entire week we were there but it is the tropics and they didn’t seem to bite or cause any harm. We were in the 4000 block on the 2nd floor and we did not have hot water any night when we showered before dinner. We found that if we showered before 6pm, the water was very cool bordering on cold and uncomfortable. On a few of the days we waited until after 6pm and the water was lukewarm to warm. Our friends who stayed two rooms down from us experienced the same thing. A hot water issue our entire stay wasn’t what we expected of a 5 star Couples resort. We don’t know if this is always is an issue with the “4000” block or an issue in all blocks at CN. But again, we LOVED CN and although annoying and uncomfortable, this lack of hot water wouldn't preclude us from returning.
Other reviews have commented on road noise, and although our building was right beside the road, we could hear the traffic when walking to our block but it was not an issue for us at all. When we were in our room, it was barely noticeable. The Negril airport was on the opposite side of the road and although we could hear small planes taking off in daylight hours, again it was not an issue for us.
We had room service twice for breakfast and it was great. Delivery was on time and the coffee was hot, milk and juice cold, and the fruit and pastries were delicious and fresh. The banana bread was moist and yummy. The little songbirds quickly noticed our treats and a few joined us on the patio, wanting to feast on some crumbs!
Food: The food at CN was very good! We had absolutely no issues with the food or the water causing stomach issues, unlike what was experienced when travelling in Mexico or the Dominican Rep. Breakfast at Cassava Terrace was satisfying with SO many choices- fresh omelets, smoothies made to order, fruit, pastries, boiled eggs, French toast, creamy natural yogurt. I enjoyed ample amounts of seafood- mussels and shrimp (which were a bit messy because the shell was still on) from the Cassava Terrace Beach Party buffet on Thursday night, bouillabaisse at Otaheite, lobster at Cassava Terrace on Friday (lobster night). We ate at Otaheite three times and the fillet mignon and lamb were melt-in-your-mouth outstanding. The Pumpkin Soup is delicious. They place toasted pumpkin seeds on the bottom of your bowl, then bring the soup to the table, pouring it into your bowl from a large teapot-type serving vessel. The wine is Chilean and is quite good. I enjoyed having a Blue Mountain coffee with Jamaican rum cream with my dessert. The Lychee is an Asian restaurant and we loved the Lychee Martini, Lychee Mojito, and enjoyed the appetizer tasting platter and Shrimp Pad Thai. I was surprised that my Pad Thai wasn’t spicy at all, and if I had known, I would have requested a “medium” spice. One evening we went to Heliconia for dessert because the choices at Otaheite didn’t appeal, and we all had the chocolate cheesecake. It was a light mocha color so we thought it might be flavorless and we were going to be disappointed, but it was so yummy- rich, smooth, and very chocolatey! Service at all of the restaurants was outstanding. We also enjoyed the fruit kabobs which were served on the beach. Heliconia also had takeaway containers of fruit chilling on ice which were great as a mid-afternoon snack on the beach. We also nibbled on warm nachos and hot cheese from Heliconia as an late afternoon snack before heading back to the room to get ready for dinner. The only disappointment would have been at the Beach Grill (Heliconia at night) for lunch. I was very much looking forward to the calamari and it was simply inedible. It was extremely fishy tasting. I don't know if it was fried in old oil or why it was so awful, but it was...unfortunately. We found the jerk chicken was quite good but overall, after that first lunch at the Beach Grill, we always went to the Terrace restaurant for the lunch buffet.
Sheryl was a server at CN who had such a bright smile!
Drinks: We enjoyed the Miami Vice, mojitos, and Dirty Bananas! My husband’s favorite cocktail is a Crown Royal and pepsi and although we had been told Crown Royal was always available at Couples, there was a shortage of it while we were at CN. My husband enjoyed a Crown Royal the first evening we were there and then there was no more to be found the rest of the week. It was disappointing for my husband for sure. I don’t know if a Crown Royal shortage is a regular occurrence or not. I have to say that Ivylin was fantastic at the Swim-up bar! JaNeil was so sweet on the beach. The red flag service on the beach was a perk!
Beach: Gorgeous beach with soft white sand and plenty of loungers. Although the resort was at full capacity, there were always loungers available on the beach, in shade, any time of the day. We appreciated the great job the Couples staff did taking care of the beach, ensuring it was clean and organized every morning. The lounge chair cushions (floaties) were hosed down each morning. The one day we took a taxi down to the other end of Long Bay so that we could walk the 5 mile portion of the beach to see the other resorts and experience that section. We found the beach to be very busy, congested, and there were a lot of spring breakers (and ganja odor) at the smaller hotels. We were surprised when we came across CSA because the beach seemed to be so out in the open (not a lot of shade) and spread out compared to the quaint beach of CN which is nestled by trees providing ample shade.
Wedding: We got married at CN on the beach and Kenisha did a wonderful job ensuring that we had the most relaxing, romantic wedding. She was very organized and made us feel very pampered and reassured us not to worry about anything. We met with her the day before our ceremony for a half hour and our wedding went off the next morning perfectly! Our flowers were gorgeous and exactly what we had requested. Our wedding cake was chocolate which was delicious. The resort photographer did a great job with our photos. Doreen at the salon styled my hair at 8am and she was fantastic. I loved our wedding day- our ceremony was at 10am (the ocean in our wedding photos was a vibrant shade of turquoise at that time of the day!) and we were relaxing on the beach with our friends by 1pm! That evening we had a dinner at Otaheite, then enjoyed and danced to the house band at Cassava Terrace, and finished off the evening with a fun singalong at the Piano Bar (“Sweet Caroline”, page 21!). We couldn’t have planned a more enjoyable wedding day! It was spontaneous and memorable.
I loved Jamaica and Negril, and CN will forever be precious to us since it was where we were married. But, we do look forward to trying the other resorts in the Couples family!!!
Last edited by TravelBug; May 1st, 2010 at 07:39 PM.
Hi There !!! GREAT Review - Really Enjoyed Reading it!!! We consider CN our Home away from Home!! A/K/A PARADISE!!!!
Wish we were there right Now!!!
Like you, we think CN is Simply Sensational!!!
And as wonderful as the location, tropical rooms, beach, white sand, beautiful sea, Delicious Food, Great Drinks, Dancing, Games,value, etc, are ....... The Staff (who seem to become everyone's friends) are the icing on the cake and that's what makes CN PARADISE in our hearts...<3<3
Thanks for sharing the details of your trip and congrads on your wedding. After reading your letter it makes us even more anxious to get to Jamaica. We also will be getting married in July and are very excited about our trip.
Thanks for sharing!
Great review, brought back memories of our four nite stay there this past April. From your description, I'm wondering if your garden room was in Bldg 3, as that's the locale closest to the road. You didn't state which floor, but was it the ground level? I ask because you briefly discussed an ant problem. Not that they only visit ground floor rooms, but I'm sure the odds are increased there. We had a 3rd floor room in Bldg 1, so we were fortunate enough to avoid any ants or road noise. We also didn't have any problems with water temps in the shower either. Perhaps that was just a coincidence for your situation - or maybe ours, who knows. BTW, we kind of had the same, somewhat lethargic experience at you had at check in. Oh well, at least they're consistent!
The good news is it certainly doesn't appear as if any of this dampened your enthusiasm or negatively impacted your stay to any measurable degree, very happy to see that....and agree 100% too! We also loved our too-brief stay there and so happy you did as well.
Reading is fundamental. It's just that for some, it's more mental than fun.
Wonderful review. Congratulations on your wedding!
We have been 4 times to Negril. I will say that we never had hot water issues until the last visit. A cold shower is never enjoyable. I can't understand why they do not fix the problem. It seems to be a consistent issue.
i will be going to CN in september and have injoyed reading all the reviews. now one comment you made sticks out to me,......NO CROWN ROYAL!!!! i will be very upset if the have a shortage during my stay. thats my beverage of choice. hopefully they will have mountain dew. it is EXCELLENT with crown. turned all my friends on to it......well thanks for the review....
So, did you do the Trading Spaces and really get to see CSA or just a walk by? CSA's beach is wonderful and we like the activity because we like to people watch. Also, I never found that finding shade was a problem because there are palm trees lined up towards the back of the beach. You can't be at the water's edge and have shade, but it is there. Oh, and if you liked the night lighting at CN, then CSA would blow you away.
Great review and thanks for sharing. Congrats on the marriage.