We stayed at both CSS and CTI. I think CSS would be my 1st choice. It's a bit more romantic there but quite hilly so if steps are an issue to you - you may decide on CTI which had the best food of any resort we've ever stayed in. No matter which one you choose, you'll like both for different reasons. Beach at both resorts doesn't compare to Negril with CTI being more rough in the water and CSS being more rocky from what I remember. Also CTI is more crowded with everyone trying to get in shaded areas and lined up way too close for me. There was not as much natural cover on CTI's beach as on CSS. A plus for CTI is Tower Island if you're interested in nude sunbathing. If not, I'd choose CSS.
It all depends on what you're looking for in a resort.
CSS is very romantic with places to explore in a resort built into a cliff. It is spread out and has some stairs to climb but is just beautiful. The beach is private and affords a very relaxed atmosphere. We've been here 3 times and really love the resort and staff.
CTI is also a nice resort. It has more of a "high rise" feel and is a little more compact. The staff are warm and friendly and it is really easy to get to know people, both guests and staff. The beach is private with a dock that you can walk out on though it is a little smaller than CSS. We've been there once and liked it.
Both resorts have places where you can get an all-over tan (Sunset Beach at CSS and The Island at CTI).
We did a split between CSA and CSS earlier this year and felt that not to be a good choice. You'll spend half a day in transit (a waste of good vacation time). Our recommendation is to do your split stay on the same side of island.
Blondie - we've talked about doing a split for the last 3 years - we've been to CN 4 times. We would do the CN/CSS split with CSS first and ending our vacation at CN. However, we just can't pull ourselves away from CN to go anywhere else!!! Someday.......maybe......
Neither. We split CN and CTI one year. Even flying (Timair), it felt like we burned a whole day in the middle of the vacation. Packing, schlepping, waiting, flying, switching at Mobay, waiting, flying, schlepping, checking in, unpacking, settling back in. We never really got fully into the "sand gravity" mode that we crave.
One year we did a non-Couples resort (3 days) then CN (7 days). But it was only a 5-minute taxi drive, so it only took a portion of a day.
Thanks everyone for you input. We had already figured a half day to three qtr of day in travel, which is better then what we would be facing if we went with our original plan which was spending 5 days in Aruba and then heading to CN.
I think that we are going to give CSS a try, I would love to see the other side of the island and my husband has always wanted to go to 9 Mile. From the pictures that I have seen CTI looks to much like a "hotel" and we really like the smaller, cozier resorts.
After 4 visits to CN we did a CSS for 3 days/CN 7days split and had a great time. We flew with TimAir from CSS to CN which took about 1 1/2 hous total with 45 minutes in the air. Its expensive but we considered it an excursion and we really enjoyed flying low along the coast. I understand that now you can take the shuttle and bypass the airport so its pretty fast. We loved CSS and went back last February, but CN is still our favorite.
I would take that wager, but I would hate for you to lose all of your vacation money. You might only be able to stay at CN for 5 days.
Of course if my other half reads this thread and sees the comments about taking up a day to travel you might be right. We will see, I keep thinking we should step out of our comfort zone and what better way then to just put one foot out of the box and stay at another Couples property.