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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Default Observations from a CSA Repeater…….SUPER LONG!

    Observations from a CSA Repeater…….the Good, the Bad & the Ugly


    First, context: She….30 years old, corporate sales mukety muck type in the hospitality industry, born and raised in Southern California, now lives in South Orange County, California, well traveled within the US, minimal travel outside the US, 2nd time visiting CSA. He……29 years old, System’s Analyst mostly in the Biotech field, born in Ohio, lived in San Diego for 7 years and now in South Orange County with her, well traveled in US, minimal travel internationally, never been on an “island” type vacation, 1st time to Jamaica & Couples. This was the first major vacation together, spent 7 nights and 8 days at CSA in late September- early October.

    From time to time I would see negative reviews on other boards or even constructive criticism on this one and, based on my first trip, was baffled. Now, after revisiting the resort, I can understand some of these remarks as there are variables which can greatly shift the experience as a whole. I will start by saying this review will probably be more negative than intended and we are planning to return again, if not next year than for sure the year after…..

    Addressing The Usual Stuff/ Frequently Expressed Concerns on Message Board:

    Transportation to Resort: Found the trip to be quicker and much smoother than last year for some reason. There was little to no traffic, we did not stop and I think ended up getting to CSA (after one drop off at CN) around an hour and fifteen minutes. The drive is not scary and in fact, in our shuttle we had a older lady (in her late 70s) who sat up in the front seat and loved every minute of it.

    Beach/Grounds: I will start by saying, as every review states, the beach is stunning and the time, energy and effort that the staff puts into its maintenance is incredible. The little beach huts are over rated as the shade from the palm trees is sufficient enough to block most of the sun, but still get a nice tan (as opposed to the complete coverage of the huts). The grounds and all the facilities are absolutely IMPECCABLE; kudos to the landscaping crew for keeping the resort so beautiful! Your work is appreciated!

    Food in General: Overall, I actually found the food to be better this year than it was last year. I think that this might be swayed a little by the Repeater’s Dinner, Private Dinner on the Beach and Lobster Night at Feathers, BUT even without those, the presentation of all of the meals seemed to have been taken up a notch.

    Weather: I see this come up time and time again on the message board, people “freaking out” about the fact that it is forecasted to rain every day. It was a forecasted 20-30% chance every day we were there. It rained one time of our 8 days, now it was an absolutely incredible torrential down pour that lasted about an hour, but that was it. If you go in assuming it will rain every day for about an hour, you will probably be setting your self up to be prepared if it does, and pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t.


    The Somewhat Unexpected Stuff (The Bad):

    Check-In: I will start by saying that I am sure that everyone has an off day and as I mentioned previously, I work in hospitality and understand that a little kindness/friendliness goes a long way so I make sure to go out of my way to be overly sweet to people in general, but especially people in the industry as I know what kind of non-sense they have to put up with on a daily basis. That said, I don’t know that the young lady who checked us in could have acted any more put off by needing to do her job of getting us squared away. I won’t go as far to say that she was rude, but I attempted several times to engage her, and at best she smiled curtly, otherwise was mostly silent with a very stand-offish attitude.

    Backing up just a little, again, this was my boyfriend’s first experience with Jamaica and Couples. I had spent months telling him about this amazing place as it was beautiful, fun, but above all else the service and people who worked there were the absolutely best out of any where that I had ever been. Additionally, I was super excited about being a Repeater and belonging to that special “cool” group. For his first experience dealing directly with a Couple’s employee and the front line service representative for the resort, this was a pretty major let down.

    On the Message Board there had been much ado about the perks of being a Repeater and the Pre-Check in, so I was very excited about this feature. For what ever reason, none of the information took, even though I entered it a multiple times on the website, and emailed Couples to verify they got it. It was not really a big deal to write everything out again, but the bummer of it was realizing that there was not going to be a pre-set up mini bar in the room and that we were going to end up having to wait until the next day to get those items. Recognizing that there are plenty of other places to get a drink, it was just one of those little things that had been so hyped up, that it ended up being a minor let down.

    After re-entering all the information for the paperwork, the lady gave us our keys and the bell boy came over to take us to our room. As we were getting up, I had to remind her that we were repeaters and that I believed there should be T-Shirts for us. With a bit of disdain, she went over to a rack to look for them and grabbed a bag with our shirts in it. Since the shirts were there, with the right sizes, I was a little confused on how the other information (for the rest of the Pre-Check) wasn’t there. On a somewhat side note, we never received our farewell snack, not a huge deal, but just wanted to mention it as a small let down for the Repeater’s Perk.

    I guess my expectations might have been a little high, but I can now understand why some people might have the impression of and comment on unfriendly staff. With it being his first interaction and had I not been so adamant that it was going to get better, I could have seen him wanting to walk right out the door and go to another resort. As a Repeater, I had assumed that there would be a little more of a “welcome home” feel as has been such a theme on the MB for the past few months.


    Accommodations: We stayed in an Atrium suite. As I had stayed in one last year, I knew what to expect regarding no glass, no TV, being a more “rustic” type room, etc. This is exactly what we wanted and why we booked the room. We had requested a first floor room and were fortunate enough to get that request honored (assuming that since the resort was fairly empty it was probably a little easier than had we gone at a higher capacity time). We originally got a room in the wedding courtyard closer to the road side of the resort.

    Right after check in, we grabbed some food at Seagrapes (since that and the grill were the only things available at the time…. more about that later) and headed back to the room for a nap after a long day of travel. We were both exhausted and probably should have been able to fall right to sleep after a red eye from LA, but I will say, the road noise was there….. and it was loud. Turned on the air conditioner and shut the slats, but unfortunately it really did not help. Additionally, I know that it is the tropics, but there was an inordinate amount of little ants in the room; MUCH MUCH MUCH more than there had been in my prior trip. I won’t go as far to say that I would have been “miserable” all week there, but it would have most definitely have dampened my vacation parade.

    Not normally my style at all, but I did go to the front desk and ask to move rooms. Mellissa working the front could NOT have been BETTER! She was sweet, accommodating, apologetic for the inconvenience, and I think literally, got us the best Atrium Suite available on the property. We were right next to a beach front suite and had an AMAZING view of the beach/water. We were over the moon about our new room and loved every single thing about our new accommodations.

    We were lucky enough to be there during a down time with regard to capacity, but I will say that had this been my first time or had gotten the original room without the ability to change, I would have been extremely dissatisfied with my accommodations. I definitely can now understand why some people make the comments that they do regarding their room because there are what I would consider MAJOR differences between rooms and even rooms within the same accommodation category.


    Beach Bar & Concierge Staff: I was very taken back by the general attitude by the staff at both the beach bars. It didn’t seem to matter how polite/engaging we were, again it was almost a bother for them to make drinks. It was very disappointing as last year, the Sunset Beach Bar Staff was my favorite! They were a huge part of what made the trip so much fun and I actually cried when we left them! This year was the complete opposite. I thought that maybe it was just the crew at Sunset, so we switched up about mid week and started going to the Bamboo Bar, but it was the same thing.

    Every concierge that I encountered also had this same standoffish demeanor. Again, you would assume that you would put your best and friendliest people in these high volume guest interaction areas. This was another case, where I understood the comments that I have seen in the past about staff attitude.

    The Shopping Trip Excursion: This one is my fault for not really doing research, or asking questions prior to going. I had figured it would be going into more of a swap meet type scenario. It was basically 2stops at strip mall type places with a bunch of convenient stores. I was hoping for something a little more authentic with a little more Jamaican culture and it seemed like the stores were not even owned by Jamaicans. Again, this is not a fault of Couples, just a fair warning that it is probably worth skipping- you can find mostly the same stuff on the beach, for cheaper.

    Dining Convenience: For some reason it just seemed like nothing was open when we wanted a heavy meal. The full breakfast option at the Palms & Patois ended at 10:30 with lunch not beginning until 12:30 and ending at 2:30. Then dinner did not start anywhere until 6:30. Understanding that both Seagrapes and the Grill were open during the down time, it just seems like there were a lot of hours that if you didn’t want a Snapper Sandwich, fried food or a small veggie dish you were kind of out of luck.

    Also, along the same lines, it was unfortunate that Patois was on a reservation system while we were there. For whatever reason, it just made it feel like we were on a regimented schedule every day. I do understand that the resort was at a lower capacity but it was just a small drawback that there was a substantial amount of hours where both the Palms and Patios was closed, and that every restaurant (except the Palms) ended up being reservations required.

    Breakfast Delivery: The service itself was great! It was delivered promptly at the requested time every morning with the right items and very cool that they called and checked up on it. The disappointing aspect of this was the fruit. Last year there were so many great and fun varieties every morning. This year, every morning it was the same, melon, pineapple and mango. Also the bread offerings were average at best. By the end of the week I stopped requesting the service.

    Utter Surprises (The Ugly):

    Groups: As of late there has seemed to be a great amount of debate on the MB about larger parties being allowed, or not being allowed to go to Couples. Prior to this trip, I was on the side of who cares if there are groups, if Couples says it’s fine, then it is fine- One love. Now, however, I have made a 180 degree swing in philosophy. I will preface that we are both still young, still like to party and have been known to frequent the bar/club scene in the OC and in San Diego. Neither of us is anything close to prudish or conservative and would probably consider ourselves more of exhibitionists than anything…

    The night of the fashion/talent show at the Aura Lounge I was absolutely appalled at what went down concerning a group. It was obviously a bachelorette party; my guess is they were probably having the wedding at the resort the next day. I would guess that there were probably 10-12 girls all making quite a spectacle while taking shots and screaming, they obviously were intent on everyone noticing them and what they were doing. Each of them was wearing large pins of certain male parts (not sure what words I’m allowed to post), along with other matching paraphernalia.

    First of all, I’m all for a good bachelorette party, but really? All the pins and other “attire” being worn were completely inappropriate for the Couples venue. Secondly, I was mortified how rude this group was being while both guests and employees were putting themselves out there singing and dancing in front of a crowd. It takes a great deal of moxie to put yourself out in front of people in the first place, but to do it with people being so obviously oblivious to everyone but themselves made for an unfortunate situation for the performers. All of that, however, was pretty mild to what came next…

    …One of the guests was up performing as part of the fashion/talent show. This particular guest, apparently had made friends with another Couple who was holding 4 seats (the foursome of chairs that are immediately in front of the bar when you first walk into the Lounge- we were sitting on one of the chaise lounge chairs next to them). The two guys went to the far side of the bar to get a drink (as the large group was taking up the entire front of the bar nearest to the stage), leaving the one girl holding 3 seats.

    One of the girls from the party (who seemed quite drunk) belligerently went up to the girl holding the seats and started demanding that she give up the seats to her party as she “obviously” wasn’t using them. The guest who was sitting, politely said that her friend was going to be in the show and that their husbands were at the bar. The girl from the party started screaming at this poor girl in the chair and actually started physically moving one of the chairs. It got to the point where one of the guys from the EC had to come over and “break it up.” The girl from the party that had the chair still in hand basically slammed the chair down in front of the other girl and went back to the party. The girl holding the seats was obviously upset at what had gone down and seemed pretty shaken up by the time the two husbands came back.

    By this point, the guy part of the bachelor party had come into the lounge and joined the girls, so now there was a group of about 20 people at the bar making even more of a distraction. For whatever reason, after about 15 minutes the majority of the party left and things were able to resume back to normal. When we finally left the lounge around 12ish we walked back to our room and it seemed as though the entire bachelor/bachelorette party had moved to one of the hot tubs. All I can say is that I am very glad that I did not have a room that was in that area, because the amount of noise that was coming from the group was ridiculous.

    I am not really sure what, if anything, Couples would be able to do about this situation, but frankly, if this was the environment we were looking for on vacation, we would choose to spend our money on a cruise or at another AI that is much closer to home and at a far less expensive price tag. We elect to spend our vacation at Couples because of its unique atmosphere. Had I been one of the two Couples directly involved in the confrontation, I probably would not be back. If catering to large parties and Couples starts/continues to allow these types of happenings, we will probably move our tropical vacation to a different location as well.


    Finally, The Great:

    Private Dinner on the Beach: Before leaving, I had read split reviews on this option. I went ahead and decided to splurge on this as a surprise for my boyfriend. He was completely shocked that we got to eat at one of the “special tables on the beach.” He thought we were just eating at the Palms for dinner and halfway through the meal was still semi-speechless. For us, it was worth it and then some! The food, atmosphere and service were absolutely incredible. I can imagine that it will continue to be a part of future trips. As an overall experience, it might actually be the highlight of the trip for both of us.

    Repeater’s Dinner: I don’t know if I can express enough how great this food was. Additionally it was such a treat to sit with other Couple’s Frequenters. It was fun to talk about the other resorts and how they compare to CSA. I enjoyed being able to meet so many of the Couple’s Management Team Members and was very fun having one sit at the table with us for dinner. The entertainment for the evening was also great. If you are ever wavering on whether or not to attend this event, DO NOT HESITATE! It was absolutely fantastic.

    Resort Photographers: Loved having them around and so prevalent in the resort. Our budget at the end of the trip didn’t like it so much as we ended up spending a few extra hundred dollars, but the pictures that we now have are so worth it!

    Fitness Facility: My boyfriend used the gym every day and I got to learn how to play tennis. Had it not been for these great courts and the condition of the equipment, I probably wouldn’t have ventured into a new sport. It is now just one more thing that my boyfriend and I can enjoy doing together. The staff working that front desk area also could not have been better! Along these same lines, and probably not often mentioned are the crossing guards. They were really great guys and a lot of fun to joke around with.

    Beach Bonfire: Very fun event. It ends up being pretty entertaining watching the team get the fire going and once it is burning away is quite romantic. Love the addition of the little wish hearts balloons. Super cute! The entertainment here, once again was fantastic and we even ended up purchasing a couple of his CDs.

    Housekeeping: Cannot say enough positive about the job she (they) did! Again, it was like magic how they managed, twice a day, to do our room service while we were out. The little towel designs that they made were so good and one day she even took one of my extra pairs of sunglasses and put it on the little duck she made. It was AWESOME!

    Specific Staff Members: If there is any one major reason why we will return, it is these people who became friends over the course of our 8 days:

    Mellissa, Front Desk: As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, she was so incredibly accommodating, knowledgeable, helpful and did it all with a smile! Great front desk representative.

    Nickolaus (the newest EC Member): What a great personality he has! He was so much fun to tease at the Black Jack Table, dance with in the club and just enjoy overall!

    Pricilla, Housekeeping: I really hope this name is right as I don’t have my notes in front of me, but she was absolutely amazing and so sweet!

    Franklyn the Server at Feathers: On top of being great at his job, he was also extremely entertaining! I mean who else would give you sound effects of your food!

    Cecil, the Photographer: My boyfriend does a little photography as a hobby and once he saw the difference between Cecil’s pics and the others he only let Cecil do our pictures for the rest of the vacation.

    *Ricardo the bartender: Great Personality, great drinks, maybe the best smile on the entire resort! Have a Big Sexy waiting for me! Xo

    *Sandia the Server: If she is not the sweetest person on the resort than I don’t know who is. She was “our” server at Lemongrass and we ended up planning some of our dining around her schedule at the Palms. This is one that caused tears upon departure.

    *Akeem: Like he needs any other modifier. He’s the one and only. Aside from putting up with my terrible dancing, we had so many great talks, fun moments and really breathes life into the whole Couples experience. He even got up at the crack of early to see us off on our last day there before we got into the bus. So much love for this boy!!!


    Conclusion:

    As I said, I am sure that this review ended up being much more negative than intended because we did have a great vacation and in all likelihood will be back next year. I think perhaps sometimes, on this board especially, things can get a little over hyped and so new people coming to Couples for the first time might have inflated expectations of a perfect Utopia. While Couples is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING, it, like all places, is not without its flaws. I am hoping that this review in its entirety makes it to the MB and that some of the items raised might be taken a look at as the intention is constructive criticism with the hope of improvement.

    I am sure that there are things/people I am forgetting, but will add them down the line when I remember…

    Thank you again to all the great staff members who made this such a memorable vacation! We are looking forward to seeing you again soon!
    Team Leegion

  2. #2

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    Great review. April 2012 can't come soon enough for our return trip to CSA

  3. #3
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    Jun 2009
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    Thank you for taking the time to post such a detailed and well-written review. I think your review shows that the MB can be an open forum for discussion.

    I concur that we've never had much luck with the check-in process at CSA. I guess the meal schedule is what it is - it fits into our schedule, but I can see where it would not with others.

    As far as the groups, I'm not really quite sure what management can do. Obviously groups provide big bucks for Couples. I guess it would be good if there was some sort of way to regulate the stag and stagette parties.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    No problem mon.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2009
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    Thank you for the honest and in-depth review! Candy-coatings taste great but often don't go over well in the end regarding reviews. Expectations should be realistic and one must realize that nothing and no one is perfect.
    We're returning in a couple of days for our anniversary. Your words about the private dinner on the beach are making us reconsider doing it!

  6. #6
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    Jun 2009
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    Loveload,
    Thanks for taking the time to post such a detailed review. We will be returning for the fifth time in a few weeks. I have to agree on a lot of the things you mentioned. Sadly a lot of people have no respect for others, and as long as they are having a good time who cares if it ruins it for others. I also have to agree that you do run into some staff that do seem to make you feel that you are bothering them. It is a good thing most of the staff are so fantastic, but does make you wonder why they are in that industry. I would like to know what really can be done when some guests get out of hand. Do you call security? Is anything really done when you do call? We are looking forward to returning and seeing the friends we have made on previous visits. All in all it is fantastic place. People please have fun but respect the right of others to do the same.

  7. #7
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    Jul 2009
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    You'd think the Chief Romance Officer would take action to prevent this type of behavior on the resorts billed as romance resorts!
    [
    CN 2006, CSS 2009, CN 2009, CN 2010, CTI 2010, CN 2011, CSS 2012, CN 2012, CN 2013, CSA 2014, CN 2014, CSA 2015, CN 2015

  8. #8

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    Wow. Well done!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Thanks for the detailed review. Every time I read about a large group interfering with the Couples atmosphere it makes me sad. We have encountered this problem both at CTI and CSS. It has not ruined our vacation but it certainly puts a damper on the experience. We will be 14 time repeaters to Couples Resorts in December for our anniversary and really hope we don't have to put up with another party group. There are now so many other large resorts in Jamaica that cater to the spring break atmosphere I really wish Couples would just stay a romantic get-away for couples
    As a side note our daughter got married at Couples Ocho Rios in 1999. Some of the single guests and family with teenagers stayed at another Ocho Rios resort and bought a 1/2 day ceremony pass to attend the wedding only. This worked out real well for everyone and I highly recommend it.

  10. #10
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    Jun 2009
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    Great review. I didn't think it was overly negative, just very informative. I would have hated seeing the scene you described in the Aura Lounge with the bachelorette party. Behavior like that doesn't belong at a nice resort for couples. We love CSA and can't wait to get back. Thanks for all your thoughts.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Thanks for the insight! We will be there for our first time in 17 days - nice to hear an unbiased review. I am early 30's so the party side is something I am used to, but hoping it isn't at Couples... We are looking for romance not Jersey Shore

  12. #12
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    Jun 2009
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    Thanks for the entertaining read! This is something I've heard before about CSA - large, rowdy groups (usually for weddings). There was a large, rowdy wedding group at CSS on our last trip this April dominating the pool playing volleyball. It definitely wasn't a game you felt you could join in on, since this group (like most wedding groups) was loud, obnoxious and clannish. Unfortunately, I'm sure weddings make Couples lots of money. And since CSA seems to have the most, and largest, weddings, we probably won't go there if our goal is to have a relaxing, romantic vacation (and that's always our goal).

  13. #13
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    Jun 2009
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    We, too, have noticed larger, rowdier groups each year. We went to CN which, being the smallest, you would like would have less of a problem. Sadly, it is harder to get away from the larger groups. Our last visit was not very quiet at all.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Thank you to all for such positive feedback on the review! I am also glad that Couple's allowed it to be posted as there was absolutely no malicious intent.

    Wedge~ I would highly recommend adding the dinner to your vacation. Especially since you have repeater $$, I love a massage as much as any one, but you can get that at home...this was an incredibly unique experience!

    Redsoxnation~ I could not agree more with your sentiments. There are certainly more than enough great staff members that make up for some of the less great ones. It is just surprising to me that the first point of contact or guest relations positions filled with anything other than their absolutely top line people. As far as the groups are concerned and who do you call if there is some kind of security issue.....I have no idea either as we were stumped on what we could have done in the lounge aside from getting the attention of the nearest staff member. Obviously the last thing you want to do while on vacation is get involved in any kind of altercation, especially when copious amounts of alcohol are involved. Bummer to have to address this at all, but it seems as though it is becoming a reoccurring theme and at some point needs to be looked at.

    SueBoo~ We have discussed it and are probably going to end up doing a split trip on our return between CSS and CSA. Aside from wanting to get on the other side of the island, it had come up at the Repeaters Dinner that CSS is much quieter and not quite so popular for the bigger parties. Bummer to hear that you encountered one =( We will just be keeping our fingers crossed as I couldn't agree more with wanting Couples to remain the niche that it is.

    Cori~ I am sure you guys will love it! If you go in with reasonable expectations you will not be disappointed and can't wait to hear your thoughts upon your return...and don't worry I didn't see anything that resembled snooki (that's her name right?!)!

    Theyamons~ I am bummed to hear that you also encountered a big wedding group at CSS. Like I said, it seems that this is becoming a more frequent observation.

    In my world, I am the Director of Sales at a private country club and there is a fine line that is constantly tipped toed between keeping the membership happy which is your constant revenue stream and what you allow to come in from the outside which is the atypical spikes in revenue. We have to be careful not to tip the boat too much in one direction or else we loose out on one or the other. I see this as a very very similar situation Couples is in....

    You want to protect the integrity of the product as the Repeater/Couples only travelers looking for that "special experience" (or member) business is probably the more constant of the streams but you also want to be able to accommodate the spikes as big groups bring in substantial revenue as well. Our members always let us know if we have started allowing too much from the outside and we adjust accordingly so as to maintain the atmosphere of what the majority of our clientele is buying into.

    Especially with the economy being what it is, people are still being very very protective over where they spend their disposable income. When we stop providing the perceived value of the product we are promising, we see that money leaving and being put into other outlets (second homes, bigger vacations, more expensive colleges, other clubs, etc). Very tough waters to navigate, but I'm sure that Couples will figure out where their line is and how far they can push.
    Team Leegion

  15. #15
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    Jun 2009
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    This is a great review! Thanks! We can only hope that Couples takes the reviews with some of the not-so-good experiences and uses them to imrprove, which I am sure they do. No business is perfect and there is always room for improvement. I would have been pretty shook up over the situation in the lounge also. Hopefully it was an incident.
    We have been torn every time on whether to do the private dinner, there are so many different reviews but I guess its worth trying once. Thanks for sharing and your honesty! We have 8 days till we are on our way!

    Couples Ocho Rios 2005/2006
    CSA 2009/2010/2011/
    2012 x2/2013 x2

  16. #16
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    Jun 2009
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    On our first trip to CSA the first night we were downgraded to a OVVS near a hot tub. There was a huge wedding that night, rumoured to be linmed to a very famous tv personality. Really late that night maybe 2 or 3am there was a very loud commotion at the hot tub near our bulding which woke me up. I called the front desk and was told I was not the first to do so and that the situation was being handled. And it was.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loveload View Post

    In my world, I am the Director of Sales at a private country club and there is a fine line that is constantly tipped toed between keeping the membership happy which is your constant revenue stream and what you allow to come in from the outside which is the atypical spikes in revenue. We have to be careful not to tip the boat too much in one direction or else we loose out on one or the other. I see this as a very very similar situation Couples is in....

    You want to protect the integrity of the product as the Repeater/Couples only travelers looking for that "special experience" (or member) business is probably the more constant of the streams but you also want to be able to accommodate the spikes as big groups bring in substantial revenue as well. Our members always let us know if we have started allowing too much from the outside and we adjust accordingly so as to maintain the atmosphere of what the majority of our clientele is buying into.

    Especially with the economy being what it is, people are still being very very protective over where they spend their disposable income. When we stop providing the perceived value of the product we are promising, we see that money leaving and being put into other outlets (second homes, bigger vacations, more expensive colleges, other clubs, etc). Very tough waters to navigate, but I'm sure that Couples will figure out where their line is and how far they can push.
    I agree with what you have said. I am sure Couples is in a very difficult spot. However, I believe repeaters are their number one source of guest through fabulous referrals. All of their advertising is "you and the one you love on an intimate vacation" People who read that, go, and find it is something else will not be repeaters and will talk to others about their disappointments. In the end I think the wedding money will not equal the lost repeater money.

  18. #18

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    Great review. It’s really refreshing to see a very candid review of the not so good along with the great things about your stay.
    It is disappointing to hear that not all the staff were very friendly. We can’t say we encountered this at our stays at Couples. When we checked in at CSA it was with a group and late at night, yet everyone was friendly and helpful. However, checking in at CTI last year between Xmas and New Year was incredible. The resort was at capacity and the lobby was filled with people waiting to leave and waiting to go on tours. Yet everything went so smoothly and all the staff were smiling and friendly. The bellman there who grab your bags are some of the happiest people I’ve ever met! The check-in at CSS was low key, since we were the only 2, but we were also met there by smiling friendly faces (except maybe the guy who had to lug our bags up all those stairs. lol). I guess my point is that Couples does have a lot of great front desk staff. Do some have bad days? I don’t know, maybe? ...or are there just a couple who aren’t as “into” their job? The thing is, that first encounter at the desk plays such an important role at setting the tone of the vacation. You get there tired, but excited, and you just want to get to your room and unwind. So having that part not go well could be a bad start for sure.
    I wanted to comment on the group situation. It sounded awful. I’ve always stood up for wedding groups, since I know they aren’t all bad, as we were 16 and well behaved. However, I can see that there are the bad groups who are ruining it for everyone else. I don’t think Couples should let this continue. I don’t know if eliminating all groups is the solution, since honestly, even one couple could be obnoxious and ruin the romantic atmosphere.. ok, less likely, but what about a small group of 3 or 4 couples? They could get loud and obnoxious too. I don’t know what the answer is. What about maybe putting it in writing when you book that Couples is about romance and will not tolerate loud, obnoxious, party behavior. Could they do that?
    Anyway, good to hear that overall you had a great trip

  19. #19

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    This is a very good review, thank you so much for your honesty. I really do hope Randymon and the Couples management reads and takes a close look at their wedding/group policy. I don't think they can or should outlaw wedding groups. I'm actually going to be a member of a wedding party/group at CN next year. However, I think they can put limits on it. For example, banning bachelor/bachelorette parties on the resort, banning the wearing of paraphernalia resembling private parts and encouraging groups that really want to get wild and party to go to one of the many surrounding nightclubs. My friend said she wants to have a bachelorette celebration while in Jamaica and I advised her we should go out....not do it at the resort. It's not rocket science but until there's rules and set limits people will continue to push the envelope beyond the comfort of other guests.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loveload View Post
    Observations from a CSA Repeater…….the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

    Beach Bar & Concierge Staff: I was very taken back by the general attitude by the staff at both the beach bars. It didn’t seem to matter how polite/engaging we were, again it was almost a bother for them to make drinks. It was very disappointing as last year, the Sunset Beach Bar Staff was my favorite! They were a huge part of what made the trip so much fun and I actually cried when we left them! This year was the complete opposite. I thought that maybe it was just the crew at Sunset, so we switched up about mid week and started going to the Bamboo Bar, but it was the same thing.
    We were just at CSA 10/3 - 10/11 and, I must say, it seemed like a lot of the staff were a little more preoccupied with chit chatting and flirting with each other than connecting with the guests. The first night we were there, I really wanted the Fish Tacos from Seagrapes. By the time we got to our room and back out the door, I was absolutely, painfully starving. We got to Sea Grapes at 5:50 and sat down before we realized they closed at 6. I'm a big believer that if you're open until 6 then you serve until 6, so I didn't think it was a big deal to order the fish tacos (I didn't think they would take long to make!). I can't be positive, but I want to put money on the fact that they severely spiced up our fish tacos. We were served only one glass of water (no refill -- I had to stop at one of the bars on our way to our room to get a Red Stripe because my mouth was on fire).

    We had the fish tacos again the next afternoon and they were barely spicy at all (my husband was actually upset because he LOVED them spicy! I, on the other hand, can't eat spicy food.). Those were the only two times we had the fish tacos, so I still don't know whether they're supposed to be spicy or not.... ? Were they too spiced up the first time or were they not spiced up enough the second time?!?!

    When we were done eating, we were asked, "Why didn't you go to the Cabana Grill?" by one of the Seagrapes' staff (NOT Janet -- Janet is a really hard worker!). I was slightly floored by the audacity. We were tired... we were starving... we just wanted to eat and they were technically still open. This was not a great first impression -- within our first 40 minutes at the resort!! (I had this all written on my comment card then, at the last second, tore it up and asked for a new comment card because I didn't have the heart to get anyone in trouble. I was so torn because I do want to give honest feedback).

    As far as large crowds... I have to agree. Around 10/6 or 10/7 it seemed a few larger groups started showing up. They loudly carried on on their verandah, on the beach and then late into the evening on the sidewalks/on their verandah. We heard many "in room" gatherings happening while we would walk through the resort. We are also younger (35 and 30) but thought it was slightly inappropriate and didn't really promote a "couples" or "romantic" vibe. I highly doubt there is much that can be done about it.

    Beyond these two things, we had a truly amazing time (the bus ride back to the airport was a little scary in the rain, but we survived!). I was actually just attempting to price out another CSA trip for our 1-year anniversary next October!! I'd love to think about sinking my toes in that sand again as soon as possible!
    Last edited by Megan; October 21st, 2011 at 05:42 PM. Reason: typos!

  21. #21

    Default It's not about the couples

    we are currently here and have seen many groups being overly loud and generally not respectful to the couples atmosphere. One night there was a loud party in the room next to us. I called the front desk at 11:30pm and was told it would be taken care of. It ended at 2:30pm! Wednesday night we were having a nice dinner at patios around 9:30pm and all of a sudden there seamed to be a party in the pool. There was a group of about 5 couples who were very loud and cheering with every bottle of champagne they popped open in the pool. How does this happen, and more important why does staff not stop it immediately? This is our 4th visit an I will say that all other aspects of the trip have been perfect, however, we come here to enjoy a quiet couples vacation and will consider not being repeaters again. I have talked to many repeaters this trip and many others feel the same. I'm not sure how you control this but this is no longer the same couples we have grown to love.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,492

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    I'm glad you put this out there as my review is still on hold until I find appropriate words to address the issues we saw this year. I'm trying to find the tact that you've nailed in this one...

    On a side note, the shopping excursions in Ochi are to similar strip malls, and I can assure you that the majority of shop owners are Jamaican. Think "out of many people; one".

  23. #23

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    Loveload,
    Thanks for the great review. We've been to CSA 9 times (10th coming up at New Years) and I can relate to what you experienced. Every visit to CSA has been different. Things that you thought were great before some how had deteriorated, and thing you thought were not so good last time are suddenly great. There was one visit that I was so disappointed in things that I thought it would be our last. However, certain staff members tried so hard to make things better they won me back. I'm glad they did because CSA is really a special place for us.

    Over the years as CSA has become more popular I have noticed the wedding groups increasing in frequency and numbers. When we were first going to CSA the weddings were small and often it was just the bride and groom and maybe 1 other couple. Recently it seems the larger groups (40-50 guests) has become more prevalent. For the most part this hasn't been a problem. Everyone behaved respectfully and had a great time. We've met many people that were part of a wedding group and they were very friendly and happy to chat with us. This January we were lucky enough to be part of a wedding at CSA. Everyone had a great time and were well behaved. However, I have seen certain individuals that are part of a wedding group or a group of friends getting together for a vacation that have behaved badly. Sometimes just being part of a group just brings out the worst in people. They have a few too many drinks and feel safe to act in ways that would not normally be acceptable. This isn't CSA or Couples fault, but I agree something needs to be done so that the safety and enjoyment of the other guests is not threatened.

    Perhaps Couples could develop a guideline/handbook of acceptable behaviors for groups that could be posted on the wedding site and included in the welcome packages of all groups. Maybe even a special orientation should be set up for groups where acceptable behavior and consequences of bad is addressed. I know they try to things to manage large groups such as only allow certain size of tables in the restaurants already, but maybe it's time to go a step further.

    We are very excited about attending a wedding at CN in April 2012. It probably will be a small-medium size group of family and friends. I expect everyone will be well behaved but as a loyal repeat guest of CN and CSA, I will address any behavior that might infringe on other guests enjoyment. Hopefully it's not me that's behaving badly! LOL!

    Enjoy.

  24. #24

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    I am starting to worry about how our group will be precieved now... What do you all consider appropriate behavior of a group? I understand about the bachelor/bachelorette party and hot tub incidents, BUT...

    I know my parents plan on playing cards in their room/patio with other members of our group... Would this be considered rude? At midnight or later, sure...

    I don't think our group will be rowdy in anyway, but I don't want to feel like we have to whisper and not be able to hang out as a group as to not offend anyone. We are all adults and with the exception of my fiance's sister and her friend (both in their late thirties) all married (or soon will be).

    We are not seeking a spring break resort either, but we may be dancing/drinking late... enjoying eachothers company, but we will not be excluding people and carrying on to just be attention seekers...

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    325

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    Just to be clear, I was responding to post #20, by Megan. I meant to quote it. (Edited)


    Yes, if you look for it and pay attention you will find more than a few instances of passive aggressiveness from the staff. I didn't see as much of it from the staff at CSA when we were there earlier this year as we did at CTI(then COR) in the past.

    Meanwhile odds on how much longer this thread will last?
    Last edited by ORV; October 24th, 2011 at 10:05 AM.

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