As the title says, I'll be arriving at Couples Negril on a Thursday around 1:00 PM. First time at a Couples resort.
Describe for me what my first day and evening will be like =)
As the title says, I'll be arriving at Couples Negril on a Thursday around 1:00 PM. First time at a Couples resort.
Describe for me what my first day and evening will be like =)
Culture shock! You'll wonder how you ever lived without visiting a Couples Resort and enjoying paradise!! Then you'll join right in and begin having the time of your life as you get to know the wonderful staff of CN.
That's an awful hefty request! Your first day will be what you and your significant other want it to be! If your room isn't ready upon arrival you can head to the beach for a drink or a swim or head to the pool....you can book your dinner reservations or sign up for the catamaran cruise. Enjoy all of it! It's your vacation!!!!
Of course, a lot depends on you. Your room might not be ready but there's a changing area so you can hit the beach and pool and bars right away. If you're hungry, lunch will still be ongoing at two restaurants -- beach grill and Cassava (buffet with many choices).
You should be in your room around 4 pm. You can relax and get ready for dinner and evening entertainment. I think all restaurants will be open that night -- the menus are posted so you can select what appeals to you.
This is also a great time to book stuff for the week -- the Otaheite restaurant, spa activities and the catamaran cruise. And to RELAX!!
ummmm... awesome? exciting? mind-blowing? perfect?
In all seriousness,
You will go through Immigration, grab your checked bags, then through Customs, and to the Couples airport lounge where the staff takes your name, and you have time for a bathroom break and a Red Stripe. From there, they let you know when your shuttle is ready. The porters will insist on taking your bags to the van, but it is up to you. If you let them do it, they will require a tip.
Once on the shuttle, your journey will begin. You first drive through the town of MoBay, which is your first cultural eye-opener. I won't spoil it with what you see. Once you leave MoBay, most of the drive is coastal with the ocean out the right side and the culture out the left. You pass through the towns of Hopewell, Lucea, Cousins Cove, Green Island, and Orange Bay, before entering the northernmost part of the Negril area. Your driver may or may not be informative, but if not, I always tend to get them talking by asking a lot of questions and expressing interest in the culture and history, like peeling an onion. He may or may not stop for a bathroom break. If you can avoid it, it's probably for the better, as it's only another 10-15 mins to the resort.
CN is only about the fourth resort in, so once you see the first Riu on your right, the next resort is Sunset at the Palms on your left, the next Riu on the right, then CN on your right. The van pulls into the resort, and everyone unloads. This is when you tip the driver.
Upon arrival, everyone gets a cold, wet towel and a cold drink, we've either had sparkling wine or once a green fruity cocktail. The front desk knows who's arriving, so they will call out your name and hand you a clipboard. If you did the pre-check-in, the form will be pretty well filled in. Give them a CC for incidentals, and they will let you know if your room is ready or not. At this point, you will likely do what everyone does, look over the railing and see your "living room" for the next week. It's breathtaking, especially the first time you see it.
At this point, if your room is ready, you will get to walk through some of the resort to your room while your luggage is brought to you by the porter on a golf cart. I will not ruin the initial experience in your room, but make sure you walk out to the balcony/patio and soak in your view.
After you get settled in, you will probably do the same thing you will do if your room is not ready.
Now is the time where your personal choices kick in. The lunch buffet will be over, so you will want to hit the Beach Grill if you're hungry. If you just want a drink, it will be the Beach Grill Bar or the Pool Bar. Half of the Pool Bar is in the water and half is dry. If you want to sit by the pool, sit by the pool. If you want to explore the resort, explore the resort. Some people go straight to the dive shack, some go straight for AN, some get in the ocean, and some chill in their rooms and relax. It's really up to you.
Honestly Scott, as excited as you are, and should be, I would put my money on some exploration, followed by a quick bite, or vice versa. Since it's Thursday, try not to fill up too much at the Beach Grill after you arrive, because the Beach Party is that night and you will have a huge selection of foods, and the Beach Grill is pretty much the same menu every day. Your first night will be a busy one. Beach Party, bonfire, dance party at the Piano Bar... It's going to be a great night.
Oh, and one last thing, make sure you fill out your room service form that night for your continental breakfast the next morning. Even if you plan on going to the breakfast buffet, the coffee, croissants, and fresh fruit in your room are to die for, and the balcony/patio is the perfect place to enjoy your first morning in paradise.
We arrive 2 days prior, so we'll see you there. I guarantee we will not miss each other. Fourth time, and we're just as excited as the first. Four and a half weeks!!!
First thing to remember is traveling is no fun. Acknowledge that and use the anticipation of you destination as energy to keep going. Immigration at MBJ can take from 10 minutes to over an hour. Thursday arrival shouldn't be too bad. Once you pass the third and last airport checkpoint your vacation officially begins. As you enter the large room with all the resort lounges, turn left and head straight for the Couples lounge. There is nothing like that first cold Red Stripe. I choose this over checking in but you must do that as well.
If this is your first trip to Jamaica, ride the shuttle. This is a great way to see the country. Don't be nervous, they drive on the left side of the road. Very weird at first. Sit by the driver and talk with him. My experience is they love to tell you about their country. It makes the 90 minute drive fly by. Everyone one of them has been very nice. Yes, they work for a tip. Last time you have to worry about that. Check-in is a breeze, cold towel, champagne, happy wide-eyed people arriving along with sad people sitting around forced to leave and already planning their next trip back home. If your room is available, great. If not, be sure to pack beach attire in your carry-on. Changing rooms are close by. You can't miss the pool and beach from the raised lobby view (one of my favorites) and enjoy. Don't try to do too much the first day. Some head right for the bar or beach, others wonder and get to know the layout.
We have already made reservations to return for our 7th trip. This has to be one of the best places for couples. Enjoy time with your spouse, meet new friends, get to know the Couples staff and start planning your return trip. When you have to return home, let us know what you think.
Everyone above me has given you great advice. But, the best advice is to chill out. You are in the Caribbean which has it's own pace of movement. Chill out, don't rush the staff, smile at them, greet them, talk to them, treat them with respect but don't rush them. I have sat down for a drink and waited several seconds, up to 5 or 10 minutes and I treated the latter as I did the first. You never know what they are doing, who is distracting them, or if they are short handed, just chill, after all, where you going to go. Service has a different time definition but it is all good, so just sit back, relax, enjoy the surroundings, enjoy the time with the significant other, enjoy the sights and sounds and your time in paradise, don't with it to go faster then it is. When we hit Negril, out 5th time in 7 days, on every trip, the first thing I do, is walk through the lobby to the railing and look at my home, even though I have been there many times, and yes, I do it about every day while there, just something about that view. Is good mon!
Read up and adjust your expectations to the strengths of the resort and understand what it is and what it is not.
The very new resorts have some nice glitz to them but most are "british colonial luxury" and in my opinion that does not jive with a beach vibe I want. Half Moon does that real well btw as Im sure do some others! Im not saying that bad, its just different.
I'm good at chilling out (too good at it or so my wife tells me haha) so it should be "no problem mon!"
We were debating about taking the airplane from the airport to Negril but we've decided to do the countryside shuttle instead -- free and a great way to see things from the ground.
Usually we don't hit the beach until we've got our room (on my other land based trips we've always got in late afternoon to evening and not got any beach time at all), this time though since we are arriving early we will probably go eat while waiting for the room to be ready.
Dank120 thanks for the advice about trying continental -- we were planning on just doing the breakfast buffet aside and only getting coffee delivered for when we get up but I will definitely try out the continental now!
The beach party sounds like it will be alot of fun! Are there alot of different buffet items that night (is it different from the normal buffet?).
I'm not used to a resort that doesn't always have a buffet going. It's my understanding that couples does the buffet thing a few nights but it's the a la carte dinners that are really where you want to be (and on some nights are the only option). My previous land based trips the a la cartes were pretty terrible -- you were better off going to the buffet. When we cruised the MDR (main dining room meals) were a highlight with fantastic food and service. That's one of the things I'm really looking forward to at Couples Negril -- great food!
Remember there are special nights at CN... Thursday is the Beach Party! 7:00pm on the beach, under the stars. By that time you'll have had time to eat, swim, and relax in your room, before heading out for a dinner and fun night on the beach!
You might also want to take the resort tour on your first day.. held at 5:00 pm daily, or you could wait and catch the 10:00 am tour the next day.
Beach Party Thursday nights!! After freshening up from the day .. head down and put your toes in the sand and enjoy a delicious buffet dinner. Don't forget some bug spray on your feet!
dank120, perfectly said. The memories almost brought a tear to my eye. Can't wait to return to CN in April!
All good info above! I'll just add a couple of suggestions. AVOID all the folks at the airport that want to sell you excursions or carry your bags except the folks at the Couples lounge. Anything you want or need to book you can do at the resort and be sure you are not being ripped off. One thing I'll never understand is the lack of suggestions to get down to the Watersports shack and start meeting the guys that will become your best friends. I know some will feel the same way about the bartenders, but watersports makes my vacation. If you want, you can sign up for the next days snorkeling while you are there at the shack. If you like to snorkel, have ever thought about snorkeling, or are a snorkeling pro, be sure to sign up for the night snorkel trip. It does come with a cost, but well worth it. I will be arriving on the 29th, and I am the unofficial temporary Jamerican week long watersports manager ( in my mind at least) . I'll be the Hulk Hogan in a fat man suit look alike, so be sure to say hi when you see me. Oh, since no one has mentioned it, the beach is a public beach so you do get vendors walking by. Security keeps them moving along so they won't really be a bother. Everything in Jamaica is about Respect, so if you just let them know you are not interested they move on. HOWEVER, everyone in Jamaica is a future Bob Marley, and there are some pretty good entertainers that come by. Feel free to give them a buck or two while they are singing as they add to the fun of the vacation. The guy that sings "Cigarettes on the beach " is about the best of them!
2) As an added note, the coffee that is brought to your room is much better than that served at the buffet, and the croissants are super fresh.
3) As others have noted, bring bug spray, and I recommend getting 100% DEET, which is usually in the sporting goods (hunting) section of most stores. I don't get bit at all by moquitoes, yet, even with 100% DEET the no-see-ums will get me a few times at the Beach Party. My wife gets is bad, even with the 100% stuff.
4) The international buffet nights are only 3 or 4 nights a week, and the buffet is set up on the pool deck, not in the breakfast/lunch buffet area. There is everything from sushi rolls to roast pork, beef, seafood, etc., but almost every dinner will be a la carte and always great food. The Beach Party buffet is similar to the international buffet, but with less of the foreign foods, and more Jamaican dishes.
The dinner buffet at Couples is not like the buffets you are used to at other AIs, while the lunch and breakfast will be more similar. Also, whereas the buffet is always open at other AIs, the Beach Grill is open at CN from 11a-6p and 11p-5a. During dinner, it is converted to Heliconia. Check out the sample menus on the Restaurants & Bars page for CN. While it will not be exact as to what the menu will be next month, it certainly gives a pretty good idea of the type of cuisine you are in for.
As soon as your airplane's wheels are on the ground, stand up and grab your carry-on from the overhead. Don't wait for the "fasten seat belt" sign to be turned off. You're in control! Battle to the front of the plane, no one else wants to get off. Who cares about your vacation more than you? No one!
Put on your war face and elbow your way through the customs and immigration lines. Roll your eyes at anyone who tells you that you've filled out a form incorrectly. You're paying their salary after all. Times a wasting! You are in control, act like it!
Stand at the very front of the baggage claim so you can get to your bags first. You've waited a long time for this vacation. Everyone else probably does this 12 times a year. You really need to take charge here or your vacation time will be wasted!
After you get your bags, claw your way to the Couples lounge. Grab all the beers within sight. You paid for them and you deserve them. Your in charge!
Time to get to the van, make sure you're first! Ignore the dude trying to make $1 loading your bag. He's just trying to rip you off. Resolve to mention this in your trip advisor review.
Once you're checked in, let Couple's take over. Make as few choices as possible. Put your happiness in the hands of the folks who do this for a living. Have a drink. Eat, dance, love your SO. Make reservations for stuff, or don't. The alternatives to not getting what you thought you wanted are likely to be as good or better than what you thought you wanted. If they're not, have another drink and move on. The worst day in paradise with the one you love... what a great day.
Reflect on which is better, being "in control" or just letting the vacation professionals take care of all the little stuff so you can enjoy what matters.
Scott and June
OK One last thing. I always do this. As soon as I get to CN, I walk all the way through the reception area and peer over the balcony onto the pool area and ocean and I just get excited because it is the most beautiful sight ever! You are going to love it!
I plan to do just that!
Thanks for the heads up about the coffee. I'm a huge coffee lover so I'll def be ordering coffee in the morning. How strong is it? Do they have lighter blends (my stomach is sensitive to the really dark stuff).Quote:
Originally Posted by dank120
So the bug spray is a "must have" thing eh? Unfortunately for me mosquitoes love me ... I was hoping maybe it wouldn't be bug season ... no such luck I guess. I'll be eating lots of garlic before I go then, supposedly that makes one's blood not as tasty to the bugs.
Thanks for being so descriptive about the food. I'm sure it's been noticeable in my posts ... with the exception of that glorious beach, the food at the resort is the one thing I'm most curious and excited about! I didn't realize the dinner buffet would be that different from other AI resorts ... well not exactly, I mean I knew/know it will be different, but I can't wrap my head around how exactly it will be different. Regardless I'm positive based on all of your input it's going to be good! I didn't know about those menu's so I'm going to check it out! Thanks again!
The sand fleas, or no-see-ums, are very real, but that's pretty much anywhere on a beach in the Caribbean or even Florida for that matter. You will see people posting both horror stories and "never been bitten" stories, and both, while probably true, are very extreme sides of it. Sand fleas are not mosquitoes. They are tiny little fleas that love to bite below the knees (closer to the sand), but they are most prevalent at certain times of day, basically from dusk til dawn. During the day, they aren't as bad, but still there, nonetheless.
My wife gets about 15-20 bites per trip and I get about 2-3, so it's not like an epidemic or anything, but we both are pretty annoyed by biting insects. In my life, I've literally heard everything from Off! to Skin-So-Soft to vitamins to garlic, but I've truly found over the years that any product with 100% DEET, the active ingredient in Off, to be the best. Unfortunately, even Deep Woods Off is only like 25% DEET. The brand I get is Repel, which I find in the hunting section of most big box stores.
The only times we typically use the stuff is the Beach Party and on our walk to the Office of Nature. If you can't find 100%, don't worry. You get there 2 days after we do, and I'll have plenty, if you want to use some for the Beach Party. We will probably be going to the Office of Nature on Saturday, because both dives are in the morning, so lunch time is drinking time that day for us! Early drinking=beach walk=OON=grilled lobster=hellz ya!
Well it's Saturday morning, and as I read your post, it sounds as if you arrived this past Thursday...
So, how was your first day at Couples? I suspect that even as spot-on and descriptive as were the posts to your question, they all fell short of your actual experience. We have been to Couples 14 times (and will be back to CN in a couple of weeks, and have booked our twice a year trips already for next year). While each visit is special, that first Couples experience will be one of the most memorable. Let us hear about your first Couples experience... Enjoy.
dank120 said <I>At this point, you will likely do what everyone does, look over the railing and see your "living room" for the next week. It's breathtaking, especially the first time you see it. </I>
That took me right there to that railing. Thanks.
We always arrive on Thursday and find it to be a great travel day. It is usually during this type of discussion that I boast (just a little) of having a travel schedule that put us at he pool bar - drink in hand - at 11:24 a.m. (That's not a bad travel day :) )
As I mentioned in other posts, I've been all over the Caribbean (cruises and all inclusives) but this is going to be our first stay in Jamaica (outside of a short port stop in MB last year). We really fell in love with the vibe on the beach (went to Doctor's Cave) while in Montego Bay and decided we wanted to really get a feel for the island. The trip is by far the most expensive resort we've stayed at and we feel will be the most luxurious ... not luxurious in terms of marble but luxury in terms of quality service, exclusions and top tier meals. All three of those are far more important to us than marble lobbies.
We have stayed in nice looking resorts in the past with horrible service and food (one of the big reasons we switched to crusing), so we decided to stretch for our 10 year wedding anniversary and really try to go somewhere special, a place that we really hope we can escape the grind of life and get back in touch with each other. Despite cruising since 2009 once a year, my wife and I are really beach bums at heart, and when looking at Jamaica it seemed that Negril is the place to be if you just want an amazing beach to relax. Of all the all inclusive resorts in Negril Couples was the one that really caught our imagination.
In a nutshell WE CAN'T WAIT !! =D