My wife and I just returned from our fabulous vacation to CSS. We wanted to write this review while everything was fresh in our mind. We hope that if any of you are considering CSS that you find it helpful in your selection. I apologize in advance for the length of this review.
Arrival and getting through Jamaican customs was a breeze, but did arrive on a Sunday and suspect that the hour it took may be due to the day and time of arrival. Once we collected our luggage, we found the Couples lounge just outside the exit. We were greeted with wonderful smiles as if we were family and then offered a cold beverage, which was much appreciated after more than twelve hours of airport layovers and flying time. Our van departed for CSS after about a fifteen minute wait. The trip to CSS was actually quite nice and was less than 90 minutes. The driver gave us quite a bit of history of Jamaica which made the trip that much quicker. Arrival at CSS was wonderful with a cool facecloth, warm greeting of "Welcome Home" and a cold glass of Champagne. We were blown away by the warmth of the staff and their request that we not touch our bags as we were now on vacation!
We had booked one-bedroom beachfront suites and were excited to see them. These rooms are amazing! We were given a room in A-block on the third floor. What an amazing view of the beach and very close to the action. The room, as many have stated before, is somewhat dated. However, it is very clean, sunny, open and very comfortable. Noise was not ever an issue. The only issue we really had was figuring out the in-room safe, but, no worries, we figured it out and it worked fine for the rest of the trip. The mini-bar is stocked daily with requested items and without delay. Be advised though if you ask for specialty items such as Malibu or Absolute, there is a charge for the items ($26 for the Malibu and $40 for the Absolute). We found the Appleton rum and Kirov Vodka to be just fine. The bathrooms are huge in these suites with walk in showers and a Jacuzzi tub. The shower is great with soap and shampoo bottles supplied in the shower. There were double sinks in the room that come in handy while dressing etc. When we return to CSS next year, we will choose this room level again.
The grounds of CSS are drop-dead gorgeous! It is absolutely like walking into paradise. The beach is a bit small, but plenty large enough for the number of people at CSS. The sand is not the fluffy white sand as many mentioned in CSS reviews. However, the beach is raked and cleaned every morning, which made walking much easier. The water is not deep. Be advised that some folks reported seeing sea urchins on the beach floor, so wearing water shoes (as recommended on the board) may be to your benefit. We did not wear water shoes and never had any issues. As many others have stated...there are lots of hills and stairs to climb at CSS. Although we actually enjoyed the exercise, we could see that this might be an issue for some people with mobility issues. However, staff do offer a ride if needed up the hills.
Bars and Restaurants:
We found the food and beverage to be excellent and plentiful (too much so!). Wait staff were attentive, but the service in all the restaurants could be slow at times. We generally ate lunch at the Bella Vista even though we experienced long waits for our food. However, once we figured out that getting a place in the shade was to our advantage, the wait seemed palatable with the right beverage! Food was good and the variety was reasonable. Since this was our first visit, it took a day or so to realize that we needed to make reservations in order to eat at the other restaurants for dinner. Next time, we will make those reservations when we arrive to ensure that we get our first choice of time and venue. However, we had no issues finding available dining for the remainder of the week in any restaurant. As far as bars go, we enjoyed the main pool bar the best. Staff were a lot of fun and sitting in the cool water was fabulous.
Water Sports and Activities:
One of the concerns we had prior to doing our first all-inclusive was that we would be bored. We were both very surprised that this was never the case. There is always something to do if you want, or you can lay on the beach all day if you want as well. We had a great snorkeling trip and sailing was great. We did go on the shopping excursions, but would not do that next time. The shopping excursions were two hours each and we found that an hour would have been more than enough. The same items that we purchased were available at the airport for about the same price.
My wife and I absolutely fell in love with this resort and can't wait to return next year. After visiting Jamaica four times via cruising, we found that the two experiences cannot be compared. The people are warm and friendly, and very willing to share a bit about themselves and the Country. This is a five star resort and after nine or ten cruises, I believe that this is the best value by far, which is important today. The service, location, food, and people cannot be beat!
If you go to CSS, please say hi to some very special staff (I am sure I will miss someone, so please forgive me)
Orlando and Veronique at the Pool Bar
Keshan and Edgar at Pallazina
Katianne, the activities coordinator
Richard from twater sports
You are all the best and can't wait till the next time we see you!
Thank you for sharing! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your review...and it wasn't too long at all!
I've been sitting on the fence trying to choose which resort to stay at next year. We stayed at CTI this year and loved it. I've been toying with the idea of staying a few days at CTI and a few days at SS. You're review is helping me make my mind up!