Well there goes the quaintness of CN.... I certainly hope that they continue to keep the AN beach on bloody bay versus moving it to the rocky cover area. Unfortunately if a decision is made to go to C/O from AN we will have to re-evaluate our choice of resorts after 7 wonderful terrific years at CN.
I hope CN keeps everyone up to date on any renovations/construction schedule. The reason we, and all the friends that return year after year, is the AN beach directly on Bloody Bay. I certainly hope that no drastic changes are made before high-season since so many of us are already booked. We have been looking forward to Feb 2013 for the last 6 months.... I know change is inevitable... I just hope Couples keeps the thoughts and reactions of their core customers that have been loyal to them over the years in mind as changes are made...
Signed "hopeful but nervous"
Please, please do not mess with Couples Negril. We're returning for our sixth time in five years because of the boutique feel and amazing employees!
We were at CN one year when two women celebrating their divorces were guests of the resort. One of them had posted on the MB saying that they were looking to cut loose and party, and although many of the MB members posted suggesting that one of the Couples Resorts wouldn't be an appropriate venue, they chose CN, and we were surprised to find them at the resort when we stayed there. They hung out at the pool bar and were extremely flirtatious. One afternoon, two wives went shopping and left their husband behind. The divorcees spent a lot of time with them, and the scene when the wives returned was memorable--and not in a good way. It got pretty ugly at the pool bar that afternoon. It was the most uncomfortable situation I've ever seen at CN.
Originally Posted by johnirene
I'm not keen on the idea of a mega-resort. I'll miss CN.
News in the Gleaner today hinting at merging the 232 rooms of CN with 210 of Breezes and adding a further 150. That is just shy of 600 rooms. Sorry but if that really is the case then it will be a sad goodbye to CN from us. I cannot, for example, see them running two watersports and dive shops and for one I am not fighting 1200 guests in the hope of a slot on the dive boat each day. Not to mention a merger will no doubt mean the even sadder departure/redundacies of many of the staff we have come to love over the 270 nights we have spent at CN. I really hope it does not come to that and will be looking forward to getting more information at what might really happen when we are at CN in november.
Unfortunately CSS & Sunset Beach is also headed this direction!!! :-( We were told a few weeks ago at the repeaters dinner that Couples is planning on developing the "peninsula" & Sunset Beach areas with rooms...the AN is somehow going to be at the tip of the peninsula??? Which didn't even make sense to the Mgr telling us this
Originally Posted by Pulphead
Exactly what my wife & I said to each other about the future plans for Sans Souci
Originally Posted by DayBob
I wonder if all of the negative comments make a difference? We, collectively, have no idea of what the real business plan is, and just because it would be larger doesn't mean it has to lose it's flavor. Couples has been able to get it right so far, my bet, they can do it again. Give change a try, if you don't like it choose to spend your $$ elsewhere. I for one, have been worried that with all the awards, that we would be priced out of the place, or it will be booked and we can't get a room! Good luck to Couples, change is hard.
We are with Ninjaz, We already 2013 booked but if things change may affect early booking for the next trip. Randy, need info! CN is so small and quaint, please don't take that from all the faithfull guests! The AN is the best there is
Keep your comments coming. We appreciate hearing from you. That said, we will not speculate or discuss the specifics of intended operations until we have signed the deal. I trust you all appreciate our position.
Change can be good. We ended up loving the renovations at CTI, including the swim up bar I thought I would not like due to its location.
Then if it doesn't work for you, CTI still has the island and a smaller compact feel.
It's instructive I think to look at extremes. The Grand Palladium resort (which you pass on the way to CN or CSA) has about 540 rooms on probably 20 acres. They have applied to add 800 more rooms (that's not a misprint):
You can go to Youtube and can find videos of the place, which to me looks about as appealing as a cruise ship. Loungers arranged in rows, close together. Plus the beach is essentially manmade. Families with kids are welcome. We would not stay there for free.
The two RIUs on Bloody Bay both have 400+ rooms. We've walked around up there (don't tell) and it feels more crowded. Plus the beach is more crowded, but nothing like Palladium.
On the other end are the true boutiques, like Rock House, with less than 20 rooms. We've talked about, but never stayed in one of these because we like all the Couples amenities, food, etc., and it's nice to be with a larger group of people.
As many have noted, Couples has found a sweet spot. Big enough to offer lots of amenities, but with few enough rooms that there's plenty of room to spread out. I can honestly say that in close to 20 trips to CN we've only felt crowded maybe 4 days total, when the resort was full, had several big groups, and it just got a little overwhelming. The amount of space, the beach, the tranquility, the distance from other people...these are an important part of the experience for us.
Breezes Negril has about the same ratio as CN - 220 rooms and 22 acres. We've never felt crowded over there. But we've always gone there in September, which is low season. Resort was maybe half full.
My opinion...if the two resorts are combined in some way but most of the duplicate amenities remained (two main dining areas, two watersports huts, two lobbies, etc.) I don't think the place will lose its boutique feel. Simply because the ratio of land to rooms would remain the same. But if they added 150 rooms...I don't know. Clearly they would have to add more dining space, public bathrooms, etc. But they probably have enough linear feet of beach to handle the additional people.
We appreciate the small, accessible nature of CN (one reason we prefer over CSA). A mega-resort wouldn't work for us.
Randy – Keep them separate. We love everything about Couples Negril and would hate to see the two merge into one resort. We would not like to see the guests of one resort have full run of both, making our CN restaurants harder to get into.
We have had the wonderful experience of being to Couples Negril in 2008 & 09 and CSS in 2010 & 11 and are returning to Negril in November (62 days). The two resorts have something different to offer and assume the two resorts we haven’t visited are the same. That being said, the draw for us in all cases has been the staff, the fellow guests and the “au natural” beaches. While both resorts are uniquely different they are the same in the respects noted above. We have had the opportunity to meet and talk to Randy in 2010 & 11 and know that they take our input seriously and from what I have seen ensured that everything is done to the best of their ability to meet our expectations. He informed us in 2010 what their visions and long term goals were for CSS and indicated at the same time that it wasn’t something that will happen overnight if at all.
Many of us have written that if you could take SSB and plop it down in Negril (the sandy portion of the beach) you would have the best of the best when it comes to an “au natural” beach. If you’re looking for input Randy, that is ours… Should things work out and you acquire Breezes and rejig the resort, design it so that the “au natural” is on the sandy portion of the bay with all the amenities that SSB has and I can almost guarantee that you always see a full beach.
We will patiently watch for news and hopefully hear about the plans first hand at the repeaters dinner November 26th (should things be finalized before the 30th) and evaluate our vacation destination going forward.
randymon... you can bet the comments will keep coming. All of us Couples devotees appreciate how over the years management in general, and you in particular, have solicited input and caused us to truly believe that it made a difference.
Originally Posted by randymon
So many things about Couples as a company are better, and more human, than the "average business model of today." The scale of the resorts, the effort to keep staff valued and familiar, year after year, and the difficult balancing act of providing amazing au-natural areas at three of four properties... these are just a few examples.
All of us "Couples-aholics" truly, truly want to believe that any major changes to the resorts are done with an eye to what has made them so special, and different, than the many other places that we all have the option to choose. As the van brings guests to Couples Sans Souci from MBJ, the open mouthed stares of passengers at the super-sized resorts along the way speak silently: why would someone want to stay there? How could they do that to this beautiful, natural coast? What corners do they have to cut to fill all those rooms? Doesn't scale have to affect quality?
If it is truly a sad economic necessity that expansion is needed for the business of Couples to keep going, then so be it. A VERY SERIOUS EFFORT to keep the feel and flavor of the resorts should be a top priority. Otherwise, not to forget that one too many ingredients in a recipe can spoil the taste of the whole thing.
I personally am a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of person. I like familiarity. A well worn leather chair. A smiling face is more important than a shiny brass door handle. Opportunity may be knocking, but remember to look through the peep-hole before the door is opened!
People come to Couples for the intimacy. Intimacy lost is a sad and destructive thing.
Randymon... we love Couples, we admire and respect you, and indeed, we appreciate your position. Good luck as we walk silently beside you.
Dan (aka, fabfifty)
Here's a CSS question....If Couples develops the peninsula next to SSB and puts in additional rooms, what happens to the seclusion and privacy of SSB? I'm all for progress, but let's not "fix" what aint broken!!!
Well, judging by Randymon's comment, it's a done deal. It is deeper than just negotiations.
I am putting my trust in Couples and I believe they are listening to all of the comments on what faithful guests love and don't love. Give it time.
We are also with ninjaz9r. (Hi Kevin. We met you along with The Captain last July 4th.) We will be making trip #9 next year. We hope to be returning every year to CN but not to a mega resort. If Couples does acquire the other resort-make them separate, completely separate. I like the idea of being able to walk over to the other resort but I would hate to see everyone converging say at the pool bar at CN. Keep it like the trading spaces. Love our CN. Jimmy and Mariann
I totally agree.We are also booked for next Oct. 2013. CN is so small and quaint, please don't take that from all the faithfull guests! The AN is the best there is.
Originally Posted by 2havinfun
I remember my first trip to CSA in July 2003. A traval agent recommended after she asked a few questions about what we were looking for in a vacation. We arrived to find the "new" section under construction and behind walls so we couldn't see anything.
We had a great time at the quaint "little" original CSA and knew we were going back BUT......what would it be like with all the changes. OH NO, it will nerver be the same!!!! The romance will be gone, the personal touches etc. Well, went abck 4 times after that and the only thing that changed was that the resort was larger. Still had all of the things that Couples is known for, just twice as much of it. Maybe there were some things that were better about the old, but the addition of new things made it even better. Tit for tat so to speak.
To sum up, changes probably are coming to CN. Change is good ultimately and you have to trust that the folks at Couples know what they are doing and whatever happens at CN, and the new place, it will still be an amazing place to spend time.
Much like others on the board my wife and I prefer the smaller, more intimate resorts without going too small. CN is just the right size for us. We like the A/N beach, the fact that it is close since my wife doesn't walk long distances and we do not feel at all segregated from the rest of the guests. I love the fact that Couples is expanding, more options for all of us, but don't change things too much for those that love what is already there.
I'm concerned we will lose the intimate feel of CN. That is a big draw for us. When we are there it feels like we are at a special place with close friends. I would hope that some kind of 'trading places' is maintained with the neighboring property instead of a wide open free-for-all. 200 days until we are back at CN!
Maybe this is too far off the subject at hand, maybe it will shed some additional light on things, but it's just my observation.
A few years ago we made our first trip to CSA. It was before the most recent expansion (6 guest buildings, Great House, new pool, etc., now a few years old) and just after the first expansion (six new guest buildings). At the time there was talk of the additional expansion yet to be built, but most of us were not sure exactly what they had in mind. There was also lots of discussion, at the time, of the recent expansion and the additional guests now on property at any given time. Much was made of the new buildings having 12 rooms, which varied from the "original section" buildings with 4 rooms (or even two on the beach fronts). There was great wailing and gnashing of teeth by many of the guests that had fallen in love with the "old" CSA and how the new section was now ruining "their" CSA experience. "Too many people, too crowded. What will we do???" to paraphrase many of the comments on the message board.
We sort of stepped into the middle of the storm and took a position on the sidelines as we had no past experience to draw on to form an educated opinion of the differences that had been created between the "original" CSA and the "new" CSA. So we read the message board and listened to folks talk about the changes while we were in Jamaica. While there are still folks that lament the loss of the "original" CSA, most of the loyal guests have managed to adjust, as has the staff and management, to the changes that are now accepted as normal. The same sort of discussions and opinions were expressed a couple of years later when the second phase of expansion was completed and opened up; "Too large, too many people! We will never get to eat! The beach will be too crowded, we will never get our drinks!" I'm sure you can still find some long time guests that hold those opinions to this day, but ya' know what? CSA is still a great place for a terrific vacation.
Here's my point, sorry for being long winded. This is a very competitive business, even more so in the recent bad economy. One effect of the bad economy is that some resorts that are not run efficiently or do not maintain their properties are going to fall off the map because they do not provide what the consumer expects for their dollar. This, in turn, presents an opportunity for better run organizations to acquire properties (at a bargain?) and attempt to make them profitable once again. I think just such an opportunity has presented itself to Couples in this current discussion. Couples is not unfamiliar with property acquisition, resort expansion or turning a previously unprofitable property into a profitable, desirable destination for people looking for a certain type of vacation experience. I don't think they would jeopardize their success at CN by simply lumping a property on without careful consideration of how this property will fit in with their unique philosophy of how a tropical island resort should be run. Whether that means an expansion of CN to a larger resort, or re-creating a new, stand alone resort out of the property remains to be seen. In either case I anticipate that they will proceed with careful consideration of protecting their brand and business model. One thing for sure, they will not be able to please everyone, regardless of what they do. History has proven this. But I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that they know what they are doing and will do their due diligence to create something that will fit their vision of a successful resort operation. Hang in their CN loyalists, I don't think they will purposely leave you behind in their move into the future. But sometimes you gotta go with the flow. The beautiful Caribbean sea will still be there, along with some of the best beaches anywhere on the planet. It is still Jamaica and the people are still the wonderful, friendly, laid back folks we have all come to love and respect. So far expansion has not done irreparable damage to the Couples experience for the vast majority of us. They seem to plan and execute carefully and with genuine consideration for their current loyal friends as well as their future guests. Before we decide to just move elsewhere, let's see how this all shakes out.
I, for one, will see you at the beach!
We have been to CN 9 times and CSS once with the 2nd trip in November. We have always loved the Couples resorts for their size (not mega resorts). But that being said we also said if CN had the set up that the SSB has at CSS, it would be perfect. We have been told that it would be impossible to add a pool or grill to CN AN area due to location. I don't have any idea what the AN area looks like at Breezes, but the the pool and grill idea does appeal to us. I would hate to see CN change very much as they are our first love. Maybe the new resort could be for the people that only want AN and the AN area could be enlarged to accomadate this. The old CN could be for the textiles and the new resort could be for the AN guests.
Just a thought. Also the idea of the penninsula at CSS be room just for SSB would be awesome. Locality to SSB from your room would be a breeze if you forget something in your room. If you get a room in D block as we did and you forget something after you get to SSB, that is a long walk back to the room.
I know that all of our concerns and comments are read and taken into consideration and thats what we love about the Couples family.
9 weeks and counting.