We just returned from our 4th visit in 2 years to CSA. I won’t go into all of the details regarding arriving at the airport and the ride to CSA as it was uneventful and basically the same as it’s been on our other visits. Sean was our driver and he was very nice. There is one thing that happened that is worth mentioning. When it was time to exit the Couples Lounge at the airport and get on the bus, my husband left his very expensive camera on one of the seats; he thought I had it and I thought he had it. We were loaded on the bus and ready to go when one of the gentlemen from the Lounge ran out with the camera. We’re grateful that he was so observant and we really appreciated him doing that.
Now as for CSA, in the past, we’ve always stayed in rooms 5205 or 5206 in the Greathouse; these rooms have amazing views. This trip, we were assigned room 5203. It seemed a little smaller than 5205 and 5206 and it had somewhat of a nice view from the left side. The room and bathroom were both very clean so we were fine with it. We had the same housekeeper from the previous visits; she was extremely nice and remembered us. We ordered the continental breakfast twice; once it was delivered and once it wasn’t.
We ate at Sea Grapes. My husband and I have loved the veggie burger and the sweet potatoes chips with the various dips in the past. The burger was not as good as we remembered it being so we only had that once. The dips were still good. We had the onion rings at the Cabana Grill and really liked them. I think my husband had the jerk chicken sandwich and liked that as well. We had breakfast every morning at the Palms which was always good; I really loved the steamed callaloo. We had dinner most nights at the Palms. To me, the food was somewhat disappointing. We remember it to be very good in the past. This time things were just OK and nothing seemed to be the right temperature. Even at breakfast the food was lukewarm at best. However, we were able to find things that we liked each evening. I had the lamb chops that were good and my husband enjoyed the pasta bar. It just seems that perhaps the plates were left sitting for a while before they were brought to the tables. One night, I ordered a steak and asked that it be cooked medium. When it arrived it was very well done and just barely warm. We did do the Repeater’s Dinner and that was wonderful. We really enjoyed that dinner; the food was wonderful!!!
The staff are wonderful; a number of them remember us from visit to visit. Debbianne, who works in the Palm, is our favorite. She’s always so friendly and such a pleasure to talk to. We caught the Motown show one night at the Palms; the lead singer and the band were amazing. We then went to the nightclub for Retro Night and the singer there was awesome as well.
The beach had changed somewhat due to hurricane Tomas; it wasn’t as wide and there was a stream of water that ran down the middle of it. The size of the stream varied from day to day. We always sat on the very end of the beach, in front of the Cabana Grill, where the security booth is and where Elvis and others hang out under the tree. We love it there because it seems to be less crowded and we love the vibe of the locals.
Another thing worth mentioning is the policy for getting towels from the Watersport hut guys. When we checked into our room, there were 2 beach towels in the bathroom on the counter. Our first day, we changed into our bathing suits and went to eat lunch. Of course, I totally forgot to carry the towels with us so we stopped at the Watersport hut and asked for two towels. One of the gentlemen there asked where the towels were that we’d need to exchange for fresh ones. I explained to him that I’d left them in the room. He immediately started to tell me the rules about how I could get more towels only when I exchanged the old ones. I told him that I understood that but didn’t want to walk all the way back up to the room to get them. I really don’t think he would have given me the towels had not one of the other gentlemen interjected to say, “No problem madam…just remember to return 4 instead of 2”, and he handed me 2 towels. After being on the beach for a couple of hours, my husband had to run up to the room to get something, I asked him to please bring the two beach towels from the bathroom. He did. My intention was to return all 4 of them but after sitting on the beach for another couple of hours we honestly didn’t feel like walking back to the Watersport hut. We ended up taking them back up to our room with us. I place them on the floor in the small hallway so that I wouldn’t forget to grab them the next day. When we were out at dinner, the night housekeeper retrieved all 4 of the towels from the floor when she came to provide the turn down service. I couldn’t sleep that night thinking I’d have a hard time getting towels for the next day. We ended up just taking the room towels, which are a lot shorter than beach towel, down with us each day because I didn’t want to go through the hassle of explaining and trying to get more from the Watersport guys.
We were able to meet up with our friends who we meet during our first or second visit to CSA; Dave and Judy. Dave and Judy were there for their 29th visit and they’ve already booked again for April. Normally, we’d join them again in April but something was very different for us on this visit. Since we discover CSA, we’ve not wanted to go anyplace else. As a matter of fact, I’d be booking a return visit after only being home for about a week from a previous visit. It’s always good to get away and I’m so thankful that we’ve been blessed to do so. We try to take at least 2 trips to the Caribbean a year and we’ve been to many places. I think it’s now time to re-visit some of the other places that we’ve been to; however, we may decide to come back to CSA at some point……just not right now.
Thanks for the straight forward review. I can sympathize with you on the visit being "ok" this time. We are returning to CSA in June for our 5th trip and each trip so far has been different from all the others. Generally speaking the new has worn off for us, but we still find things that we have not yet experienced or still enjoy many things we have done before. Food too can be better some times than others, but we have found the selections and quality to always be satisfactory and many times to be exemplary. What draws us back to CSA and what we find entirely unique to any other resort vacations we have experienced is the atmosphere and Jamaican vibe we get the entire time we are there. That has been consistent for us throughout each trip. The beautiful beach, the friendly staff and other guests, the wonderfully simple yet elegant rooms and the totally relaxed environment is a combination of things that just make it right for us. I hope that your next trip is a great one, where ever you may go. And that you will return someday to CSA and rekindle that wonderful experience of your first visit.
I can agree with this one, this past September/Oct was our fifth time and quite mediocre.. We were there during TS Nicole which I am sure did not help things but even beyond those effects there was just not the quality and service that had drawn us back the last few times. The resort was still nice and all the aspects of it we had come to love and kept us coming back were still intact for the most part but it still wasn't as it was before.
Totally agree about the veggie burgers too! Used to the the best thing on earth, this last time not so much.. Bummer.
Sure we will be back too, but for now it's not always on the top of the list for the next getaway as it was before.
We had the same type of OK visit last year. We changed form CN to CSS this year and I am again so excited I can't stand it.
Something great about knowing that I will have the Couples experience but in a whole new place. Discovery all over again.
Suggestion: Try another Couples.
Oh, 8 days to go!
We have been to Jamaica 14 times but our first trip to a Couples resort was this October. I have to admit that I had issues at first more related to the message board painting such a pristine picture of the resort rather than one of reality. But after about 12 hours we had fallen in love with CSA. I am still however a realist and want to be sure that people don't have false expectations.
I do feel that some of your judgements or disappointments aren't really the fault of Couples though.
If a storm comes through so close to your travel dates you have to go with the expectation that things might be a little out of order. We had never been to Negril in all our trips and I was looking forward to all that 7 mile beach has always been advertised to be but this year has been difficult and even in October it was a little rough. Nothing that any resort can do about the weather but in our walks up the beach I have to say that Couples had done the best in attempting to restore what the weather had destroyed. I'm sure when we return next year it will only be better.
Your incident with the towels was somewhat self created. Indeed Couples is known for it's impeccable customer service but I guess ultimately if I attempt to go against a rule and I meet with resistance I don't complain. If they allowed everyone to just grab a couple extra towels when they left theirs in the room then why have a rule about exchanging towels at all. Frankly, I don't want to pay increased rates when they have to replace towels for people who aren't being as honest about it as you were but are actually trying to take a little souvenier, the rules are in place for a reason. And I'm guessing the housekeeper didn't really know what to do when she found four beach towels except that she knew she could only leave you two so she did what she was supposed to do.
We actually enjoyed the food. Other places we've been my husband actually skips meals because he's so sick of or bored with the food. At CSA he was actually the one that initiated our trek to each meal and he ate like a horse. Not saying that your experience wasn't your experience but it isn't that way all the time. Perhaps it was an off week, who knows. But they do still get it right.
Sorry your vacation wasn't all you hoped it would be but perhaps CSA deserves another chance. If you decide not to give it one then at least admit that some of this wasn't really their fault.
sherrynchuck....I never once said, and hope I didn't insinuate, that any of the things I pointed out in my review were the fault of the Resort. I certinly understand that no one has control over the weather and I was not blaming the Resort for the conditions of the beach. My comments regarding the towel incident was based on my expereince. I certainly understand the reason for the policy; however, it happened and I thought it was significant enough to include. And, the food, to me, just wasn't what I remembered it to be.
I think you may have read too much into my reivew. I simply based MY review on my experinces from previous visits and my expereince from this last visit. No need to "defend" CSA to me; it's my perspective. I still have very fond memories of the Resort and will recommend it to anyone!
Thank you for posting such a detailed review. We have been to CSA four times, and our fifth is upcoming in January. All of our stays have been different, too. I don't know why, exactly, but each one has had a slightly different vibe to it. That is too bad about the veggie burger. You were probably dreaming about it for months, huh? Bob does the same with the jerk chicken and the pumpkin soup.
I know what you mean about the towels. I'm not sure what the solution is, though. When we've stayed at resorts that do not have a towel return policy, dirty towels end up all over the place, and you never know if a towel is actually saving a chair or not. Not that I'm a big fan of having to keep track of the beach towels, either.
We've had our share of towel frustrations at CN -- no one manning the booth, out of towels early in the a.m., etc. I must acknowledge that, during our most recent visit in January, things were MUCH better. The towel person was out earlier in the morning and someone covered the booth when she took a lunch break. I hope this continues.
I assume the towel policy is the result of people stealing towels. It's a shame that a small few make life more difficult for the rest of us.