CSS Review 12/31-1/7
We just returned yesterday from a week at CSS and it was absolutely fabulous!! This was our second trip to CSS, the first being 3 years ago in October. Last trip, we had horrible weather and stayed in a BFS, which we didn't particularly care for, but we decided to give CSS another try.
Flew out early from Orlando on JetBlue, and we were in the Couples lounge by 10:00 am. There was virtually no-one at immigration, our luggage was waiting for us and we were waived through customs. Unfortunately, the keg wasn't working at the lounge, so we had no Red Stripe upon arrival. (First time in 8 trips.....)
We had one other couple with us on the bus, and they were going to CTI. Our driver was nice and pleasant but sloooooooooow. The other couple wanted to stop for a bathroom break on the way. (We tried to tell them that we were less than half an hour away, but alas.....) We arrived at CSS around 12:30. (It was a FULL two hours to get there, in case you were wondering.)
Reception was fantastic and we received our cold sparkling wine and a cool cloth. Our repeater's gifts and our $100 check were waiting for us upon arrival. We were assigned to room F-8 and when we got to the room, I realized that we were directly on top of the nightly entertainment, overlooking Casanova and the balloon bar. As we tend to go to bed earlier, this was not going to be a good option for us. They didn't have any other rooms available for us that night, but said they had something in G block for the next night, and it was no problem to move us, so we left everything in our bags and went down to lunch. Jerk chicken and (Finally) Red Stripe! The day was off to a fantastic start.
We went back to the room and rested for a bit, since we had been up since 4am, and the got dressed and headed down for the New Year's dinner. VERY nice. The food was fabulous, the lawn was decorated perfectly, and the entertainment was great! It was a bit more sedate than I was expecting, however we still had a great time, and beat the night!! Well, we made it to midnight, at least......
The next morning brought the beginning of our daily routine.... room service coffee and banana bread, yoga at the fitness pavilion, 3 loops around the property, including the stairs (equates to 5K or 3.1 miles), weight room, second breakfast at Pallazzina and then off to the beach. The weather was chilly and overcast (okay.... we're from Florida) and I spent a decent amount of the week wearing a long sleeve t-shirt over my bathing suit, but still.... I was on the beach in Jamaica. :) Lunch at the buffet was great. I had a huge salad everyday, which entitled me to taste the daily ice cream creation. Dinner at various restaurants (Casanova was our favorite) and then off to bed.
Our new room was G-18 and while still a bit loud in the evenings, it was MUCH better than the F block room. When we go back, we'll try to get a room in E block, since that seems quieter.
For our anniversary dinner (1/2/11) we had a private dinner in the gazebo. It was nice, but IMHO, not worth the $$. For $170, I was honestly expecting lobster. The tenderloin was fabulous, however, the "surf" part of our surf and turf was 3 shrimp on a skewer. Really?? Owaynie, our server was fantastic, and we really enjoyed him. The view was spectacular. Having done it once, though, next time, I'll spend the money at the spa.
The repeater's dinner was extremely nice and we really enjoyed sitting with Del, the manager from the gift shop. We also won a free night at CSS for being the couple there with the most trips to Couples (8) -- gives us a REALLY good excuse to go back. :)
Our return shuttle was at 6:30 am, and whew... it was early. Room service was kind enough to deliver bagels and coffee at 6 am so we could get something to eat. (Nice.) And alas, after a very comfortable trip in a very nice SUV, we arrived at the airport, and had the better part of 2 hours to kill.
While overall, the trip was fabulous and we will definitely be coming back, there were a few things to note:
1. We really miss the carafe of ice water in the room. We go through the bottles of water VERY quickly. (Like by 10am.)
2. Room service needs more trays. We ordered coffee/banana bread every morning, and EVERY morning after about 30 minutes, they were knocking on the door and calling looking for the tray back. Sheesh. It got to the point where on the last day, when they arrived, I just had them offload the stuff onto the coffee table and take the darn tray back with them.
3. Housekeeping was hit or miss at best. We tend to keep a tidy room, but the housekeeping was just not up to par. We ran out of kleenex on the second day, and it was never replaced. Dirty coffee cups were left in our room. The coffee supply for the in room pot was not restocked 2x. (one of those was on our last day, too....) And I know this is little, but we did not receive flowers or any towel art on our bed on our anniversary. (We did get a lovely bottle of sparkling wine and a fruit plate from guest services, though.)
4. While I appreciate the environmental friendliness of the new shampoo bottles, I REALLY miss the blue shower gel (the smell always means Couples to me) and I also miss the aloe.
Again, these are teeny, tiny issues in a stay that was by and large FABULOUS!! and while CSA is still our favorite, CSS was a great trip, and we'll definitely be back!!