Husband in a Panic
We are booked for our first stay Aug 2013 at CSA. My hubby came home today in a panic. He had spoke with friends about the hidden charges at the end of the stay, the prices for drinking the beer in the mini-bar, etc. We have never stayed in a AI. They have talked about the large amount of money they spent unexpectedly. Even something about paying extra to board the plane in the way home. (Customs?) Help me put his mind at ease. Any pointers are much appreciated.
Thank you so much!!
I expect that lots of people will post an answer to this once the moderator works his/her magic
I have stayed in many AI resorts and yes sometimes you may use/drink things that aren't part of the package. This isn't the case at Couples EVERYTHING is included, except spa facilities, but including tipping so relax. Your husbands friends have never been to a Couples resort but I guarantee once you are back and spread the word they'll all want to go.
We tip the bus driver who takes us from the airport to the resort and usually $1 per bag for the baggage handlers at the airport.
Have a good time at CSA
We have never paid extra to board the plane home. We don't order fancy wine for dinner off the list and we are aware up front of any additional spa charges or photography we wish to purchase. All inclusive is food and drink and does not include items from the gift shop. Relax mon, no staff member from the resort will pull a fast one on you. You chose well is choosing Couples, you will not be disappointed!! Back for our third trip in two days.
We have never experienced this at couples. We drank the drinks in the mini bar daily and were not charged, and we have never experienced having to pay extra to board the plane.
NOT TRUE! Couples does have hidden charges. They are not like some of the other AI resorts. They do ask for a deposit on a credit card at check in. This is for extras like purchases at the gift shop or use of the spa. (You get this back at check out if not used).
The airport charges are part of your airline ticket price. Not part of Couples. And should be included in the cost of the tickets.
Relax and enjoy your vacation. You are going to Jamaica!
Life is good :)
I have never paid any "hidden charges" and I've been to Couples 3 times. The only way you get an extra charge in the mini bar is if you order the upcharge items they don't normally stock (there will be a menu in your room). You can also order off a Manager's wine list if you want in the restaurants, but again - none of this is hidden. The only thing that may have taken them by surprise would be if they booked on their own (no travel agent, or a bad one) and didn't anticipate the departure tax. This is a Jamaican tax - nothing to do with the resort - and it applies to everyone leaving Jamaica. In some cases it's included in your travel package - you pay it at the same time. In other cases you pay it when you leave in cash only. It's about $40 pp right now if I'm doing my math right.
All inclusive means just that. The only things you'll pay extra for at couples will be Spa Treatments, phone calls home if you use the resort phone (skype! it's free!), and if you choose upcharged mini bar items or the managers wine list. You can also purchase Romance Packages or Private Dinners or off site Tours... even photo Packages if you'd like professional photos to remind you of your trip... but NONE of these things are hidden, all clearly come with a price and NONE are necessary to have an amazing time. Our first two trips we did none of these things. We sprang for the Romance package with the private dinner last time. That was awesome...but if you want to pay the one price and go - you'll be just as happy!
Sounds like friends think you are going on a cruise.
No hidden booze charges at the end. The only settle up is fo gift shop items and photos, etc. that you charged while there.
All airline charge s/b part of ticket.
Have a great time.
First, have him breathe into a bag...
Its a challenge to spend much money at Couples AI. You can order items for your mini-bar that have a charge, or you can drink the items that are included. You'll know the difference. Its clearly spelled out on the mini-bar restock form. Anything you have done at the spa has a charge. Anything you get from the gift shop you have to pay for. You can order special wine with dinner (or breakfast I guess) that is an additional cost. There is no additional charge for the house wines that the servers pour for you. Anything with an additional charge is clearly disclosed.
In a typical trip, the things we pay extra for are a bottle of good vodka for the mini-bar (the well brand is a little rough first thing in the morning), a souvenir or two, whatever we forgot to bring and have to buy at the gift shop, and the wife gets a massage. It all comes to less than $200.
There is no fee at the airport for boarding the plane. Maybe your friends got hustled here or it was somewhere besides Jamaica?
Scott and June
Tell your husband "no worries, mon." No charge for minibar drinks. You really have to try to spend any extra money at Couples (massage/spa treatments, upgraded wine, gift shop stuff). Other than a few bucks for non-Couples tips (bag handlers, driver to/from resort, catamaran cruise), you can essentially arrive at Couples with ZERO cash and owe ZERO at the end of your stay.
We have been to CSS each of the last three years and return this June. We have NEVER experienced anything like you describe. Before choosing Couples, we researched all of the AI options and read countless traveler reviews of all of the major resorts. Couples, by far, seemed to offer the most for your dollar of any AI and did not engage in the practice of hidden charges or up-charges. Anything that is not included is specifically listed as being available at an additional charge. As far as the airport, that is beyond resort control. The only extra charges I have seen are for overweight bags from bringing home too much coffee and rum! Relax, you have chosen wisely.
Couples doesn't hide anything, that is the beauty of it. Everything really is included. That is why so many guests at any Couples resort on any given day are repeaters, many times over. If there were "gotcha" stuff happening, trust me, we wouldn't keep going back.
Your husband's friends obviously haven't been to Couples... sounds like they did a cruise where you DO get hit up with extras at the end of your stay.
ALL drinks are included... all the time, soda, mixed drinks, wine, beer, and anything in between you can come up with... anywhere on the resort, no matter what you drink! (exception is if you want a fancy wine at dinner instead of the house wine... I have always loved the wines that are included, but some want a fancier one and they give you a price list for that so still no hidden charges). The house wines are a red and a white to choose from, and they never let your glass get less than half empty.... :)
Tips are not allowed on the resort, except at the spa, where you can tip spa personnel if you prefer.
The resorts work on a cash less system. The only things you would be purchasing is items from the gift shop, or spa services like massages, pedicures etc.. and any photos you might want to purchase. If you do any of these things they are just tallied up for you to pay when you checkout. But again, no hidden charges, just what YOU bought and it's your choice to buy anything on your trip. If you don't buy anything from the gift shop or go to the spa, then there wouldn't be anything to tally up.
As far as the departure tax, that is included in your airfare when you booked your trip.
Tipping off resort is up to you.. it's not a hidden charge. That is people such as baggage handler that takes your bags from Couples Lounge when you arrive to the van to go to the resort, the driver of the van etc..
Tipping is not allowed on the resort so the housekeeping personnel, bartenders, waiters, staff etc.. do not and are not allowed to take tips. They treat us all the same.
Tell your husband not to worry, Listen to people who have been over and over and relax. You're going to have the time of your life!
Maybe I'm forgetting something, but I don't recall any hidden charges at all...at least nothing significant enough to get my attention. There is no extra charge for the mini-bar, I know that for sure.
We have been to Couples a dozen times and unless things have changed since last spring the liquor is top-notch and part of the all inclusive including the Mini-Bar. If you are worried, ask at the front desk when you check in if they haven't already explained that to you as part of the oreintation. If it has changed, beer and other great mixed drinks are free-flowing at many of the available bars spread out thoughout the property.
There use to be an customs fee when leaving Jamaica but the last few years there hasn't been any. I believe it may depend on what airline you are flying and if it is included in your airline ticket price. Even if there is a charge it is reasonable.
One item that you will want to look into is the number and weight requirements of your suitcases for your airline. That is where they will get you with extra charges. I purchased a Portable Digital Luggage Weight Scale from amazon for less than $15 so that we could redistribute our souvenirs in case one suitcase exceeded the limits.
Did your friends actually stay at a Couples Resort because it is truly all inclusive? Sure they do charge extra for some things, special excursions, spa treatments, night dives and of course the souvenirs from the souvenir shops or the shopping trip in town but food, drink, entertainment and the hospitality is included in the price of your stay.
**If you plan to bring liquor home, buy it at the airport on the way home. Since you can't have liquids in your carry on and you don't want the bottles breaking in your checked luggage the best place is after the security check at the airport to get your extremely reasonable priced booze.
Don't worry, be happy...
One month and a 1/2 before coming back to Jamaica (2nd home).
Jens and Sue
Your husbands friends have obviously never stayed at Couples and sounds more like they are talking abou a cruise.
Other then, tipping at the airport & shuttle driver, the spa, gift shop, and some extra romantic touches like dinner on the beach it is all included, even the mini bar and breakfast in your room is included. They will put a $300 hold on a credit card if you wish to do anything that is extra, but there wont be any surprises when you check out prices are clearly marked and you are given a reciept.
Tell your Husband the amount paid for the resort and airfare is really all that has to spent to enjoy all the resort has to offer.
No hidden charges at Couples! All included means all included! The beer/alcohol in your minibar is free. You can have house wine for free. There is an optional wine list that is available for purchase. The Jamaican Departure Fee is included in your airfare! No worries!
Couples resorts are indeed the ONLY all inclusive resorts we have come across.
Lots of so called all-inclusive resorts do charge extra for mini-bar contents, ice cream, premium brand liquors, drinks after 11 pm, etc, etc - we know this because we too have been caught out at such places. HOWEVER not at Couples, everything is included you don't pay for anything and defintely not for the contents of the mini-bar (they even let you choose the contents - how's that for AI??). The only charges you will have to pay at the end of your stay will be any purchases in the Gift Shop, any telephone calls you make from the room and if you decide to purchase wine from the Manager's Wine List and these will not be 'hidden' as you will have to sign for them and the charge will be clearly shown. We have never had to pay anything when we leave (other than any 'present treats' for ourselves from the Gift Shop) as we use the free wi-fi to Skype or email home and the inclusive wines are very good so we don't bother purchasing any from the list.
You may, however, have to pay the Jamaican Departure Tax on leaving and this is paid at check-in before boarding the plane, it depends on the airline you are flying with - from the UK this tax is included in Virgin and BA flights but not with the chartered airlines. Check with your airline to find out if the departure tax is included or whether you have to pay at the airport, this is around $25USA.
Hope this helps and you can tell your hubby to lock his wallet in the safe until you leave and that he won't have a 'hidden bill' to settle when you leave! Enjoy your stay at CSA.
Obviously these friends he spoke to have not stayed at a Couples. Tip your drivers, luggage handlers, and off-site excursion guides. Besides that, you only pay for what you buy upfront (excursions not included, shopping, etc). I would check your airline to see if all fees are included, but those fees have nothing to do with AI.
I don't think your husband could have been talking to people that stayed at Couples. What you describe is pretty common at other resort chains from what I've heard. There are no hidden fees at Couples. That is one of the wonderful things about Couples that keeps people coming back year after year.
The mini bar is included at no extra charge. Pay extra to board the plane??? Not likely. That's actually pretty funny when you think about it.
These people may have paid extra for some off site excursions that are not included at any resort although some are at Couples. ie bus to Dunns River Falls, shopping trip, catamaran cruise, Margaritaville, to name a few. It depends on the resort. All that is included is listed on each of the individual resort pages and there are no surprises. You will love Couples....good choice!
At all Couples resorts there is never a charge for anything consumed from the mini bar. Also there are free unlimited refills of your mini baR
Originally Posted by kelliobrn
There are no departure taxes. It is collected by your airlines and it is included in your airfare
Not to worry you are going to Jamaica! No problem, no worries
I'm sure you are going to get alot of feedback on this! My wife and I have been going to Swept Away for a number of years. I can tell you we have NEVER been hit with hidden charges. The mini fridge in room is included. Check your towels at the water hut when you leave and get a receipt, that might be an add on. Tell your husband to do what I do when I get worried about my trip to Jamaica... put on a pair of sunglasses, and sit down with a cold Red Stripe, let the ones in the fridge get colder, and exhale. It's all good!
There are no hidden extras at Couples. You do pay for anything from the gift shop or at the spa, that's it. Usually the departure tax is included in your flight price but you can check.
There are no hidden charges at Couples. The mini bar is stocked and is all part of the price you pay. I've ordered champagne and wine almost everyday while I am at Couples Negril.
Woah... not sure if your husband's friends are talking about the same place as Couples.
Mini-bar is free and stocked daily.
No clue what they are referring to when they say paying extra to board the plane...
You can book your trip and not pay another cent if you choose. They will only hold $300 on a credit/debit card for incidentals, but if you don't charge anything to the room, you get it all back.
You will be charged for things like spa treatments, gift shop purchases, bottles of wine from their wine lists (they have bottles of red/white that are covered under the AI), excursions, etc.
Let the mind rest :)
There are no hidden charges!
No need to worry, when Couples says it's all inclusive, it really is all inclusive. You will not be charged for drinking things out of the mini-bar, and they will keep restocking it your entire stay. Also, you will not have to pay extra to board your plane. That fee is built into the price of the airline ticket. The only things you will get charged for when you check out is a $5 Issa Trust donation, and anything you charge to your room at the gift shop or spa.