Need Some Reassurance
We are just about ready to book our vacation for this August at CSA. (For now) We keep going back and forth between CN and CSA...can't decide. Each seems to have it's own charm. However, my indecisiveness could be related to a number of different reviews I read on other websites.
I've seen on TripAdvisor, and Expedia people raking this resort over the coles, saying that the rooms are ill-equipped, uncomfortable, the resort was run-down, staff was uncooperative, etc. I know that some people expect are self-righteous, and when they have a chance to complain, they will do so.
But, I have noticed a few posts on this message board that have been talking about how some things in recent visits have been overlooked at the resorts. (i.e. Food, wrong room assignments) I guess I need to have the reassurance that some people are just complaining for the sake of complaining.
I firmly believe there's a reason I keep coming back to this website every day and looking at the panoramic maps, and reading about all the wonderful things that Couples has to offer. We were told about this resort in May, and since then, we have been discussing it, and in the next few days, we are planning on booking. I just want to make sure that we're going to have a blast here. If this is our last Hoorah, so to speak, before starting to think about having children, I want to make sure it's going to be a vacation that we'll remember forever.
I don't doubt that it will be, it's just that some of these other reviews have me over-thinking, ya know? Maybe it's my Type-A personality coming out in full force, (as it usually does, lol).
Sorry for droning on for so long. I appreciate any advice you have to offer.
The thing with reviews, and I'm not saying they aren't helpful, but the people who are unhappy are usually more vocal than the ones who are happy. I know I'm much more inclined to take the time to write a review if I had a bad experience, to "warn" others, than I am to write a review with a good experience.
You also will NEVER find a resort with no bad reviews. I mean, sure, maybe there is some resort that only millionares can afford that doesn't get bad reviews, but in the real world, you won't find it.
I can only speak to CSA. Are the rooms immaculate? Nope. You won't find grand marble setups there. They are wood and ceramic tile. They are plain. For me, this is what I like. For others, perhaps that's "run down."
Re: service and food. Everyone has different expectations. And, it's a large resort and there are a lot of people in and out. I'm sure some people HAVE had some bad experiences. No resort is perfect and it's impossible to please everyone all the time. My personal experiences have been ones of good food and good service. Every once in a while we will not the the most prompt of service at a meal, but that happens at other resorts too; that happens in the Caribbean.
My husband and I are booked for our 5th trip to CSA this coming spring. We've been other places, but the only place to which we have returned is CSA. When we were in Mexico, we spent the whole time wishing we were in Jamaica. When we went to the DR a couple years ago, we spent the week wishing we had thrown down the money for CSA (the lesson of that trip being "you get what you pay for" :) ). When I was researching our next trip my husband said, "we can go wherever you want and I won't give you an argument" (treat for finishing school). I think I looked at every resort on every island within a reasonable budget and couldn't find anything that compared to CSA's amenities and abundance of positive reviews. And, every time I thought of going to a new resort and then thought of CSA, the thoughts of CSA calmed me....so we are going back again.
Anyway, my point is you are going to read bad reviews no matter what resort you are looking at. You have to go with your gut, put the bad into perspective, and decide what YOU are really looking for in a resort. In addtion, do your research and set expectations appropriately. People who go to Jamaica and complain that it rained every day, or there are bugs, or the service is slower than at home are people who, frankly, didn't research the location.
We just got back from our first visit to CSA over Christmas. I had been reading the boards and the TA reviews for months before we got there and had a few concerns too, but I felt like I knew what I was getting into.
We had one slow meal experience in the 20ish meals we ate. We had one case where the staff person was a little snippy, and we still don't know why (think it may have been because they had to work on Christmas?) but that was one person out of the dozens we interacted with. We thought we had issues with maid service but in the end realized it was our fault (hint: take the turndown service at night). But: our room was always clean, the food was always good, the bar service was great, and we plan to go back next year.
As a fellow Type-A person, I would say that things seem to happen at their own pace there, and I think you have to learn how to go with the flow rather than constantly worrying about time or perfection. It took me a few days to get into the swing of things but I was much happier when I did.
I love CSA. We were there 6 months ago and I doubt it has gotten run down in that short amount of time. :)
As much as I hate suggesting to look at other reviews than just this message board, I have to do this. You must remember that this is a message board for the resort and is mediated by the resort so not all posts/reviews make it on here.
Here is the deal-
I did exactly the same thing you are doing before booking CN last year. Don't worry about the rooms, service, etc. It is Jamaica and you Jamaicamecrazy with your worrying!
Decide you WILL have a good time-
I recommend focusing on biggger things-do you want to be on the longer beach with the local color/restaurants? Do you you want the AN experience?
All things being equal-food, rooms, service, drinks, etc.
I was glad we chose CN-we did the AN thing and the beach was long enough for walking. The food was great, room service was outstanding, drinks were great, other guests were all good and we met many who were returning for their 3rd, 5th or 9th time!
Yes, you will find poor reviews no matter where you choose. The important thing is you have found a very good resort-you just need to dial it in alittle. We are trying to figure out how we can go back in 2010. You will not be disappointed by either resort unless you are expecting everything to be precisely perfect-and if you are, your flight will probably be delayed!
It was about this time last year that I began researching Caribbean locations for our vacation this past May. I can't remember exactly how I stumbled across Couples but I began reading the message boards every day and TA for reviews etc. We settled on Jamaica and I looked into the other AI on the island but Couples kept drawing me back. My b/f made the decision for CSA and I pored over every review website, pictures, this site etc for months before the trip as I had never been out of the country and get nervous in new situations. Let me tell you - CSA was everything we had hoped for. We were relaxed and had an amazing time. Food was good - tried something new every day. Met many of the great staff - everyone was so friendly and willing to help. My b/f has been to Mexico 5 times and has determined that Jamaica is where he wants to be. We are getting ready to book our 2nd trip to CSA for this coming May and couldn't be happier! You'll love it!
Joeny I know its cliche but dont worry mon....
relax and dont worry bout a thing, cause every little thing gonna be allright.
just go with a positive attitude, will there be hiccups, sure but nothing to get too worked up about.
We loved Couples Negril.
DW is adamant about trying new islands each year, but we have an agreement that 2010 is my year to pick , I think she let me have it since she knows we are going back...
We went August 2009, and probably talk about it every day still. little reminders like the extra lotion I got, or the Ziggy Marleys we made just before Christmas..
Everytime we see each other , or touch, or hug or anything I know we are thinking the same thing, cant wait to go back home....
Just go It will bring out the best in you and have a long lasting effect , so worth any extra cost that Couples might charge..
From my experience of having read this board for close to a year now, I'll slightly disagree with the above post. I feel Couples does a pretty good job of accepting the less-than-favorable reviews and opinions in here. Granted, they probably do edit or eliminate the hateful posts, if any are so entered. But they tend to not hide the warts, so for this I give them a great deal of credit.
Originally Posted by shelspaur
However, where I do agree is I too feel it's important to seek other sites for reviews, as this board does have its share of....shall we say intense loyalists, which can at times skew the real world view of how the resorts perform. Maybe it's just me, but I believe there's no such thing as too much research.
I just wrote the "longest review ever" on here and I compare and contrast CSA and CN quite a bit. We were big fans of CN and now are big fans of CSA. I'm not sure of your age, but I will say -- we are in our early 30's and we saw more people at CSA around our age than at CN. Not sure if that is important to you? We make friends of all ages so it's not a big deal to us, but it also sets the tone for the resort in some ways.
I know it can be nerve wracking before you go and experience it all for the first time. Good luck! If you have any questions I'd be happy to try and help you.
What Smoo72 said. And......CSA ROCKS!!!!!
Joeny - we were at CSA last August and are returning in 33 days for our second trip. We loved CSA. That said, it is not for everyone. If you are expecting the Ritz you will be disappointed. However, if you are expecting a very well taken care of resort with comfortable casual rooms, extremely friendly and helpful staff, several great places to eat, many all included ammenities, on one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, you will have an amazing time. The Jamaican people are friendly and very proud of their home. Couples is not for everyone - but for us it was a perfect fit. Hope you decide to book CSA. You will have a great vacation! Don't overthink - just enjoy.
We can only speak about CSA, having just returned from a fantastic visit. (probably #18) Our atrium was immaculate. The new bathroom sinks and tile really perk up the decor. We thought the menu variety at the various restaurants gave one endless choices. One can peruse the posted dinner menus in the morning at the Palms. The sports complex with the new Cybex equipment and excellent trainer is a plus. The new spa is wonderful. Yes the offerings are endless.....just not enough hours in the day to enjoy 7 mile beach and all the watersports. (& tennis,etc.)
Don't hesitate to give Couples a try, you won't be disappointed.
I've been reading this message board for over two years without joining. However, seeing your questions made me want to respond.
I also have a type A personality and spent over a year looking for the perfect place for our honeymoon. I have traveled extensively from spending summers backpacking through Europe to staying at All-Inclusive resorts in Mexico. We wanted something that would be new and special for both of us. I read this message board, read other sites, looked at pictures and talked to more than one travel agent. We finally decided on CSA, but I was worried that it wouldn't be "good enough". When we arrived, I realized I spent way too much time worrying - we were in paradise.
I have to agree with smoo72. You won't find marble stairs and crystal chandeliers everywhere. However, what you will find is a natural, comfortable setting where you can relax completely or engage in all types of activities if you choose. My husband and I really enjoyed the food. I am an incredibly picky eater and he loves to try new things (including grasshoppers when we were in Mexico). That we were both impressed says a lot. We also found the service to be very good. Everyone always had a smile and was more than happy to help us in any way.
When we returned from our honeymoon, I could not stop talking about CSA. I was so obsessed, my mom would roll her eyes every time I brought it up. We decided to return a year later and I talked my parents into coming with us. I was worried again. I thought it couldn't possibly live up to my amazing memories. However, when we returned, it was even better than I remembered. And, now my mom talks about it just as much as I do! Even my father (who hates the beach and resorts) is looking forward to their next trip.
Good luck with your decision!
Go for it...You won't know until you try it for yourself. Us "Type A's" don't normally like to take others advice regardless. Been going to AI's all over the world since 1981 and will be visiting CN for the 5th time in February, also been to Couples TI twice and SA once. I will say that the other resorts in the vicinity do not match up to Couples.
You'll either become a Couples convert or be posting your complaints on other websites when you get home.
Although this message board is mediated, negative reviews DO make it on this board. Couples welcomes all peoples reviews, be it positive or negative. If it is slanderous or foul in language then it isn't, but being a "regular" reader of the message board, I can tell you I have read many reviews that weren't glowing.
Originally Posted by shelspaur
Like anything else you need to look at the reviews between the 5 stars and the 1 stars. This should give you a good idea of what the resort is really like. Then use your own idea of what you want in a resort/hotel/vacation. If the good reviews match your expectations, you will be fine.
Personally, I thought CSA was fabulous which is why I am going back. I did the research and felt it fit my expectations and my comfort level. It did that and more. If it feels right, it will be if not, it won't. Simplistic but true.
Hello! I appreciate the feedback to your question. First thing I must say is to agree with others who say that the moderators on this board do a fair job of posting all posts...even ones that are not favorable to Couples. I think that is a testament to the integrity of these resorts.
Sure...things can go wrong during a vacation. And the true test of customer service of any business is when things do go wrong. I've been reading Trip Advisor and Couples MBs for at least five years now and the overwhelming majority is that they bend over backwards to fix problems and accomodate their guests. (Personally, we've never had a problem with our trips. We did once request a different room once we checked in...just due to personal preference, and they happily accommodated within a few hours!)
We've been to CN twice, CSA once and are booking our next trip to CSA in the next few weeks. Both resorts are fabulous!!! We love the laid back, relaxed nature of both resorts. They are not the Ritz Carlton...thank goodness!!! (But the service is equally matched...I'm a fan of the Ritz for their customer service when I business travel.) The employees genuinely seem to love their jobs and enjoy their guests. I have nothing to say but positive things about the staff...I was floored to be remembered by name by Melissa in CNs gift shop...after 2 years! She even rememeberd details about our daughter.)
So remember, there are people in this world that love to complain and be unhappy. There are also some people who really prefer fancy-schmancy resorts/hotels (which is perfectly fine...just a matter of preference). You can tell from the pictures on this MB and TA what you're getting in your rooms and resorts. We love the colors and textures of CN rooms!!! The flowing curtain in the evening in front of the sliding glass windows is one of our favorite things. We've purchased one of the older tapestries from CN rooms and have it hanging in our home bedroom. The dark wood and white linens in CSA create warmth and elegance. The beaches at both resorts are the best we've experienced in the Carribbean and the reason we only travel to Jamaica now. The pools are total fun and a great way to meet new friends (who become friends for life.) The food is great...my husband dreams of the jerk chicken (he's a bit of a freak.) The grounds are immaculate.
You are totally correct, both resorts have their own charm and you'll love either one. Try to choose based on your intuition...which one speaks to you the most (as others always say). CN will always have our hearts, but we like to be crazy and mix things up, so we bounce between it and CSA.
Congrats on your wedding and enjoy your honeymoon...wherever you choose!
You cannot go WRONG with CSA! I've been referred to as a person that wants "The best of the best." CSA is a perfect fit for me and my husband. Even though I cannot say the resort is PERFECT, any issues are minor and do not stop us from returning (almost annually).