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  1. #1

    Default CSA Review April 22nd-May2nd: Already missing our other "home"

    Here's my trip review, which is also posted to Trip Advisor:

    We just returned from 10 wonderful nights at CSA from April 22nd-May 2nd. We honeymooned at Couples Tower Isle and were excited to try CSA as we heard Negril has the best beaches. The beach was even nicer than I expected - warm, crystal clear water as if you're in a swimming pool, and comparable to how clear it was when we visited Hawaii. We walked along the beach and went out on the boats, and CSA easily has one of the longest and nicest beachfront sections out of any resorts we saw.

    CHECK IN: We arrived to the resort around 11 am, and they were able to have our room ready by 1:30 even though check-in isn't officially until 4. We requested and got a 2nd story Atrium Suite, which is in the older section.

    ROOM: The Atrium Suite has a rustic Carribbean charm to it. Some of the windows and doors just have screens and dark wood shutters (no glass), so you can hear insects and tree frogs at night. If noise is an issue, I would book one of the newer rooms.

    I liked that our location was a short walk to the beach, and close to the lobby and the Palms for dining. The best part was the huge balcony and hammock, perfect for reading or taking a nap after a day of sunbathing and drinking. The buildings in this section are more like villas (no neighbors on either side), so you don't have that hotel room feel.

    The rooms all have safes which were easy to operate, but we got relaxed and occasionally left laptop, Kindles, and cameras laying around and they were fine. Free WI-FI was another perk.

    **If anyone wants detailed photos of the atrium suite, comment with your email and I'll send you some**

    HOUSEKEEPING: I was very impressed with housekeeping on this trip. Although a little slow, they were very thorough. Sometimes we would leave in a rush, and come back to see that the maids had hung up or folded our clothes. Almost every day, they would do a design with towels and fresh flowers on the bed.

    DINING: Although we had a few minor complaints, overall the food here was excellent. If you're a foodie, I suggest booking reservations at Feathers and Lemongrass right away. You can dine there multiple times, depending on availability. Service at both was efficient and attentive.

    I really enjoyed Patois for breakfast and lunch, IF you're not a rush. Since it's a la carte, service here was much slower and I felt staff was not quite as friendly but the food is very good. At the Palms, breakfast and lunch are buffet. The menu was a bit repetitive, but the omelets made to order are great for breakfast and they have a few different local dishes every day.

    My one complaint is that all of the dinner options except for Feathers are open air, and it's very hot and humid even at night. We also live in a tropical climate, but were literally sweating through dinner. I suggest packing very light resort wear that will breathe well, to make it more comfortable.

    Sea Grape Cafe and the Cabana Grill are also available for quicker, lighter dining options. We love the plantain chips and dip and the snapper sandwich at Sea Grapes!

    WATERSPORTS: We did the free Resort SCUBA training and dive (first time for both of us), and we enjoyed it so much we opted to do the PADI Open Water Certification course. It was an additional fee, but cheaper than doing it back home and it's good for life. Franz was our teacher and made us both feel safe and comfortable. I was a little nervous but he, Shaggy, and the rest of the Dive Team were very funny and patient. Once you're certified, you can dive every day & use their equipment for free, so we can't wait to come back!

    BARS: There are a number of bars here, so you will never want for a drink. We usually went to the sunset bar during the day, and our favorite was the Martini Bar which is above the Palms and opens at 6. Shaun was our bartender there almost every night and is very personable and entertaining. They have top shelf liquor like Grey Goose and Patron here too. My favorite frozen drinks are the Hummingbird, Jamaica Browning, Miami Vice, and a vodka slushie made with Citron (it's like an adult lemonade!). The bartenders are great about recommending drinks for you to try.

    SPORTS COMPLEX: We could have spent a whole vacation just using all the facilities here. Before we got busy with scuba diving, we would start the days here with a run on their track. We took advantage of both the group and free private tennis lessons here (ask for Ashford!). I would have liked to do some of the fitness classes, but didn't make time for it. You can get infused waters, Vitamin Water, and fresh fruit smoothies at the Wellness Bar.

    ENTERTAINMENT: At Couples, you can do as much or as little activity as you wish. There are scheduled activities during the day like beach volleyball, martini mixology, basket weaving, etc. You can go across the street for tennis and fitness classes. We're in our late 20s and find the evening entertainment a bit dull on some nights. To be honest, we were so tired after diving, sunbathing, and drinking that most nights we retired to our room early. We never made it to the nightclub. The Steel Drum Band show on Wednesdays is very good, and there's a huge Shipwreck Beach Party on Fridays.

    Overall, this was another wonderful vacation at Couples. For the most part, staff provides service with a genuine smile and will take the time to remember your name if you wish to talk to them on a personal level. It is the personal attention from the staff, lush grounds and beautiful beaches, and all of the wonderful inclusions that will keep us coming back to Couples!
    ___

    We kept comparing CSA to CTI and while we had a great time at both, they have very different feels. I think the food was actually a little better at CTI, but CSA was much more spread out and less hotel like. If you're a beach person at all, I would say spend the extra money and go to CSA as it's so worth it! CN looks like their resort and beach is also much more compact than CSA. If money was not an issue, I would go back to CSA in a heartbeat, but I know we would have a good time returning to CTI too.

    For anyone planning ahead for next spring, we were at Couples over the Easter holiday and they were gracious enough to provide a free shuttle to take us to church (only a few minutes drive). They also had Easter activities such as an egg hunt, bun eating contest, etc with prizes.

  2. #2

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    brian.lindsay@gmail.com for pics of the Atrium Suite!

    You're the first person I've seen on here w/ no scuba experience train and dive while at CSA. How was it ? Did it take long to "train" before you dove ? How was the actual dive ? Better than snorkeling ? (Shipwrecks or anything ?) How long did the "certification" take ? Any detail is super appreciated!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    50

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    I would LOVE picture of the atrium suite. mb9fan@yahoo.com
    Thanks!

  4. #4

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    I would love to see pics of the atrium suite. We are staying in the atrium suite room in July when we go and would love to see additional pictures.
    stacha4@gmail.com

    THANKS!

  5. #5

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    We've booked an Atrium suite for July and I'm starting to get a little concerned about the noise from the tree frogs. Guess I'll pack earplugs and hope for the best.

    Would love to see your pictures. Lisaaclemons@sbcglobal.net

    My husband tried diving for the first time 12 years ago at CSA and got certified then too. I'm actually thinking of trying it this time.

  6. #6

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    Here is a picture of the Atrium Suite from this website under CSA photo Gallery:
    Attached Images Attached Images  

    Couples Resorts

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    408

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    The atrium suites do have air conditioners. If you run them at night, the sound of the tree frogs will be drowned out. I personally love the sound of the tree frogs.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    708

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    Quote Originally Posted by turtlegirl4ever View Post
    We've booked an Atrium suite for July and I'm starting to get a little concerned about the noise from the tree frogs. Guess I'll pack earplugs and hope for the best.

    Would love to see your pictures. Lisaaclemons@sbcglobal.net

    My husband tried diving for the first time 12 years ago at CSA and got certified then too. I'm actually thinking of trying it this time.
    You will soon think of the tree frogs as lullaby. When they start up the first night we are there it's like a welcome home song. I don't think you'll find them annoying, I think you'll find them soothing. Bring the ear plugs just in case but they really are a welcome sound. Here's a link to a recording of one right up close on youtube, it's loud.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLL1l3o-ZGc

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    33

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    Hi,
    I would love to see your pics of the room. We booked the same suits for June. Great review by the way... nejim7@yahoo.com

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by AnnArbor_707 View Post
    brian.lindsay@gmail.com for pics of the Atrium Suite!

    You're the first person I've seen on here w/ no scuba experience train and dive while at CSA. How was it ? Did it take long to "train" before you dove ? How was the actual dive ? Better than snorkeling ? (Shipwrecks or anything ?) How long did the "certification" take ? Any detail is super appreciated!
    I enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to others. To just do the free resort dive, first you do a swim test in the pool by the Palms (some people couldn't pass it). Then you watch a brief video and get in the pool with your gear to learn how to use it and practice some basic skills. This lasted from about 8:30-10:30, then we went on a guided dive with just beginner divers to a shallow reef (maybe 25 feet).

    If you want to certify, you can either do the basic SCUBA which requires 2 more open water dives, or the PADI, which requires 4 more dives and qualifies you to dive to 60 ft. We got a book which has 5 chapters with quizzes we had to do, but it's easy reading. We started with beginner dive on Monday and were done by Thursday (you can also do multiple dives on the same day to speed it up). We had to meet in the pool for drills and then get tested on them during our open water dives. We also had to do a final PADI written exam, but it's straight from the book, nothing tricky.

    SCUBA is waaay better than snorkeling in my opinion. You see much more sea life hiding around the coral at those depths. It's like exploring a different world that you just can't experience while floating at the surface. They have a variety of dives sites including sunken planes and a tug boat (those were pretty deep though and I think you would need advanced certification).

    I was really happy with the dive team and we had the same teacher for all of our training. I'm a worrier and was nervous on testing a few of the skills out in open water. When I told Franz this, he let me gear up and do extra practice in the pool so I could feel more confident.

    The only downside is it did cut into some of our leisure time and I didn't really like having quizzes to do on my vacation, but it was worth it. We just spent maybe 30 minutes a day reading the book if that, while sunbathing or hanging out in our hammock. Once you're certified, it's good for life and I liked doing the training in a relaxed resort setting. It was also cheaper than doing it back at home.

    If you're considering it at all, I suggest signing up for the beginner dive right away, to allow time for training if you want to pursue it further. Don't forget you can't dive within at least 12 hours of your flights too.

  11. #11

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    I just emailed everyone the photos - hope it helps! They are not professional quality but give you all angles of the room, bathroom, and balcony.

    The tree frogs didn't bother me at all, although we ran the A/C at full blast so maybe that drowned them out a bit. We use a white noise machine at home and it's similar to that. I think it adds to the tropical ambiance.

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