CSA 6/7-6/17 review
We visited Couples Swept Away from June 7-17 for our honeymoon. My husband and I are in our late 20's and from New York. The trip was absolutely wonderful and I would definitely go back. I read a lot of reviews on here so will try to write my review to outline what I thought compared to reviews that I read...sorry in advance for being so long!
We arrived at Montego Bay airport around 8:30am. Immigration/customs took about 30 minutes and then we were easily able to find the Couples lounge. Although bright and early, we had a few cold red stripes in the lounge while we waited for our shuttle. We waited about 20 minutes and we were on our way. The ride took about and hour and 15 minutes and there were no stops on the way. The driver was hilarious and gave us some fun facts about Jamaica on the way. We arrived at the resort and were greeted with champagne and cold towels and quickly went through our information with the front desk. We were early so were not able to check in until 3. They kept our bags and we were able to hit up the bars and restaurants right away.
It was raining as we arrived and continued to rain all day as well as the next day. There was a "tropical depression" the week before we arrived and it lingered around for our first two days. The next 5 days were perfectly sunny all day long. Then our last couple days we saw rain for about an hour or two in the afternoon.
We stayed in the Great House Verandah Suites. I really recommend these rooms. The beachfront rooms seem to be the best overall but are a decent amount more expensive than the rest of the room categories, so I'd choose the GHVS over the garden or atrium rooms. They were in the same building as the computer lounge, the piano bar, Patios, Feathers and right next to the grill/pool/swim up bar. The building is on one side of the resort so it's the opposite end as Palms, Lemongrass and the water sports building. However, the walk is short and the grounds are beautiful so it's nice to walk back and forth. The rooms are really spacious and the balcony overlooks the ocean in these rooms (were were in room 5106 which had a great view). The rooms were very clean and the maids did an excellent job every day, although a couple times they didn't clean the room until after 4pm. I didn't see bugs or mold or anything like that, the rooms were in really good shape. My only complaint about the room was the temperature. There is AC but it did not work very well and I'd guess the room was at about 75 or higher. Thankfully there is a big ceiling fan that made the rooms comfortable but I would have preferred stronger AC and the ability to have the rooms set to whatever temperature we wanted.
Restaurants and bars:
Patios - our favorite overall restaurant. The breakfast, lunch, and dinner at this restaurant were always great. The banana stuffed french toast is really as good as everyone says. I almost always order eggs and bacon (also great at Patios) but I figured I'd give the french toast a try - it was the best I've had. Lunches and dinners were great as well - the woodstove pizzas were our favorite.
Palms (buffet) - this restaurant was good, not one of our favorites though. The breakfast here was our favorite - made to order omelets and lots of other foods as well as make your own mimosas and bloody marys. Lunch was also buffet and was good. Dinner was not buffet and the menu was pretty good - nothing spectacular but good food. There's also always musicians in this restaurant, even in the morning which is a nice touch.
Feathers - this was one of the restaurants you need reservations for and the food was good. The portions are very small here so I'd recommend ordering a few different things.
Lemongrass - definitely the best dinner food. I love Thai food and there's was great and very authentic. The restaurant itself is beautiful and was my favorite dining choice for dinner. Wish I could go back and have a meal there right now.
Grill - average food overall, but kind of what you expect at these types of places. The fries and nachos were delicious though and this place is always open 11am-4am I believe so a lot of late night snacks : )
Seagrapes - mostly vegetarian menu and right next to the beach, this is more of a stand with some chairs around a bar than an actual restaurant. The food was pretty good for the most part. Our favorite was the sweet potato chips with pumpkin jalepeno dip and the fish tacos were amazing. The rest of the food we had there was ok but defnitely worth having a lunch or two there.
The bars were great - there are 2 beach bars, a swim up bar, alcohol served at every restaurant during meals, and then the Aura lounge/Piano bar. The pool bar was great in the morning when it was less crowded. Once the bars got busy in the afternoon, you can wait more than 15 minutes for a drink. Everything is slower paced in Jamaica so this was kind of expected but a little annoying at times. For the most part, the service was really great though. The Aura lounge is very interesting. It opens at 9pm and starts with the Ultimate Chocolate who is hilarious. He sings and plays for 2 hours and does a lot of interactive karaoke with the crowd. It was actually pretty busy every night we went and a lot of fun. He does do a very similar routine every night but it was a great time. Then at 11pm, a DJ plays current music - we stayed one night but were pretty exhausted most nights from all the sun and drinks. A lot of people did stay though and seemed to all be having a great time.
There were a lot of activities that you could try out so I'll comment on what we actually participated in...
Kayaking - we took a couple of the kayaks out for maybe 45 minutes and it was really awesome - the water is unbelievable and it was a beautiful ride
Night snorkeling - included in the package is the glass bottom boat ride which is day snorkeling. For $35 a person you can take the same boat out but at night. They give you a flash light to tie around your wrist and take you on the same snorkeling trip. I didn't really like it but my husband did. I'd recommend just sticking to the regular glass bottom boat ride and not spend the extra money.
Catamaran cruise - this was one of the highlights of our trip. The boat picks you up at 3:45 and then takes you about 45 minutes down the coast which was beautiful and you stop and take a swim in the caves which was absolutely amazing. You stayed docked for about 30 minutes while people swim around in the caves and go off the waterslide on the boat. Also, there's rum punch served the entire time. When we left there were dolphins swimming right beside the side of the boat almost close enough to touch. As we rode in, the sun was setting - really a great time.
The beach at this resort is really amazing, the sand was white and soft and the water is clear and a beautiful blue/turquoise color. There was always a place to sit in the sun or find in the shade. The palapas were always reserved by 7am so if you do want one, I'd suggest getting up around 6 to claim them. We did this a couple days and found it nice to have them but didn't matter if we didn't have one. Every day, staff members walk around to hand out glasses of water, drink specials, cold towels, and fresh fruit. There is also green flag service so you can put up your flag and someone will come and take your order. This was awesome. Also, the floaties that sit on top of the chairs were truly amazing, we went into the ocean multiple times per day and just floated and relaxed. There isn't a strong current or big waves so you can go out in the water and just stay there and relax. We didn't mind the people walking the beach trying to sell us their trinkets - they actually gave the place a more authentic Jamaican feel. We felt completely safe on the beach and at the resort. I did hear that if you walk off the resort, you get heckled and followed by people trying to sell you stuff but most people respect you and walk away if you say no thank you. We did one off site excursion - ziplining! It was a truly amazing experience. The cost was $100 a person and I think it was well worth it. The location was about 1.5 hours away and the sites during the actual zipline were unbelievable. I felt safe the whole time and it was just something different and the people running the place were great, highly recommend. The pools were ok - nothing great but were nice for a quick cool off. The sports complex is amazing. We went about every other day and really loved to get a nice work out in during our mornings. The facility is open air so got quite hot but during the morning was fine. The equipment is really nice and was never too busy. We also took a spin class which was in a cooler, semi-air conditioned room and the instructors were visiting US instructors who were certified to teach spin - classes were great.
To conclude this really long review, I'd absolutely recommend this resort to anyone and you will not be disappointed! If you have any questions, feel free send a message and I'll do my best to respond.
Good detail....My wife and I have been to CTI 3 times already and are going again here in August 2011..Would consider CSA for our next trip based upon your review...Thanks
Sounds like "home" to me.
Life is good :)
Thanks for the review and I have never been there and not going until 12/09/12 but by reading all of these reviews, I kinda feel like I've been there before!! LOL Cant wait till then and glad you had a great time!!
Just for clarification for those who are wondering. The glass bottom boat is used as the transportation to get to the snorkeling site. The glass bottom boat ride is not the same as snorkeling.
That was an amazing review!! We will be there in 4 days and we can't wait! This will be our second trip there; the first one was during Tropical Storm Nicole 2010. But your review made us very excited for all the activities we missed during our last trip. Thank you!! :)
glad you had an AWESOME time! CSA ROCKS!!
Thanks for the great review. My wife and I can't wait for our first Couples vacation at CSA in September.
Thank you for the review!
Where'd you do the zipline ??? Have any pictures you wouldn't mind sharing ?
This makes me so excited. Me & my fiance are also from NY & we are in our 20's and will be going here for our honeymoon!