My husband and I went to Swept Away in November to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. While there, my husband broke his leg water skiing and we had to cut our holiday short. We then had to wait for him to have surgery, heal and learn how to walk again before we could return. I told him he owed me, so we decided to go back in Aug. but not to Swept Away, as it had negative memmories for us. We decided on CSS for the romance and CN for the beach.
We are from Toronto and usually always try to fly direct, but we left the airfare too late and had to book a delta flight on the way there, with a transfer in Atlanta. I am only mentioning this for fellow Canadians that may want to try this option. We only had a one hour wait time in Atlanta, and it was plenty of time to land and change planes. It was so much easier than we thought it would be. We were very pleased with Delta and have no problem recommending them.
We loved CSS and were sorry that we only booked 4 nights there. It was very sad to leave. We had a beachfront suite which we loved and would book again. We went to the repeat dinner and it was wonderful. As everyone else has said the resort and grounds were so beautiful. We met some realy nice people at the A/N beach.
We then transfered to CN. We did not get a choice in the time, because another couple from Tower Island came with us, and they got to pick the time. It was 10:30 on a Sunday. I was really nervous because everyone on these message boards said to leave at six in the morning, and it will only be 3 hours. Well it only took us 2 1/2 hours and I am serious. The driver said it was because it was Sunday. WE left at ten thirty and got to CN at One. How perfect is that? We had a garden suite room in Block 1 and just loved our view. It was so peaceful sitting on the balcony in the morning looking at the pond and spa.
I am going to do a comparison now of Swept Away, Sans Souci, and Negril. This is only my opinion and experience , so I know others may disagree with me, but here goes.
Repeater dinner - Food was better at CN,but at CSS it was more organized and fun to attend.
Room- There was more room in our beachfront suite and a much bigger bathroom which I like. CN bathroom was small and only one person could get ready at a time. Our Atrium room at Swept Away was very nice and had the most character.
Food- Over all, out of the three resorts, the food was the best at CN. The ambiance of the restaurants was better at San Souci, but the food itself was better at CN.
View from room- I have to say that was a tie between CN and CSS. We were in building 1 overlooking the spa and ponds and they were georgeous. Very peaceful and relaxing.
Coffee- I have to say it was much better at Sans Souci. We ordered coffee in our room every morning and the coffee just tasted better at CSS. (to us anyway)
Friendliness of staff- I have to say CSS wins this one, with Swept Away second. It just seemed like everyone at CSS wanted to know your name and help make your vacation better. They were friendly and very helpful and they were like that at Swept Away also. Now I am not saying they were not friendly and helpful at CN, it was just different not so obvious, and it took a week for them to get to know us.
Beach- For us CN wins this one. Swept Away is very nice if you want to walk long distances. WE liked the wide beach and it was the perfect size to walk up and down daily. We did try the SS beach at CSS, and I think visually it was prettier when you were in the water, with the craggy rocks and treed shoreline, but you need water shoes to get in and out, because there are so many rocks and stones. The water was a bit colder wtih the river running into it, and was very refreshing in the summer, but I might find it too cold in the winter.
Friendlness of fellow guests- For some reason everyone at CSS was friendly. Not only the staff but the guests as well.
We found CN set up the best for location of bars and very easy to get anywhere or have a drink and relax. Visually the common areas and the restaurants were prettier at CSS. Bella Vista eating right beside the beach under the stars, was amazing. Even at Cassanova, you had the option of eating inside or outside.
Entertainment- CN looses on this one. Even though the Silver Birds played at CN, when they were at Swept AWay they played much longer. CSS had really good singers performing, while at CN, it really was not great. Once again that is my opinion only.
Weather- The weather was definitely better in Ocho Rios. It rained six days out of seven at CN, and was clouded over most of the afternoon. In Ocho rios it rained one day out of 4.
We had a fantastic 11 days and would definitely do a slit again. If I had to pick my favourite, I would have to say CN just because we love swimming and their beautiful beach and wonderful food.
Thats all good until the air line gods of america start working against you if you read other post on this board about canceled flights, delayed flights with one day lay overs. I woul;d strongly suggest to my fellow Canuks to always fly a Canadian carrier with direct flights to MBJ as our American cousins seem to have no problem taking you thru the attic to get to the basement. JMHO mc