CSA REVIEW 8/31 to 9/8
Hello, I am going to write a semi-brief review of our trip to Couples Swept Away. On this trip would be me and my girlfriend and another couple. My GF has been to Jamaica twice before, staying once a Couples Negril. The other couples has also stayed at Couples Negril two years prior and has been to many other all inclusive resorts. The other couple is well traveled as far as the Carribean and Hawaii go. I am more of a U.S. traveler, largely through business, my vacation travel largely consists of Las Vegas and the South.
We left Columbus Oh, and arrived in Montego Bay on Delta airlines, the flights were pleasant but this is where we would experience our first and only hiccup. Out of the four of us, I was the only one who received my luggage. The others spent about an hour in lost baggage claim line only to be told the luggage was 30 mins out and would be delivered to the resort sometime this eve. We were prepared as everyone had packed an extra change of clothes in their respective carry on, so no problem mon!
We only spent about 20 or 30 mins waiting for the bus to board for Swept Away, there was an odd incident as we were boarding the bus, but I had read about it in online reviews, so I wasnt surprised. As we were boarding one of the airport bell hops was trying to hit up my GF for a tip, the couple ahead of her had declined so I think he assumed she was picking up the tip since I was lagging behing juggling two bottles of Red Stripe, she brushed him off and he became indignant stating its customary to tip the bellhop for your luggage and he was only trying to make a living. My GF then explained that our group did not even have luggage so that is why she didnt tip. I then stepped in and explained to him that its customary where I come from to be patient and give the customer a chance to tip before you offer a lecture. I gave him $2 as I didnt want to start the trip badly.
The ride to CSA was pleasant, best bus driver I could imagine, he offered a lot of info. about the Island and the people. We made a stop at a little store about half way or so. This offered the opportunity to pick up a taste Jamaica and to use the facilities. Upon arrival we were treated with the customary champagne and towel, staff was very nice and check in went smoothly. We just had a basic room, as did the other couple. Ourse was situated at the far end of the property near Patois. The other couple was one building away. We were along the dreaded road that I had read about in the reviews. We decided to give it a chance before passing judgement. Long story short, the road didnt bother us a bit, it did bother the other couple, they were a little closer and didnt have the benefit of trees and vegetation blocking the sound as we did. The front desk kindly moved them for a very modest upgrade fee and they were happy. We very much enjoyed our room, it was a very private building, we could sit on our back porch and feel very secluded. We also liked being on the first level, we took advantage of the morning continental breakfast delivery and they would simply place the tray on our porch and knock on the back door. We had a few cats as visitors, they were quite cute and entertaining.
We quickly realized our I pod dock did not work, we notified the front desk and they sent someone to replace it. The mini bar was already stocked, so that was a win. As others have mentioned the lighting in the bathrooms are non existant, wasnt much of an issue for me, but the lady would have loved more lights. We found the A/C to be excellent and the water pressure impressive. Overall we were very satisfied with our room and preferred the privacy over more luxury or an ocean view. We would simply select the basic room again, same building and all.
I wont bore you with all our vacation details, but will just offer some thoughts that I think are important to others.
The beach is as amazing as it looks in pics, the sand is pure white and does not heat up like you would expect. The water is warm and clean.
The food is amazing, we did not have a bad meal, I read somewhere we someone wrote "try the soups", well I couldnt agree more, dont miss out on a soup. I also read where the portions arent huge, at times they are not, but if you have dinner as intended with all the courses you wil leave stuffed. We often ordered two appetizers if we were hungry, its never a problem and it did the trick.
The property is very clean and well kept, workers are always cleaning and sweeping.
We felt very relaxed at the property, we awoke each morning at 630am and had a couple cups of the amazing coffee and a slice or two of banana bread and hit the fitness facility. You walk across the street, but the facility is incredible, pools, tennis courts, jacuzzi, walking track, gym, equipment on the track, just unreal. We worked out everyday and loved it! We finished each workout with a run and swim on the beach! HEAVEN!
We lucked out on the weather, it rained briefly in the afternoon but cleared up beautifully. We had a family death derail our original plan to go in June, we knew the risk of Sept. weather, but it worked out just fine. The humidity was tough some days, I could deal just fine during the day at the beach, but it hung around in the eve and made for some unpleasant conditions for walking around at night.
We did the ONE LOVE BUS TOUR, highly, highly recommend. We hit several small locals joints and had a great time. It was $3 a Red Stripe, except on place where we lucked into happy hour and it was two for one!!
The Cattamarran was a great time!! So much fun.
THE NOT SO GOOD
The service was lacking for a resort of this price range and quality. We had some incredible experiences with staff, some were truly great people. There were some that were not, we experienced our worst service at the bamboo bar as others have stated. One day it was laughable. Firstly its a dangerous proposition approaching the bar, the bees are unreal! We saw two stings. One day there were three barteders at the bar about an hour before closing. I ordered two Pina Colodas, after being asked what I wanted. The bartender then left the bar without saying a word and didnt return. The second bartender then took my order, he then began cleaning the bar and did not fill the order. The third bartender finally saw what had happened, apologized and said he would make me the best drink we had ever experienced. He did! it was great. The bartenders often seemed bothered and not interested in service. If you were not standing directly in front of them, they would not go out of their way to serve you. The first three days we were there flag service was non existant. We were dissapointed as we were really looking forward to this. For some reason about the fourth day they actually began flag service and it was then quite good as long as you were in close proximity to the bar.
The mini bar in room is a crap shoot, we often did not get what we requested and our request was quite basic, diet cola, pineapple juice and red stripe beer. We woud go days without our request being properly filled. They would always stock, but would just give us more of what we were not using anyways.
The breakfast delivery, we would simply check the banana bread x2 and coffee and pine apple juice. One day we got coffee, croissants and orange juice! Not the end of the world, but when you wait all year you hope the little simple things that actually mean a lot can work out. We really looked forward to our morning on the patio and that patio is a large reason we are likely to return.
As an aside, we did the day pass to Couples Negril, everyone in our group commented that the bar staff service was night and day. The resort isnt for us as it is too hotel like, but the service was a step above CSA for sure.
In closing we are likely returning to CSA in May, the goods out weigh the minor bads by a long shot. We love the atmosphere and our relationship was strongly rekindled!! Food is amazing, property gorgeous and beach is to die for. We will just hope the service improves. We ran into a guy that has been going to CSA for 7 years, he said service has declined strongly, but they love the property so they continue to return and hope for better.
Ah captainron! Spent the day in Granville after I proposed to my soon-to-be wife! Will be back to CSA for trip #2 and wedding in December.
As with any place, people must go in with measured expectations, realizing that not everything will be perfect, so thanks for the review. We previously stayed at CTI before so when we got to CSA, we found the service to be extremely underwhelming. It took a few hours for our mood to pick up. We ended up having a wonderful trip.
I agree with the person you ran into about service, it is a slippery slope and something I really hope Couples pays attention to before it's too late.
Good honest review. I am concerned about the Bamboo bar and wonder what has happened. We were there in October of last year, will be there in another 32 days, and I sat at the bar for several hours every afternoon without the problems that some have reported. As a matter of fact, the reason we are going back this October is the Bamboo bar and Sea Grapes restaurant right on the beach, otherwise we would be at Couples Negril, which we will be in 38 days. There were times I noticed that service was slow when orders were given, but nothing I felt that was awful. Of course they switch bar tenders around the different bars all the time, so that could play something into it as well. Great review and I hope that I can add a little more positive note to the bar service when I come back, but I know what to anticipate now. Is Good Mon!
Good review. We were there at the same as you. With the exception of two rude bartenders at the beach bar we had a fantastic time!!! We'd like to return some day.
I was contacted by a manager after posting the same review on tripadvisor. He asked to talk further, I forwared my info last week, but have not heard back. We are waiting to hear from him before we book out May trip. We are taking 6 couples and want everyone to be amazed!
We head out on Oct 19 for our fourth trip to CSA. We did CTI last time and vowed never to stray from our beloved CSA. We've experienced some staff issues but it in no way affects our vacation. We simply figure out where the service is best and develop a relationship with the bartenders and all is good!
Great review and glad you enjoyed it
I'm always shocked when I see less than favorable reviews about staff. Next week will be my 5th trip to CSA in 2 years, and my husband has been over 20 times. We never experience anything but awesome service!
I wasnt shocked, I had read in the reviews and realized that was the main knock on CSA. Its the entire reason Priceline has CSA rated "7" and CN rated "9.5". We didnt let it affect our time and we will return in May, it is however worthy of mention in an honest review.
Originally Posted by Suzi
Sounds like they need to do a little housecleaning. If these are such good jobs for Jamaicans then a couple of examples might be good motivation.
Originally Posted by captainron62
I had to comment on this. We are CN people but love to go to Swept Away for a day. We enjoy our time at CSA but we have always had poor service at the beach bars. They just don't seem to want to help us. Like someone said, they kind of just walk away and hope someone else will work. At CN you have the great pool bar and the service is THE best and the red flag service is awesome. I think I would love sitting at CSA beach bars if they were more willing to take your order and just kind of BE there.
Excellent excellent review captainron. My wife and I have been to CSA four times and we have had almost the same experiences as you. I completey agree as to the service at the bamboo bars - sometimes good but more often than not a little shaky. However, with that being said, we are returning again this March with 3 other couples and I can't wait. I refuse to let a few little hassles ruin a relatively expensive vacation that comes around once a year.
For those of you that golf, one of the highlights for us is our every other day trip to the local course. The free golf ends up costing about $80 for two but we think it's worth it. Yeah, the course isn't the best but hey, in March where we're from, there still might be snow on the ground.