Quick Review of CSA and general CSS comparison
We just got back from another great trip at CSA (our third). We also spent two nights at CSS, so we have a bit of a comparison. I'm hoping to find time for a more detailed review, but I feel compelled to hit a few highlights.
First, our overall experience was every bit as good as it was in the past. While I'd really like to see all of the world, there is something about this place that just draws you back, and I can't imagine not returning. I've been many other places in the world, but have never felt the same overwhelming drive to return time and again to the same spot.
Second, while we had really good food on both of our prior trips, this one was a bit different. And by that, I mean that the food was almost universally better this trip. Before, I felt like the food was really outstanding -- for an all inclusive resort. This time, it was simply outstanding by any measure. I don't think we had a bad meal (heck, hardly a bad course) the entire trip. While there were any number of highlights, the one I'll mention for now is the Lionfish at Feathers. If you have a chance, just order it. You can thank me later. (And you can also enjoy knowing that eating Lionfish helps with the efforts to eradicate them from those beautiful reefs that they are destroying.)
Third, I have to compliment the staff in the dive shop. Seeing Shaggy, Antony, Franz and the others was great, but we had one particularly good experience that shows how they really feel about what they do. My wife is certified, but still gets a bit nervous and doesn't get to dive much. We tried a dive Thursday afternoon, but she had problems with her BCD, her regulator, and her mask, and before we even went down, she had called off the dive. They helped her back onto the boat, and I assumed that would be it for her. But Shaggy and Antony convinced her to try again Friday afternoon, and Shaggy worked closely with her to make sure her equipment was OK before we started, and all the way to the bottom. She ended up having a great dive, and it would not have been possible without the persistence and the caring of the dive staff. If you have any interest in diving, go over and sign up. They will take outstanding care of you.
Fourth, one somewhat negative note. We had the remodeled bathroom with the larger shower, and we can echo what others have said about the design flaw. There simply is no way to take a shower without having water all over the bathroom floor. It certainly didn't cause us any major problems, but it seems like an unfortunate design and/or execution issue that will hopefully get resolved.
Finally, a quick comparison with CSS. CSS is one of the most beautiful properties I've seen. It has so many quiet nooks and crannies and just oozes romance. Sure, there are a lot of stairs, but the way I see it, that just helps offset the food and drinks. I will say that I thought the food at CSA was much better (but we were only at CSS, so perhaps not a truly fair comparison). I will also say that while everything looks beautiful at CSS, once you're down on the beach itself, it pales by comparison. It's a perfectly fine beach, but it just doesn't have that powder-soft white sand and crystal clear water that you get in Negril. And for that reason alone, I cannot imagine commiting an entire trip there. (On the other hand, we got to climb Dunn's River Falls, which was the single best experience of the entire trip.)
In the end, I don't think it's possible to go wrong choosing any Couples Resort. For us, we'll stick to the Negril side of the island, but I can absolutely see how people can be drawn over and over again to the beauty of CSS.