First of all we had a great time. Second would we go back; probably not.
I would also like to thank everyone here for all the help and info before we went as it made a big difference on our enjoyment of the trip.
I would also like to say that some comments you are going to read about certain people are not pointed at anyone on this board. People here have been more than polite and helpful. On the other hand some people that we ran into at the resort could use a few lessons in manors and humility.
Montego Bay airport was fine and they show their experience in handling tourists. We were through quick and the vans for couples were waiting for us. Our driver Patrick was very nice and gave is a good tour on the way with lots of info and answered everyones questions.
Resort checkin was ok but we didn't get the room we wanted and then not even the one that they bumped us too. The room that we did get was not ready so we went for a bite to eat and came back. We ended up in 4118 which was ground floor in the middle. Turned out that we really enjoyed that even though we wanted 2nd or 3rd floor. The steps right off the veranda was perfect and 20 ft from the beach. So the switch in the room turned out to be a benefit.
Problems that came up over the next few days were the door card keys. Every day we had one card that didn't work. Back to the front office to get the card fixed. Tuesday we planned a day trip to Appletons, YS Falls and the Black River. Went to breakfast and came back to pick up our bag for the trip and couldn't get into the room. Deb went to hold the bus while I went back to the front office again. Cards fixed I ran back to the room and still couldn't get in. Had to call maint and he showed up after about 10 min. He couldn't get in with his card. Now he has to go back and get his tools and he is gone for another 10 min. Now it is 8:15 and the bus was supposed to leave at 8:00. He gets back with tools and master key and still can't get in. Now he has to call the chief engineer to get in by the veranda door as the chief is the only one allowed to access the rooms from this end. He shows up and can't get in because Deb used the deadbolt to lock the door and there is no outside key for it. Now it's 8:30 and I tell them to call the tour desk and tell them to leave as I can't hold the rest of the people up for us any more. They had to knock the hinge pins our of the door to get it off and then fix the lock. It was 10:00 before they were done. Missed our trip but they did reschedule it for Thursday so not a total loss.
Small issues with the wifi dieing every day it seems. Doesn't sound like a big deal but when it is the first time that Deb has left the girls alone and we are out of the country she liked to keep in touch for peace of mind. When it did work it was great. We Skyped from the veranda and talked for 1/2 hour.
We had a few problems with the offsite tours but that is not the resorts problem and they were not that big. Just small things but unfortunately there were a lot of them and they pile up.
The biggest issue came to a head near the end of the trip and that is tipping. We were told that it is not allowed and the employees would be fired if caught accepting tips. We never did but noticed that service seemed to be getting slower as the week ended. We had the same girl at the Palms and on Wed Deb saw a couple tipping her under the plate. The next night we were waiting longer and longer for service while the same people were visited 4 times by the server. Deb finally got up and left after we had waited 15 min for a drink and for her to come back and take our order.
The day we are leaving Deb is talking to other couples while we are waiting for the bus and finds out that people that have been there before tip all the time. One couple said that as soon as they get there they visit their fav beach bar and slip the bartender 50 bucks for the week. Seems like a common practice. I have no problem tipping but when I am told that someone could get fired for accepting it I am not going to take a chance.
For the most part the staff was very nice and management tried very hard to make right any problems. Deb filled out the card at the end of the trip and we got an email from the manager which follows.
Thank you for choosing Couples Swept Away for your recent vacation experience and for taking the time out to share your comments with us.
We at Couples Swept Away pride ourselves in offering an excellent product and we are always disappointed when we fail to meet or exceed our valued clients that are able to fine tune the resorts offering.
Tipping is still a strong policy, Staff Members can be dismissed if seen accepting tips. Living in a tip environment Staff Members may succumb to temptation and may accept it. It policy is strict to ensure that every Guest receives the same level of service while at Couples Swept Away. I am very disappointed about your room key issues. We have noted the issues highlighted which you have encountered and must apologize for any inconveniences caused.
Couples Swept Away would like to extend two complimentary nights which must be used in conjunction with a future booking to Couples Swept Away. Kindly advice us should you be willing to take us up on this offer.
Thanks again for bringing these concerns to our attention as it is only through our valued clients’ feedback we are able to improve on our products and services. We do hope that we will have the pleasure of hosting you once again.
Couples Swept Away
As you can see management was always very pro active on trying to fix any problems that they were aware of and I was very impressed with that. They offered us compensation for the door problems also but I refused (you know us polite Canadians :-) )
Again don't get us wrong we had a great time and didn't allow these problems to effect our vacation. That being said we would think twice before going back there. We talked to some people that went to the other couples down the beach and said it was smaller but better in their opinion.
Deb's comments about some of the people:
Unfortunately there are always a few people that are idiots but that seems to be expected now a days. The worst were a few people that have been there XX number of times and therefore are better than everyone else and should get better service and their choice of chairs on the beach etc... Very disappointing to hear that kind of talk.
The palapa's: get rid of them. More problems that they are worth. People bitching and throwing towels and stuff off and taking them. One lady complained when she came down to the beach at 7:30 that they were all taken and she should get one since she was such a good return client. We got one twice the whole week we were there. I got up at 5:30 and put our towels on them and we enjoyed the day. Second time the last day were there I had to put our stuff on the night before because that's what people were doing. When I came out at 6am our stuff was thrown on the ground. Towels beach bag and shirts. Nothing else around. I put our stuff back on and could here someone walking quickly down the sidewalk. She saw me and turned away and kept walking. The worst thing was there was 4 in our area and 2 were empty. She picked ours and tossed our stuff.
We heard more bitching about them than anything else on the resort. They are not worth it.
Would we recommend Couples Swept Away: yes but we would make sure that we informed anyone thinking of going about the tipping issue so at least they would know.
Where are we going next. Not sure, Couple Negril, White House, Cuba or Hawaii are on the list. Up to the boss
Thank you for your honest review. I am sorry to hear that you had an issue with tipping while at CSA. We have been there on three occasions now and have never seen this. We have come to be very good friends with some of the staff and would never risk jeopordizing their jobs by offering monetary tips. We do bring gifts that for staff and throughout the year I have a great time picking out things to be brought to our friends. I sometimes feel badly that I cannot offer a tip for the exceptional service we receive but I do understand the rationale behind the policy. I hope you will return to CSA some day and find it to be the special place it has become for us.