CSA 1st Timer Review, was pretty nervous about recent reviews?
Let me preface this with a little bit about us, which I think people who post opinions / reviews should share, we all know "opinions are like ........ , everybody has one". But your expectations may be much higher than mine, and therefore when I read your negative review, I assume I made a terrible mistake planning a great vacation for my spouse and myself. Therefore, we may have blown, what to us, is a substantial amount of money, when you consider flights and stay.
-Every other year vacationers; 1st time at an All-Inclusive; in the 35 - 44 age bracket; enjoy good food of all types; accomodations don't have to be the Ritz, but nice and clean; service must be good, and considerate, but not over the top; Pretty laid back and enjoy relaxing together; we are the kind of people that put out the "do not disturb" sign every other day, so they don't have to bother with making up our room everyday. I can still pull up the sheets and position the pillows a couple times, even if I'm on vacation.
Obviously, my Wife and I just returned from a stay at CSA, we returned to the States on 4.16.13 and I felt one of the first things I should do was post a short review, because all of you that have posted on, or been reading this message board for the past 6 months like I have, deserve a good review. And, deserve alot of thanks for helping me prepare for our Vacation.
Here we go:
Arrival: Immigration/Customs was a breeze, we arrived mid week and it took us 25 mins from plane to Couples lounge. Don't forget a blue or black pen, and fill out the immigration form completely. Very easy to find the Couples Lounge, checked in there, had a Red Stripe (or 2), and we were being lead to the transport bus. Tipped baggage guys $2 per bag. Bus ride was almost 1:30, be sure to go to the restroom before you go, you may or may not stop half way through. Tipped Bus driver $10, they are not Couples Employees.
Check-In: Would've been great if I would have remembered there were 5 other couples on the same bus with me, so it took a little longer than expected, but the good news was, our room was ready! There were some people around check-in that their rooms were not ready, I understand it's an inconvenience, but do you really have to interrupt the person that is helping me, to have her stop and see if YOUR room is ready? Apparently, when they get back to the States..... expect another poor review! LOL!
Room: Garden Verandah Suite, Corner Room, Building 10. Room is very nice, private, clean, and comfortable. View from the terrace was of the gardens with a very small view of the beach and Caribbean, Fantastic! Our luggage arrived shortly after, and then our requested mini-bar beverages arrived. If you like to start drinking soon after arrival, do a pre check-in via the romance rewards program on the main website. Worked perfectly! THE ROAD NOISE WAS DEAFENING! (Just Kidding!) I read alot of reviews about the road noise in a GVS before arriving, we sleep with a noise maker, a downloadable app for iPhone; (thanks message board) and it was perfect. If you get up at 6:00 am like I did and want to sit out on the terrace, yeah, there is road noise, but I had absolutely no problem with it. Housekeeping, was great when we used it. Turn down service was nice, but that again is something I don't have to have to make my vacation great. Can you believe I read reviews of people complaining about it being too late, or not nice enough? Like I said, I read ALOT of reviews!
Beach: Incredible! Soft white sand that you can see for miles in both directions. We got to the beach most days by 9:00 or 10:00 and most of the Palapas were already taken, no big deal. We had no problem rolling a couple chairs under a palm tree, for some early or late day shade. The water was incredible, just the right temp to cool you off, and to drag your cushion out and float on your cushion for a while. If you don't go out and float in the Caribbean, you are missing out on one of the many great experiences they have to offer. Beach vendors were never a problem, if one came up, we just said no thank you, and that was enough. Beach security is awesome, always roaming around if you need them.
Pool: We only spent our time at the pool with the swim up bar, so I can't speak for all of them. This is a great place to spend your day if you've had enough sand between your toes. Sure, it gets a little more loud as the day goes by, but we found it to be more fun. I guess if you have a problem with that, there are 2 or 3 other pools you can hang out at.
Bars: Loved every one we got service from. All of the Bars are a great place to meet new people, hang out, and enjoy your time there. A few highlights: Bob Marley Shot - beautiful in the glass, and really warms you up inside. Patois: Ask Frazer to make you a "Frazer Special" , it was our go to drink before dinner. Please try the special of the day, to turn you on to new beverages. All of the drinks I had were absolutely great. Aura Nightclub was fun, Don't miss Ultimate Chocolate at the Piano Bar.
Food: Outstanding! We ate at all of the places except Lemongrass. Went to Rick's that night and jumped instead. Really disappointed to have missed that one, next time we'll go.
Palms: Awesome! Great buffet! We had breakfast and lunch there.
Sea Grapes: Fish Tacos, Sweet Potato Chips, and Roasted Beet Salad. May be the best lunch I had.
Cabana Grill: Great food, great service, even late!
Patois: Fantastic ala carte breakfast and dinner! Banana stuffed French Toast!
Feathers: Almost felt out of place here, my fault not theirs, best meal of the week in a great setting, and A/C. Guys, don't forget slacks/khakis and closed toed shoes. It is worth it to pack an extra pair of shoes, slacks, and a collared shirt.
The only excursion we took was the Cat Cruise, as 1st timers, I was really looking forward to it, and was not disappointed! If it is your 1st time, and you don't get seasick, you need to book it!
In a nutshell, (finally). We absolutely loved every minute at CSA, and 1 day after getting home, are already planning a return trip for next year with my Brother and Sister-in-law. So, 1st timers, and veterans: I'm pretty sure our stay was what you all expect every time you are there. And all of you that had nothing but bad things to say about CSA, I'm just glad I don't travel with you.
Thanks to all posters for the great advice, good reviews, and great threads, to allow a planner like me to plan the perfect vacation for my wife and I.... We WILL be back to CSA. In the meantine, have a Red Stripe for us!