I would like to share my impressions of these two resorts with other first timers or anyone else interested. Instead of a play by play review(there are plenty of those out there) I am just hitting some highlights and giving some of my opinions. Maybe some food for thought. The wife and i did a split stay between CSA from 8/2 to 8/8 then CSS from 8/8 to 8/14. Having been asked by friends, Couples staff and other guests as to which we liked better, honestly we can not say. They are just different.it all would depend on how you would want to spend your vacation.
CSA in Negril had a much nicer beach. Seemed a lot more active. We were always on the go doing something, never leaving the resort. We wore ourselves out having loads of fun. The beach is public access so there are vendors. They walk along the waters edge but can't come up on property. If your not interested in what they are selling, a simple no thanks will keep them moving. Security is usually right there to make sure they don't bother you. Understand this is how they make thier living so expect your going to have to deal with it. They were all nice and didn't pressure you so no worries. Sunsets were unbelievably beautiful. Picture postcard perfect. There were plenty of chairs and floaties. More than enough to go around. Plenty of shade if you need it. I think to much emphisis is being placed on the little covered huts. Yes people do go out early in the morning to "reserve" them. I never had a problem with it because there was always somewhere to find shade. I do agree with the point that if they are not going to use them till later in the day then they should not reserve them in the morning. Show some consideration. But if you feel you have to have one then get up and go reserve one. otherwise don't gripe. It's the way it is. I thought I'd want one before I went but it wasn't a big deal to us once we got there. I have read people complaining about ants in the room. We did see some around the coffee maker and around the sugar packets. Still this was no bother to us. We live in a rural wooded area so insects are a normal thing to us. Look at where your at. Beautiful island, beautiful beach and your going to let a little ant bother you? please! If you have a problem with them, call the lobby, they'll take care of them for you. Problem solved. Just so you know, we stayed in a Beachfront Veranda Suite. Requested top floor for the view and got it. Higher than palm trees so view was unobstructed. We were in last building, top floor corner room overlooking the pool with the swimup bar to our left and the ocean straight out in front of us. Couldn't have asked for a better spot. Staff was friendly, food was VERY good. We did seem to prefer the food and menu items in the less casual resuraunts over Lemongrass and Feathers. They were good but just not as good as we expected after reading about them on the board. Loved the snapper sandwiches at the Cabana Grill! And I'm not one for fish sandwiches. After six days we were not happy about having to leave even though we had six more days to come at CSS. CSA was a total BLAST!!
On 8/8 we arranged to be transfered to CSS around noon. They had a shuttle take us nonstop to CSS. Our driver (Philip) pointed out places of interest along the way and made the three hour journey fast and enjoyable. Once we arrived we were quickly checked in and shown to our Penthouse Suite. We were told that since we had checked out of CSA we were now considered Repeat Guests and were eligible for all the perks. this was unexpexted and greatly appreciated. Once we got to our room we relaxed for a few minutes and soon there was a knock at the door. They had brought us some food to snack on. Again unexpected and appreciated. Even with these little gestures we still were sad and missing CSA. We knew we had to change our mindset and give this "new" place a chance. Hopefully we would warm up to the new environment. The first night the other guest seemed a little standoffish. A little stuffy for our taste. Not sure why. Maybe it was a different kind of crowd than CSA, maybe it was just us. By the next day things were changing for the better and by third day we were at home with the place. CSS is way more laid back and quiet than CSA. Much slower pace. Probably the reason the guests seem to mingle with eachother more at CSS than at CSA. CSA everone is busy doing thier own thing. Could have just been the crowds we encountered while we were there too. I loved the grounds at CSS. Lots of nooks and crannys tyo explore. You really can walk this place and hardly see anyone else. The food here is good also but not as many places to eat. Again we found the food better at the less formal resturaunts. Cassanova was very slow. A good twenty minutes before our drink order was taken and another twenty before our food order was taken. Long waits between coarses. Don't know what the problem was since it wasn't that busy. Wasn't just the "island time" thing. Repeaters dinner on 8/11 was probably the best meal we had the whole trip. We meet a very nice couple from England. If you happen to read this, Mike and Lisa from Texas say hi! The strawberry/banana smoothies and shakes by the mineral pool were fabulous. Don't remember his name but there was a bartender at the swimup pool making some kick a** drinks. We did the Dunns River trip. It was fun but probably won't do it again. You have to pass through a market area before getting back to the shuttle parking lot. The vendors are VERY aggressive in there. Didn't care for that much. My advice is to walk quickly back to your shuttle and don't make eye contact ofr talk with anyone unless you want to shop. But be forewarned, they are very aggressive. Not like Negril. By the time we had to leave we were at home with CSS. We felt like we were leaving good friends. Staff and guests alike. Happy we had went but sad to have to leave.
In conclusion, I would recommend either place. It just depends on how you want to spend your vacation if you can't do both. I think we did it in the right order. Go to CSA, have loads of fun. Wear yourself out till your butt is dragging the ground then go to CSS to have some down time. Relax and recooperate before you have to go back home. Both resorts are very nice. Unique in thier own ways. Staff was great at both. Show them a little kindness and respect and they will bend over backwards to make sure all your needs are taken care of. And don't sweat the little things. you on vacation to have a good time. Making plans to return next year. Just haven't made up my mind to which one. Hard desicion!
One last thing, don't pay much mind to negative reviews on T/A. These are people looking for something to gripe about. Keep an open mind. Go have fun! You will see.
Great review. Glad you had a nice vacation. Just as a suggestion for others who might read this: If you're quick and/or stealthy about it, you can actually exit through the entrance of the Dunn's River complex and avoid the "craft village" entirely. You're still liable to hit a couple of wandering vendors, but it's not nearly as bad. Just tell them you didn't bring any cash, and you should be fine (but don't make the mistake I did of putting a few dollars in the pocket of shorts that turned transparent when wet).
Glad you had a great trip. We did a split between CSS and CN. We loved both resorts as well, but with the beach winning out at CN. I agree that both resorts are different holidays. Love them both. We visited CSS first and were very sad to leave and did not like CN at first, but some of it was the friends that we had met at CSS. After a few days we started to really like CN, and by the end of the week, we just loved it. Thanks for your review and comparison.