Couples Negril review for January 19-26, 2011
We just returned from our first trip to Couples Negril where we were for the week of January 19 - 26, 2011. So, we figured the least we could do is write a review of our stay, the resort and other nice to know items that we came across. But first, we will say that this wasn't our first stay in an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean so much of our views are in comparison with other places / countries.
Customs and Immigration were not an issue at all. Very fast and easy with no issues with the only complaint being that the Airport needs more signage to let you know where you are going.....
The couples lounge is easy to find and a welcomed sight as you know that you will be taken care of. We got to the Lounge with only enough time to grab a quick drink before being told that the shuttle was there already and we needed to go. This was an added bonus as we were wanting to get to the Resort sooner than later.
At Couples Negril the offer of a facial towel and a glass of Champagne plus a table of delicious cakes and cookies, just enough to tide you over to supper, was a nice touch. Herbert, who is truly an Ambassador to the Resort, made it clear to us that we have better just sit back and relax while they got everything ready for us because that was what we were there for. The entire check in process, with the basic briefing provided by reception, lasted no more than 20 minutes before we were off to our room. No issues with check in at all.
We might take some heat for this but the first impression of the Resort's appearance is not a flattering one. There is a definite need to do some upgrades which are mostly cosmetic. The three different color tones on the same wall (where there was patch work) does not serve the Resort well. A full painting of the Resort, particularly the Lobby area would make a work of difference. This is also the case with the rooms and the beach chair cushions but more on that later.
We were in the Gardenview Deluxe room in building 4. The tennis courts were behind us and the Spa and ponds in front. We were pleased with the room with the exception of the cosmetic work required. The room needed painting and the tile work in the washroom needed to be touched up. Aside from that, everything was fine. Storage space was adequate and the closet had more than enough hangers. The mini fridge took a bit to get cool but the ice provided every morning did the trick.
There were NO bugs in the room (like other reviews) and although the room was a little on the warmer / humid side, it is the Caribbean and that means hot and humid so there is not much to say. With the ceiling fan on, the room was comfortable and no other issues. Besides, we were only in the room for minimal time as were out on the beach, restaurants, bars or doing other things most of the time. Cleaning staff did an excellent job and the nightly turn down service was an added touch.
The food was great. Even with food allergies (gluten & dairy), there was more than enough to eat and the food staff would check out any item to make sure it was good to go based on the allergy. The Beach Grill's lunch time menu however is not that great and very limited. We realise that the point is for quick easy food but a bit more of a selection would have been nice. The other thing is that it would have been nice to have an a la cart breakfast selection / restaurant.
The beach was spectacular. Crystal clear waters and soft sand. There needs to be more beach tables, as you always seemed to be hunting for one and the cushions need to be updated/ replaced. And this rolls nicely to the Watersports crew, who are outstanding. I took my Advanced Open Water and after just the first day, I was treated like I was a regular. There was never an issue to access items, ask a question or sign up for an activity.
Shout outs to just a few of the Staff Staff:
Craig, Brian and Jovan in Watersports were great to deal with.
Elkie and Tennesyen at the bar were a pleasure.
Tanya, Omar, Jerardo were top notch in the restaurants.
Paul in the Piano bar, totally awesome, Simone the Entertainment Coordinator is a gem.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that every single staff member, from the management to the grounds crew that we talked to were great to deal with and one of the reasons that we would return to Couples Negril. We had a number of gift packages with cards made up and made sure that we passed them on to the people that we felt were doing an excellent job to make our stay great.
The Bad (Sorry but not everything was rosey):
The shopping trip to Negril. Aside from going to Time Square to get coffee, we will NEVER take part in this tour again. All the stores are foreign owned and none of the profits stay in country or go to help the country. While in a store in Negril, a male sales person attempted to block my way physically so that his co-worker could have more time to make a sale with my wife. When I told him it was in his best interested to get out of my way, he realised that things would not work out for him. We left the store and told Netka, the tour coordinator, about the incident and she was interested in hearing that.
I would rather spend all my money at the craft market or better yet, take a trip into Negril to see the "real Jamaica" or stop at some of the smaller towns along the way from Montego Bay to the resort.
We were also blown away by the lack of manners for many of the visitors. Rarely would the words "please" or "thank you" be used when dealing with the service staff. Listen next time you are there and you'll be surprised. When we said these three easy words, the staff would go out of their way to be of assistance and it just made them smile, what better way to make another person's day. When we took time to talk to the staff and find out about them and their families, once again, they would go that extra mile for us, joke with us, just like friends would. That in itself is an awesome feeling.
In all, we WILL be returning to Couples Negril as often as we can. We were treated with respect and allowed to relax at our own pace. Plus, the fact that we met a couple that will hopefully become life-long friends, makes a repeat visit a necessity.
Glenda and Jason