2nd trip to CSA - Fabulous!
We just returned from our second trip to CSA (Nov 3-10). Once again, we LOVED it!
Arrival: Took a non-stop on Jet Blue from Boston. Best flight ever. On time. No line at immigration! Shuttle ride was quick (1 hour 20 min) with a friendly driver who provided sightseeing tips along the way.
Room: We had requested a specific Garden Verandah suite (the same one we had 2 years ago), however it wasn't available for the first 2 nights. We stayed in a different one for 2 days and then they moved us into the one we wanted for the last 5 days. We were SO HAPPY to get our same suite! We love the garden verandah suites because of the location, the lush tropical plants in that area, and the privacy. While I understand that some people prefer to be right on the beach, there is far too much foot traffic along the path for our liking. We once again requested and got a first floor suite so we could just walk out the verandah door and head to the beach, no trekking up and down flights of stairs! (Wish we had known you could get a key to the patio doors!) We were in building 8 which directly faces the jacuzzi in the middle of the property and gives us a great view of the beach and water. When we were in building 6, they had shades you could pull down on the verandah which helped with the late afternoon sun. It would be nice if all of the verandahs had shades. Also, in building 6 suite, there was a very comfy bamboo rocker on the verandah - not so in building 8 - just a small tub chair. They should have those rockers for all suites without hammocks. We were not at all bothered by street noise. In the building 6 suite, there were tiny ants in the bathroom and on the tables by the bed. Not good. I understand it is the tropics, but I don't want ants in my room! There were none in building 8.
Patois Patio: breakfast (3 times) - all excellent! Dinner (twice) - excellent! Special note - they have GREAT PIZZA! If they do not list the kind you like, just ask! Service was great!
Cabana Beach Grill: We ate lunch there a lot because you could go in your bathing suit! LOVED the jerk chicken! Friendly service. Fries, burgers, etc. Wish they still had grilled cheese sandwiches!
Palms: Ate buffet breakfast once, buffet lunch once. Standard choices - good food. Friendly service. Ate ala carte dinner there 3 times - delicious, and well served.
Shipwreck beach party - was a bit disappointed that it was inside the Palms (except for 3 grills by the pool) - maybe due to wind? Food was excellent though! Loved the jerk pork and chicken. Desserts (in general) were a bit boring. 3 days of strawberry ice cream....
Feathers: Did not eat there this time, although we had reservations. You have to reserve 3 days in advance but cannot see the daily menu until that day. The choices were not something we wanted, so we canceled. A bit disappointed. I would think they would always have a beef and chicken dish on the menu.
Did not eat at Lemongrass or Sea Grapes.
Cocktails: The bars only have Kirov and Stoli vodka. Wish they had Absolut. I'm pretty sure they did 2 years ago. I had preordered my mini-bar request (thru Romance Rewards) so we got our fridge stocked the first day - which was nice! It was also nice that we had an ice machine right near our suite in building 8 - no ice close in building 6, which was a bummer. We filled out our daily mini-bar request sheet and always got what we ordered daily. One day we forgot to put the card out at night - asked someone walking by if we could just call and get restocked and he said no, then he offered to get what we wanted! Super nice (thank you, Deville!) They also only have Red Stripe on tap. I don't like draft beer. Really wished they had Red Stripe and Red Stripe light in bottles. My husband drank Caribe in cans, which was okay. The beach service was not as good as 2 years ago. Putting up the green flag did not always mean you got service. We just sat near the Bamboo Bar so we could get our own! No problem!
Sunset catamaran ride was fun! Great, friendly crew. Went by Rick's Cafe, then stopped at Pirate Cove so people could jump in the water if they wanted.
Bonfire - One night there was a big bonfire on the beach at 10 pm. Great idea! They had a bar set up (which we didn't know was there until the end) and a guy playing music. I would have much preferred hearing reggae to Robert Flack's "Killing Me Softly"! It was very quiet and subdued - we left after a 1/2 hour before we fell asleep there! Again - bring on the reggae - it's Jamaica!!
Nighttime entertainment: Was a bit lacking. We went to the Palms for the shows a few times. It was just okay. Maybe it's just me, but I want reggae in Jamaica, not songs from the 50's.... We stopped by the piano bar one night, after so many fabulous reviews, but were not interested in hearing guest karaoke singers doing songs like "Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog." We did not go to the Aura Lounge this time - too late!!
On-Property Vendors: 2 years ago, they had different vendors come in every day and set up on the path to the Palms - which was great. They had really nice stuff. I only saw vendors there 2 out of the 7 days this time.
Daily activities: You have to go and look for a schedule posted by the swim-up bar or somewhere else.....the TV stations that are supposed to show them do not work. 2 years ago, we got a printout of the weekly activities in our room. They need to bring that back.
Beach vendors - They will ALWAYS try to sell you something. They are poor and need money. Be respectful and just say "No thanks" and they will walk away. I saw a girl selling jewelry trying to ask 2 women walking by if they would look at her jewelry, she was polite and not at all in their face. They kept walking, totally ignoring her. So rude! The jewelry girls are more than happy to make you custom pieces if what they have is not exactly what you are looking for! We chatted with many of them and they were so friendly and fun to talk to.
Bugs - Okay, so last time, I got ZERO bug bites. We still went prepared, bringing along Deep Woods OFF towelettes. We made sure to use it before going to the beach at sunset or to the bonfire, etc. I literally still got hundreds of bites! I never felt the bite or saw the bugs. EXTREMELY itchy! (still - 3 days after getting home!) My husband was wherever I was and he got ZERO bites. Prepare. Bring hydrocortisone cream.
Beach - FABULOUS!!! You can walk for miles! The water is clean and clear with beautiful sand! You cannot find a better beach! We were lucky as the resort was pretty empty when we were there so there was never a problem getting a lounge chair. The palapas were tough to get until later in the day, but we wanted sun anyway so moved our lounge chairs down to the water's edge.
Room Tip: We like the Garden Verandah Suites because they are quiet and off the beaten path. I originally wanted a Beachfront Verandah, but waited too long to make a reservation. We were so happy we were in the Garden Verandah Suites rather than along the beach path. Too much foot traffic for us. The newer buildings are nicer. Although there was a jacuzzi right in front of our suite, there was never noise there late at night - as opposed to the jacuzzi by the swim-up bar, where we heard guests complaining about noise at 2am! We had great AC, and an end unit, 1st floor walkout to beach. Apparently you can get keys to the porch doors so you don't have to walk around to the front of the building to use your card key.
All in all, we had a wonderful time. I HIGHLY recommend this resort to anyone who loves the beach, the hot sun, and relaxing! It is nice to have all couples there. It is a very romantic place. We cannot wait to go back!!!!!