I discovered Couples as I was researching Jamaican all-inclusive hotels and am totally hooked! My husband and I are planning on visiting in either July or August of 2012. I know I still have plenty of time before I have to decide... but I just don't know which Couples to pick!
We're in our mid 20s, but we're definitely not looking for a crazy party scene. Neither of us drinks much... I'm really interested in the "craft" type of activities and am really looking forward to buying authentic handmade Jamaican crafts and such. I also am a fitness instructor and would love to be able to take some classes while we're on vacation. Basically, I'm really interested in lots of activities, especially those that involve shopping! All my husband wants to do is relax and drink smoothies. He also is a huge music guy and is looking forward to the live groups. Neither of us are huge "foodies" --we're happy with the basics but we're not picky and will probably be happy with any type of food... as long as it's plentiful We'd also like to have a great view from our room with a balcony or veranda. My husband will also need a TV and wireless internet (but all the resorts have wireless, right?)
It's going to take us all year to save for this trip, so I doubt we'll be able to go back any time soon, or maybe ever... so does anyone have any suggestions for the best Couples for a first, and possibly, only time traveler?
We did a secret rendevous and let couples choose for us! We ended up at css and although not our first choice we had the time of our life and now would go back again in a minute! I haven't been to any of the other resorts so I can't compare but csa supposedly has a great fitness center and health foodbar. On the otherhand css had lush grounds to walk, a mineral pool, and an open air fitness area.
Not sure about the negril excursions, but dunns river was amazing and fun! The shopping is nothing special, just hokey vacation stuff. We had fun kayaking and snorkeling, and if we had more time we would have scubad. All that can keep you busy!
I know it is scary but consider an sr. With the extra money you are saving you can book a whole other night
Hi Hovergab and welcome to the Couples family. We've been to CTI and CSA so my recommendations will be based on those resorts. We're in our mid 50s but you'll find people of all ages at the resorts.
Our favorite resort is CSA in Negril because of the way the resort is spread out with beautiful grounds and the awesome long beach. We walked most mornings to work up an appetite for breakfast. The separate buildings at CSA make you feel like you're staying in condos instead of the hotel feel at CTI. Both resorts have rooms that offer beach views, but only at CSA can you just about walk right out onto the beach from your room. We don't book the beachfront rooms. We save money and the short walk through the beautiful grounds to the beach from the garden verandah rooms is a treat all to itself. Although for your once in a lifetime trip I think the extra money will be worth spending on a beachfront room. By the way, the beachfront and atrium suites don't have TVs but all the Verandah suites do.
I can appreciate your need to exercise because I hit the gym at home 4-5 times a week myself. CSA has the best gym I'd ever seen at a resort. I took two classes while there, one yoga and one aerobics. Both were taught by competent instructors. Your hubby will be in heaven lounging by the lap pool with a smoothie in hand while you're taking one of the classes. Their list of smoothies at the spa bar is amazing and I always got two because I could never decide on just one.
As far as crafts go I think they offer the same type classes at both resorts. I do remember seeing people weaving baskets at both resorts. You can look into what is offered if you're that interested.
You will be disappointed in the shopping because it isn't as abundant as what you'd find on an island like St. Thomas, USVI. We've shopped in Ocho Rios but didn't in Negril after our experience in Ochi. The open air bizarres offer the best for handicrafts if you really like to haggle and get involved with the sale. We felt intimidated and like criminals when we walked away without buying anything. We usually buy things in the resort gift shop which does offer a wide range of items from jewelry and clothing to hand made items.
There is live entertainment most evenings in the Palms restaurant and our favorite, sing alongs and games with the piano player Ulti in the Aura Lounge. A few evenings after Ulti leaves the disco starts up till the wee hours of the morning.
We're headed back home to CSA on my birthday this December and I daydream about it every day. "Once you go, you'll know" exactly how I feel.
Well I hope I answered most of your questions but if you want to know anything else drop me an e-mail.
Enjoy, Steve firstname.lastname@example.org
We just got back from CSA and loved it! I think since you are into fitness you should choose CSA, it has a wonderful fitness area and a smoothie/juice bar inside it! My husband really enjoyed his spin class. Not sure about shopping, but lots of vendors sell handmade things along the beach. Anyway, we had a great time at CSA and will definitely return!
My wife and I are returning to CTI for the 13th time in 11 days so I bet you can guess our preference. We have also stayed at CSS one year during the renovation at CTI. Because we absolutely love CTI we were all set up to be dissappointed at CSS but have to admit we were presently suprised. Both of those are pretty private properties. At CSS there are some private homes at the end of Sunset Beach but the main beach is completely shut off from the outside. The food at both places is fantastic but I think the selection is better at CTI. There seemed to be plenty of exercise opportunities at both places but I tend to be more like your husband and prefer to lounge around on vacation. Never been to CSA but have talked to many people that have and have heard nothing but good things about it. Of course our recommendation would be for CTI but we have learned that as long as it is a COUPLES resort you can't go wrong. And trust me you will be back.
I say go with the secret rendezvous. You can't book until 60 days out, but you will save money. What you are looking for doesn't really point to any particular resort. They all offer what you want. We have our 5th trip to CTI in July. I have used the gym, enjoyed the power walks up the mountain (guided) and last year, did the spin classes. They have a veggie/smoothie bar at the beach and a smoothie bar at the amazing spa. The rooms on the ocean side have amazing views of the ocean. You can hear the waves at night. By next year, all rooms will have mini bars and full room service. Also, from CTI you can climb Dunn's River Falls--just down the street. All rooms at CTI have TVs (flat screens). They have an internet cafe, but my hubby has picked up Wifi at the swim up bar, the island and in the lobby as well as the huge veranda overlooking the beach off the lobby.
We've been to CSA, CTI and CSS. Loved them all for different reasons. Although I don't think you can go wrong with any Couples resort, from what you say you are looking for, my suggestion is CSA, mainly due to the fitness facilities there, as well as having a nice long beach to walk or run along, and great water sports opportunities. The beaches of Negril are stunning... and don't forget the sunsets! Otherwise I think the food, service and crafty activities would be similar at all the resorts.
From an excersise standpoint I would choose CSS second, as they have all the stairs and paths and the pond to walk/run around. Their fitness area and gym has a prime location looking over the water, and we barely saw anyone there.
As for shopping, I think Negril wins, both on resort and off. we walked down the beach and found shops and a craft market. We found Ochi more commercal and pushy when we shopped there. The cruise ships are a big negative for Ochi,
My only caution to you about CTI, although lovely in it's modern way, is that it's very compact for those who like space to walk or run. Also the gym there is very small.
Good luck with you choice. You're going to love it!