March 4th, 2012, 03:03 PM
Returned from CSA yesterday
I'll provide a few thoughts here since I so much appreciated reading the same while planning/anticipating our trip.
This was our second trip to Couples, first visit was two years ago to CTI. I won't try to compare the two resorts, they are so different from one another we found that there were things we loved about each and not sure we could pick a favorite. The beach at CSA is hard to argue though...
We had a wonderful 7 day stay. The weather was glorious, the food was delicious. The staff was friendly and accommodating. We squeezed in a fair amount of activity in between our beach lounging, CSA really does allow for plenty of both which is lovely. A few specific things:
-Repeaters Dinner: Barely found out about it- thank goodness for the message board or we wouldn't have. Had to ask about all of the RR stuff on our third day there after seeing/hearing nothing. Once we did, we got our tee shirts and resort credit and did make the dinner that night. Had to drag my husband along (he is not one for small talk with strangers) but we both ended up having a RELLY good time! How fun to meet the managers and have a lovely meal. We both enjoyed talking with the people we sat with too. I earned a "you were right" for that one.
-Food overall: Was quite good. We were lucky enough to score dinner at Feathers twice; the concierge encouraged us to check back for another seating if we wanted otherwise we wouldn't have thought to ask. The first dinner there was fantastic, everything was delicious. The second time wasn't nearly as good for the picks I made, the flavors just didn't meld the same way. Seemed to be a bit hit or miss as far as what you ordered. Still a wonderful experience though- I love trying new foods even if I don't love them. We didn't love Lemongrass. It was good food, but certainly not nearly as flavorful as other Thai we've had. Again, fun experience just not as great tasting as we expected. I was super surprised at how consistently good the food at the buffet was. I am NOT a buffet person and the variety and quality was quite good! The beach party was really fun with even more new things to try. We loved Patois for breakfast, and Seagrapes for lunch. Seagrapes is wonderful, nice to have such delicious fresh things to balance out all the Red Stripes. The service, however, was quite slow and we had to flag people down a couple times. However, our server was a trainee and very friendly once she did come over so I'm sure it will get better. I loved the "juice of the day" idea too. Yum.
-Bars: Our favorite was the bamboo bar and the martini bar. The guys at the martini bar are very friendly and fun. The staff at the bamboo bar had us playing games one cloudy afternoon; lots of laughing and Red Stripes. We skipped the swim up bar; if there's an ocean nearby we don't bother with pools! The staff at the spa/fitness bar wasn't nearly as welcoming/friendly as the others, but delicious juices and smoothies over there.
-Fitness Center: WOW. We are not huge exercise on vacation people, but had to use the facility just to check it out. We've been married for ten years and have never played tennis together, but did it at CSA. SO fun! We waited til the afternoon so as not to bother "real" tennis players, but to be able to use gorgeous courts and freequipment was great. What a cool area over there.
-Spa: We did the couples massage. It was nice, but I think quite overpriced (as hotel spas tend to be). The hot tub beforehand wasn't very warm, and then you're stuck with either a wet bathing suit or nakedness during the massage (neither very appealing). We elected the "deep tissue" massage. It was relaxing, but I didn't get the sense that the therapist was trained very well. I do love the steam shower though, that is a treat in itself.
-Rooms: We had the garden view suite (most basic category). The room itself was gorgeous, clean, and comfortable. The bed was fantastic. We loved the porch and spent a LOT of time out there reading, watching birds and lizards, and drinking coffee. However, I had underestimated the road noise. I had read on here and on TA about the road noise, but honestly thought people were being too picky. Nope. It was LOUD to the point that I had trouble sleeping, staying asleep, and would wake in the morning to cars honking. By no means did it ruin our vacation, but I can guarantee that next time we'll go with a garden veranda suite instead, we talked to another couple who was in one of those (not even very much further into the property than we were) and they weren't getting any road noise. That was the only complaint about the rooms though, otherwise we loved it.
-Activities: We snorkeled one day and it was fantastic. We saw so much stuff, and the water sports guys are great. Enjoyed walking along the beach, realized after walking past many others that we chose the best resort on the beach. The sunset cruise was nice too; glad we knew to bring tip money as there were LOTS of others who didn't and that crew is NOT made up of Couples employees. Had fun jumping off the boat and swimming- be warned, if you don't elect a "floaty" it is a strenuous swim into the caves if it's wavy. We liked the work out, but we are strong swimmers and we felt the work out. Very cool experience though, fun way to spend our last evening. The evening entertainment (that we saw, found that we got tired out pretty early!) was really good. Checked out the piano bar one night but found that it wasn't really our thing. People seemed to love it though, and I was glad we at least tried it. The photo desk was great, we had lots of fun shots to choose from and one of the photographers even helped my husband figure out some of the settings on his new camera! Bring your bug spray, I'm still not sure what got me as I seemed to show up with new bites every day although my hubby remained bite-free. Sheesh.
All in all, a wonderful stay.
March 5th, 2012, 01:02 AM
They are all garden veranda suites now. No more just garden suites.
March 5th, 2012, 10:40 AM
Thank you for the the very honest review, I will make sure to write one when I get home too.
March 5th, 2012, 11:59 AM
I agree 100% with you about the road noise. I think it is worse in the older section. I am glad you had such a nice time, and thank you for writing a report for us.
March 5th, 2012, 12:18 PM
Thank you so much for this review... we are going to CSA in 91 days now I think, its our first time to Jamacia and to couples!!! We are very excited!!!
March 5th, 2012, 02:02 PM
What floor and location was your room? I have always been at the road first floor and never had noise issues. Did you shut your bathroom window? Did you have the AC on? I don't see how you can hear anything with the AC going.
March 5th, 2012, 07:27 PM
We were in room 1112. You're right, I guess the official confirmation said "garden veranda suite". We did not have the room with the hammock on the porch. Yes, we had the bathroom window closed (does the glass open? We didn't notice much difference with the shutters open or closed) and the a/c on. I will say the nights we had an extra glass of wine or martini we didn't notice the noise as much... Like I said, it did NOT ruin our vacation by any stretch, I was just quite surprised by how much noise I could hear as I was pretty sure people were exaggerating this point. It was annoying while on the patio too, but we still spent plenty of time out there. I wonder if perhaps second floor rooms are quieter? Not sure.
I forgot to say that we had NO issues with getting a beach chair at all. If we waited until later in the day, we did have to walk a little further to find an empty chair (oh darn, a walk along a gorgeous beach in the sun... so tough!) but never had any trouble finding empty chairs then just moved them to wherever we wanted. I found I liked to get a table too, and often was even able to find one of those as well.
The grounds were gorgeous as well, I thought there was lots of fun variety of things to see. What else did I forget to add?
March 6th, 2012, 12:21 AM
Thanks for the review! My hubby and I will be going back to CSA for our 3rd time in Oct and reading the boards just gets me that much more anxious! We have always stayed in the BF Suites so road noise was never an issue for us. Just the calming sound of the ocean waves and stunning view! You should get one of those rooms if you can...you wont regret it!! I also noticed you mentioned the bites you got. Its probably the sand fleas. The last time we went I got attacked the whole time while my hubby was perfectly fine! I must be delicious!! LOL Ill definitely have to use bug spray next time too! Glad you guys had a wonderful time!