The hubby and I just got back from CSA last Friday and already we're making plans to go back. I am going through some serious withdrawal. I'm not sure if looking at the pictures is helping or making it worse. But now that we're sort of settled in (and the new puppy is in her kennel), I figured it was time to write a review. (Warning, it's going to be kind of long)
Let me start by saying that this vacation and resort far exceeded our expectations. We knew it was going to be fabulous based on recommendations and stories from friends, but it was above and beyond anything we could have imagined.
I can honestly say that we didn't have a bad meal while we were there. I even ate things at CSA that I won't be at home. I think we ended up eating at The Palms more than anywhere else. We really liked the buffet option for breakfast and lunch. I really wish I could get some of their bacon here at home. It wasn't salty at all and had a wonderful flavor. I also liked how they had some "native" dishes on the buffet at all times. One morning they had a stewed chicken that was just absolutely fantastic. We also did the beach party buffet (even though the beach party was cancelled due to rain) and the international buffet. The seafood pallea was awesome, including the baby octopus, whom I named Squishy . After some debate, I ate him, and he was great! I also made great use of the bloody mary bar. Oh, and the conch fritters made my day!
We had breakfast a few times at Patios as well. I'm not a banana fan, but the banana stuffed french toast was incredible. I loved the griddle cakes too. I had never had them before and now I want the recipe! I even at eggs over easy one morning and practically licked my plate. I'm the kind of girl who can't even eat runny scrambled eggs, so you know they were good if I scarfed them down. We had dinner at Patios one night, and again the food was excellent. I hate mushrooms as well, but the mushroom risotto was phenominal!
We made sure that we hit every restaurant for every meal they offered. Feathers was probably one of my favorites. They definately had something for everyone. I got the crab stuffed chicken and it was perfectly cooked! In fact, we had chicken on several different occaisions at CSA and it was NEVER dry! I don't order chicken at restaurants here in the states because it's always dry. Lemongrass was fantastic too! If anyone knows how to make the spicy hot and sour onion and tomato soup, please send me the recipe. It was definately spicy, but the flavor was out of this world!
Seagrapes made for an awesome lunch. It was very handy whenever we would get off the morning snorkle trip, or finished up an activity at the main pool. I can't say enough about their sweet potato chips and the dips they serve with them. The fish tacos were great too. I could have eaten the guacamole with a spoon...and I'm not usually a fan of guacamole.
The cabana grill served amazing "drunk" food I think it should be mandatory that everyone there try the beef patty. Trying to describe it won't do it justice. Just know it's really good.
We also did the private beach dinner our last night there. Everything was supurb and the chef even came out to make sure everything was to our liking.
The bars were great as well. Don't be afraid to ask the bartenders for their signature drink. They all have one and will be more than happy to make you something special. Beware of the bloody mary's if you ask for them spicy! I think they make their own mix and I'm sure it has jerk sauce in it. In fact, we bought a bottle of jerk sauce to bring home and I've spiked my bloody mary with it tonight!
The staff at CSA is beyond accomodating. From the minute we set foot on the property we were taken care of. My suitcase hadn't come in on my flight and they took my paperwork from the airline at check in and tracked it down. I had it in less than 15 hours. A special shout out to our housekeeper, Jennifer, who's been with the company for 11 years! I think there were only 2 days that we weren't at the room when she came by to clean it up. She never once acted or seemed inconvenienced that we were there. We would vacate to the patio while she cleaned and she would ask us if it was ok to come out and sweep! You just don't get service like that back in the states. We probably had the most interaction with the bartenders. After our first order they remembered who we were and what we liked to drink. Natasha at the Sunset Bar was great! All of the waitstaff at the restaurants took really good care of us and were incredibly friendly. The event coordinators always stopped to talk to us and make us feel at home.
I am really impressed with the watersports guys. My husband was on crutches with a broken ankle the entire week, but these guys made sure it didn't slow him down. We went snorkling 3 times, and every single time these guys helped him on and off the boat, took care of his crutches, made sure he could float , and never once batted an eye about it. Adrian made a special impression. By far a very genuine, caring, kind person.
We stayed in a beach front verandah suite, and it kind of spoiled us. We lucked out and got a ground room floor, which was nice for the hubby. Everything was very clean, and kept that way throughout the week...except for half the beach that ended up in the room . The bathroom was a really good size, the bed was ridiculously comfortable, and I'm really glad we had the TV. It came in handy on several occaisions. The mini fridge was very nice as well. They always kept it stocked with whatever we requested. I'm dying for a Carib beer right now, but I'm not having any luck finding it, or where I can order it! The entire resort was very well maintained. Sure there was a tile or 2 missing in the pool, but it gives it character. After so many years you can't expect everything to be pristine.
The beach was probably the nicest beach I'd been on. They rake it every morning, and most mornings we got to watch them do it because we never could seem to sleep in. The water is the most beautiful shade of blue/green. I want to paint my bathroom that color! I've decided that I need a flag for here at the house. I loved the flag service! There's nothing better than planting a flag in the sand and having a drink of your choice brought to you! Oh, and for all of you people worried about getting a palapa, no need to worry. We seemed to get one, or could have gotten one every day we were there, without having to claim them before 7am. And even if you can't get a palapa, there is plenty of shade on the beach.
There was so much we could have done, had we wanted to. But it was nice that we didn't have to do it. We hit a couple of the mixology classes. There were a few more things I wanted to try, but you kind of lose track of time, which isn't a bad thing. There's always next time. The catamaran cruise was fantastic. It was a great way to start the week. The guys who work the boat aren't Couples staff, I don't believe, but they are just as friendly as everyone on the resort. We also made great use of the snorkling trips. We went 3 times, and would have done 4 had time permitted. The glass bottom boat ride is also a must do. You see a lot more sealife doing that than you do snorkling. We must have seen 50 or more starfish.
All in all it was an out of this world vacation. We are planning on going back in 2013 or 2014. I wish we could go back sooner. I really can't think of anything bad about the resort or our vacation, other than it was just too short!
Always great to see a review of a "newbie". Last year was our first time going (to CN) and I felt the same. The resort FAR exceeded any expectations and couldn't wait to go back. Still find myself looking for pictures, especially of CN but any pictures of Jamaica are good, though I think I am torturing myself doing that. We are 57 days from returing to CN and I can't wait! Look at the love away plan and see if that will help you get back sooner, otherwise you might make yourself crazy!
@ cleversole - we would love to get back sooner, but already have vacations planned for the next 2 years that we can't change. Trust me, we will be back as soon as possible!
@ BobandJudy - I really drank bloody mary's most of the time. I do have to say though that the drink of the day was always good. I honestly can't remember the names of half the things I drank. I do remember the Blue Lagoon was good, and my husband loved the Green Fridays.
WOW!!! What an awesome review..thanks so much for sharing. Hubby and I look forward to returning home to CSA in December and absolutely cannot wait!! Reading your review just brought back all the great memories of our first time at CSA, our home away from home.
Not surprised to hear you say CSA far exceeded your expectations.. that's what makes this place heaven on earth. Thanks again for sharing your experience!
Our favorite drink is the snake eye. We always try other drinks while we are there but always come back to the snake eye. When we want something not quite so filling it is definitely a Red Stripe on tap!! Headed back this Feb. for the 4th year and absolutely can't wait!