Went to CSS in October...where to go in 2012?
I've been meaning to write a review of CSS since we went in October, so this post will serve a couple purposes...review CSS and also ask for some advice from those of you have been to other Couples.
A little background on us - (I always feel this helps when reading reviews so I have some idea if I am likely to have similar views as the reviewer). My husband and I got married in Oct 2010...I am 27 and he is 38. We live in Myrtle Beach SC and both work in the tourism marketing field. We've traveled to all inclusives in Cancun, Cabo and Acapulco (Cabo was our favorite of the three...but service at hotels/restaurants in Cancun are far superior)
Overall, we really enjoyed CSS - it is definitely the most unique place we've ever been....and pictures do NOT do this resort justice, it is so incredibly lush and beautiful. Our room was perfect - no, it wasnt SUPER new and up to date like some of the resorts we've been to in Mexico, but it also wasn't OUT of date...it was just perfect. We had a beachfront suite, B block. Food was good to very good...especially the fancier dinner restaurant, can't remember the name. Overall, CSS had the best food out of all the AI's we've been to.
Ok, here's the REALLY disappointing part - I have NO idea what everyone on here and Trip Advisor is talking about when they say that the staff is "so amazing, goes out of their way to help you, makes you feel like family, etc etc etc". We have good taste and are well traveled, but our standards are by no means so high that we would be so far off from what we've read from others. We met many couples on our trip and probably 8/10 of them also agreed with us - the service is very slow and for the most part, workers we straight up rude. A few examples: First night was the beach party, it was rained out so we went inside and got a table. There were maybe 3 servers for the entire dining room. After sitting at our table for 15 minutes, and no one coming over, I got up to get a drink from the bar - the bartender wouldn't serve me, told me to sit down and a server would come over. Probably another 10 more minutes before the server ever came. This was our first night - and we figured it was probably just because of the beach party getting rained out that the service was off. No worries mon. Next day, we wake up and go to the main beach...it's probably 9:40. I'm sitting on a lounge chair, and a server walks by...I ask if he could get me a mimosa. He says no - the bar doesn't open until 10. Ok, only 20 more minutes, no problem...he says he will bring it to me when the bar opens. I start getting very thirsty and decide to go up to the bar and at least get a bottle of water while I wait for my mimosa - it's probably 9:55 now. I ask for a bottle of water...there are probably 5 guys standing behind the bar...NOPE, can't have any water, bar isn't open yet. Umm what? You really can't even get me a bottle of water? (Mind you I can see bottles of water in the coolers they are opening and closing as they prepare to open the bar). Whatever...I go to the bathroom and then come back...it's a couple minutes past 10 now. I return and ask for my mimosa and bottle of water....the server reluctantly asks another guy if he can give it to me....luckily for me, he agreed. Finally! Dehydration problem solved...but I'm definitely a little annoyed. No problem, let's just head over to the pool and bar at Sunset Beach. We ended up spending the rest of the trip at SSB...the pool is much nicer, and so are the people (guests, that is). Service at SSB reflects the same quality we've received at other parts of the resort - except, MUCH SLOWER. There is 1 bartender behind the bar, who is incredibly slow...and no personality whatsoever. At any given time there were probably 5 - 25 people in the pool/around the bar. It took on average 15 minutes to get a drink. They also don't stock the bars with enough supplies to get through the day...the ONE bartender had to leave multiple times to WALK all the way back to the main part of the resort to get pineapple juice and other mixers at least twice during the day...this would easily take her 30 minutes. Which means while she was gone, no drinks for anyone. I just don't udnerstand why she couldn't call up to the other bar, and have someone come down on a golf cart or something to either pick her up, or bring the needed supplies. Next example - one night we went to the hot tub, came back to the room at probably 1 or 2 am. The beach grill is open all night long to cook hamburgers hot dogs etc...so once we got back to the room and discovered we didn't have any more bottles of water (and now dehydrated from drinking all day, being in the hot tub, etc) I decide to walk down to the beach grill and get a few bottles of water. Surprise surprise....5 guy employees standing around the bar area, no one there ordering food. I ask for a couple bottles of water - they tell me the bar is closed, they cannot give me water. I ask very politely if they can POSSIBLY find 2 bottles of water SOMEWHERE for us...I mean cmon, even if there wasn't any bottles of water there at the bar (which obviously there were...and even if the bar is "closed", one of them had a key to open the cooler to get a water....give me a break) there had to be SOMEWHERE at the resort they could grab a couple bottles for me. Nope. No luck. To make matters worse, there are NO ice makers on the entire property...so your only option is luke warm water from the bathroom sink. When you are dehydrated this just doesn't cut it. So now I'm a little ticked off...but nothing I can do. I head back to my room...and then hear the guys making fun of me on the way back!!! I'm sorry, but this is totally ridiculous and RUDE...I was very polite to them, as we were to every member of the staff during our whole trip...there is NO excuse for that sort of behavior, particularly when all we read prior to our trip was how "amazing!!!!!" the staff is...give me a break!!
Ok my rant on that is over...there were multiple other weird run ins with weird staff, but hopefully you get the point. The thing I don't understand is, like I said, the majority of the other couples we met that week all agreed that the place is gorgeous but the service really is far below average or even acceptable. Did we hit an off week? I just don't understand how everyone else writes how amazing the service is. Like I said - we are not snobs, nor do we have unattainable standards - we are a young, fun couple, who just like to have fun, drink some alcoholic beverages (and some bottles of water!!) and thoroughly look forward to our yearly vacation. None of these situations ruined our trip - it still was a great time and I would return to CSS...just wish we had the experience we had been hoping for after reading such stellar reviews.
NEXT UP - we are considering another Couples vacation for October 2012. Like I said - the food, pool, beautiful grounds and amazing friends we met during our time at CSS ultimately outweighed the poor service. We are hoping a different Couples may have this amazing service we've read about. BTW - we did trading places and went to CTI one day...MUCH better service! It was like night and day. And the food was also better too I think...much more selection at the breakfast and lunch buffet, and the dinner restaurants looked really nice and trendy (more what we have found in Mexico). I would consider CTI....but am also interested in CSA, because of the beautiful water. Any thoughts on CSA and CTI, given my review of CSS, would be greatly appreciated. Night life at CSS was also basically non existant...would like to find a place with a little more to do at night.